Eat Your Way Around New Zealand
What’s the best way to get to know the country that you’re in? Eat your way around it, of course...
People want to taste where they are when they travel,” says Shaun Clouston, a native New Zealander and Head Chef/Partner at award-winning Wellington-based restaurant Logan Brown, which has just turned 20. “And we love to share our culture and our craft. We celebrate fresh local flavours from ethical producers.”
New Zealand’s lush landscape and varied climate creates some of the richest, most mouth-watering ingredients on the planet. “Our lamb is bred and pasture-fed close to the coast on the southern part of the North Island, where the westerly breeze deposits salt spray. This has a real effect on the tenderness and flavour. The pasture the lambs eat is a combination of rye grass, chicory and clover. It’s rocket fuel for them, and the final result is stunning.”
And while Wellington has always been New Zealand’s culinary capital – and lamb its most treasured export – there’s a burgeoning food scene in other parts of the country too. “Our cuisine is young and exciting,” says Shaun. “It’s great that people are starting to take notice.” Here are some of New Zealand’s best bites…
This simple vanilla ice cream with solid lumps of honeycomb toffee is, simply put, heaven. Have your first taste at Island Gelato in Oneroa where natural flavours rule supreme. Owner Ana Schwarz says: “I never add extra sugar or artificial flavours and colours.”
These New Zealand natives grow in the cold, clean waters of the Foveaux Strait, between Stewart Island and the South Island. “Bluff in the south are much better than the same fish caught in the waters off the North Island. It’s to do with what the fish are eating, temperature and water salinity,” says Shaun. Oyster-harvest season runs from March until June.
With a mild flavour and creamy texture, you won’t find this indigenous shellfish anywhere else in the world. Head to 90 Mile Beach near Pukenui to try them in fritters served from food trucks along the coast. And if you’re feeling adventurous, grab a bucket and try foraging for your own.
The flat white
Seek out Manuka Brothers’ Coffee in Hamilton, where beans roast over the embers of Manuka wood, creating a distinctive, sweet flavour.
In Whitestone, grass-fed cows graze on limestone soil that gives them a uniquely flavoured, rich milk. “The proof is in the taste,” says Whitestone Cheese Co.’s Simon Berry. The area is also renowned for world-class wine. “Central Otago Pinot Noir is my personal favourite,” he says.
Why not try 20 days exploring the best New Zealand has to offer on our Best of Both Islands Journey, from £3,099pp? That’s a lot of lamb. Make an appointment with one of our Travel Experts to find out more.