Breaking out the Stretchy Pants

We've been in New Zealand for a month or so now. I still love it here.

Before I left, my uncle told me two things about New Zealand: the internet is horrible and so is the food. While I can agree about the internet (it took us nearly five weeks to get internet hooked up) I have to wonder what he was eating.

New Zealand takes eating to a whole new level. For starters, they have Cadbury and lots of it. As I type this to you, I'm sucking on a velvety, rum-infused dark chocolate. Quietly. Because I don't want to share.

They have all sorts of delicious Cadbury chocolate down here. Pea's learned that if she goes to the grocery store with me, chances are we're going to finish our trip with chocolate in the parking lot. It's summertime after all, we wouldn't want it to melt on the way home, right? Yes, that's right.

The dairy down here is out of this world. Yogurt, cheese, ice cream, butter: it tastes real. Like it's got, to coin a phrase from wine, terroir. You can almost taste the barley, grass and sunshine that went into it.

Not to let Alaska down, we brought our appetite for ice cream with us. (According to my realtor, Alaskans consume the most ice cream per capita in the US.) They have this flavour down here called Hokey Pokey. It's deadly: Vanilla ice cream with these amazing specs of honeycomb toffee. Like a Crunchy bar in ice cream form. Dangerously delicious stuff.

And the beer! Kiwis have beer nailed. There's a brewery down the street from us, Scott's Brewing. They make an amazing pale ale. They also make a killer non-alcoholic ginger beer. Ginger beer is a big thing down here and it seems like every brewery makes a version. My kids love it so we've started taking them "out for a beer" once a week. We really ought to call it something different but it is what it is.

It's taking us a while to get over having easily accessible farm-fresh food. The butchers have the freshest cuts of grass-fed meat and deliver to your door. There's a farm stand 10 minutes drive from the house and pretty soon I can start getting hazelnuts from a friend's tree. I'm excited about the hazelnuts.

Hunter's been slowly getting into the hunting and fishing scene. He went out Wallaby hunting with a coworker. It's considered a pest in these parts and hunters are encouraged to go after them.

A deal's a deal, even in the southern hemisphere. So if Hunter kills it, I've got to grill it; no matter how cuddly the critter. Never thought I'd ever say this but Wallaby's as tasty as it is cute.

We met a really neat guy who spear fishes and he offered to take Hunter out one day soon. He brought us some Moki and Butterfish to try last weekend. I'm excited about what's out there. Hunter's madly shopping for a wet suit. I told him to make that two - it sounds like fun, I want to go.

While my uncle was spot-on about the miserable internet, I'm too busy eating to really notice.

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