Monthly Archives: August 2017

Spring is (nearly) Sprung

Posted by Website Admin on August 29, 2017

Marlborough has four very distinct seasons, each with its own climate – though sunshine is the common, very welcome factor throughout the year.

This year spring has arrived in Marlborough a little earlier than September. Cherry blossoms, frolicking lambs, snow-capped mountains against a blue sky, warm afternoons on a lawn or veranda sipping the latest vintage Sauvignon Blanc - this is how Marlborough does spring, and it does it very well indeed.

Not only the cherries, but also the almond, apricot and many other fruit trees - in Marlborough’s orchards and parks alike - are brimming with colour. Visit us in late spring, and you might just be able to sample, or even pick, some of these naturally delicious treats straight from the tree.

Here at the Lodge one of our favourite spring vistas is from Spring Creek, which runs through the estate, looking south west where the Lodge is framed by fields of daffodils.

Perhaps less visible, but certainly very important, are the tiny, delicate green buds forming and sprouting on the grape vines that mark the most tender beginnings of what will, in just a few months, be Marlborough’s next vintage.

This is called “bud burst”, the end of the vines’ dormant winter stage, and the first variety to do so is Chardonnay, then Pinot Noir, with Sauvignon Blanc following two to three weeks later.

Photo: www.vicaragelane.co.nz

It’s essential for our viticulturists to protect these precious beginnings of their future crop and many spend long nights on frost watch: The impressive outline of hovering helicopters and spinning frost fans against the sunrise, working hard to keep the frost of vines by creating an inversion layer, is a familiar Marlborough spring scene.

What follows is flowering, then fruit set, ripening (veraison) and - the grand finale to the cycle that Marlborough is so finely tuned to - harvest.

From The Marlborough Lodge, the growing process is something you can observe first-hand. From within our expansive grounds are not only parklike gardens, but also some of the vineyards that create our world-class wines and all around, and accessible to you, are the local wineries, and winemakers, who make the magic happen.

To dive into Marlborough wine, simply book a wine tour, or drive, bike or walk to the nearest winery from the lodge, to find out all the interesting behind-the-scenes goings-on about our large and vibrant wine industry, from the people who make it happen.

And when you’ve had your fill of wine for the day (is there such a thing?), you could do something completely different and head north to Picton for an afternoon in the warm sunshine by the sea, or perhaps get out on the water for a seafood cruise - you’ll quickly be convinced it’s already summer.

See our Spring into Spring package and join us to enjoy this beautiful season.

 

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Meet the Locals

Posted by Website Admin on August 21, 2017

For the Harvest restaurant team at The Marlborough Lodge, the story behind each and every ingredient used is critical to them confidently creating dishes that showcase our fantastic local produce.

Our philosophy of simple, fresh, local has meant that our team uses what is fresh in our gardens but they have also created great relationships with our suppliers, so they can confidently tell you where and how the products in our dishes were grown.

Those relationships now also work in the reverse where our suppliers understand what we are creating and are calling the team when they believe they have that one off item that would be perfect for us or simply letting us know when the first of the season is on its way. This means our menu is ever-changing; although never fear there will always be some Harvest classic favourites to be found. 

As you would imagine our producers are critical to us to allows us to create our menus and in recognition of their efforts and our ongoing relationship with them we thought it timely to provide you with a little background on some of these fantastic producers.

Neudorf Mushrooms

Among the green rolling Moutere hills south of Nelson, overlooked by a wild mountain range, is a special pine forest underneath which grows a unique delicacy.

Neudorf Mushrooms is New Zealand’s first commercial grower of the Saffron milk caps species of mushroom, which grow among Radiata Pines that were planted in 2011 and infected with Porcini.

Growers Theres and Hannes, who have expanded their forest from 400 to 1,800 trees, also produce a range of other mushroom products, including an air-dried blend, and have a truffiere and chestnut orchard waiting to come of age. The couple supply their seasonal mushrooms, which are greatly weather-dependent, only to restaurants in the Nelson and the Nelson Farmers’ Market, and of course to The Marlborough Lodge.

Cranky Goat Ltd

Known for their award-winning artisan cheese, the family-owned Cranky Goat Cheese company makes their products using daily supplies of fresh goats’ milk from their herd based on lush coastal pasture in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds.

Cranky Goat’s diverse range of boutique products includes white rind cheese, semi hard cheese, feta, soft cheese and halloumi - each and every one handmade by owners Simon and Hellene Lamb, whose daughter Hannah also works for the company.

