Autumn fare at market

Autumn has hit the Otago Farmers Market in Dunedin - piles of pumpkins and squash of all colours and sizes - small bright orange ones, smooth shiny dark green ones, the familiar grey ones, the knobbly green and yellow kumikumi, and even a long, trombone-like Italian zucchini at Wairuna Organics' stall.

Ettrick Gardens had the lovely old-fashioned peasgood nonesuch cooking apples which stew down to a delicious mush.

Brydone Growers near Oamaru had beautifully fat, fresh leafy fennel (good with fish, raw in a salad with orange, or braised and topped with cheese), the first kale is available at Organicland and at Ettrick Gardens' stall.

Someone said they had bought a swede, but I didn't see them. I'd have thought they'd be better after a frost.

With the change from daylight saving and a chill in the air, soup time is coming up. John Baker, of Organicland, on the Taieri, had stock bones and Karl Toth of Bisztro had pottles of ready-made soup.

SAVOUR New Zealand will be held in Auckland from May 1 to 4 this year. Formerly held every two years in Christchurch, it is now set to be an annual event, attracting food and wine lovers from around the country, from across the ditch and even further afield.

The main events are the master classes, in which leading chefs, food writers, winemakers and commentators explain, cook and generally inspire those who attend.

In the past, it's sometimes been a painful choice which to attend, as it was held over two days. This year, running over three days will enable attendees to go to more classes.

Besides the master classes, there's a symposium, ‘‘Teach our children well'', cognac and whisky tastings, degustation dinners, a bookshop and cookshop, and opening cocktail party, lunches - including ‘‘The great New Zealand lunch'', by Michael Coughlin, chef and owner of Bell Pepper Blues in Dunedin.

Master-class presenters include Faith Willinger, Italian author of Red, White and Greens; Spanish chef Javier Codiner; Jonny Schwass, captain of the gold-medal-winning New Zealand culinary team of 2004, on ‘‘The cook and his gardener''; Australian food guru Stephanie Alexander talking about food issues; Australian-Lebanese chef and author Greg Malouf cooking Middle Eastern food; Australian chef and author Tony Tan on Vietnamese flavours; Peta Mathias and John Trail on wine and food matching; and American Anthony Dias Blue on pinot noir.

- Details are available at

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