Stocking Up on Fav New Zealand Products


Whenever I leave New Zealand I make a plan in my head for a return visit, Lord willing. I also stock up on my favorite NZ products. The Dove roll on deodorant is better here, not sure why. I also bought a number of Lynley Dodd children’s books for my newborn grandson. Finally I bought manuka honey. It is a lot more affordable to buy it here than in the USA.

Manuka honey doesn’t taste distinct from other honey, but it has terrific medicinal properties. The Maori have long known the medicinal qualities of the manuka plant and of honey from bees collecting manuka pollen. In 2006 German scientists isolated the property that gives it antibacterial properties (methylglyoxal). I use a little every morning on my toast or in a bit a of tea if I’m feeling under the weather. The amounts are probably not enough to be more than a placebo effect. Nonetheless, I like to have some on hand.

Bees generally collect from one type of flower rather than sample many types. Manuka grows in groves (like manzanita or gorse) and once they start collecting the bees are able to recognize and return to the same flowers by sight and smell. Once the hive is committed to the manuka flower the bees use dance to communicate to the rest of the workers locations of blooms. Beekeepers can also test their honey to establish the level of “unique manuka factor”.

I am trying a new manuka product this visit. Our penguin guide swears that manuka tea will cure sea sickness. He’s used it and it worked instantly. I am skeptical since my seasickness is both severe and related to the convoluted shape of my ear canal. Nonetheless, I am going to try to find a way to test it because then I could go to Antarctica with less trepidation.

The final product I am bring home is chocolate. I mail Crunchie bars to my friend Mara. They are a Cadbury bar made with honeycomb and chocolate. I also bring chocolate fish (also by Cadbury)–fish shaped marshmallow dipped in chocolate. I also usually bring a Picnic bar for myself when I’m feeling low from missing the clean air and southern light of New Zealand.

I bought my AllBirds in the USA (from the internet: On this visit I noticed AllBirds are trending in New Zealand, although Kiwis are more likely to wear them without socks. I also learned they are washable and I have subsequently washed them and they look like new! Check it out:

Postcard: Cadbury Chocolate Factory Tour Anyone?

Need you ask?  The answer to any question involving chocolate is an unqualified YES!

I had some extra time the first day I arrived in Dunedin but missed the last tour. The hostess encouraged me to book a tour for the next day to secure a spot since the winter school holidays were starting.  I returned the next day at 10:30 a.m. and joined a group of Chinese, Australian, Kiwi and American chocolate fans for a 1.15 hour tour.

Cadbury Factory visitor centre and tours
Cadbury Factory visitor centre and tours

If you listen carefully you quickly realize that many of the women on the tour have elaborate chocolate fantasies. While walking by a large tub of chocolate being stirred provocatively, “Ohh, I’d love to take a bath in that.”  After the guide teased us saying that we would be stopping in the silo for a surprise at the end of the tour, “Ohhh, I hope they pour chocolate on us.”

Cadbury Chocolate Company was started in England by Quakers. I have learned a lot about the company over the years between my pastors who are Quaker history buffs and chocolate eaters, and I read an entire book about the company a few years ago.  The family’s commitment to slave free chocolate and worker health and education was quite unique. Sadly, the Kraft company bought it a few years ago and now much of these commitments are part of history.

The factory in Dunedin is quite old and has just gone through a kind of total quality management process to remain open for certain specialty Cadbury products.  Their competitive advantage is the quality of the milk chocolate crumb they make, mainly due to the superior quality of NZ dairy milk.

We all donned hair nets and took off all of our jewelry and listened to our tour guide with rapt attention. He quickly had us trained to walk to the left and try to answer questions as he was quite liberal with the chocolate rewards.  It was not just the three little girls who were trying for treats. Fortunately, he was very generous with the samples.

I love dark chocolate, and yet I happily ate a Picnic bar, a Dairy Milk, and a Carmello bar in a relatively short span of time. When I left I was in desperate need of a coffee.  All in all, this was one of the happiest places I have been–giving Disney a run for the money. Everyone on the tour was just as pleased as me, and the operations are impressive.

Crunchie Mountain
Crunchie Mountain: Crunchie bars are hokey-pokey covered in chocolate