New Zealand is famous for wool, rugby, and really big brown trout, but for my money I'd include meat pies and great beer on that list as well.
The pies are a nutritionist's nightmare but a fisherman's friend - especially after a long day astream and washed down with something bitter and sudsy. If you think beer and pizza go well together, you should try beer and pastry.
The whistle-stop of Sheffield, in the farming country southwest of Christchurch, is a pie lover's oasis. The mouth-watering offering includes Venison, Steak & Onion, Mince, Moroccan Lamb, and Steak & Kidney. How they keep the display case clean is beyond me, because drool collects there like milk at a dairy. The crusts are lardy and flakey, pretty much assuring that you'll want to use one of their picnic tables instead of dribbling bits all over your car's interior. Inside the crust the filling is hot and hearty - gravy mixing with cheese mixing with meat.
And so what if that pie has 600 calories! Thirty-five grams of total fat - 18 of those saturated! You only live once, though granted, if you made a daily habit of eating New Zealand meat pies, you might live a little less than that.
Sheffield has great pies. So does the Culverden Bakery, northwest of Christchurch on the way to Rotherham. Rotherham has a great little pub. Which just goes to prove my point that pies and beer go together just about anywhere you happen to find yourself in New Zealand.
My favorite South Island brew is Speight's 5 Malt Old Dark. Those five malts combine in unified bliss like the filling in that Sheffield meat pie. Toffee. Coffee. Fudge. A pint has about 200 calories, but again, who's counting? That's still a lot less than a Krispy Kreme donut.
Brewed in the southern city of Dunedin since 1876, Speight's was founded to funnel ale to the second biggest gold rush of the time, behind California's '49ers.
Tamara's partial to the Triple Hop Pilsner. Now we're back in Canada, and although there's plenty of good beer around, we both miss those venison pies. I suppose we could dabble and try to come up with something on our own, but it just wouldn't be the same in spirit or taste, without those sheep across the road and that sunny picnic table.