I’d never heard of Sticky Date Puddings until we went to New Zealand. They’re incredible. So is my better half, and when it came time for us to celebrate ten years together, we decided to take an epic trip, something we really love to do. We had a list of different places we were considering. We have friends in Sydney and one of them was about to leave the country to move to Canada. We knew we might not see him for a while, and he and our other friends had kindly offered a free place to stay, so we decided to combine trips and go to Sydney for a week, visit with our friends, and then head off to New Zealand for an anniversary adventure!
I often talk about how important it is to plan ahead for travel. When you’re taking an international trip, this is especially true. With New Zealand in particular, it was very handy to be able to plan different adventures and book them a couple of months before our departure date. This allowed us to pay cheaper rates than we would have buying them last-minute, and overall, led to a very smooth trip with very few bumps in the proverbial road. The only real exception to this was the helicopter ride we wanted to take, which ended up leading to Moonbird’s Travel Lesson #4: “Take Your Destiny Into Your Own Hands and Seize the Unexpected Opportunities.”
That story is a separate post you can read all about here. 🙂
Another really nice advantage of paying ahead of time, is that if you’re putting these things on a credit card to earn points (as you should be!), it gives you the luxury of paying smaller balances off over time instead of having to put everything from the whole trip on your credit card at once, and coming home with a huge bill. This idea is very much a part of my second travel tip, “Save So You Can Spend.” You can view the rest of my Top 50 Travel Tips” right here. They’re a very important list to read for anyone who’s going to travel.
So what about those Sticky Date Puddings, and what exactly are they?
They’re a warm, gooey, delicious dessert that should be at the top of your “Foods I Must Try Before I Die” list. We actually tried them for the first time at Hobbiton! You can read all about that amazing night right here. There’s lots of different variations, and you can find recipes all over the Internet. It’s derived from a traditional British dessert called “Sticky Toffee Pudding.” The difference between the Australian / New Zealand and UK versions, is the addition of dates. If you’d like to see the recipe being made, there’s a great little video from “RecipeTin Eats” right here on YouTube:
Now, you may wonder why I’m talking so much about a dessert on a post that’s actually about our ten year anniversary. It’s because the dessert was actually so outstanding and has so many fantastic memories surrounding it that I actually spent a lot of time trying to track down the original recipe we had in New Zealand. Through a series of e-mails, and the kindness of some great people, I was actually able to secure that very recipe with the understanding from the chef that I never share it with anyone as it’s his own private version of the dessert. Yes, it’s that good that it was worth the effort. And no, I won’t ever share the recipe. I believe wholeheartedly in the honor system when it comes to things like that. But! You can find plenty of recipes for it on-line that are amazing as well.
I make the dish every year now on our anniversary. I’m not saying I don’t make it other times throughout the year… haha! But it’s definitely now an anniversary tradition. And that’s the point I wanted to make here about the importance of travel. When you leave the comfort of your own space and experience other cultures, other people, and other ways of life, you discover so many amazing things. Sticky Date Puddings with Butterscotch Sauce are one of those things. I don’t know that I ever would have even known they existed if it weren’t for traveling, and I can say that about a great many things. By simply leaving home, our lives, and our palettes, have been expanded in incredibly joyful ways.
There were a lot of other adventures on our anniversary trip. We went to Waitomo and did the amazing underground adventure called “The Black Abyss.” You can read all about that right here. It’s in my top ten favorite things I’ve ever done in my life. We also spent time in Queenstown which many Kiwi’s call the “crown jewel of New Zealand.” It’s a beautiful city / adventure hot spot. There’s lots to do any time of the year and it’s a nice place to go and just relax and get away from it all for a while.
As we like to do, we made an epic travel video summarizing the entire trip. The video is appropriately entitled, “Ten Years, Two Weeks, and Sticky Date Puddings.” In our two weeks, we got to see Sydney, the Opera House, the Blue Mountains, Scenic World, Shelly Beach, hang out with old friends, make new friends, discover Halloumi cheese, experience Arrow Town, Arthur’s Point, Waitomo, The Black Abyss, Hobbiton, Queenstown, meet some kunekune, and enjoy some amazing time on the winding, beautiful country roads of New Zealand before we had an amazing adventure on a glacier and at Milford Sound, which you can read all about here. When we tell people about our trips like this one, and we show them our videos, often times they talk about feeling like they wouldn’t know the first thing about how to have an adventure like that.
That’s at the core of why I started this website in the first place: to let everyone know that anyone can have great adventures! Your adventures will be unique to you. Life is too short not to go out there and live them.
If you’re passionate about travel, remember Moonbird’s #1 Travel Tip… make travel a priority in your life. It’s that simple. Once you do, you really will make the compromises and do what’s required to make it happen. I’m not saying you can jump up and overnight go spend two weeks abroad. For most people, it does take planning and saving money, but it is without a doubt within the grasp of anyone who dedicates themselves to making it happen.
Just like most things.
Please enjoy our little video!