Christmas shopping in Auckland?
Good morning. My husband and I will be visiting Auckland for the first time with another couple for Christmas. We will be arriving early on December 24 and leaving on December 27, and will be visiting Tiriti Matangi on the 26th (so will need picnic supplies). We will be staying at the Quality Alexander Inn which is near Newmarket, and will have a car.
Do you have any suggestions for where would be good to pick up ingredients for Christmas breakfast/lunch/dinner as well as picnic supplies on December 24? I am gluten-free and my husband has to avoid dairy so that makes it a little more challenging. We would prefer to pick up things that won’t require a whole lot of preparation, but, will have access to a kitchen with an oven.
Suggestions that we have received so far include:
34 Westmoreland St W, Grey Lynn, Auckland 1021
Jack Lum and Co Fruit Shop
3 Clonbern Rd, Remuera, Auckland
New World at Victoria Park, in Ponsonby
Nosh at Greenlane or Ponsonby Road
Sabato in Newmarket
Apologies that this is so late, but your trip is still a little while away, fortunately:). The list you have I would say covers Auckland's good food shops pretty comprehensively. For the kind of thing you're looking for, out of all of them I would recommend Farro as you will be able to get everything you need there in one stop and the range is very comprehensive. As well as the one you mentioned, there's another Farro (the original store) at 80 Lunn Ave, Mt Wellington, which might be easier for you to get to from Newmarket than the Grey Lynn store. It would be a good idea to allow plenty of time for your visit as the last time I was at Farro at Christmastime the line for the tills wound all the way through the store:).
As the above poster said, this is a bit late but I'm sure you're still planning your trip. Never been to Tiritiri Matangi, but hear it's beautiful. The weather should be lovely by the time you get here too, but make sure you have light rain jackets as it's not unheard of for it to rain over Xmas period here in recent years.
You probably already know this, but there is a Countdown supermarket in the 277 Westfield complex down on Broadway in Newmarket and that would definitely be the closest full scale food place for basic supplies. They should have gluten free products too. Speaking of which, Wise Cicada, on 23 Crowhurst St in Newmarket and very close the the Westfield, has lots of organic and gluten free products listed on their website and they do sell that sort of thing in the cafe too. Across the road from the side entrance to the mall, on Morrow St., you'll find Zarbo deli, which has ready made food and sells similar gourmet type fare to Farro, Nosh etc but on a smaller scale. Little and Friday on Melrose St is well known and raved about for its delicious baked goods and has expanded into full meals so definitely worth a look. Suggest you check the websites for all four of these places, as it will give you a good idea of what sort of special supplies they might have for your purposes. Prepare for a bit of sticker shock though, as NZ prices for all food are high, and for gourmet and organic, it's more like Whole Foods on steroids.
You probably also know this but most places will be closed Christmas Day and the 26th (Boxing Day), so you really need to get in what you can on the 24th. Try and get it all done early as some places will close early, though the supermarkets might stay open a bit later. (Try and check their websites the week before you leave). Queues can get ridiculous and traffic hideous on Christmas Eve: Lots of people head off to baches and holiday homes on Boxing Day so they stock up big right before leaving.
Your motel's location is just off the end of Broadway in Newmarket, so given how traffic can be, I'd suggest you might just walk down to the places above from there. Alternatively, there is a carpark in the Westfield, (2 hours free with $10 proof of purchase which you could easily get at the Countdown). You should park there and walk to the other places if you decide to visit them, cos street parking in Newmarket is always hard to find. But only go there if you can get in early, cos as I said above, it will get quite ugly in there as the day goes on, and it's quite close quarters, so if it's your first time driving on the left hand side of the road and all that, you might want to give it a miss!
Have a wonderful trip!
BTW, nzgrrl's advice is excellent and I agree that if you can limit yourself to shopping in Newmarket it's a great idea, especially on Christmas Eve.
As for traditional dishes for Christmas, hmm. Many New Zealanders have moved away from the traditional Christmas fare we inherited from the British towards food more suited for a summer Christmas. Seafood, for example, is popular. Probably the thing that is both traditional and summer-appropriate, and also very local, is a pavlova. You will be able to get one ready-made at a supermarket - just add whipped cream and fruit (strawberries are fantastic, but be warned that their cost as well as that of cherries skyrockets just before Christmas).
Thanks so much for the suggestions. Yes, we do still have time to plan. Hubbie agreed that it makes sense to go directly from the airport to our hotel, drop off our bags and the car and walk down to the shops. We will get shopping done early, and then can collapse in a heap from jet lag (smile).
Seconding on the pavlova. See if they have any passion fruit syrup at the supermarket if the strawberries are expensive or not up your alley. Also a very NZ flavour. (Or, of course, kiwifruit!) Another Brit tradition that persists is fruit mince pies. Depending when you shop, you might find some nicer quality ones at Zarbo or Little & Friday. Barring that, the Countdown or other supermarkets should have some packaged ones, which would be suitable for taking on your picnic to Tiritiri Matangi. (Sorry, not sure if they have gluten free ones.) At least the pavlova would work for both you and your husband as it's basically just whipped egg whites and sugar. He'd just have to leave the whipped cream off.
As far as main courses, you'll find they probably won't have a lot of pre-prepared stuff at the supermarket in terms of a Xmas meal, but I wonder if Zarbo or Little and Friday might be doing some sort of Xmas meal offering? You could drop them a quick email, as they must be going to start to advertise that sort of thing by about October. It might be possible to pre-book and pay for a fully prepared Xmas meal that you could pick up on Xmas eve if you'd rather not cook, keeping in mind it might be hot running an oven in your motel.
If you do decide to cook, traditional food here would be maybe turkey (you might get a small Tegel frozen rolled breast if you're lucky, but don't be shocked at the price!), or ham. If you go that route, don't forget to buy some kumara (our version of sweet potato) to have mashed or roasted along with it. Finally, here's a link to a company that sold a fully stocked Xmas bag last year; you bought and cooked it yourself but all the stuff was in it that you'd need. Kind of expensive and probably more food than you'd need, but it also gives an idea of a modern Kiwi Christmas dinner! http://www.myfoodbag.co.nz/my-food-ba...