Marlborough - fabulous food stops out and about in famous wine country

The world knows about Marlborough sauvignon blanc, but there are also some wonderful food treasures in this area...

Here’s a region where hectares of fertile river valleys and plains are matched with just the right climate for New Zealand’s world famous cool climate wine varietals to thrive.  Yes, it’s Marlborough, the exalted home of sauvignon blanc, in the north eastern corner of New Zealand’s South Island.  And beyond those stunning hectares of vineyards, there’s more to delight - amazing coastlines, bustling towns, and mountainous ranges.  There’s certainly much to offer the traveller on the move.

For many, it is hard to go past the delights that await travellers in search of that true New Zealand wine experience.  But here, in among or oh-so-close by those beautiful and expansive vineyards, you can also celebrate New Zealand’s fine food.  You’ll find, tucked away, everything from special formal dining through to spot on classic pie shops and bakeries.  A little bit of something for everybody, thumbs up all round.

Take it from the top

Starting from the top…  Marlborough, at its northern point, welcomes travellers arriving from the north by road.  You’ll roll your car off the Cook Strait vehicle and passenger ferry, finding your bearings in a bustling town, a transport hub linking New Zealand’s two main islands.  This town of Picton occupies a pretty spot, right by the head of the Queen Charlotte Sound.  And with a classic bakery close by, there’s every chance to take in some of that special scenery with a picnic of kiwi classics on board. 

Secluded bays and waterways, picnic perfection

The Queen Charlotte Sound (Totaranui), together with Kenepuru and Pelorus Sounds (Te Hoiere) - the three main inlets in the intricate maze of waterways that make up the Marlborough Sounds - are strikingly beautiful New Zealand locales.  Ancient long fingerlike waterways are surrounded by sloping valley hillsides, created as the sea flooded river valleys thousands of years ago.  Secluded bays and coves, sheltered waterways, and a gorgeous natural environment await.  Picnic perfection.  And just the spot for a walk, a swim, or a kayak too.

Eating local

Staying north, and winding along the coast a little further west, you’ll hit the green shell mussel capital of the world.  There’s more on this delightful town here, and the shellfish delicacy it is famous for, one of the country’s largest single species of seafood exports, here.  Yes, it’s another moment to remember, that lucky chance to experience the home of the food, an “eating local” opportunity that is second to none.

And more besides

And then, of course, you venture just a little further south, and there it is.  Wine country.  Row upon row upon row upon row of New Zealand’s stunning grapevines - Marlborough as a region accounts for over 70 percent of our wine production. 

The town of Blenheim sits as the hub of this region, the most populous centre.  And it’s here where those winery experiences can be complemented with other delicious and classic New Zealand food moments…  specialty food stores and gourmet grocers, artisan producers, and classic cafes…  yes, and there’s that pie shop we mentioned too…

To take away

From the Marlborough travels, there’s a classic regional dish for you to try, gathering up the ingredients as you go…  local clams, famous sauvignon blanc, local pine nuts and greens.  Delicious.

And for more…

For more on The FoodPath NZ’s handpicked eateries and artisans, for our collection of spot on New Zealand food moments, download our 'New Zealand Food Trail Guides' app for iPhone or Android.

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