Heading to the green belt of west Auckland, and one of its beautiful inlet bays on the Manukau harbour, French Bay (Otitori Bay), you will be immersed in native trees and a tranquil harbour.
But first, a stop at a truly local food headquarters - The Tannery in Portage Road, for fine local food and beverages. Coffee and ice-cream, anyone?
Stopping in at The Tannery
The Tannery is well named, after its tannery origins. It’s in a clearly converted old brick building, now home to Mt Atkinson coffee roastery and Kohu Road ice-cream. That sounded promising, we were feeling pretty positive about calling in here…
In case you are wondering - as we were - Mt Atkinson is a local mountain, and Kohu Road is a local road nearby. So, local all round. Excellent.
It’s a big space, well populated by a range of neighbourhood people calling in for brief stops and longer. The coffee is excellent, the house blend a trio of home roasted arabica beans. Come Mondays and Tuesdays to watch the roasting happening. And it’s a five day a week operation for the ice-cream factory. Peer through the glass and see the magic happen…
At The Tannery they say good things come in twos, and we agree, there’s nothing like a coffee roastery and an ice creamery put together. But we also have to applaud them for the rest of the local goods enjoyed - sublime Forage + Bloom herbal salvation, also a local producer. And Best Ugly Bagels, a perfect brunch.
With mint chip and chocolate sorbet under our belts, and feeling a little crestfallen that the big ice-cream tubs for sale wouldn’t survive the journey home, we promised ourselves we’d seek it out closer to home. And, within 24 hours, that was so.
And then to the coast
It’s a short journey from The Tannery to French Bay, but it comes with a dramatic shift in scenery. You leave a semi-industrial zone, and head to the peaceful stillness of beautiful French Bay, driving through winding roads and native forest on the way. New Zealand’s northern west coast is all around.
Time it right and you have the added treat of a visit to McCahon House, a self-proclaimed small museum with big stories to tell. You can learn the stories of the revered New Zealand 20th century artist Colin McCahon, in the bush setting and the humble cottage which inspired many of his amazing works.
And then, rejuvenated from the good food, inspiring history and scenery, you return home. What then to make with coffee and ice-cream… not to mention some wonderful The Orchardist macadamia liqueur recently acquired from Harbourside Macadamias in Katikati… Yes, it’s obvious. Click here for a New Zealand inspired affogato idea.