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Where's Jonny? Care to dine with me? You would think that 11 years of daily food tasting for a living might put me off?......au contraire! Chomp away with me across 6 continents. Seduced like a bloodhound to the scent of good food, I anticipate the misty waft of steaming broths, the satisfying crunch of mudbugs and the vibrant aroma of freshly pulverised lemongrass. Buon appetito

The world's adrenaline capital

NEW ZEALAND | Saturday, 21 July 2007 | Views [1765] | Comments [2]

South Island pictures

South Island pictures

The most lethal sport in New Zealand is skydiving. Its SO dangerous (and I quote the promotional leaflet,) that there's a, "departure" every hour.

No chance I'll be going on that one then. A death every hour seems like very bad odds indeed.

We're in Queenstown where our first sight was of Skip-shaped paragliders floating and winding down the steep mountainside; landing one after the other on the town’s rugby pitch.

We had followed miles of light, green cliffs, like tarnished, bronze statues leading us forth. The brilliant, turquoise, Kawarau River meanders through the jagged rocks and tiny gold mining towns of old crop up along the way. Some places still give visitors a chance to pan for something that glitters.

Its not the gold rush that attracts people here now but an adrenaline rush.

Sadistic Kiwis have conspired many innovative ways of killing today’s naive youth. You can pay to be strapped to a rocket and swung on a huge pendulum across an entire valley. There are jet boats that propel your body so fast down the gorges that the rocks become soft and time stands still.

There's even a bungee SO high that a man who jumped in 2006 is still rumoured to be in freefall.

Even the air has a super-oxygenated buzz - like some coke-induced hit I breathe in deeply and become light headed.

The water is so pure that the trout can see you coming from 4 miles so no chance of fishing. That said, it’s so cold at the moment that they're likely to come out pre-frozen.

Horse riding looks spectacular and a mans chance to pretend to be Aragorn. However, I am reluctant since the "over the handlebars" incident in the UK. Sea Kayaking in Milford sound is an opportunity to approach wildlife closely. Unfortunately Maria is about as keen to try it as a fat kid to eat lettuce.

Now call us, "far out dudes," but we did agree on the pursuit of a wine course.

The Otago region is famous for Pinot Noirs and it was with high expectations that we embarked on our special wine tour bus to visit 4 wineries. (Gibbston valley, Peregrine, Waitiri Creek and Arcadia)

There were cellar visits and some spiel about the history of wine in the area but not that much about viticulture. I was one of only two blokes, the rest were ladies that lunch (and drink)

We sampled locally grown Chardonnay’s, Rieslings, Gerwurtztraminer, Pinot Gris and even a sparkling wine using Pinot grapes. This was enjoyable although there were no amazing wines to mention. Looking at my notes (and I was the only one making them) there was a Pinot Noir 2004 and a Pinot Noir 2005 that were notable for their depth. The younger stuff was far too much like Ribena. (Maturation occurs in metal tins) My advice is go for the older oaky stuff and the levels of flavour reveal themselves like the mountain-layered sediment here.

Funnily enough my favourite Pinot Noir (2004) smelled of Brussels sprout or cabbage water (would go well with Xmas lunch) but opened out on the palate majestically. I took in oaken notes then the fruit came out to play. The winery is called Waitiri Creek and its worth chatting to a Scottish Sommelier who loves nothing more than getting ratted with you.

Although a fun day, for 99 dollars plus extra for lunch you could easily have done it independently.

Now at present I am writing this from a fine cafe in Queenstown called, "The Bathhouse" which is perched right at the end of a most stunning lake.

A steamboat is just making its way across the mirrored water and ducks jostle for crusts in the cold.

I have been enjoying a Pinot with my linguine lunch and desert is about to arrive.

It’s here...

A coarse edged ball the size of a fist arrives. It’s a steamed (yes steamed) Cardamon pudding with creme Anglais and strawberry jammy stuff.

What's steamed pudding got to do with adrenaline you ask?

Well, its freezing cold outside and I've craved a pudding of this type for 3 weeks. My spoon is pushed at an angle through the bouncy, spongy ball of a pud. Waves of steam are released across the surface and the thick, viscose jam drips slowly off the sponge forming glistening red blobs on the white plate.

My heart begins to pound rapidly. I raise the spoon to my mouth. The heady cardamon spice hits my nostrils first. There's smooth vanilla notes and the bite of the sponge. My eyes close. Oozing jam with a fruity punch contrasts with the vanilla in my mouth and I smile widely.

My body is temporarily lifted to somewhere else. I can't describe where, but its good.

Whooooooah what a rush man!!

Tags: Adrenaline

Comments

1

I thoroughly enjoyed this tale. Written with real verve, passion and no little humour. Is this man aristocratic? If not, he should surely be knighted for his descriptive use of words.A right good yarn!

  Mr I J Walker Jul 25, 2007 11:22 PM

2

HooHah, HooHah HooHah

Now Jonny hope all's good with you - it sounds like you're really missing london

Weathers crap - we're off to africa next month in pursuit of some sun at last

looking forward to the tales when you're back

the book's coming on well..

M

  melvyn Aug 4, 2007 9:35 PM

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