Jill's notes from the road: Foodmakers

By: Jill Malcolm


Anne, a fellow motorhomer, has a food gene that she says she inherited from her father.

"I live for good food," she tells me several times a month; and she has a nose for it. When she is on the road, she sniffs out the best cafes and enthusiastically passes me the information. So when she alerted me to a cafe called Parsley Pot Cafe, which is on the road from Warkworth to Sandspit north of Auckland, I naturally took her word for it.

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I’m pleased I did, for this delightful, friendly little countryside cafe is worth enthusing over.
Before I even got to the food, it felt good. A shed-shaped building wrapped in a wide timber verandah is set in a leafy cottage garden. I walked up the steps and nearly tripped over
a rather large dog squatting peacefully beside his water bowl.

It seems dogs are welcome here and so are children.

Seated on a small stool, a local guitarist, Dave Williams, was picking the blues. A family, ranging in age from advanced to toddling trainee, had gathered at a table on the verandah. Bursts of laughter added to the Parsley Pot’s sociable mood.

The cafe is run by the Lovell family. Parents, Hester and Shaun, in the kitchen, their son Corby behind the coffee machine and daughter Lydia front of house. Corby also makes and sells Twisted Nut peanut butter.

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I am a demanding coffee drinker and Corby’s floral, earthy-tasting brew pushed the ‘yes’ button in my pleasure centre. He uses organic, fair trade, Kokaka coffee sourced from New Guinea.

"We grow as many fruits, vegetables, and herbs as we can for the cafe," Hester says.
Most of the food is made in the cafe kitchen, which hums with cheerful activity.

"Anything outsourced is local and our menu changes with the seasons," she says.

Anne told me the food was great and she was right.

And she’s not alone in her opinion. Last year, when Madonna was touring here, her celebrity chef and designer-for-the-stars from Chicago, Jaime Laurita, described the Parsely Pot as "an incredible family farm-to-table restaurant", which is a high accolade for a small, rustic eating place tucked away off a winding and little-known road on the east coast of New Zealand.

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