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The bubble tea craze: Ben Gong’s Queen Tea

If you love your tea and you are looking for a comfortable place to enjoy your authentic Chinese Royal tea, then make your way to Ben Gong’s Queen Tea at 380 Riccarton Road.



Using their own freshly made sugar cane syrup with freshly handmade pearl, the team at Ben Gong’s Queen Tea has selected only the best tea for their amazing infusions and uses only the freshest New Zealand milk. Brown Sugar Bubble Milk, Milk Foam Brew Tea, The Forbidden City Series and the Aurora series are teas worth exploring if you are looking for fresh, natural ingredients that are prepared by professional staff who want you to experience truly great tea.

The team has swapped the traditional powdered milk for fresh milk because, although powdered has a strong taste, it’s not as healthy. Ben Gong’s believes they have the freshest, heathiest and tastiest bubble milk tea in Christchurch.

With a dedication to quality that’s both healthy and tasty, you can try the unique taste that is Ben Gong’s Queen Tea. The elegance of the east and the wonders of the west are deliciously combined for a refined taste. Each cup is carefully prepared to create a wonderous blend of infusions and freshness.

If you haven’t tried bubble tea before, there is no better place to experience its unique flavours than at Ben Gong’s Queen Tea at 380 Riccarton Road.





Master Mocktail: Seedlip

Steal some stellar tips and tricks from the founder of the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit, Seedlip, and prepare to master the perfect mocktail with Ben Branson’s Seedlip masterclass.




Blended and bottled in the UK, Seedlip boasts many tempting qualities – say goodbye to calories, sugar and artificial sweeteners and hello to quality. The three fantastic flavours – Garden 108, Spice 94 and Grove 42 – are massively popular worldwide, with its NZ launch in February 2018 seeing the first shipment gone in one week!

The Seedlip story begins with a book dating back to 1651, named The Art of Distillation, which documented a number of non-alcoholic recipes. Fast-forward a few centuries – Branson himself stumbles across the book, begins experimenting – and low and behold, two years later Seedlip’s first alcohol-free spirit Spice 94 is born. The first batch of 1000 bottles were snatched from Selfridges’ shelves in just three weeks, the next in three days and the third 1000 in less than 30 minutes.



Thanks to these guys, a sophisticated, complex beverage is now readily available – and Branson will teach you how to mix together some ultimate thirst-quenchers using the three delicious blends. For just $25, participants will be guided through the company’s fascinating history and have the chance to meet-and-greet the cocktail extraordinaire himself. After sitting back and drinking in some of his top-notch recipes, guests are invited to mingle while enjoying complimentary Seedlip cocktails and finger food.

Head down to Ballantynes on 4 April and learn to create delicious and simple mocktails to knock the socks off your friends and family.



Cross Hares Winery

Year of the Hare: Cross Hares Winery

They may describe themselves as ‘accidental winegrowers’, but Natalie and Warrick Edwards, of Cross Hares Winery, have certainly proved that where there’s a will, there’s a way.


Cross Hares Winery


After the September 2010 earthquake saw the Edwards’ family having to farewell their irreparable home forever, Natalie and Warrick had to seriously rethink their lives. “So, we bought a rundown vineyard, as you do,” Natalie laughs. “We knew nothing about growing grapes, but we’re not afraid of hard work, so we rolled up our sleeves and got busy.”

Fast forward to 2014 and our stalwart couple found themselves doing the hard slog of tightening wires, mending broken poles, lifting irrigation lines and repairing irrigation leaks – all 100 of them! Next step was to get expert advice. Lincoln University lecturer and vineyard owner Glen Creasy was the man who helped regenerate and restore the neglected vines to their former glory; so much so that Natalie and Warrick felt confident to approach The Crater Rim Winery and re-establish a former connection whereby they would sell their fruit to them.


Cross Hares Winery

Their vintage 2016 saw a bumper yield of 6.9 tonnes of Pinot Noir and 7.1 tonnes of Pinot Gris harvested for The Crater Rim while later, another 3.5 tonnes of Pinot Gris were picked for themselves. ‘Ahuriri Run’ (named in tribute to the vineyard being formerly part of the Rhodes’ brothers Ahuriri Run) produced 2,800 bottles.

Torrential rain in February 2017 drastically cut their expected fruit yield, but taking it on the chin, as all good farmers must, they harvested the 4.0 tonnes in total that remained and produced their 2017 ‘Ahuriri Run’ Pinot Gris and 2017 ‘Greenman’ Pinot Noir.


Cross Hares Winery

In September, the vintage 2018 Pinot Noir will be bottled. Natalie says they can’t wait, but in the meantime, the very important decision of what to call it has to be made. Cross Hares may well be Banks Peninsula’s best kept secret, but with an increasing remote online sales presence, plus the projected launch of an onsite cellar door at year’s end, expect the name, just like those hares, to be crossing your path very soon.


