Join twowildtides on the country challenge. Each week, we’re going to be heading to a new country (in spirit). Primarily, we’ll be cooking a meal from each country; but we’ll also be watching travel documentaries, reading travel blogs, and listening to music. During the global pandemic, travel is largely inaccessible. We want to reignite our wanderlust, satisfy our travel bug as much as we can, and learn some new things along the way. I have a feeling our bucket list will have a number of items added to it through this experience as well. We created a simple alphabetical spreadsheet with all the countries of the world, and each week we will draw a random number that corresponds with a country on the spreadsheet.
This week, our challenge brings us to New Zealand. For quite some time, a van trip across New Zealand has been near the top of our travel bucket list and for good reason. I’ll let this article do all the talking and I hope you come back after you find your way out of the New Zealand travel blog rabbit-hole:
NZ cuisine is influenced by colonial Britain and Indigenous Maori flavours. While New Zealand doesn’t have an official national dish, there’s one specialty that pops up on food and travel blogs again and again: Pavlova. This delectable dessert is ranked #7 on this list by NZ Pocket Guide, #4 on this list by Culture Trip, #4 on this list by Vogue, and #1 on this list by Taste Atlas. Pavlova is also heavily featured in this post on the official NZ website and Taste Essence actually names it the national dish of New Zealand. Almost all of these posts mention the ongoing battle between New Zealand and Australia over who actually originally created the Pavlova. Just for today, we’re siding with the New Zealanders.
We’ve relied on the blog 196 Flavors a few times in past weeks of the challenge, so we thought it’d be a safe bet to come back to them for this dish. This is the recipe we followed:
I’ve watched enough corny baking competition shows to know that Pavlova is a tricky dessert to pull off. For a non-expert baker and a pro at making mistakes in the kitchen, I think I did a bang-up job (and I’m grateful I had my sister nearby to help).
The most challenging part is the meringue base. My meringue came out with a lot of cracks, but other than that it held its shape pretty well. I was surprised that it tasted so good– it smelled so strongly of vinegar while it was baking I thought for sure I’d ruined it.
While it baked (for two hours!!) we tidied up our mess, played some card games, and listened to this NZ playlist on Spotify:
Once I made the whipped cream, filled the centre, and chopped the fruits, the fun part began: decorating. I was really happy with how the Pavlova looked, then for the moment of truth, tasting it. It was delcious!! The whipped cream balanced out the sweetness of the meringue and the fruit added a refreshing element. I’m really pleased with my Pavlova and hope to recreate it over the holiday season to share with friends and family.
Have you been to New Zealand? Have you made a Pavlova? Or tried one? Let us know in the comments! Happy baking!