New Zealand boasts a distinctive mix of cuisines which range from European-style dishes brought by Dutch settlers to traditional Maori cooking. New Zealanders also make use of dairy products from our world-renowned farms and, being a relatively small island, fish feature prominently.
It’s not just the wealth of raw ingredients. A leading international travel guide recently named Banks Peninsula as one of the top ten places to master the art of cooking like a local, facing down competition from every other city in the world. New Zealand cuisine is clearly world class.
This isn’t a type of food, but a cooking method devised by the Maori. It’s now used almost exclusively for special occasions because it involves digging a pit, heating rocks and burying the food under a heap of earth. However, you can still see them at most Maori food and culture festivals and try the results for yourself.
One of the most-loved dishes is, in fact, the humble meat pie. Beloved in Europe, it eventually made its way to New Zealand and is a common convenience food across the country. It’s best eaten with a dollop of ketchup while watching a rugby match. There’s even a national pie competition.
New Zealand is renowned for its farms and green pastures, so it’s no surprise that lamb features heavily in many of the more expensive restaurants. Whether it’s sugar-glazed and roasted according to European tradition or cooked with chicken fern Maori-style, there’s something for everyone.
If you think of Pavlova, chances are you’ll think of Russia before you think of New Zealand. However, despite being named after a Russian ballet dancer, the evidence is mounting that this dish of crunchy and soft meringue was a New Zealand creation. Fresh fruit is often used as topping and the most obvious one is the kiwifruit, named after the famous bird.
Wine & Beer
New Zealand is emerging as a force to be reckoned with in wine production. There are two major annual wine festivals, each attracting over 8000 guests. The wines range from cheap to vintages for which you might have to get out either your credit card or charge card.
Australians have a reputation for being beer-lovers, but New Zealand is not far behind despite being much smaller. Beervana Beer Festival features both large breweries and microbrews.