With sunny weekend arvos beckoning, it’s a great time to get out into the hinterland and discover some of our region’s spectacular food and wine offerings – all pretty much on our doorstep.
Pegasus Bay Winery
Named the country’s best winery restaurant by Cuisine magazine for five consecutive years, this is a tough spot to beat for a long, languorous lunch. Enjoy the 2012 Chardonnay alongside the market fish, blood orange, fennel, green olives and homegrown globe artichoke purée. www.pegasusbay.com
The rolling hills make for some spectacular views as you tuck into the Waipara Hills Café’s waldorf salad with chicken breast – it’s a great match to a glass or two of their Equinox Waipara Valley Riesling 2013, which recently picked up a Gold Medal in the 2014 Canterbury Wine Awards. www.waiparahillswines.co.nz
Hinton's sneaks a bit of Central Otago into our local wine scene, with a Christchurch-based restaurant/cellar door for their primarily Otago-based vineyards. You’ll want to try their Pinot Noir 2006, which picked up Gold in the International Wine Challenge. Enjoy it alongside the restaurant’s duck salad, with a five-spice slow-roasted duck tossed with roasted cashews, mango, spring onion, coriander and char-grilled red pepper. www.hintons.net.nz
And then some …
Other good winery lunch options include Waipara Springs Winery, Opihi Vineyard, Black Estate, with Langdale Vineyard Restaurant and Melton Estate also both just a short jaunt away in West Melton.