More Duck Run

More Duck Run

In case you have not been following the Duck Run, the Wandering Palate was in Central Otago recently, staying with Nigel Greening, wine Jedi Master and proprietor of Felton Road.

Nigel and Chef foraging for produce at Mediterranean Wholesalers Wanaka

Nigel had stayed with us in Singapore recently and was introduced to the wife’s legendary duck curry. Upon confirming our holiday sortie to Central Otago, I suggested the wife could cook duck curry when we were down in Wanaka, entertaining some of the local vignerons. This triggered what was to be coined the Duck Run, as organising the Chinese Lacquered Duck proved to be quite a mission.

Indeed, the mission was taken up by Clive Weston from Negociants New Zealand, an ardent gourmand who accepted the task of tracking down the ducks and getting them to Auckland Airport, to meet my wife stepping off her Singapore Airlines flight and connecting with a domestic flight to Queenstown.

There was a little tension when the weather looked like it was turning stormy-snowy and a chance Queenstown Airport would be closed so we had to book an alternative flight to Wanaka. Turned out the weather held off, but we did have a few anxious moments there of Clive connecting with the wife just in the nick of time before the flight closed.

I had sort the advice of Auckland food guru Jenny Yee Collinson ( who suggested Canton Cafe in Kingsland was the go-to-place for bigger, meatier duck that are more suited to curry, although the ducks actually ended up coming from Sichuan, in Remuera, – very good duck indeed although more towards the Peking Duck, less fleshy style but certainly excellent in flavour.

Big thanks to Clive, a huge effort beyond the call of gastronomic duty.

Preparation for the duck ensued with some foraging for supplies at Mediterranean Wholesalers (an amazing produce hidden in an industrial park in Wanaka; more on this and the best sausage maker in New Zealand in a separate posting) with the curry cooked that night so it could mature for 24 hours; like any curry, it gets better the next day.

The finished product and some Quartz Reef Pinot to go with it

We were joined by one of New Zealand’s wine statesman and eponymous Central Otago pinot noir and bubbles producer Rudi Bauer, and his wife Suallen Boag, an extremely talented photographer who is well known for capturing the breathtaking scenery around the region as well as food and wine photography. Let’s just say, my snaps here look utterly amateur compared to her level of expertise.

I can report the curry was most successful, that is no artisan curry is ever the same, but this one tasted particularly good, perhaps enhanced by the fact the chef had flown halfway around the world and ducks jetted in as well. We washed it all down with two excellent Burgundies (see previous blog) although personally I think the bright and silky Quartz Reef Pinot Noir 2010 was a better match, finding the more generous fruit sweetness of new world pinot noir more suitable to curries.

The picture tells the story…

mission successful - our wandering palates from left - Kharis Greening, Rudi Bauer, Nigel Greening, Suallen Boag - wife of Rudi, and Chef Lee Leng Chua

And, the international Duck Run resurfaced again this week in Singapore with legendary winemaker, Rick Kinzbrunner, from Giaconda staying with us. No sooner had Rick got off his Air France flight from Paris, he was sitting at our table hoeing in to duck curry (literally, it took him less than an hour from steeping off the plane, clearing customs/baggage and the 25 minute taxi ride to our place – airport efficiency like this only exists in Singapore!).

I introduced Rick to Markowitsch Reserve Pinot Noir 2007 from Austria, the winery that surprised everyone in our RDC tasting, to which he was most impressed. More on Rick’s visit in Giaconda soon…

Rick Kinzbrunner in tropical duck run mode

More Duck Run a la Wanaka pictures…

Nigel and Lee Leng in prep mode

The Ducks, slightly blury, photographer had a few too many pre-duck gruner veltliners

Duck Soup made from the carcass

What else to you wash down duck curry with other than great pinot


You might also like:

Wanaka, Deep South Is., New Zealand (July 29th)
Must-Have Wine – Red Wine of the Lunar Year (Dragon) – Rippon Mature Vines Point Noir 2009 – Wanaka, Central Otago, New Zealand
New Zealand Red Wine of the Year – Mount Edward Pinot Noir – Central Otago
New Zealand Red Wine of the Lunar Year (Dragon) & Biodynamic Vigneron of the Lunar Year Felton Road Cornish Point Pinot Noir 2011, Central Otago, New Zealand
The Mood before the Food – Langkawi Island, Malaysia – July 22nd

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