Where to eat in New Zealand

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Sampling the local fare is an important itinerary inclusion for many destinations, and New Zealand is no exception. With top-drop vineyards and a passionate brewing industry prominent on the country’s wining-dining radar, it only makes sense to offer a menu of epicurean proportions to match.

Food festivals promise a feast for the senses

There are dozens of New Zealand food and wine festivals on the menu season to season, bringing together the best artisans in the region and highlighting favourite local flavours with a side serve of live entertainment. Autumn brings with it the Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival, while the West Coast celebrates "wild foods" in March and craft beers are cheered on at the New Zealand Beer Festival in Auckland. Visa’s Wellington on a Plate fills the capital city with premier culinary delights, while FAWC (the Food and Wine Classic) in Hawke’s Bay encourages an all-round foodie experience with barbecues, fruit picking and the constant clinking of wine glasses.

Fish and chips with a twist

A tradition brought over by English forebears, New Zealanders are fond of a classic fish and chips lunch or dinner. But aside from crispy crumbed fish and beer-battered chips enjoyed al fresco by the bay, New Zealand’s marine menu is wonderfully extensive. Traced by some 14,000 kilometres of coastline, NZ is prime seafood territory and serves up freshly caught Malborough green-lipped mussels, Bluff oysters, whitebait, scallops, shellfish and lobster. Wash down your seafood smorgasbord with a refreshing Lemon & Paeroa (L&P) – a uniquely New Zealand soft drink made from lemon juice and mineral water.

Something for the sweet tooth

New Zealand is home to a few iconic sweet treats, some of which might surprise you with their South Pacific origins. Though its heritage is hotly contented by Australia, New Zealanders love a Pavlova and have deemed it their national dessert – meringue topped with fresh cream and fruit, including the iconic fuzzy green kiwifruit. Hokey pokey ice cream (vanilla ice cream with lumps of honeycomb toffee) is also a favourite when dessert rolls around, as well as Jaffas – chocolate balls covered in a hard orange-flavoured coating. If you’re visiting Dunedin in July, you can watch tens of thousands of Jaffas rolling down the impossibly steep Baldwin Street as part of the annual Cadbury Chocolate Carnival.

Cheese, wine and all things divine

Alongside award-winning wineries, NZ churns out world-class cheese – blue, vintage, soft, sharp, creamy, handmade, goats milk, they’ve got it all. Brands like Kapiti, Whitestone, Kaimai, Over the Moon and Puhoi Valley are top-shelf dairy labels to look out for if you’re putting together an afternoon antipasto. Visitors are awarded plenty of opportunities to “dine with the vine” in New Zealand” as well, with many wineries hosting on-site restaurants to complements their varietals. As you eat your way across Aotearoa, you will find most restaurants base their menus around the local seasonal produce, ensuring your taste of New Zealand is always an enjoyable one.