A Perfect Cook’s Beach Day

Robyn & Veronica Ward (right) at the Mercury Bay Estate Restaurant.

After a prolonged period of wet, dull and depressing days, I woke up to clear skies on Thursday 7 June and knowing the long-planned road trip to Cook’s Beach was definitely on. It was a perfect day. 

The sun was shining and my friend was happy to show off the section she’d bought at Cook’s Beach. I was seeing a part of New Zealand I’d never visited before, while the sun was streaming through autumn leaves and making the sea sparkle.

After visiting the new section and doing a tour of the pretty little town, we headed up the hill to the Mercury Bay Winery for lunch.

The perfect day got even better with a warm welcome from owners Simon and Veronica Ward, followed by a delicious lunch teamed with a lovely Mercury Bay rosé.

And then Simon told me they were eating our cheese down there and the chef is using it in their restaurant! Apparently, the YOLO Chevre (goat’s cheese) is a particular favourite. It is so heartening to see the popularity of the YOLO brand spread throughout the country. 

As we chatted to Italian-born Veronica, I was also able to inform her that Food International had a superb collection of Italian cheeses.  But, I was light on details and she was after some Pecorino so I had to check with Adel at Food International headquarters.

“Aah, Pecorino, I’m the King of Kiwi suppliers for Pecorino, “he said in his best (not very convincing) Italian accent. He then reeled off the names of other favourites from Veronica’s homeland we have available. These include Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Provelone Dolce, Grana Padona and the unique Granadano Parmesan.

Not all these cheeses are sold under the YOLO label, but all are on sale through Food International and their distributors.

I wasn’t thinking about Food International or this blog when I set out for a day away. But, YOLO even popped up in a corner of this beautiful country I’d never visited before – making it an even more perfect day.

And I can recommend Cook’s Beach as a wonderful day trip destination for Aucklanders – especially with a meal or wine tasting at the stunning Mercury Bay Winery.