It’s early, it’s the middle of winter, the boys’ are off through the darkness on a coffee fueled run to Oamaru. On our way to the Pig Day Out, an annual event held at Riverstone kitchen, a great little restaurant set in the rural south, turning out amazing dishes full of local ingredients, thanks to owner and head Chef Bevan Smith and his team.
But let’s get something straight – we didn’t get up out of bed at the crack of dawn just for a fancy feed, NO WAY! We are heading up north to see some pigs get butchered.
We arrive to a warm welcome, Ben introduces the guys from Havoc Pork to us, Havoc produces some of the finest pork cuts and small goods in New Zealand, straight from their farm just a couple of kilometres up the road from the restaurant. By 11am the wine is flowing, I have a glass in one hand and a piece of deep-fried crispy pig snout in the other, just one of the many unique piggy treats that come out during the course of the day.
Havoc’s butcher begins demonstration, with speed and precision he makes incisions, carefully breaking down the pig into primal pork cuts. Like watching any good craftsperson we are wowed by his skill at hand and the ease at which he deconstructs the carcass with confident strokes of his blade.
Through the morning we were entertained by the hilarious banter of Ben and the Havoc guys, displays of butchery bravado, mingled with stories and recommendations on the best way to maximise the flavour of each cut. Sausage making and bacon curing rounded out the morning, then it was onto a porky lunch.
Canape: Bruschetta of Cavolo Nero, chickpeas and San Daniele prosciutto
Entrée: Broad bean, Pea and sausage Vignole
Mid-course: Slow-cooked Havoc pork Soup with star anise and ginger
Main: Havoc pork chops with Borlotti beans, rosemary and Lemon
Dessert: Bread pudding with butterscotch sauce and vanilla bean ice cream
To finish: Rich chocolate truffles
After all that eating it was time to burn off some energy, a quick spin on the push carts before heading out. Meaty goody bags in toe we were off to our next Oamaru destination – Scotts Brewery. More about that from Simon soon, plus a delicious dessert involving beer!
Cheers to Bevan and team, and the Havoc pork guys for a great day out!