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Pinocchio pair comes up with a crackling entry

Pinocchio owners Paul and Elly Ansell. PHOTO/SOUMYA BHAMIDIPATI


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Pinocchio is no spring chicken when it comes to taking part in Wellington On A Plate, and that’s not telling porkies.

Next week will have owners Paul and Elly Ansell’s second time offering up a Burger Wellington, but their seventh year taking part in the popular month-long food festival.

This year, the husband-and-wife team have come up with the ‘Cracklin’ Rapa’ a slow-roasted pork belly with pork crackling, Pinehaven Orchard apple puree, housemade kimchi, and lettuce in a Clareville Bakery brioche bun, served with hand-cut chips.

“We do a gourmet burger night every Wednesday,” Elly said, explaining that a different flavour was served each week.”

Their WOAP burger would be a new take on an old favourite.

“People loved the pork, that particular style of cooking.”

Cracklin’ Rapa’ – Pinocchio’s Burger Wellington offering for 2021. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Chef Paul says the combination heightens the fatty flavours of the pork, the cool crispness of the apple, and textural crispness of the crackling.

“We always mould our burgers around texture,” he says.

“Pork and kimchi is one of my favourite combos, with apple.

“Clareville do a really, really good soft brioche bun and that will soak up that fattiness as well.”

The burger would be matched with Garage Project’s ‘Beer’, which was especially chosen to complement these flavours.

“This is quite a full flavour-fest,” Paul said of the burger.

“With that lager we thought we’d tone that palate down.”

WOAP comes on the back of Greytown’s Festival of Christmas, which had the restaurant serve about 2800 oysters in the space of just six hours.

“It was absolutely insane,” Elly said.

“It was certainly bigger than our summer months.

“It’s good to have these events that bring people out. People want something to do.

“Especially with covid and you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

This is part of the reason the couple signed up for WOAP – although it means being kept on their toes for more than a few months.

“It’s really quite cool, especially for Wairarapa to showcase the Wairarapa produce,” Elly said.

“The food scene in Wairarapa has certainly grown over the years.

“We’re really lucky with what we can produce in such a small area.”

Paul agrees, saying their herb supplier, “from just down the road”, popped in to say hello during the restaurant’s early day and had been supplying them herbs ever since.

“All these people are friends of ours.”

Last year the restaurant served about 200 burgers a week, and the couple were expecting to see similar, if not higher, numbers this year.

“It’s not as big as Wellington, but it’s pretty big here,” Elly said.

  • Wellington On A Plate takes place from August 1-31. For more information, visit www.visawoap.com

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