Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Winter at Cardrona

The historic Cardrona Hotel is all about Kiwi style hospitality and co-owner Alexis Thornton spoke to QT Magazine about the winter specialties.

What breakfast choices do you have for people heading to the ski areas?

We open early to ensure everyone is fuelled up for a day on the slopes. Breakfast is available to houseguests from 7.00am and the public from 8.00am. Our whiskey butter porridge with cinnamon, maple roasted apple and hazelnuts is always a popular choice. It’s a luxurious twist on a classic bowl of porridge providing plenty of energy. We have a delicious BLAT breakfast bun called a Ski Bum on the menu which is a great take-away option for those eager to catch the first chair at Cardrona Alpine Resort. Fresh scones and baking are available at the bar each morning and the coffee machine hums pouring coffee from Ozone.

What is the hotel’s most popular delicacy?

Our tartiflette is a very popular winter warmer. A traditional aprés ski delicacy from the French Alps, this baked potato gratin with bacon, shallots and molten cheese appeals to virtually everyone, including kids. At the bar our mulled wine tap pours continuously all winter and an excellent line-up of Central Otago Pinot Noir is definitely worth exploring.

Why is the hotel such a popular après ski hotspot?

The winter atmosphere is hard to beat. There’s such a buzz in the beer garden late afternoon as everyone heads down from Cardrona Alpine Resort to warm up around our outdoor fire and braziers with some hearty food, cold beers or steaming mulled wine. The younger patrons love it too with marshmallows available to toast and the addition of our new kids’ playground.

What are the highlights on the evening dining menu?

Once the après ski crowd empties out our cosy, candle-lit dining room comes to life serving an evening bistro menu centred around locally sourced seasonal ingredients. The Beef Wellington with mushroom duxelles, prosciutto and pickled walnut is a ski season highlight while our signature venison fillet with kumara, candied beetroot and herbed chevre is popular year round. Bookings are essential.

Are there any intriguing yarns to share about the hotel?

Two of our smaller hotel rooms are called Roaring Meg and Gentle Annie which are names that regularly crop up in the region and people are often curious as to why. The story goes that for a period during the mining boom in the late 1800s the hotel also operated as a brothel for the goldminers and Meg and Annie were two renowned women who worked there.