Top Tastes is designed to help you find the best places for food and drink; whether you want delicious fish chips, beautiful café food in a winery setting, or finely crafted formal dining food this is your guide. It also contains reviews of different food and beverage products.

Top Tastes was created by Neil Hodgson and managed by him, he will be inviting other professional writers to contribute to the site, this means more regional information will be added as time goes by. You will find a range of opinions from people who know their stuff when it comes to food and beverage.

Only reviews written by this select group will be published on the site (you are welcome to leave comments of course) so you will be able to trust the review – no fake reviews, no ranting, just good information to help you choose great things to eat and drink as well as the best places to eat out.


The Nutt Ranch

Owned by Keith Hair & Georgina Ponder The Nutt Ranch is a hazelnut orchard located in the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough, Keith and Georgina bring their harvested and processed nut treats to the Nelson Farmers Market each Wednesday. I have walked past their stall many times without stopping so I thought it was time to […]

The Nutt Ranch

Owned by Keith Hair & Georgina Ponder The Nutt Ranch…

Sprig & Fern new bottles and Tracy Banner

From the time the independent Tasman Brewing Company made its…


Penati Crackers

I first met Don Grant about 22 years ago when he set up Tasman…

Sprig & Fern new bottles and Tracy Banner

From the time the independent Tasman Brewing Company made its…

West Indies Spice Traders Hot Sauces, Rum & Ginger Beer

You may remember that back in December 2015 I wrote about David…

What I Drank in The Holidays

Our Auckland summer keeps going and going and long may it last.…



Neil Hodgson

I consider myself a columnist with a particular specialty in wine and food, I have been writing about wine for The Nelson Mail since 2000 and about food and beverage since 2015. I write for several publications and taste many wines each week, some are sent as samples by wine companies, some are from our cellar, some we buy and others dinner guests bring along to share with us. I will publish tasting notes for most of them. I am a member of Wine Writers of New Zealand and devout lover of all styles of food, wine, beer and whiskey.

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Phil Parker

Wine journalist and published author, Phil Parker has a wine career involving both writing and hosting Auckland region wine tours. He established Auckland’s original boutique wine tour business, Fine Wine Tours in 2001. Phil writes a regular monthly column for Auckland’s Ponsonby News, plus a quarterly medical industry glossy magazine wine column. He has also written freelance articles for the NZ Herald and Homestyle magazine, plus he regularly posts wine related stories on his blog.

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About our Contributors

To ensure the integrity of reviews and comments made by contributors we adhere to:

  • Contributors to the website do not accept payment for reviews, all reviews are unbiased and the
    opinion of the contributor.
  • Contributors are not paid by Top Tastes but some of the reviews may have been published
    previously by the contributor in a publication that paid for the content.
  • Contributors don’t have a commercial interest in any of the producers/restaurants/bars/cafes they
    choose to review.
  • Contributors pay their own way for meals, travel and products unless they declare in the review ‘I was hosted by.…’
  • Samples are often sent to contributors without being sought, these are reviewed in a totally
    independent manner.
  • To keep this site free to all users we do accept advertising, however, any product, producer or
    place being reviewed can not advertise on this site for a period of six months after the publication date of any review that includes them.