Coming at you from Melbourne, Australia, where the food is incredible and the wind is worse than I’d prepared for but the sun is out. It was a big few months of packing and farewells, with a trip to the States and Canada thrown in for good measure. As a result I can barely fit my jeans anymore, but I consider it worth it having experienced a country where you can swap your side of toast for a side of pancakes. God bless America. 

// Posted by Delaney at 6:41 PM // Labels: Travel

I've had many delicious trips to Sydney, and in January when I had no work on and had yet another what-am-I-doing-with-my-life lull, I spent my last $500 on a plane ticket: to sleep in my sister's lounge, hang out with her baby, cook them dinner, and gorge on Queensland mangoes like my life depended on it. It's such a great city - beautiful beaches, great restaurants and bars, warm weather, and good public transport. It makes for the perfect long weekend destination.

// Posted by Delaney at 10:52 AM // Labels: Travel, sydney, emirates

Melbourne is a fantastic city to visit, especially if you love eating great food and drinking delicious beer and cocktails and local wine and excellent coffee. I was over there recently thanks to Tourism Victoria and Qantas, and as the food writer in the group (alongside Julia and Libby, Art and Matilda, Megan from Blogger at Large, Aimee from My Beloved Style, and Lola Photography) I had a personalised itinerary that was heavy on the eating and the drinking. Any gaps in said itinerary I expertly managed to fill with breakfasts and oysters and craft beer and fried chicken. Here’s a highlight reel.

1. Champagne for lunch at the Qantas lounge

As Qantas was a partner on the trip, the eight of us had lounge access at the airport before our Auckland-Melbourne flight. It was just before midday, and never one to break my life-rule of never saying no to free champagne, I cracked open a bottle of Mumm. I tried my hardest to get the rest of the group to have champagne for lunch too (wellness bloggers and paleo advocates included), and with the few who said yes we managed to finish a bottle. Good start.  

// Posted by Delaney at 4:11 PM // Labels: melbourne, Travel, australia, ten delicious things

I've been blogging for Taste magazine over at about my trip to Sri Lanka, and the latest post features 10 delicious food highlights of my two weeks there. I was back in Auckland for two days before jumping on a plane to Sydney, and I've done some pretty good eating here too. More about that soon. In the meantime, as I get ready to fly home, head over to Taste's beautiful new website and have a read. Spoiler alert: tropical fruit, curry, and coconut water fresh from the source. Enjoy!   

// Posted by Delaney at 4:47 PM // Labels: Travel, sri lanka

It's 30C in Colombo right now, but I'm safely sitting in air-conditioned bliss in my 3-bedroom apartment at the Hilton Residences, right in the centre of the city. This morning was when the action kicked off, with the Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge global final media briefing. More about that shortly. 

There are two teams from New Zealand competing, and one of the four judges is Simon Gault, also a kiwi. All of us from New Zealand flew over together, leaving Auckland on Friday morning. Here's a video with a bit more from our trip. There were some excess baggage issues (and a hefty bill!) given that all competing teams from around the world have to bring their own crockery, table settings, tea cups, martini glasses, and a whole heap of local produce. We got on to our flight with the sun streaming in, and I made it to Singapore thanks to a medicinal brandy and dry, a window seat, an obligatory Singapore Sling, and most of Lena Dunham's book. I got through the flight no thanks to the lady beside me who nestled in under my armpit. There must have been sleeping pills involved. 

// Posted by Delaney at 10:50 PM // Labels: sri lanka, Travel

In exciting tea-related travel news this week, I'm off to Sri Lanka next Friday to cover the Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge global final. 20 teams from around the globe are descending on Colombo, Sri Lanka. to perform their best in front of four judges. Dilmah is all about bringing life back to High Tea, and getting some of the best chef's from around the world to inspire those of us at home. They'll be infusing their food with tea, brewing food-matched teas, and there'll be a few tea-fuelled cocktails for good measure. 

Merrill J. Fernando, Dilmah's founder, was recently named as one of the 2015 Oslo Business for Peace Honourees by the Award Committee of Nobel Laureates in Peace and Economics (more about that here). He has his own charitable foundation, and many conservation initiatives, and I'm really excited to learn more about them, as well as what makes the perfect cup.  

// Posted by Delaney at 4:39 PM // Labels: Travel, sri lanka sent me to the Bluff Oyster Festival. This is how it went.

The end of May was when winter in New Zealand really and truly decided to show its face with wind and storms and snow up and down the country. Coincidentally it was exactly the same time I thought it would be a good idea to book an impromptu weekend away to the very bottom of the South Island. The Deep South if you will. I’d never been before; I’d only made it as far as the stunning rolling hills of Central Otago. This trip was not specifically for pinot noir and roaring firesides though, this trip was for oysters.

The Bluff Oyster Festival happens every year in Bluff, with the tag line ‘unsophisticated and proud of it’. I’d heard that last year it was nearly washed out with sideways freezing cold wind and rain. The plan for 2015 included moving venues, providing some cover in the form of a giant open-air warehouse, and increasing the number of fresh off the boat oysters. In preparation, I bought some cut-price merino and a woolly hat, and prepared to eat as many oysters as I possibly could.

// Posted by Delaney at 11:07 PM // Labels: Travel, new zealand, oysters