New Zealand Culinary Experience

11
Aug

Go for the Hobbits, the jaw-dropping scenery, and the super-friendly locals. But don’t forget to go to New Zealand for the food.
This tiny Pacific nation (its two islands total less than half the size of Manitoba) punches way above its weight when it comes to the pleasure of the table. Imagine discovering the same New Zealand treats you’d find in a high-end supermarket here in Canada – fresh lamb, delicious cheeses and more – on their home turf!

As New Zealand is surrounded by the ocean, it’s no surprise that seafood is hugely popular. Treats include oysters, mussels, snapper and abalone – which New Zealanders call paua.

Not surprisingly, lamb is big on the menu too. With a population of just 4 ½ million people and 30 million sheep, sheep farming is big business. (Hint: this also means New Zealand produces beautiful woollen goods. The merino wool sweaters, scarves and so on aren’t cheap but they are undeniably beautiful and will last forever.)

The country’s British traditions linger on in many corners of the culture, including the self-indulgent deliciousness of high tea, an afternoon event of tea, sandwiches, cakes and more, served in many hotels.

But don’t forget that here in the Pacific, Asian food is hugely popular and there are some 900 Asian restaurants featuring cuisine from all around the Pacific’s west coast.

Vegetarians and vegans will be made to feel at home and the island’s strong farm-to-table movement can be enjoyed at countless restaurants, bistros and cafes. If you can, take in a farmer’s market to get to chat with a local about his or her produce.

As well as the famous kiwi – such a part of New Zealand life that kiwi is the nickname for a New Zealander – the orchards and fields provide a delicious array of apples and berries, avocadoes and asparagus.

If all this talk of delicious food makes you thirsty, you won’t have trouble finding somewhere to sip your favourite drink. As well as pubs galore, the country has a burgeoning wine industry with sauvignon blancs and chardonnays leading the pack. Or if caffeine is more your tipple, be sure to try a flat white (or as the locals pronounce it, a “flet whot”) – a South Pacific latte.