Mussel bound in New Zealand
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
Patrick Hibell, operating from a caravan, serves the best mussels