By Perry Cornish, Opito Bay Salt Co.

Our story begins with a love of the sea and of food. And like all good ideas it started at the bottom of a bottle of red wine on a cold wet winter night in Auckland. Erin (my salty partner) had been enthusing over an artisan salt she had bought. I had a lifelong interest in food and cooking but had never really thought too much about salt. As things progressed, we began to dream…. and then it was the end of corporate life, and relocation to the bach in glorious Opito Bay, to make salt! 

It took a year of experimentation (including Covid lockdowns) and we built our first greenhouse. Now we have 9 greenhouses (and planning more), an online store and stockists through the motu. Our sea salt is also attracting attention in the food world. In 2022 we won 8 gold medals in the NZ Artisan Food Producer Awards and 5 medals and a Special Award for the best New Producer at the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards.

We love The Coromandel and try to source local ingredients to combine with our salt. We love the sun, the pristine clean water and the remoteness of Opito – which all somehow comes together in our hand-crafted sea salt. We are active members of the Coromandel Food Producer Group whose aims are to connect you to foodie offerings across The Coromandel and to promote our unique food-producing community. Let me introduce you to our products and those from some of our standout colleagues.

Opito Bay Salt Co.

Using the sun and wind to create a pure sea salt, that critics say has a unique “wow” burst of salty flavour. Its distinctive taste comes from the natural trace elements and minerals present in our Coromandel seawater. Foodies must check out the infusions and blended salts like black garlic or smoked chilli! You’ll find Opito Bay salt online, at local Coromandel markets and stores.

Black Beards Smokehouse, Thames

Re-imagined smoked mussels with divine smoked chilli and lime-flavoured kai moana, plus fresh smoked fish and chowders and dips.

Coromandel Oyster Company, Manaia

 Plump Pacific oysters and Coromandel mussels are grown in the harbour behind the roadside seafood shack. Stay for a fish burger for lunch, and grab some fresh kai moana to go. 

Omahu Valley Citrus

Winners of the “World’s Best Classic Marmalade” from UK International Marmalade Awards  

Castle Rock Fine Foods, Te Rerenga

 These specialty chutneys (think Chilli-Lime), relishes and dressings made with local and homegrown ingredients are found widely across The Coromandel and the Waikato.

Mercury Bay Estate, Cooks Beach

Overlooking the wide blue bay this is the perfect spot for a long lunch and a flight of the winery's finest. Get in quick to sample Lola, the very popular and excellent sparkling rose.

Uncle Dunkles Chilli Sauce, Kūaotunu

Powered by NZ Tea Tree (Manuka) and driven by a wood oven, Kyle Dunkle owner and expert chilli smoker makes one of NZ's finest range of chilli sauces. All natural, mild to mega heat, online store and at markets and regional stockists.

Blue Fridge Brewery, Kūaotunu

 Refreshing Coromandel brews such as  “Salty Sea Dog” from local  Adam Coleman-Smith and his fantastic Blue Fridge nano brewery are on tap at Luke's Kitchen and around The Coromandel.

Coromandel Distilling Company, Thames

Award-winning experimental micro-distillery based in The Depot in the heart of Thames. Combining the tradition and art of distillation with the magic of the land and the sea. Home of Awildian. 

Hereford 'n' a Pickle, Colville

A well-stocked farm shop full of meat and homemade preserves and treats. True to their farm-to-plate ethos, all the meat is homegrown.

Matatoki Cheese

Well-known award-winning organic cheeses and yoghurts along with a cafe that has a cheesy menu and much more besides. On the Hauraki Rail Trail, 5km from Kopu and 10km from Thames.

Chopping Block Butchery, Coromandel Town

 Farm to plate, and all you'd expect in care and service from an artisan local butcher. Plus a few specialities like mussel fritters and wakame-flavoured sausages.

Wilderland Organics

 Teas, honey, herbal preparations, and organic produce, are all hand-crafted and grown by the volunteers of the Wilderland Charitable Trust. Supporting native forest regeneration and the sustainable living community. Shop on the Whitianga estuary south of town.

 Old Mate Distillery, Whitianga

 So-named for its intriguing blend of flavours, evoking the magic and wonder that is The Coromandel – serene, majestic, mysterious – and like a comforting old mate, instantly recognisable.

Hot Water Brewing Company, Whenuakite

 Generously hopped Kauri Falls Pale Ale, robust and chocolatey Walkers Porter and refreshing Golden Steamer Ale as well as seasonal and rotating guest taps in the brewpub and restaurant. Bonus: kid's playground.

Cathedral Cove Macadamias, Hahei

Jillian farms 16 acres of macadamias, and she has an on-site shop. The question is whether you opt for au natural or chocolate macadamias.  Jillian also has great dukkah and rubs too.  

Thames Wholesale Fisheries and the Wharf Coffee House and Bar

The freshest catch of the day, cooked to perfection to be savoured by the waterside cafe next door, or wrapped in ice for the trip home.

Coffee Lala

Boutique, artisan coffee roastery in a secluded bush-clad valley in The Coromandel producing local blends to be sipped in cafes around the region. Preferably in your keep cup, or as you dine in.