When we spoke with Nigel, he had just been in Queenstown and was driving to Twizel for some fishing, hoping to catch some rainbow trout or salmon. Living the South Island dream as they say. Image by Cancer Society Canterbury-West Coast Nigel Heney is the owner of Columbus Coffee in Ashburton, part of a nationwide chain of stores that offers an environment that’s a bit more homely and peaceful than your average coffee chain. Coming out of the Covid-19 lockdown, Nigel wanted to try something different as a way of delighting customers returning to the store. A venison pie isn’t your usual menu item, especially in a cafe setting, and so Nigel thought to give it a go and after testing a few different recipes, he landed upon the Venison Pot Pie. The inspiration for putting venison on the menu came through a personal friendship. Kerry, General Manager at Mountain River Processors, has known Nigel for quite a while through their shared passion for golf and fishing. But what about the main event; the pie itself? Nigel says ‘It’s been amazing! We’ve sold 80-90 in the first few weeks! The feedback from customers has been fantastic too’. Nigel then goes on to describe the pie. ‘The flavors are beautiful’ he says. The pie consists of venison, onion, bacon red wine, Speights, carrot and pumpkin all boiled together in a big pot, after browning the meat, and wrapped up in a lovely pastry. So no doubting that it tastes gorgeous with that combination of ingredients. And it’s not just Nigel. He says customers have been commenting on the flavour and the tenderness of the meat. All in all, this is one of those times where Nigel took a punt on a brand new recipe as a way to add something different to Ashburton’s dining options. And as he tells it, choosing venison has totally paid off! Thank you Nigel for sharing you and your customer’s experience with Mountain River Venison!