Too much water dilutes flavour?


Almost every area has produce of which it can be proud and one of North Otago’s culinary treasures is its new potatoes.

There is a happy mix of climate and soils which produces potatoes with a distinct and delicious taste.

So good are they that others have tried to trade on their reputation.

A couple of years ago a Kakanui grower saw boxes purporting to contain North Otago new potatoes while visiting Nelson in October. Knowing his own crop was still some weeks away from harvest he did a little detective work and discovered they weren’t North Otago potatoes but Nelson ones pretending to be their superior southern cousins.

When the first new potatoes of the season appear in the supermarket we resist them. Knowing they come from further north and never measure up to those grown in North Otago we wait to enjoy the local ones.

This season, however, I reluctantly admit that the Kakanui and Totara spuds didn’t live up to my expectations.

In light of the discussion by JC and Fran O’Sullivan four posts back  about too much water diluting the flavour of tomatoes, I wonder if that applies to potatoes too because the one major difference in the production of this season’s crop and those of previous years is irrigation.

Commodity prices down again


Apples were the only commodity not to drop in the ANZ international commodity price index  last month.

The ANZ’s index of international commodity prices last month recorded its broadest fall in prices since the series started more than 20 years ago.

Every commodity, except apples, recorded a fall in December, ANZ economist Steve Edwards said today.

. . .  The ANZ commodity price index recorded a 7.4 percent fall in the price of the basket in December, the fifth consecutive monthly drop in the series. The index is now 27 percent below its peak last July.

Pelt prices recorded the largest drop in December, slumping 62 percent from November to a new record low, Mr Edwards said.

Aluminium prices fell 20 percent to a five-year low, while wool and dairy prices both fell more than 12 percent.

Dairy prices were now at the level they were two years ago, before the start of the much heralded surge 18 months ago.

Wool prices had dropped for six successive months and were now only 2 percent above the lowest level recorded by the series since 1986, Mr Edwards said.

Log prices were down 4.4 percent, wood pulp prices down 3.7 percent and sawn timber prices down 2.2 percent.

Seafood and lamb prices both eased 2.4 percent, while venison and beef prices each dropped 1.4 percent.

In New Zealand dollar terms the index fell 6.1 percent last month, but is just 8.1 percent down on its peak of four months ago, and is now back to its level of a year ago.  

Lunch at Fleurs Place


There is more to life, and this blog, than food.

But we had lunch at Fleurs Place  yesterday and I thought this deserved to be shared:


Chocolate therapy


If you’re suffering from PHAtS (Post Holiday Addiction to Sugar) there is medicine available:

Murray Langham says lots of people feel guilty about eating chocolate and has produced a self-help CD to address this problem.

Langham is the co-owner of chocolate factory and shop “Schoc” says he is only referring to expensive chocolate – the cheap stuff has too much sugar.

“Good choc has the phenyl’s that make you feel good, they make you feel happy,” says Langham.

The same chemicals are released when you have feelings of love according to the “chocologist”.

Langham believes that any weight gain is the product of latent guilt surrounding the eating of chocolate.

“If you are satisfied and eat with ecstatic rapture in your food then you’ll feel a lot fuller quicker and your body will be satisfied so you don’t need to snack.”

. . .  The self-professed chocolate therapist says there is a proper way to taste chocolate.

“If you take a piece of chocolate, break it in half because you don’t want it too big. Now just put it in your mouth and let it sit for a bit,” he says.

After a while you can bite and try to decipher some of the 6000 tastes that make up each chocolate.



Schoc is one of the Wairarapa’s culinary attractions and it offers on-line help  for those who need a chocolate fix but can’t get there in person.

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