Polenta Blueberry Brownie at Halo Cafe, Queenstown
Something with polenta and blueberries is basically healthy and totally appropriate for breakfast, right? Right! At the very least, this polenta blueberry brownie ($10 NZD) at the Halo Cafe in Queenstown is delicious enough to bend the rules for, especially when traveling. (Maybe "brownie" means something else in Kiwi-English). Served warm, the brownie has a tender, melty texture from the fine-grained polenta. It's rich with chocolate flavor and bursting with tart, fresh berries. The creamy tang of a thick lemon yogurt, served alongside, provides a nice temperature balance, melting easily into each bite.
Cadbury Crunchies Gelato at Casa del Gelato, Auckland
One of the best parts about traveling anywhere in Her Majesty's domain? The amazing amounts and varieties of delicious Cadbury candies. What's even better? When it's mixed up in gelato. Here, a Cadbury Crunchie (a chocolate bar with a honeycomb toffee filling) is blended into a creamy scoop of gelato. The base is rich with a brown butter/burnt caramel flavor and, thankfully, plenty of Crunchie chunks remain, lending both texture and a fantastic chocolate-honeycomb flavor to each bite.
Afghan Biscuit at Fergbaker, Queenstown
Afghan biscuits (pictured, $2.50 NZD) are a pretty brilliant blend of cocoa, flour, butter, sugar, and cornflakes, topped with chocolate icing and half a walnut.
Afghan Biscuit, interior
This version from Fergbaker (the next door neighbor and bakery iteration of the always packed Fergberger) was lighter on the cornflakes than other versions I tried, but maintained a nice crunchy texture and a not-too-sweet cocoa flavor.
Hokey Pokey Ice Cream, Everywhere
One of the more popular flavors in New Zealand, hokey pokey ice cream is everywhere (this was taken in Tauranga). Vanilla ice cream is studded with crunchy bits of honeycomb toffee, and is tasty enough to have me ready to petition U.S. dessert makers to up their use of honeycomb, immediately.
Tim Tams, Everywhere
I think I made my feelings about Tim Tams, and the incomparable Tim Tam Slam, pretty clear in this step-by-step guide. But if we're talking great NZ sweets, they simply must be mentioned again (not least because I probably ate them every single day). Delicious on their own (and even delicious-er when being slammed), Tim Tams are probably the best packaged cookie out there, especially the honeycomb variety (seriously, U.S., where are my honeycomb sweets?!).