New Zealand's cuisine has been described as Pacific Rim, drawing inspiration from Europe, Asia and Polynesia. This blend of influences has created a mouth-watering range of flavours and food in cafes and restaurants nationwide. For dishes that have a distinctly New Zealand style, there's lamb, pork and venison, salmon, crayfish (lobster), oysters, paua (abalone), mussels, scallops, kumara (NZís sweet potato), kiwifruit, tamarillo and pavlova, the national dessert. New Zealand produces many wonderful cheeses.
Its distinctiveness is more in the way New Zealanders eat, generally preferring as relaxed and unaffected as possible, in keeping with the laidback Kiwi psyche.
CASUAL NEW ZEALAND CUISINE
Summer sees many eating outdoors in cafes or at barbecues - barbecues are a big part of the Kiwi culture, and typify the laid-back nature of the New Zealand people - where fare such as lamb, venison, crayfish (lobster), fresh fish and shellfish is plentiful. New Zealanders are spoilt for their choice of fresh produce, choose a world class Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay from one of the country's 376 wineries, and you have the perfect complement.
NEW ZEALAND FOOD FESTIVALS
For the outgoing and brave people who are willing to try anything, the Wild foods Festival is something you can't miss. People from New Zealand and the around the globe come to Hokitika every year to join in on this celebration of food. The 2008 festival will be held on 8 March 2008. Stalls show off all types of odd but interesting food including sheep's eyes to bug larvae, wild highland beef, curried Hoki Tikka, pesto ice-cream, mountain merino and venison tongue are all on the list of things you can try.
Wine and food festivals are held annually around New Zealand. These unique festivals bring a range of different wines and food together, highlighting how well wine can complement all sorts of different New Zealand cuisine and food.
DINE WITH THE VINE...!
Many New Zealand vineyards run restaurants as part of their business, offering world-class fare using the best local seasonal produce. These are popular eateries with tourists and locals alike, providing the opportunity to sample top New Zealand food alongside award-winning New Zealand wines. Many vineyards employ world-class chefs with extensive international experience. They utilise fresh New Zealand produce in their creations - including seafood, lamb, venison, and fruit including kiwifruit, feijoas and tamarillo.