Australia's favourite food blogger, Not Quite Nigella, aka Lorraine Elliott, falls for Cape Kidnappers' country delights.
"I could be a sloth", I say to myself quietly. "I really have no need to move anymore. I think that if I kept really still, perhaps they wouldn't notice me and then I could just come and live here forever".
"Ms Elliott?" Michele, my massage therapist at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, calls out, gently placing my robe on top of me.
"Drats," I say to myself. Now my plan was far too easily foiled.
Looks like I have to find myself another plan to live here that sadly doesn't coincide with my predisposition for lying around. The lodge cat, perhaps?
I'm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawkes Bay, one of New Zealand's most luxurious lodges and part of the family of lodges that also includes Matakauri Lodge and Kauri Cliffs. I'm at the very end of my New Zealand trip and I reluctantly move my body from under the soft white blankets where I've spent the past 50 minutes being massaged and slip into my Frette robe. I am convinced that my mind is somewhere across Jupiter, and somehow I find my way down the stairs to the main lodge area. There are two types of accommodation at Cape Kidnappers: the cabins above near the spa and the rooms that are part of the main building.
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is a working farm where they raise sheep and Angus beef cattle. Cape Kidnappers was so named after Captain Cook (or Cook as he was back then) lost one of his party there to the local Maori. Cape Kidnappers is known for its golf course: chefs Heston Blumenthal and Thomas Keller cooked here last year for a sold-out dinner and got to enjoy a week there playing golf afterwards.
Formerly grazing and pasture land, the lodge was built in 2007. A sheep motif with photographs and cushions dot the room landscape. Everything about it is country charm, carefully thought-out. And some of the furniture has interesting stories behind it, but more on that later!
A staff member brings over a selection of Harney & Sons teas to choose from, but rather than showing it as a menu, he brings small snifters of them. I choose the cinnamon hot spice for a warming pick-me-up; the tea along with the afternoon tea arrive a few minutes later. There's nothing quite like the anticipation of an afternoon tea at a place like this. I know it won't be like any other — and I'm not disappointed. The afternoon tea is $45 per person. You don't have to be a guest to book it, although it does need to be booked in advance and is not available on Thursdays and Fridays.
It comes out country-style in a metal tray with handles. There are three delicious sandwiches: cucumber and cream cheese; smoked salmon, lettuce and red onion; and a ham sandwich, made fresh with fantastic bread. I tried a scone as they tend to be served warm. This one wasn't and they came already sliced in half horizontally (I would have loved these served warm.)
I was rather excited that there were three preserves to choose from, including a raspberry jam, a kiwifruit jam (the pick) and a marmalade. I don't mind marmalade, but I do think the sweeter jams suit scones better. That's just my preference. A whippy, light cream accompanied this, instead of a clotted cream, which I haven't seen a lot of here in New Zealand.
On to the rest of the sweets. There was a large macaron filled with vanilla buttercream with a pink outer shell. Even though I don't really go for vanilla macarons, as I find them a bit plain and prefer the tangier flavours, the macaron is well-rested and delicious.
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