Mr Cake and I nipped down to Christchurch to see our families for the weekend - I finally got to meet my nephew, yay! He is super-cute, though unfortunately we didn't get too much time to get acquainted as we flew in Thursday evening and my sister and her husband were heading off on Friday morning - surely that means I need to visit them in Dunedin sometime and check out the foodie delights down there - surely...
Friday was my nephew's two-month birthday, which means it was also two months since the awful February earthquake. Though we stayed with Mr Cake's parents on the north side of town, where the damage is less apparent (some roads are a little bumpier than they were and some houses and fences are clearly not right) we saw plenty of damage.
On Friday we ventured into town to visit Canterbury Cheesemongers, as Mr Cake's dad adores their roquefort. He'd actually asked for us to see if we could get some here and bring it down, but a little birdie told me the Canterbury Cheesemongers shop, where he had previously bought his cheese, reopened last week, so we were able to provide good tidings as well as cheese.
Driving into town we passed where Saggio di Vino used to be - above left - they were due to complete repairs from September's quake in March, but the Feb 22 shake wrecked those plans - and the building. I have heard they plan to rebuild in the same location but don't have any further details - I hope what I've heard is true.
As Cantabrians are all painfully aware, getting around town is not as simple as it used to be. Though the cordons around the CBD are reducing all the time, there is still a large area of the city fenced off, with the army manning all the possible routes in. As well as the main cordoned area some smaller areas are fenced off to prevent people walking in the path of precarious buildings. The apartment buildings in the middle photo are on Park Terrace, just next to Hagley Park, and are an example of this; Park Terrace is accessible by car on either side of the apartments (though the routes in are limited) but they have clearly been deemed very risky, as fences prevent anyone using the road in the drop zone surrounding them. The building is quite an eerie sight, as from the other side of the street the structural damage isn't obvious, but we could clearly see many of the apartment doors and windows are wide open, with blinds hanging out windows, some patio furniture upended on balconies - all as it must have been on February 22. Anyway, due to the fence across Park Terrace we couldn't drive that way down to the Arts Centre (Montreal Street is open but one-way in the wrong direction), so we parked next to the fence and walked to Montreal Street.
The photo on the right is the old Girls' High School (the school was relocated to a new site many years ago - but this was my Mum's school). A little further along Montreal Street (right opposite the Art Gallery, a.k.a. Civil Defence headquarters) there was a very welcome sight:
Canterbury Cheesemongers were displaced after the September earthquake, and were trading in various creative ways - from their van, the owner's home, and farmers markets - until they were able to relocate to the Arts Centre, so it's wonderful that this time around they've been able to relaunch reasonably quickly.
The new shop is tucked away - the entrance is around the back and as the rest of the Arts Centre is completely fenced off you could easily miss it, but the sign on the pavement guided us.
Inside, though, all the wonderful cheeses are in the cheese room (I love the smell!) - and the main area contains a bakery and a few other useful accompanying morsels. When we arrived they were just glazing the hot cross buns, and we could hardly say no to fresh-out-of-the-oven buns, so naturally had to get some of those too. They even put them in a box for us, to protect them in their precious, fresh state from being beaten about on our walk back to the car. Service with a smile!
The buns were delicious - wonderfully spiced, and though they did contain the dreaded peel even Mr Cake conceded they were excellent - almost as good as the cheese. ;-)
Canterbury Cheesemongers is located at 301 Montreal Street, Christchurch, ph 03 379 0075, www.cheesemongers.co.nz