These uniquely flavoured cheeses, known for their creamy taste, are in high demand along with fresh Cranky Goat Milk. Their cheeses won a swag of medals at the New Zealand Cheese Awards, but the Lambs still find time to sell their products personally at the Marlborough Farmers’ Market on Sundays, and of course deliver them to us at The Marlborough Lodge.

Meaters of Marlborough

With a reputation for being the friendliest butcher in Marlborough, Mike Newman, owner of Meaters of Marlborough, is The Marlborough Lodge’s meat supplier due to his unfailing focus on quality and exceptional standards.

Meaters of Marlborough has been in business in Blenheim for more than 30 years and now has 20 staff, but despite this Mike, who has been in the trade since 1976, still makes a point of serving his customers personally.

Stocking a wide range of meats from organic chicken and free range venison to his famous gourmet sausages handmade from Canterbury pork and beef, Mike knows where every cut of meat is sourced, which means we do too - from paddock to your plate.

Raeward Fresh

With our preference of using locally-grown produce first and foremost, The Marlborough Lodge uses Raeward Fresh in nearby Nelson to supply New Zealand fruit and vegetables.

Once little more than roadside stall, Raeward Fresh is now a South Island-wide wholesale and retail supplier of New Zealand-grown fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and dairy products.

Because they know where all of their produce comes from, we do too - and so will our guests.

Ora King Salmon

Sourced from the clearest freshwater springs in the world, and raised in the naturally stunning waters of the Marlborough Sounds, Ora King Salmon  is any culinary chef’s delight.

Known for its elegant balance of sweet and umami flavours, its subtle creamy texture that is light on the palate and its many health benefits, Ora King Salmon has the wonderful ability to pair exquisitely with a variety of Marlborough’s other locally produced, seasonal ingredients, for a truly unique taste experience.

Because it is produced right here at the Top of the South Island, our supplier Terry ensures the Ora King Salmon that we feature on The Marlborough Lodge’s menu is always going to fresh and of the finest quality.

Ora King Salmon Carpaccio with Cucumber, Fennel & Mint

Keep an eye out for part 2 of our local produce supplier blog…

 

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Heli Adventures

Posted by Website Admin on August 14, 2017

There are many angles from which to experience the stunning and impossibly varied natural beauty of New Zealand’s ‘Top of the South’ Island - road, sea, bush track - but one of the best has to be from the sky.

Helicopter tours are often the only way to reach some of this region’s spectacular scenic gems which, due to their isolation, are rarely seen. If you choose to begin your tour from here at The Marlborough Lodge, your helicopter will simply land on our lawn.

If you’re joining us from elsewhere, we can arrange New Zealand-wide heli transfers for you and your luggage, to get to and from Marlborough as swiftly as possible without delay and with incredible scenic vistas along the way.

Reid Helicopters Nelson, one of our preferred suppliers, is one of the most established and experienced companies at the Top of the South Island, with current owner and pilot Toby Reid succeeding two generations of his family.

Toby and his team spend their days flying over, and to, pockets of beauty that few people are lucky enough to ever see.

Based in Wakefield, just south of Nelson, Reid Helicopters is in a wonderfully central location to offer their clients the best of what this area has to offer, in absolute comfort and style. 

Whether you wish to view the turquoise waters and golden sands of the Abel Tasman National Park from a unique birds-eye perspective, land on a wild, isolated West Coast beach or atop a snowy peak, or visit filming locations from director Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy in Kahurangi National Park, Toby has tours to meet every requirement.

Alternatively, enjoy a picnic like no other with a delicious lunch prepared by your personal chef on an island in the Marlborough Sounds, or take our bespoke Marlborough Sounds heli tour.

You could even visit the clearest lake in the world, Blue Lake/Rotomairewhenua in Nelson Lakes National Park, which would normally take two days or more to walk to. Or if it’s more adventure you’re after, then enquire about heli-tramping or mountain biking.

Whether it’s a transfer, a full day adventure including lunch or a half day tour closer to home, enquire with us to help create a bespoke itinerary just for you. The sky really is the limit.

 

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Top of the South Day Trip

Posted by Website Admin on August 06, 2017

Art, wine, local food, adventure and some of New Zealand’s most stunning scenery: the lineup of amazing and varied things to see and do in New Zealand's 'Top of the South' Island is unrivalled.

