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Author: Will

Queenstown Events with a Touch of Spice

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Last week we partnered with Destination Queenstown who brought 17 domestic corporate guests to Queenstown to showcase the best of the best and it’s brilliant operators over a three day stay.

Guests were given a whirlwind tour of Queenstown, showcasing so much of what makes it such an enticing location to domestic corporate businesses. From dinner at the Sherwood in one of Gather and Golds tipi’s,  a ride on the famous Shotover Jet, an alpine landing with Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters to a lunch served up at The Elms at Lake Hayes Villa Three, our guests got to experience why Queenstown is the number one spot for New Zealand corporates looking for a destination with a difference.

Touch of Spice was involved in 2 parts of this Famil; the first was a tradeshow where each operator had 7 minutes with each buyer to show off exactly what we do. This was where we could share our new look book of previous events to showcase that we are a ‘DMC with a difference’ (Destination management company); looking to create those once in a lifetime moments, may they be an evening event, executive retreat or incentive program. The second was the next day at our event, the finale lunch.

The Finale Lunch

Touch of Spice partnered with Artisan catering to host the finale lunch at The Elms at Lake Hayes Villa Three, one of our exclusive Villas as Venues on the edge of Lake Hayes overlooking the Coronet Ski Field. After a very hectic 3 days for the buyers, we wanted to wow the guests with a beautiful setting which would live long into the memory and put Touch of Spice and Queenstown front of mind when the clients were planning their next event. The Elms at Lake Hayes Collection makes a perfect place to hosts a private or business event - with a capacity of 50 people for a long lunch, and 10 opulent double bedrooms spread across three adjoining apartments, this is a versatile venue for clients looking for luxury to either stay or host a dinner.

Artisan, as always, was very impressive, coupling superb food with excellent service. Beautiful platters and a superb walk and fork menu received compliments all round, with one guest remarking that ‘Touch of Spice and Artisan is truly a world-class combination’. That is the feedback we will not argue with.

As the event began to wind down, guests helped themselves to some Touch of Spice branded goodies from our friends at Buzz Stop - Queenstown’s local bee farm serving up the finest bee’s wax and honey experiences and produce, giving the guests a little sample of Queenstown to take home with them.

Get in touch with our events team today and make Queenstown your next destination for a truly out-of-this-world event with Touch of Spice. 

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An evening at Aosta

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‘Michael Hill and Ben Bayly invite you to attend a special evening to taste food and drinks at our new restaurant Aosta’

I’d heard whispers about a new restaurant in Arrowtown for months and was very excited to hear the new chef was renowned chef Ben Bayly.

First impressions first; Aosta looks stunning. Designed by the Architect Anne Marie Chin, the genius behind the award-winning Lodge at The Hills, the fit and interior look amazing. Meeting Anne-Marie and her team over a glass of bubbles – its clear they love their work and wow does it show!

So why Aosta?

Aosta is a valley in Northern Italy with many similarities to Arrowtown.  With four defined seasons, similar growing conditions and on the parallel latitude, the Aosta valley and Arrowtown have more similarities than you would ever expect. Ben Bayly declares that "We're focusing on the marriage between Central Otago and Southland ingredients and Northern Italian technique and philosophy."

The Menu

As the evening went on, we served tasting dishes of some of the menus highlights.

KINA PAPPARDELLE SHAVED PAUA Fried leeks, Terra Sancta’s yolk

FLAME GRILLED SARDINES Cromwell dried cherries, pickled shaved fennel & pinoli

TORTELLINI Wairiri buffalo curd, brown buttered chestnuts, wild mushrooms, Soave raisins

WILD SHOT RED DEER CHEEKS Pickled black walnuts, Colatura di alici, potatoes & calvolo nero


Whilst they were all delicious, my favourite was the Paua pasta. With fresh pasta made onsite and Paua shavings too, this was a dish to remember and I would recommend anyone to choose this.

Special mentions must go out to the deer cheeks and to the Tiramisu. Both amazing and I’d choose it again in a heartbeat. I’d never been a huge tiramisu fan until that evening – That has certainly changed.

You will not be disappointed!

For anyone wondering whether to go, do it - you will not be disappointed. I’ll leave you with one highlight of the evening:

Mid way through Sir Michael Hill leapt onto one of the benches to welcome everyone and declare their intention that this would be the best restaurant in New Zealand.

 It’s early days yet, but the combination of driven owners, an amazing chef, beautiful architecture and stunning food means it can’t be far off.

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