Located at 7/1269 Christchurch Akaroa Road, Tai Tapu. For more information phone 027 724 3015 or email


Brod Kvas

Brew it like Bristow: Brod Kvas

When it comes to Kiwi success stories, entrepreneurial Englishman Jack Bristow and his Russian wife Sabina Sabirova-Bristow are leading lights.


Brod Kvas


They emigrated from Russia five years ago and, within a short time, introduced us to Brod Kvas, New Zealand’s first and only kvas, brewed right here in Christchurch. “Kvas has been part of Slavic culture for 2000 years,” Sabina says. “We’re proud of not only being first to produce kvas in New Zealand, but that it’s also achieved international recognition. We started shipping our kvas to Hong Kong last year and now there’s more international news to come this year!”

Kvas is a natural, probiotic fermented beverage based on rye bread flavoured with coriander seed and sultanas. With a low-sugar content of only 3 percent, it’s great news for our teeth and bodies! Jack does the brewing and, apart from the traditional Russian style kvas flavourings such as Original Rye and Lemon, he’s also created uniquely crafted non-traditional flavourings not found anywhere else in the world.

Thanks to Jack, Kiwis and internationals can now quaff his glass-bottled Brod Kvas range of Rosé (rosebuds and cardamom); Brown (cold-brewed Hummingbird coffee, cinnamon and cloves – Jack’s favourite), and Ruby (beetroot, ginger and turmeric), announced recently as winner of The Fermented Food category for the 2019 Healthy Food Guide Awards.

“It’s fantastic that premium kvas can now be enjoyed in New Zealand,” Sabina says. “And what an honour to produce it for our city, country and the rest of the world!”



Phone 027 777 8976 or visit


The Flower Night Cocktail

The flower night cocktail: this Dilmah tea-based temptation is just the thing for the Queen’s Birthday Weekend

Whether hot toddies or iced tea are your thing, tea-infused cocktails are a tasty tipple that can be enjoyed throughout the year.

The Flower Night Cocktail

Cam Timmins shares his recipe for a Night Flower Cocktail infused with Elderflower Syrup, lemon and Dilmah’s Jasmine Green Tea that gives a whole new meaning to ‘teatime’.

45ml Beefeater London Dry
60ml Dilmah Jasmine Green Tea
30ml Fresh pressed Lemon Juice
30ml Elderflower Syrup
Soda to top

Combine all ingredients into a Collins glass.
Garnish with a dash of Angostura bitters, edible flower and lemon peel. Enjoy.

Wigram Brewery

Winter tipples: we ask Andy Deuchars what’s brewing this winter at Wigram Brewery?

We recently caught up with Andy Deuchars from Wigram Brewery to discuss some of the company’s fine beers.

Wigram Brewery

With winter upon us, our attention is drawn to those darker brews such as the Czar Imperial Russian Stout, 8.5 percent. A big, black bitter beast.
The red wine of beers that takes your palate on a journey with its mixture of fine components to keep you amused. That end of the night beer, that meal in a bottle.
Can’t you just imagine sitting by a warm fire with some hearty food and a trusty 500ml bottle? Speaking of food, these dark ales go stunningly in dishes such as a hearty venison stew.
The Ace Smokey Porter uses a manuka smoked grain, using Canterbury grown grain of course is perfect for the occasion. The Ace is a robust indigenous Kiwi beast; smooth, mellow, rich and rewarding, it’s pure gold to any bohemian winter slow cook.
Then, of course, the mainstay of Wigram Brewery’s darks, the Dakota Dark; a caramel delight Schwarzbier that’s not too challenging on the tastes but with a beautiful coffee aromatic.
As Andy and I say to the ladies, “don’t be afraid of the dark” and for guys, we always focus on Porters and Stouts in winter, and why shouldn’t we?
When the days are short, and the nights are long it’s time to head for the dark beer. Now is the time to head to Cooking with Gas, The Volstead, Civil and Navel, OGB or head to Southern Dark Fest on Saturday 26 May at 3pm to try this stunning epicurean delight at Wigram Brewery.


Tea-totaller: the re-emergence of the cuppa as a drink of choice

New Zealand once led the world in cups of tea consumed per person. So it seems somewhat strange to have to put one’s hat in the ring to defend the humble cuppa.


But despite the seemingly all-encompassing nature of the Kiwi coffee culture, tea drinking is on the rise. And not just in the most traditional of ways.
While sales of herbal and green tea continue to rise for home consumption, it’s the number of tea ‘bars’ popping up that is catching attention on a global scale.
Locally, Poplar Social Club cocktail maestro Charles Gillet has been using Dilmah Tea in his cocktails. Dilmah features some clever cocktail and mocktail recipes on its website, ranging from Colombo Ice Cream Soda, to Mango Tango and Fruit Volcano.
Not a new concept by any means, there’s historical precedent for tea in our tipples, with tea an ingredient used in our early punches. Now, we’re starting to think of tea with the same reverence as coffee.