Feast Marlborough and the Saint Clair Half Marathon coincide for one lively weekend

 

Saint Clair Vineyard Half with Thomas's - MarlboroughNZ.com

One weekend in autumn draws a huge crowd to Marlborough, but not for the vineyard rows turning spectacular shades of crimson, amber and gold against clear blue skies. It’s the chance to participate in a wildly popular event that delivers an intimate way to sightsee Marlborough’s vineyards: the Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon. Thomas’s joins the excitement again as an official sponsor of the event on May 13th for another sell-out year. There are lots of ways Thomas’s will be participating in the weekend events, starting with extended store hours to include Sunday following the race.

Icebreaker at Thomas's

The Saint Clair half-marathon has been drawing entrants throughout New Zealand for over ten years. This year, guests travelling to Marlborough will be treated to an added bonus, the launch of the newest foodie festival in the country, Feast Marlborough. The inaugural event takes place the same weekend as the half-marathon, celebrating Marlborough as a producer of fresh, local delicacies and world-class wines in a series of mini-events.

Feast Marlborough with Thomas's

Pork bao buns with Thomas's for Feast Marlborough's street party

Friday kicks off Feast Marlborough’s three day celebration with a street food fair right outside the store, where our own Thomas & Sons Café will join other local food producers and restaurants to show off the region’s best fare with amazing street food in downtown Blenheim (3pm–7pm). Renowned chef Martin Bosley is leading the charge and there will be incredible seafood, Asian pork-belly bao buns (that’s us!), Mexican and other delicious street food on offer. Turn up, enjoy some late-night shopping – Thomas’s will be open until 7pm – enjoy a great meal, and get your weekend off on the right foot. Saturday night’s Feast Marlborough offering gives the half-marathon participants a chance to celebrate their efforts with several venues hosting unique dining options, and finally Sunday closes with a collaborative brunch. What better way to celebrate the mum in your life (Sunday is Mother’s Day after all!).

If you need a bit of inspiration for what to wear on the big day, check out our range online and make us your first stop for insider knowledge on the best fashion, from competition time to kicking up your heels. Mons Royale and Icebreaker offer great options for Marlborough’s fluctuating temperatures that will see you through a cold morning start to a heated finish on race day. We also carry the latest from KowTow, Karen Walker, Ted Baker, Ketz-ke and more, for an instant uplift after you peel off running gear and join the celebrations.

See you on Friday night for the street food party, Saturday at the finish line, or come and see us in store on Sunday for a relaxed shop, coffee and brunch.

Best of luck to all the competitors, whether it’s your first time or your tenth. You’ve got this!

Thomas’s opening hours for the Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon & Feast Marlborough weekend

Friday

  • Shop: 9.00am – 7.00pm
  • Café: 8.00am – 7.00pm

Saturday

  • Shop: 10.00am – 4.00pm
  • Café: 8.30am – 3.00pm

Sunday

  • Shop: 10.00am – 3.00pm
  • Café: 8.30am – 2.00pm

Photograph of Marlborough vines: MarlboroughNZ.com

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Drumroll please … Sunday shopping at Thomas’s has arrived!

Thomas's is now open for Sunday tradingYou’ve been asking for it and we’re delighted to announce that it’s nearly here – Sunday opening at Thomas’s!

From Sunday 6 November, Thomas’s store and Thomas & Sons cafe will be open every Sunday for the summer period from 11.00am until 3.00pm – except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Use your Sundays to catch up on your shopping or enjoy a long lazy lunch with friends (or both!). Our popular salads change daily and are packed with the freshest of local produce. And have you tried Marcia’s carrot cake yet? You really should.

The hot weather has arrived so make sure you check out our beautiful new summer clothing ranges in store from Karen Walker to Kowtow to Kate Sylvester. And if you haven’t started your Christmas shopping yet, we have gorgeous new products arriving in Homewares. And we’ll even wrap your gifts for you while you enjoy your coffee.

Sunday buzz with Thomas's and Blenheim CBD

There’s going to be a real buzz in the Blenheim CBD on a Sunday this summer – a number of both independent and chain stores are now open on Sundays and if you want to nab a spot on the super comfortable, and popular, bean bags in the Forum you’ll have to be in quick!

As our opening day coincides with the wonderful Stihl Shop Garden Fete in Seymour Square, part of Garden Marlborough, you can come and put your feet up at Thomas & Sons afterwards for some glorious food and a great coffee.