And the good news is, from The Marlborough Lodge all of these things are just a short drive away, including the nearby city of Nelson in the beautiful Tasman Bay.

Photo: Nelson marina - sail-world.com

Known for its long-established art scene, great cafe culture and stunning natural beauty, Nelson is worth the 1.5 hour drive from the lodge just for the drive itself. Or take a heli flight to cut down the transfer time and take in the stunning views on the way over the Marlborough Sounds and Tasman Bay right out to Abel Tasman.

Following State Highway 6, the trip takes in Pelorus Bridge where you will find virgin native bush and a deep river gorge, popular with river swimmers in summer and known for the barrel scene in The Hobbit which was filmed here. On a hot day, nothing beats an ice cream at the little cafe. If you like to stretch your legs, there are many forest trail walks through the ancient beech trees – some just 10-15 minutes in length.

Photo: Pelorus Bridge - Marlboroughnz.com

On arrival in Nelson, an easy way to enjoy the city is to park at the iSite, which you’ll find at the city’s northern entrance, and take an easy stroll through the central shopping area where high street brands are interspersed with cafes, galleries, great coffee and boutique stores. If you enjoy art, a visit to Craig Potton gallery+store and The Suter Art Gallery are a must.

A must-see is Tahunanui Beach which is only a few minutes’ drive from the central city and a favourite with locals and visitors alike for its white expanse of sand, and beautiful views across sand and sea to rugged mountain ranges, which are snow-capped in winter and spring.

Halfway between city and beach you’ll notice the Boat Shed Cafe, which is set over tranquil harbour waters and overlooks the Boulder Bank and Haulashore Island, the perfect place to stop for morning tea or lunch. A small intimate restaurant with beautiful views - particularly when the sun sets behind the western ranges - the Boat Shed Cafe is a classic Nelson landmark that is very well documented in artworks and photographs.

Photo: Boat Shed Cafe Nelson

Further afield, about half an hour south of Nelson, why not visit the truly idyllic Upper Moutere, which has been called the “Provence of the South”. The green rolling hills, backed by mountain vistas, are home to a staggering array of artists and craftspeople, wineries and other produce including berries, mushrooms, even peonies - and in Moutere Village, you’ll find The Moutere Inn, New Zealand’s oldest pub - which has to be worth a quick pint.

Alternatively, take a break from driving and let local guide Noel Kennedy show you all the best spots on a Wine, Art & Wilderness tour. Noel specialises in luxury and private wine, eco and art tours in both Nelson and Marlborough: His informal, relaxed tours in the comfort of a Mercedes will ensure you see some of Nelson’s less-travelled routes and local attractions, complete with contemporary and historical background information.

Another option is to take the coastal road that winds around Tasman Bay’s secluded inlets to the village of Mapua and enjoy its cluster of art galleries, boutique shops and cafes overlooking the inlet. For something completely different, try Jester House Cafe in nearby Tasman where quirkiness is key and fresh, wholesome, artisan food is a given. Once you’ve enjoyed a meal, take a walk through the grounds which is filled with art of the most unexpected variety - including a giant boot used as a B&B.

Photo: Mapua wharf - mapuawharf.co.nz

All good things must come to an end, but the fact you have to head home should not mean missing out on a tasty afternoon tea. Just 30 minutes before reaching the Lodge you’ll pass through Havelock, New Zealand’s Greenshell Mussel capital. To enjoy a plate of the freshest mussels you’re ever likely to taste, sit down at one of Havelock’s cafes such as The Mussel Pot on the main road or the Slip Inn Cafe down at the marina. Best enjoyed with a glass of boutique Marlborough beer, or a Marlborough sauvignon blanc.

Photo: Greenshell mussels - newzealand.com

The Top of the South really does have it all, and more: You’ll probably be planning your next visit before the current one has finished.

 

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What our customers say

Most pleased with our two nights at The Marlborough Lodge, big thanks.

Erol

Everything was first-class. And friendly. And fun. Food taste and display were incredible.

Jane & Ken

Luxury escape to Marlborough. Spent one night in the premium suite and we had an amazing experience. Pictures do not do this place justice! The room and surrounding gardens were everything we expected and more. Highlights included walking around the surrounding vineyards, swimming in the heated pool, and finishing the day with a delicious meal sampling local wine, seafood, and cheese. Peter, the hotel manager, was a great source of local knowledge and overall the service was excellent.

Fegan - France

She said 'yes'! Thank you so much for making this weekend so special.

Andrew & Katie - NZ