A Picnic in Ponsonby

Today was my first proper picnic, I am both delighted and surprised to confess - naturally, I took this as an opportunity to consume as much delicious food as possible within a two hour period. Hannah, who runs @balancinghan_ on Instagram, organised the feast for some of us Auckland foodies, and this is the colourful kaleidoscope of edible goodness that resultantly appeared in Western Park one dreamy spring afternoon.

My meagre contribution to the feast was a plate of raw peanut butter and banana babycakes - chewy chocolate and date tart shells lined with a layer of dark chocolate, then filled with peanut butter banana cream and adorned with a cute (probably highly inedible) flower I found in my backyard. Among other delectable treats were a blueberry and coconut slice with a chocolate base, sundried tomato and vegan parmesan pasta, jam drop cookies, pita and carrot sticks with hummus, chewy oat balls, avocado and quinoa sushi, chocolate-covered pomegranate, cinnamon salt popcorn, and mint chocolate coconut bites.

The centrepiece was undoubtedly the insanely gorgeous two-tier citrus cake that Mamta (@mamtaseats) brought - a soft sponge beautifully piped with orange vegan buttercream, and scattered with freeze-dried raspberries and crushed pistachios. It was certainly a showstopper - Mary Berry would be exceptionally proud! Brownie points for you if you caught that reference.

Being a creepin' creature of habit, I have only recently began to photograph my food in public - however it still felt immensely peculiar to stand up on the park bench to get a decent shot of the vegan feast. Being surrounded by other foodies did prove advantageous, mainly because I wasn't the only person who looked absolutely insane. The things we do for a good photo!

Before long, the feast had begun and we were indulging in all sorts of crazy vegan delights. There's something special about coming together with an assortment of different people and sharing food and stories. One of the girls, Samantha, was on exchange from the U.S. and had not met many vegans in New Zealand until the picnic. It is amazing to think that through social media, we were all able to connect despite living in different parts of the city, and coming from all over the world!

Unfortunately, I only managed to get a snap of four out of the eight of us, but I'm sure that there will be plenty more opportunities for cute little picnics as spring morphs into long, hazy summer days. It was such a lovely afternoon, and far surpassed my original plan of hunkering down in my room and doing my philosophy essay - what better way to procrastinate by stuffing my face with amazing, homemade food in good company! Thank you guys - it was wonderful!

ETC.Ashlee Adams