Marlborough’s Green-shelled Seafood

Fresh from his discoveries at the Stoneleigh vineyard, we join celebrity chef Mark McEwan as he reaches the banks of the magnificent Marlborough Sounds. Here, he meets Simon Pooley, a green-lipped mussel farmer who grew up on the Marlborough Sounds. Simon tells Mark of the many happy weekends he spent as a schoolboy on the water, learning the craft of mussel farming from his father, Rob. Thirty years later, and it is Simon’s turn to take the captain’s reins, injecting that same determined spirit that saw his father’s family business grow. Now, raising his own family in the very house he grew up in, Simon shows Mark his passion for this small slice of paradise. A passion, not only for a product, but for a way of life.

Indigenous to New Zealand, the green-shell, or green-lipped, mussel is regarded by global environmental agencies as one of the most eco-friendly seafoods in the world. Taking to the water on a beautiful South Island day, Mark and Simon travel through the Queen Charlotte Sound to Elaine Bay, where the family’s eight mussel farms lie. The cool, clean depths of the Marlborough Sounds have provided the ideal environment for mussel farming since the 1960s – and it is these waters that today provide Simon with his wonder of nature. In this specific part of New Zealand, nutrients wash out of the surrounding bush land into the unspoilt waters, allowing the mussels growing within to thrive. What they live in is what they feed on; what they eat makes them what they are.

A gift of nature, green-lipped mussels differ from other species in both appearance and taste. Harvesting a basket of mussels from the ropes of Elaine Bay, Mark creates a simple yet delicious beurre fondue, a French-style butter emulsion that complements these fresh, fleshy morsels wonderfully. Working with produce straight from the source, this minimalist touch allows the distinctive taste of the mussels to shine through. Packed full of flavour and paired perfectly with Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc, this is one bounty that is ideal for sharing with friends.

Mussels Harvesting
Marlborough's green-shelled mussels
Green Lipped Mussels with Chive Beurre Monte
Mussels Harvesting in Marlborough

Feeding on the waters they live in, these green-lipped mussels are born of their environment. Much like the Pooley family, their surrounds allow them to flourish. This is Simon’s wonder of nature.