Did you know that New Zealand used to be known as the “Quarter Acre Pavlova Paradise?” This term came about when Austin Mitchell emigrated to New Zealand from Yorkshire, and taught history and politics at Otago and Canterbury universities. After his return to UK in 1972 he published his book, “The half gallon, quarter acre, pavlova paradise”, which gives advice to prospective English immigrants. In explanation, to those readers who are not kiwi born:
"Half Gallon", popularly called the "Half G", was the standard size of a flagon of beer then sold in New Zealand pubs
“Quarter Acre" referred to the large suburban section of land on which most Kiwis built their homes
"Pavlova", a popular Australian and New Zealand dessert - a large meringue topped with whipped cream and fruit, named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.
We continued our anniversary celebrations yesterday with our SLG friends with a visit to the Quarter Acre Cafe, a few kms down the road at Manakau. And yes, they did have pavlova on the menu.
Our noisy group of friends perused the menu and made their choices. And what lovely choices their were too. Les was predicable as always when he asked for lambs fry and bacon, as was Robin with his choice of the cafe’s Big Breakfast. I decided on Eggs Benedict, and the others chose fish, steak, and pies. The kitchen staff must have been working hard as all the dishes came out together, piping hot and beautifully presented.
Most decided against dessert, as everyone was invited back to our home for coffee and cake. Not Rex and Calvin though, they were having dessert regardless, and manfully ate their way through a huge serving of pavlova each.
There was another even larger group at the next table, all ladies, accompanied by one brave man. Plus a little dog. Only service dogs are permitted in restaurants, trains and buses here in New Zealand, and cute little Maltese “Teddy Bear” was a hearing dog. Teddy Bear’s duties include alerting his owner when the telephone rings, or someone knocks on the door.
Then it was back to our villa for coffee and cake. How quickly the last 30 years have flown by.