Kāpiti's foodie destination: Ruth Pretty

A visit to Ruth Pretty’s house and garden is always a special occasion




41 School Road
Te Horo




Ruth Pretty is a name synonymous with high-end catering that has a reputation for excellence all over the country. If you are in the vicinity of Te Horo, on the Kāpiti Coast, you might be lucky enough to be able to visit the beautiful country estate that Ruth and her business call home.

Set down a long driveway surrounded by green fields that open up to vegetable gardens and fruit trees, Ruth Pretty is a venue for everything from high teas and cooking classes to catering and weddings.

Learn to cook with Ruth

Most weekends throughout the year, the Ruth Pretty Cooking School entertains and educates groups with cooking ideas, recipes and tips for hosting. Often, guest presenters, including top chefs and foodie personalities, are brought in to take part and demonstrate their skills, taking attendees through each dish step by step.

Followed by a long lunch

The classes always finish with a long lunch on the verandah or at the chef’s benches where all the delicious dishes from the day are eaten and enjoyed, with matched wines available too. Everything is provided for a day of relaxed fun and inspiration - you only need to bring an appetite.

A garden high tea

Ruth’s high teas have also made a real name for themselves, with two sittings on a Sunday each month usually booked out. Delicious home-crafted items such as mini-BLT bagels, mushroom and thyme galettes with pesto, ginger kisses and vanilla panna cotta are on the menu. Along with homemade lavender lemonade, teas, coffees or bubbles and wine.

The high teas take place in the Garden Room, a rustic, light-filled space made of recycled windows and timbers, with plants and flowers in every corner and climbing up the outside. It’s peaceful and romantic, relaxing and down to earth, and a highlight in the summer months particularly.

Stroll around the garden

Walking off all the deliciousness with a stroll through the country gardens after dining is popular with visitors. The holistic view of food, and food origin, that is taken by Ruth Pretty is evident in the overflowing herb beds, fruit-laden trees, veggie patches, chicken runs and even beehives that are all on-site.

The Kitchen Shop is heaven for foodies

The last treat before leaving is a browse through Ruth’s Kitchen Shop. A treasure trove of goodies, where all the kitchen items for sale are the same as those used by the business in their commercial kitchen, ensuring quality and durability. There are plenty of quirky and stylish food-related decor items too, often with a country theme.

Whether you want to learn how to cook delicious dishes for yourself or enjoy some time in the countryside tasting the goodies made by Ruth and her team, it’s a highly enjoyable and relaxing visit, well worth the excursion.

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