Mus­sel bound in New Zealand

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence - SU­SAN HUR­LEY

ness. San­ford, the com­pany that owns and man­ages many of the Marl­bor­ough Sounds farms, pro­cesses the mus­sels in Have­lock, and ex­ports frozen half shells and vac­uum-packed mus­sel meat.

About 10 per cent of the har­vest is still sold on the do­mes­tic mar­ket and green-lips are in­cluded on all lo­cal restau­rant menus. They are of­fered steamed or grilled, and the flavour­ing op­tions are di­verse and a lit­tle daunt­ing: say, co­rian­der, chilli and gin­ger; lemon mush­room cream, ba­con and cheese; and Thai green curry.

But the award for best mus­sels goes to Pa­trick Hi­bell, no con­test. A floun­der fish­er­man in the win­ter, in sum­mer he serves mus­sels from his car­a­van perched on Cullen Point Look­out, half­way be­tween Pic­ton and Have­lock.

He steams them to or­der, adding a splash of oil and a dash of his se­cret in­gre­di­ent (which, when pressed, he con­fides is Ital­ian white wine vine­gar). He­serves our or­der of half a dozen — with a few ex­tra ‘‘be­cause they’re small’’ — in a plas­tic con­tainer and demon­strates how to scoop out the meat with the shell. It saves on the wash­ing up.

A kinder mother than me for those who eat their greens, he serves white­bait pat­ties to fol­low. qc­track.co.nz stay­portage.co.nz san­ford.co.nz

SU­SAN HUR­LEY

Pa­trick Hi­bell, op­er­at­ing from a car­a­van, serves the best mus­sels

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