It’s no secret that some of the best food and wine in the world comes from New Zealand, but did you know there’s so much more than meets the eye… or mouth… when it comes to this delicious destination?
New Zealand has a plethora of incredible experiences to be had, and the food and wine scene are definitely one of the many things this beautiful country does very, very well.
New Zealand’s food and wine are world-class. Not only is it always fresh from the source; never being too far from the sea or green pastures, it’s Pacific influences, organics, and indigenous foods create unique experiences that passionate and innovative chefs can’t wait to share with your clients – sooner rather than later if the Trans-Tasman bubble goes ahead as planned by the end of the year.
Whatever your clients would like to eat and drink, we’re pretty confident that New Zealand will be able to wow them, wine them and dine them.
With a perfect balance of fine dining, casual outdoor meals, cellar doors, craft beer, farmers markets, Māori culture, and immersive hands-on experiences, your client’s tastebuds will be in for a treat on this indulgent adventure.
So, to get them started, we’ve put together five of the best food and wine experiences across the Tasman… with an ethical bonus as dessert.
Disclaimer: mouthwatering may occur while reading this article.
1. Seasonal seafood
If seafood is your thing… get excited!
You’re never more than 120km from New Zealand’s 15,000kms of coastline, and therefore never far from the freshest seafood delicacies such as Bluff Oysters, crayfish, green shell mussels, and whitebait patties. If you’re yet to be converted to a seafood lover but don’t want to miss out, it could be a good idea to start with the mild taste of scallops to get you going.
If you want more, Seafood festivals are held during the year too. The annual Scallop Festival is held in the Coromandel in September and the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival is held in the rustic seaside town of Bluff, each May.
2. Get on the wine trail
It’s always wine o’clock in New Zealand, and luckily for you, three of the best wine regions in the country – Hawke’s Bay, Martinborough, and Marlborough are on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail.
Choose to cycle the vines or be chauffeur driven and drop into cellar doors and lovely vineyard restaurants in abundance.
Hawke’s Bay is well-known for its Bordeaux Blends, Syrah and Chardonnay, with nearby Martinborough boasting wonderful Pinot Noir, while Marlborough has world-class Sauvignon Blanc.
If you’re worried you might get hangry and would like to combine food and wine on New Zealand’s only progressive winery dinner tour – the Twilight Odyssey is a great option. The trip takes you around several leading Hawke’s Bay wineries, course by course. Mmm…
3. Sample one, two or ten delicious craft beers
At Emerson’s in Dunedin, beer lovers can take a tour of one of New Zealand’s original brews, and Hobbits, Elves, Dwarfs, and Wizards can even find specially brewed ale Hobbiton Movie Set’s Green Dragon Inn, in Matamata.
It’s pretty much a fact that everyone adores beer.
4. CYO: Catch your own lunch
You’ve probably heard of BYO, but have you heard of CYO?
In New Zealand, you can channel your inner survivalist and go directly to the source to catch your own lunch at picturesque Anatoki Salmon Farm in Golden Bay. Once you’ve caught your Salmon, the lovely chefs will smoke it or serve it as sashimi for your lunch.
For more family foodie fun, choose to go prawn fishing at Huka Prawn Park, near Haka falls. Here, you can fish for your own prawns in freshwater ponds, then the riverside restaurant cook and serve them to you. Talk about fresh! If you fancy trout, at nearby Lake Taupo, Chris Jolly Outdoors will take you fishing – from the boat on the lake, or fly fishing in a secret river location.
For the Veggies & Vegans, maybe PYO (pick your own) is more your scene. If you visit New Zealand between December and June, you can pick your own fruit. In summer enjoy freshly picked berries and stone fruit, with pears, apples, and citrus in autumn. At Berrylands in Nelson, you can even pick your own strawberries and then blend them into ice cream at the orchard café. Berry-licious!
5. Enjoy an authentic Māori hāngī
A foodie trip to New Zealand isn’t complete without tasting the smoky flavours and communal experience of the hāngī. This indigenous “roast dinner” is cooked in the earth using hot rocks.
Hāngī experiences usually include a traditional welcome ceremony and cultural performance and can be found in Rotorua, Northland, and Christchurch.
For a more traditional experieences, visit the Whakarewarewa Living Māori Village, Tamaki Māori Village or TePuia in Rotorua.
For a more modern take on indigenous ingredients, enjoy dinner at Hiakai in Wellington, where acclaimed chef Monique Fiso creates a fine dining experience unique to Aotearoa New Zealand.
Around the world, diners are demanding more in terms of locally sourced, ethical options. New Zealand is no different, with new ethical eateries popping up all the time.
Let’s take a look at some of the trendiest and most conscious dining options in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch:
- Orphans Kitchen – local and organic produce that respects the country’s weather conditions
- Hectors – Vegan friendly using ingredients within a 50km radius
- Pasture – “nature-inspired” foraging and eating
- Hiakai – fine dining blended with Māori cooking techniques and ingredients
- Rita – offering set menus showcasing local and sustainable produce
- Zest food tour – meet passionate producers with tastings of locally produced chocolate, coffee, gelato, and more
- Twenty Seven Steps – serving hearty meals made from locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients
- C1 Espresso – growing ingredients for its kitchen in its urban organic gardens. Oh yeah, there’s also a vineyard in the forecourt and the building operates using heated waste energy from its coffee roastery and kitchen
- Gatherings – Plant-based dining celebrating Canterbury food producers and encouraging mindful eating
Yay to helping create a more sustainable planet for everyone, one scrumptious mouthful at a time.
Want to know more? Click here for more tasty New Zealand inspiration.
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