Auckland store Sabato celebrates three decades of success ALEXIA SANTAMARIA

It’s hard to believe it’s 30 years since Jacqui and Phil Dixon started selling their first imported food products to Aucklanders through their Sabato brand. Their store – a fixture of Normanby Road in Mt Eden since 1993 – is more than just a place to buy excellent-quality olive oil, vinegar, cheese, chocolate, rice, pasta and other delicious items to fill your pantry and fridge. In fact, it’s an important piece of the culinary history of Tāmaki Makaurau: the start of our evolution from ‘meat and three vege’ cuisine to the adventurous international home cooks we are today.

“It really all started because we wanted to feed ourselves,” says Jacqui. “At that time there really wasn’t much at the truly artisan end of the market and once we tried some of these products through a contact in Sydney, we saw why people were happily paying what they paid for them.”

It was the support of enthusiastic Kiwi chefs and food writers in the very early days that led to their success. “One of our first ventures into selling to the public was actually through an ad in Cuisine when we were selling via newsletter and mail order from our double garage at home with two young kids in tow.”

What the couple loved right from the start was the understanding that using good products meant quite sophisticated sounding dishes could become everyday dishes for the home kitchen. That’s really been the basis of their success right up to today: honest, good-quality ingredients used simply. And while the market has evolved significantly since those early days, Sabato is still going strong with products the public and chefs still can’t get enough of. As always, this year people will flock there for their amazing selection of Italian panettone, a lovely lighter version of Christmas cake. As Jacqui likes to say, “We’re selling pleasure – that’s what makes this all so much fun.”

Iconic Kiwi brand Edmonds has just launched its first te reo Māori cookbook, Edmonds Taku Puka Tohutao Tuatahi, based on the much-loved and bestselling Edmonds My First Cookbook. It is published in partnership with Kotahi Rau Pukapuka Trust (KRP) and publisher Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand. Edmonds ambassador Stacey Morrison is thrilled that such an iconic New Zealand brand is embracing the use of te reo Māori in an everyday way. She says, “I know Edmonds Taku Puka Tohutao Tuatahi is an ideal way to help tamariki and their whānau develop both their cooking and reo skills.”

It was with great sadness that we received news of the death of Adrian Walcroft of Cartwheel Creamery. Adrian and Jill started Cartwheel Creamery in 2011 and went on to produce award-winning cheese from their farm in the beautiful Pohangina Valley.

A team of three junior chefs and their tutor from Auckland University of Technology will represent New Zealand and compete at the International Young Chefs Challenge in Ningbo, China at the end of November. The competition will see teams from 33 countries taking part in the two-day challenge. Junior chefs Joseph Lunn, Lilly Boles and

Phoenix Hellewell will be accompanied by AUT culinary lecturer and team coach

Geoff Scott. We wish them all the best.

Get to the Mazengarb Reserve in Paraparaumu for the Kāpiti Food Fair on Saturday 2 December 2023 – this year including the inaugural Night Gig with country music star Tami Neilson.

Everybody Eats, the pay-as-you-feel charity, has a new location in Auckland’s Glen Innes. Based at Tātou on Line Rd from Sunday to Thursday, it serves a three-course dinner made from largely donated food and cooked and served mainly by volunteers. You pay what you can afford and the koha goes to provide food for those in poverty.





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