We don’t use the word paradise lightly, as gastronomic connoisseurs land on the shores of the Long White Cloud, expectations set and stomachs rumbling – their reviews rarely fall below five stars for taste, service and atmosphere. Service and smiles abound, as the Maori culture entwines with modern trappings, placing an emphasis on the relationship between the land, sea, sky and man.
Ha-what, you may ask, unaccustomed to the delicious dishes of New Zealand’s indigenous people. It’s not a rare urchin or a strange scallop, in fact, a Hāngī itself is not a food of any kind – instead, the word refers to the traditional, below-ground ovens Maori tribes use to deliver a roast dinner unlike any other you’ve ever experienced. Before aluminium foil and wire baskets took over, prepared food was wrapped in leaves to smoke in a deep pit lined with hot stones.
So, what can you expect when dining on a buried dinner? Any combination of fish, chicken, lamb, pork, root vegetables, stuffing, cabbage and pumpkin can be included, taking between three to four hours to cook to mouth-watering perfection. Think flavoursome, melt-in-your-mouth meat and fragrant vegetables.
All New Zealand holidays demand a deep-dive into the best of the sea, as fish, mussels, scallops, oysters and crayfish vie for your favour with their flavour – sometimes without the hefty price-tag. Let the native Green Lipped Mussel tempt your tastebuds at Marlborough or the cracking crayfish of Kaikoura; arrive in time for salmon season near Mount Cook, between October and April, and add Bluff to your bucket list – the home of the finest oysters in the world. Fresh, straight from the source and destined for your plate.
Travel Tip: Take a Mussel Cruise at Marlborough and combine sampling the fruits of the sea with sight-seeing, conversation and scenery.
From Farm to Table
Farmers markets, fruit orchards and pop-up food stalls punctuate the local food scene, emphasising nature, earthy flavours and getting in on the action. Collecting your own produce is half of the adventure, learning to cook with it is another. From berries in Nelson to pears in Christchurch; apples in Cromwell and prawns in Taupo, you’ll be invited to indulge your senses on your own steam.
The Bay of Islands
Searching for an on-trend experience without losing the local authenticity? The Bay of Islands is home to a mouth-watering food market, inviting travellers and locals to rub shoulders as they sample smoked fish, homestyle breads, organic eggs, locally grown vine-ripened tomatoes and so many cheeses… a true foodie playground.
Are you tempted? Hungry? Eager to eat your way around the islands, one meal at a time? Pair your chosen courses with a wine or two, relax, enjoy and let us do the rest. Experience the gourmet food of New Zealand!