I’m back! I spent last week at Mangawhai Heads, away from computers and the internets.
One afternoon, I went to Kaiwaka, which turned out to be one of the vegan-friendliest small New Zealand towns I’ve ever visited. I only spent a couple of hours there, so the following vegan guide to Kaiwaka is probably not exhaustive.
Kaiwaka’s Cheese Shop smells very strongly of cheese, but is otherwise surprisingly vegan-friendly. It’s full of non-cheese related organic food, local wines and fancy European goodies. Things I bought: golden roasted chickpeas, Abu Kicher german vegan paté (chickpea and sesame oil, one of 5 or 6 different kinds), Bennetts of Mangawhai almonds in dark chocolate, RitterSport dark chocolate with marzipan, a bottle of local rosé (not pictured).
Eutopia claims to make “the best coffee north of anywhere” – I’m not sure, but it’s pretty good. I had a soy flat white with a vegan chocolate cookie. The kitchen had closed for the day, and the all-organic menu had been scrubbed off the blackboard (I suspect it changes with the seasons), but apparently there are always vegan menu options. Check out Eutopia’s vision on their website – by drinking their coffee you’re funding the construction of a library tower and labyrinth. As well as being a café, they’re a small press publisher and a second-hand bookshop – I picked up a book of essays about gardening for holiday reading.
And lastly, the general store, Jaques, has a really good range of organic food (including tempeh and tofu).
I’d definitely recommend checking out the town if you’re in the Kaipara or heading North. It’s an hour and a half north of Auckland, not far past Wellsford on the main road.