October 24, 2011 by bethanjthomas
I was recently lucky enough to travel further than I’ve ever gone before. Crossing the meridian line and losing 2 days of my life in an airplane seat. Arriving in the youngest country in the world, New Zealand.
This was primarily to see my beloved Welsh rugby team do battle with the world at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, but as an aside, it meant that I could experience the fantastic array of agricultural produce New Zealand has to offer.
Now, Kiwi’s are very proud of their farmers. The country is based on exports and production of dairy, meat and vegetables. They have more sheep than people (!) and are the only country in the world to have a free trade agreement with China for agricultural products. Strict bio-security controls prevent you from taking any product across their borders that might harm the natural eco-system of these lush islands. They proclaim to have the best lamb in the world, an outstanding array of cheese and cattle to die for.
I, however, am from Welsh stock and happen to live with a Scot in England. I believe that Welsh lamb should be the only lamb found on British supermarket shelves, that a good mature Cheddar can beat any world cheese in a taste test, and that Aberdeen Angus steaks is probably the best beef in the world.
Before landing on Kiwi shores, I’d never even eaten New Zealand lamb. I was in for a treat…
Staying with friends, we were treated for home cooked lamb a couple of times a week. Marinated with soy sauce, ginger, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and chilli, the meat was sweetly juicy. In our second week, I had the best steak of my life barbequed in an Uncle’s backyard. The suburbs of Auckland led me to the most outstandingly thick, heart attack inducing hot chocolate that I had to eat with a spoon. The Japanese population of New Zealand seem to make the most of all the seafood of the coast, rolling sushi so large that they were almost a struggle to eat! And finding New Zealand made halloumi cheese with chilli and lemon on the supermarket shelf on our final day, filled me with a little joy.
I ate like a kingly hobbit for a full 3 and a half weeks.
The only downside being that now I’m back in a wintery Oxford, I will probably never taste these things again. Despite their appeal, I cannot bring myself to condone the huge carbon footprints that these products leave on their journey to the UK. I would find Christmas with my uncles, both farmers, a little awkward. So all that remains are food hazy memories and an absurdly large number of photos of steaks on my hard drive.