Thomas & Sons – meet master cook Marcia Chang-Hong and try the new winter dine-in menu

Thomas and Sons Cafe 103 years in the making, Blenheim

Marcia Chang-Hong at Thomas and Sons. Photo credit: Peter Burge Photography

Thomas & Sons – 103 years in the making…

The café concept was actually something Hamish and Tim Thomas looked at seven or eight years ago but decided the timing wasn’t quite right, so they opened Scotch instead in 2008, owning it for six years. They learnt a lot over this time, “as hospitality is quite different to retail”, and those skills helped with Thomas & Sons, particularly in the setup and they were able to use this experience to get the formula right for the café.

The cafe at Thomas’s opened on 20 November 2015 with coffee and treats from the counter but the kitchen has now come in-house, as has the dining, and a full winter menu is in operation.

Marcia Chang-Hong, cook extraordinaire, has been instrumental from the beginning. Marcia much prefers the title cook to chef as she believes cooking is a “natural, fundamental thing.” Confident in the quality of her food, Marcia is however very humble and doesn’t like any of the fuss associated with being a chef. “I just want to make fresh, simple, rustic food”. Hamish and Tim knew of Marcia as they’d been guests at her legendary dinners and were thrilled when she agreed to come on board for their new venture.

Marcia has a fascinating history. Born in Trinidad to Chinese parents who had emigrated there in the early 1950s, Marcia then went to high school and university in Toronto, Canada and it was there she fell into cooking. Restaurants in Toronto and Vancouver were followed by an eight-year stint in London where she cooked at top restaurants Kensington Place and the Brackenbury before her then husband Peter Burge suggested a move back to his hometown of Blenheim.

Marcia admits she wasn’t ready for the change of pace then, she loved her work and the busy life in London and coming to Blenheim in 2003 was quite hard, but she loves it here now.  “Marlborough allows for a beautiful way of living, no traffic, open space, great people, lots of good produce – and where else in the world could I get to milk a cow for fresh milk and cheese making?”

Marcia Chang-Hong, at work at in the kitchen at Thomas and Sons, Blenheim

Marcia Chang-Hong, at work at in the kitchen at Thomas and Sons. Photo credit: Peter Burge Photography

It wasn’t too long after arriving in Marlborough that word of Marcia’s skills and experience got around and she has been in hot demand ever since. Before starting at Thomas & Sons Marcia worked overtime as a freelance chef doing private dinners, as well as cooking for top wineries around the region.

Marcia was keen for a more regular and less frantic work schedule. Having said that, she’s still pretty busy with cooking in the Thomas & Sons kitchen six days a week. All of the beautiful food sold in the cafe is prepared and cooked by Marcia and everything is made from scratch, right down to the delicious chutneys and breads.

 Originally working out of commercial kitchens off-site, Marcia is now in her fifth week in the brand new in-house Thomas & Sons kitchen. It was hard working off-site as Marcia had a limited link with the cafe and was therefore also limited with what she could prepare, cook and deliver. Now being onsite she can make meals fresh and send them out straight away. She also likes being close by to see what’s working and what’s not.

The new winter menu was produced by Marcia working alongside Hamish. From the new menu Marcia is a particular fan of “Grandma Thomas’s savoury mince on toast”. While the recipe is Marcia’s, the meal and title is a nod to Tim and Hamish’s memories of their grandparents’ mince on toast specialty. Marcia also highly recommends the chicken katsu sandwich and pork banh mi rolls. “I like food to have a bit of flavour and be fresh and tasty.”

Thomas and Sons cafe, Marlborough It’s worth popping along to Thomas & Sons regularly as some treats are served only on particular days of the week. Friday, for example, is Marcia’s delicious pizza and the to-die-for chocolate brioche. “Peter, who used to be a baker, says they’re as good as you can get anywhere in the world. Better than in France even. We’re so lucky in Blenheim that we’ve got these, even if it’s only one day a week!” And don’t miss “the best donuts in the world” on Saturdays.

 

Another item not to be missed is Marcia’s carrot cake, for which she is famous all over the world. “Every time I make it people always go crazy, even if they say they don’t like carrot cake!”

We’re so lucky to have Marcia here in Marlborough – come and try the new winter menu and treat yourself to some of Marcia’s magic.

Thomas and Sons Dine in winter menu 2016