Food & Wine in New Zealand

New Zealand is home to some of the best vineyards in the world. Wine producers in the Hawkes Bay, Central Otago and Marlborough regions are globally recognized for their excellence and originality, especially Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Syrah. Equally, New Zealand is increasingly becoming well known for it's organic produce, cheese, fresh seafood and boutique craft beer.

In 2014, Tourism New Zealand hosted 'High 50' magazine journalist Bennett Oliver on a food and wine tour of New Zealand, and this is what he found -

"When we think about New Zealand food, we recall lamb, sauvignon blanc and kiwi fruit. But there’s so much more to New Zealand’s food and drink: the lush terrain and fertile waters make the country a magnet for foodies.

As well as this amazing produce, the country has had a quiet dining-out revolution. While many fine-dining restaurants are available, a more informal style is now popular, taking full advantages of New Zealand’s surrounding seas and natural farmlands. 

You’ll find oysters, scallops, crayfish, green-lipped mussels, salmon, cherries and apricots in smaller towns while restaurant menus in larger cities such as Auckland and Wellington make locally-sourced ingredients their point of difference.  

There’s also a range of delis serving food for picnics: after all, no-one leaves New Zealand without having at least one meal al fresco. 

It’s all keenly priced by international standards, and augmented by many restaurants serving world cuisine, from Thai to Turkish, Japanese to Indian.  

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Pacific Rim Cuisine

Indeed, the country can also claim to be a leader in gastronomic fashion. For this is the nation that introduced fusion and ‘Pacific rim’ cuisine to the world, by way of top chef Peter Gordon.

From the 1990's and onwards, Gordon ushered in a fresh way with ingredients in new combinations, a gastronomic style that nodded to the Far East as well as to the native and European traditions. The best of New Zealand’s modern cuisine acknowledges the presence of Asia – and the influence of Maori traditional foods. 

So visitors on a self drive tour can expect to find entirely new flavors as well as old friends during their travels. From the Maori tradition comes the kumara, a kind of sweet potato cooked in earth ovens (called a ‘hangi’) alongside lamb, chicken, fish and vegetables and flavored with smoke.

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New Zealand Wines & Beers

The most casual drive around NZ will reveal many vineyards, groaning with grapes in this agreeable climate. 

But if you’re taking the night off from wine, try New Zealand’s craft beers. It’s a growing industry that has benefited from a decade-old boutique brewery movement. Many parts of New Zealand offer their own locally brewed craft beer. From Garage Project in Wellington, Epic Beer in Auckland to Twisted Hop in Christchurch. You’ll love them!

With Auckland the home to around one-third of the total population, some of the most innovative and popular restaurants are found within the city. 

This week, local magazine 'Viva' provided this update on the local bars and eateries that are getting attention from the locals. 

The team here at New Zealand Vacations can create a tailor-made New Zealand self drive tour that includes some of New Zealand's finest wineries and restaurants. Just click here if you would like to know more.

Lindsay Barron

Lindsay Barron • Jun 05, 2017