Wild Food Cooking School

| September 19, 2012 | 0 Comments

Wild side cooking and dining put you in touch with natural flavours and ancient techniques in primeval wilderness.

Above: Treetops Lodge & Estate and the Bridal Veil Falls on the estate.

Here’s a totally new experience for couples who like to cook and eat on the wild side – the Wild Food Cooking School at Treetops Lodge and Estate in Rotorua, the heartland of New Zealand’s world famous therapeutic thermal region and its wild food capital.

Treetops is a unique, totally New Zealand experience, a sanctuary and retreat of breathtaking terrain, offering the ultimate in world-class accommodation, cuisine and adventure. The Lodge’s elegant, ecology-inspired architectural style was derived from the country’s pioneering past, with timber and stone finishes echoing the natural beauty and simplicity of the great outdoors. Treetops offers seven streams, on-site trout fishing, four lakes, and over 70 kilometres of adventure trails. New family experiences include photography safaris, helicopter tours, Geo-caching hunts, luxury treks to spectacular waterfalls, and a 4WD experience. And now its knowledgeable chefs introduce you into the secrets of food and flavours direct from the surrounding wilderness, gathered by you and cooked in the Lodge’s kitchens…

Above: Wild Food Cooking School and Hangi cooked Salmon with Pikopiko

The full-day Wild Food Cooking Experience begins with a memorable, guided 4-WD expedition deep into Treetops’ 2500 acres of native bush to discover the magnificent wildlife population of fish, birds and animals. Unspoiled brooks are packed with fat trout and eels, there are herds of deer and of wild pigs and both native and introduced game birds; the best way to prepare and cook each of these is explained. Next is a leisurely one-hour stroll through the bush to collect indigenous herbs and spices and then you’ll spend the afternoon in the Lodge’s open-plan kitchen. There, Treetops’ talented Maori chefs combine the produce and indigenous ingredients of the forest to create a dazzling variety of unique dishes. And you’ll learn how to reproduce the haunting flavours of the hangi or Maori pit-oven at home.

Perfect for food lovers
Join a Maori Indigenous Food Trail to discover native herbs and ingredients traditionally used by Maori. As you find and harvest them you’ll experience a greater sense of New Zealand’s amazing wilderness. Indigenous ingredients used at Treetops include tangy horopito and kawakawa and piko piko, the entrancing curled shoots of native ferns.

Above: Estate caught trout and Treetops lounge.

Half-day Wild Food Cooking Experiences begin with native-ingredient gathering in the pristine wilderness of Treetops’ 800-year old forest. Accompanied by a knowledgeable Maori chef, guests discover such indigenous tastes as tangy kawakawa and peppery horopito. Then it’s back to the Lodge’s open-plan kitchen to watch as these are transformed into gourmet garnishes and a range of unique flavourings to make dishes with Treetops’ own trout, game birds, reared venison and wild pork – dishes unlike any you have ever tasted before. You’ll also be inducted into the secrets of creating a hangi or pit-oven in your own garden or in your kitchen.

Wild Food Cooking Experiences also include wine tasting and matching advice. Both Experiences are designed for a minimum of just two participants, so there’s never disappointment about insufficient numbers. Each Experience includes lunch, all food and drink, recipe sheets and a Treetops Lodge and Wilderness apron. Advice is also given on equivalent flavourings in other parts of the world.

The Wild Food Cooking School – A totally new experience for couples who like to cook and eat on the wild side. Only at Treetops Lodge and Estate in Rotorua, the heartland of traditional New Zealand.


Pan-braised Salmon fillet in Karengo Court Bouillon, Tossed Pikopiko with Piripiri butter, served with roasted Urenika potato and horopito Beurre Blanc

Allow 160g of salmon fillet per person.

Trim and cut the salmon fillet into 160g portions, preferably without the skin.

Wash 3 large potatoes, cut them lengthways and roast for about 15 to 20 minutes with 1 medium sliced onion and a couple of garlic cloves. (Season at the end to avoid the potato sticking to the pan).

In the meantime add a teaspoon of chopped onion to the pan and a few leaves of karengo (seaweed) with ½ a cup of white wine or verjus. Bring to the boil for a few minutes to infuse the court bouillon, add a table spoon of butter and then the salmon fillet side down, cover with grease proof paper.

Bake in a hot oven (200 degrees) until cooked right through. You can tell when the fish is cooked by the white juice produced around each fillet. This is just a simple way to recognise the cooking time and this method works for most fish.

Set the fish over your pre-roasted potato and reduce the sauce until it thickens over high heat with a little cream and a teaspoon of white wine vinegar. Check the seasoning before serving.

Sautée the Pikopiko in a little butter or olive oil with a little Piripiri (quite hot) and serve as decoration.

Serve this dish with a side salad as the vinaigrette will off set the richness of the salmon and I would recommend a Pinot Gris or a mature Riesling.

Bon appétit

Treetops Lodge & Estate
The Facts:
Number of rooms: 8 villas, 4 guest rooms & 1 cottage
Member of: Navigate Oceania
2010: World Travel Awards – Best Eco Lodge in Australasia
2010: World Travel Awards – Best New Zealand Luxury Lodge
2009: World Travel Awards – Best Eco Lodge in Australasia
2009: World Travel Awards – Best New Zealand Luxury Lodge
2009: Travel and Leisure USA Reader Award
2009: Conde Nast USA Gold List
2008: Travel and Leisure USA Reader Award
2008: Conde Nast USA Gold List

351 Kearoa Road, RD1, Horohoro, Rotorua, New Zealand
T ++64 7 333 2066  |  E info@treetops.co.nz  |  W www.treetops.co.nz

Reproduced with full permission from:
Navigate Confidential – Savour Oceania: The Very Best of Our Food and Wine
published by Navigate Oceania.


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Category: Food & Drink, Travel

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