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Coffee & cake in Martinborough - with Alice Arndell

Martinborough Village meets Alice in Bakingland

One of our passions at Martinborough Village is bringing you local stories about local people. This week we met Alice Arndell (aka Alice in Bakingland) for lunch at the Village café & to chat about her new book "Bake me Home" - due for release on May 1st.

Alice is a baker through & through... we love how she clearly embraces baking as not just nourishment for the body but also for the heart, mind & soul... baking & Alice are clearly synonymous with love.

Alice arrived for lunch with her two books "Alice in Bakingland" & "Bake me Home" lovingly tucked under her arm, & spent the next hour chatting with us over with coffee & delicious hummingbird cake (a Village Café recipe - Alice featured in her first book).

Believe us......this was no hard task, in fact we're looking forward to more lunches with Alice, she's one cool lady. Scroll down, read our interview & you'll see why.....

Alice in Bakingland - how it all began

Alice tells us she's always loved baking - from a young age & right through school Alice embraced all things baking, including home economics classes, baking is clearly her passion. Eventually landing in the role of stay at home Mum, Alice had a few of her girlfriends around for coffee one morning in 2011. A friend suggested Alice go for a role in NZ reality TV series "Hottest Home Baker". At first reluctant, Alice soon decided to "go for it" & describes this experience as interesting, intense & life changing. Coming third was a huge achievement in a competitive pressure environment played out on National TV... all credit to Alice for going so far.

Alice credits the reality TV experience as giving her the confidence to start her "Alice in Bakingland" blog, then came the first book & on to writing regular features for Cuisine, Woman's Weekly & Woman's Day magazines, now the 2nd book is due for release. All this was a result of Alice's hard work & entrepreneurial skills... she saw opportunities & went for them! Alice describes the Hottest Home Baker experience as teaching her "it's okay to fail".

Although we beg to differ here... we don't think Alice failed at all, in fact Martinborough is very proud of our very own celebrity baker!

Read on... wait, we suggest you grab coffee & cake... this is going to get interesting!

Bake me Home - delicious every day occasions

Alice is excited about her 2nd book "Bake me Home" due for release on May 1st, and after a sneak peek so are we! More than just recipes... there's a whole culture woven throughout this book, the theme being "things we bake for every day", Alice has incorporated local people & locations in the book, which is a bonus for Martinborough. You may just recognise a few faces & places here.

In "Bake me home" Alice shows us how to easily fill the baking tins for everyday needs... work shouts, shared lunch, morning tea at childcare, family picnics, wine & cheese with the girls, all of the above & more. This book makes us want to go home & get baking!

Alice keeps it real... recipes are designed around ingredients you'll easily find at your local supermarket or store, she believes it shouldn't be expensive to make something delicious. The photos throughout the book are proof of that, as we flick through the pages we're already choosing our favourites - mouthwatering, delectable & oh so tempting!

The style & theme of "Bake me Home" builds beautifully on "Alice in Bakingland" there's clearly a collection developing here, we're already thinking of future potential & we're sure Alice is too! But let's just enjoy this moment first, Alice deserves it!

Read on for insights into Alice & Martinborough, she's a huge supporter of the town, you'll see how & why below......

Alice & Martinborough

Alice has lived in Martinborough just over 4 years & feels completely at home here. Her husband is in the Navy & travels a lot, so when he was transferred to Wellington & they were looking for a new home they chose Martinborough. Alice tells us she thrives on the friendliness of small towns, she's found a great community spirit in Martinborough & feels she will always be based here.

She describes the transition of moving from "big anonymous Auckland" to small town Martinborough as one of the best decisions ever... finding the town incredibly welcoming. Alice tells us she rarely goes out for coffee without bumping into someone she knows & catching up for a chat. This small town personal touch is what Alice values about Martinborough & says the locals have been incredibly supportive of her starting her career.

Local photographer Erina Wood does all Alice's photo shoots & they are stunning. Plates & cutlery are sourced from local boutique shops - Scarlet, Mint at Martinborough & Vintage Treasures, with ingredients sourced from P&K - (the village grocery store).
Peonies Home & Living are Alice's "go to" for Cuisine magazine photo shoots & Sarah Nicholson - editor of Cuisine, who lives in Auckland grew up in Martinborough. Theres a real small town collaboration going on here & Alice has great appreciation for the support from local people & businesses - she says the encouragement she's received is fantastic.

With "Bake me Home" due to be released in just a few weeks Alice is planning on holding a launch in one of Martinborough's shops. We'll be there for sure & we hope you will be too. Alice is a talented baker but also a genuinely lovely person. In her own words "a stay at home mum" & clearly proud of this role, baking for Alice is as natural as wine is to cheese. We love that Alice embraces her passion & has turned it into a career. There's no ambition or pretentiousness here - nothing but a naturally talented woman who's inspired us to bake... that's what makes Alice's books so good, they're real & relatable.

Thanks to "Alice in Bakingland" we're off to pre-order "Bake me Home" & we recommend you do too! Alice's books are set to become one of New Zealand's future classics.....actually we think they already are!

Trish Higginson & Karina Hailwood
Creative Directors - Martinborough Village

"Let us show you the magic of our special town"

Copyright MV 2015

All queries to karina@martinborough-village.co.nz