I am in the deep south where the weather and the tea is, well, robust.  While I’m here I’m on the look out for those Southern idiosyncrasies that define South Islanders; set them apart from the rest.  In the supermarket – the same supermarket chain we shop at in the North Island  – a shelf of Tiger Tea catches my eye.


I can’t get Tiger Tea in the North Island so I like to take a pack home with me, more for nostalgic reasons than for the quality.  (Also I collect tea for the packaging.) Tiger Tea, ‘the popular tea of the South’, is owned by the Bell Tea Company so there are absolutely no distinguishing features about this CTC (Cut/Tear/Curl) blended tea apart from the packaging.  Brand loyalty is everything down here in the deep South though.

At The Magnet Cafe Main Road South, Waikouaiti.

In the South Island I can buy cheese rolls but not in the North Island.  This is strange because cheese rolls are basically cheese rolled in white bread.  I love cheese rolls so I bought one to take away with me only to have my daughter devour it later.  She tells me it was delicious.  I purchased the particular cheese roll at a cafe called The Magnet where I ordered a pot of tea and, as I always do, I asked politely for my tea to be made strong.  If I don’t do this I am sure to recieve a cup of tea the colour of unwashed calico.  Sometimes I get what I request, other times I don’t.  Thankfully I am happy to report, and eternally grateful, that at The Magnet I got a cup of tea just the way I like it.


It is also worth mentioning that another New Zealand all-time-favourite cheesy culinary delight, the cheese toasted sandwhich, is called a mousetrap in the South Island.  South Islanders eat mousetraps; North Islanders eat toasted sandwhiches. Since I ate my mousetrap before taking a photo please imagine a base of toast piled with melted cheese, tomatoes, onions and relish washed down between gulps of deliciously strong tea.


When I began to eye the doorstop sandwhiches my daughter reminded me she wanted to get to Dunedin for the shopping opportunities and so we drove on beneath low grey cloud which, inevitably, became Scotch mist the nearer we got to the city.  Dunedin is not known for it’s balmy weather, yet even this shortcoming can be lovingly considered an identifying, character forming feature of the city.  Therefore we did all our shopping in the mall where I found these cheeky travel mugs.  Aroha means love and I aroha these Tea-riffic travel mugs.


And these Zero teapots …


And this one cup tea pot …


At the end of the day it is pleasing to just appreciate the delightful things and to consider the charming things and to share all these with the people we love.


I will leave you this week with a quote from a book I am reading while I am on holiday – Ming Tea Murder, by Laura Childs, which nearly expresses what I am trying to say:

“Drayton carefully measured the leaves and added a tiny bit extra.  “And a pinch for the teapot”, he told her.  

“That always makes it better”, Theodosia agreed.”

Next week I will be back in the North Island where I am told a packet of Darjeeling is awaiting me.  🙂

4 replies on “Southern Idiosyncrasies

  1. I did not mention the secret ingredients … partly because they sound too unhealthy for WP and partly because they sound too weird. (Think onion soup mix – MSG and milk powder) 😋 They are a good school fundraiser around here. (Some have bacon and real onion ,,)


  2. I had to smile at the signs…quite a few there I could relate to!! Also, the teapots are lovely and the last one is particularly gorgeous – I have one of that design and it’s a quiet luxury to brew the tea on top and use the pretty cup below.

    Liked by 1 person

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