CLICQUOT in the snow

Fizzing with fun... dish editor Sarah en­joys cham­pagne and ad­ven­ture

Dish - - SIDE DISHES -

This year marked Clicquot in the Snow’s ninth year of cre­at­ing a sparkling fes­ti­val of win­ter fun in Queen­stown. I was lucky enough to join the crew for three days of ac­tiv­i­ties in­ter­spersed with sen­sa­tional cham­pagne and food in the south’s win­ter won­der­land. Once I’d wran­gled how to pack (how does one fit bulky wool­lies and crush­able cock­tail dresses into one rel­a­tively small suit­case?), I was happy to hand the reins over to the Clicquot team. And then, af­ter a restora­tive brunch at Pro­vi­sions café in Ar­row­town, they handed them right back…

Our first foray was a half-hour husky sled­ding ride across the snowy ter­rain at Snow Farm in the Cardrona Val­ley, with the rest of the group and I in charge of each sled and its team of four dogs. I ad­mit to more than a touch of nerves as one of my run­ners (Fish by name, race­horse by na­ture), strained, jumped and barked in the har­ness – and this was be­fore we set off. But I needn’t have wor­ried; Fish’s ex­u­ber­ance guar­an­teed me an ex­hil­a­rat­ing, but never dan­ger­ous, ride over the course.

The lo­gis­tics were sur­pris­ingly sim­ple, with no nav­i­gat­ing re­quired, and hit­ting the brakes was enough to bring us to a stop if needed. It was ut­terly fab­u­lous.

Din­ner at Aosta was the next high­light.

Ben Bayly and his team dished up a sub­lime shar­ing menu – add a crack­ling fire and stun­ning Veuve Clicquot cham­pagne and this lit­tle pig was rolling around in mud. The din­ner fea­tured cour­ses such as Flame-grilled Sar­dines with Cromwell Dried Cher­ries, Pickled Shaved Fen­nel and Pi­noli (that’s pine nuts to you and me), stun­ning Buf­falo Curd Tortellini, Shaved Paua, Kina Pap­pardelle (with fried leeks and unc­tu­ous terra sancta yolk), and Deer Milk ‘Moz­zarella’ with Green Ap­ple Granita.

The next day started bright and early with First Tracks on Coronet Peak. The po­ten­tially dis­rup­tive snow storm that was fore­cast was grat­i­fy­ingly slow to ap­pear, and once one neg­li­gi­ble-vi­sion run had been dealt with, the clouds parted and we whizzed down the freshly pow­dered slopes with glee. Hap­pily in­vig­o­rated and fa­tigued, we had plenty of time to rest be­fore the daz­zling Kathryn Wil­son show hit the ‘big top’ at Jack’s

Point Club­house. The crowd bopped and boo­gied while sip­ping from flutes of Veuve as the mod­els shim­mied past in Wil­son’s lat­est col­lec­tion of fun, fash­ion-for­ward footwear.

Day three was all about the food as we gath­ered at Josh Emett’s Rātā for a feast of cham­pagne-matched cour­ses, kick­ing off with the out­ra­geously good Warm Win­ter Bread with Caramelise­d Root Veg­etable

But­ter. Big Glory Bay Salmon fol­lowed, then Poached Chicken Ter­rine with Fiord­land Cray­fish,

Roast Can­ter Val­ley Duck with Cas­soulet, and Caramel Poached Pear with Pe­can Ice Cream and Vanilla Cus­tard. The guests broke into wellde­served ap­plause as Emett in­vited head chef Chris Scott out to take a bow.

Af­ter a small siesta, our last evening was spent sip­ping our fi­nal glasses of both rosé and yel­low la­bel Veuve Clicquot and en­joy­ing a feast of nib­bles at The Lodge Bar in the heart of Queen­stown. We rolled back to the ho­tel, tired, re­plete and al­ready filled with nos­tal­gia for our Clicquot in the Snow ad­ven­ture.

“We whizzed down the freshly pow­dered slopes with glee”

Who needs an ice bucket... Veuve cham­pagne, a brac­ing sled ride and sen­sa­tional food all add up to the per­fect week­end for Sarah (bot­tom).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.