Enjoy gourmet food, great wine and entertainment at the many food and wine festivals in New Zealand.
Fill your calendar with these 10 tasty wine and food festivals. Make sure you plan ahead - most sell out quickly.
1. Bluff Oyster and Food Festival, Southland
About as far south as you can go, without getting to Stewart Island, the small port-town of Bluff is know as "The pearl of the South". Famous across the world for it's palm sized creamy oysters, Bluff proudly hosts the annual Bluff Oyster and Food Festival(opens in new window). There are also other New Zealand seafood available along with fresh salmon and blue cod. The oysters are ready to harvest for the event in winter so grab your hat, scarf and a winter coat for an event filled day of live music, along with oyster shucking and eating competitions.
It's 'all hands on deck' for the months of June and November, as Hawke's Bay locals come together to accommodate the masses! The annual Food and Wine Classic event (better known as F.A.W.C), showcases the very best of Hawke's Bay food and drink. Restaurants, food trucks and eateries set the bar high, serving gourmet cuisine affectionately prepared by established chefs. Breweries, cideries and wineries tease your taste buds with superb liquid creations. Book early, experiences sell out fast!
Each year, an entire month is dedicated to EAT.TASTE.CENTRAL. This gourmet food and drink event is proudly hosted by Central Otago local cafes, restaurants and cellar doors who create exceptional dishes that take your taste buds to another level. Get your EAT.TASTE.CENTRAL passport online to see which eateries are participating. Next, taste your way through the meal categories at each venue. As established chefs plate-up their new creations, you can vote for your favourites. A month of gourmet food, matched with Central Otago pinot noir and other New Zealand wines, is sure to be a 'foodies' heaven!
Each year over 60 of the best New Zealand wineries share their best creations with the crowd at Winetopia(opens in new window). It's not just about wine tasting, get hands on with a 40 minute wine masterclass with expert winemakers and sommeliers. Or, learn some new wine making tricks at the educational talks with industry professionals.
Celebrating the unique food and drink of the West Coast, the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival is unlike any other food festival. One minute you could be feasting on suculent New Zealand lamb and venison, the next minute you're trying crocodile bites, possum pies and deep fried pigs ears! You'll need to be adventurous to sample the locals' culinary creations. Are you brave enough to try huhu grubs?
One of New Zealand’s most popular seafood events, the Whitianga Oceans Festival (formally known as the Whitianga Scallop Festival) sees many food stalls turning out mouth-watering dishes. Entertainment from famous New Zealand performers and seafood cooking demonstrations by iconic New Zealand chefs help round out the exceptional scallop and other seafood celebration.
7. Marlborough Food and Wine Festival, Marlborough
New Zealands longest running food and wine event, the annualMarlborough Food and Wine Festivaltakes place on the second Saturday in February. Showcasing the very best wines from over 30 local wineries, the event is the best way to indulge in Marlborough sauvignon blanc. As food trucks line up in Food Truck Alley, make your way through to sample gourmet street food creations from local cooks and established chefs. Talented musicians create the relaxing atmosphere the event is known for.
Eat and drink your way around the Wellington region for four weeks during the Visa Wellington on a Plate(opens in new window) (also known as W.O.A.P) event each August. You'll be served some wild and wacky (and equally delicious) burger creations, quirky cocktail creations, degustation dinners, wines and melt in your mouth chocolates and more. Get hands on and attend a cooking class or try locally produced craft beers at Beervana(opens in new window).
Martinborough(opens in new window)’s picturesque setting has been a major drawcard for wine-lovers since the festival started in 1992. There’s no better time to try the region's best wines than at Toast Martinborough(opens in new window), when top-flight Martinborough wineries team up with some of the region’s best chefs and musicians to offer a fully immersive and indulgent experience to suit all tastes. Get your tickets early, they sell out fast!
10. North Canterbury Wine and Food Festival, Canterbury
Attracting visitors from all over New Zealand and overseas, theNorth Canterbury Wine and Food Festivalshowcases the very best of Waipara Valley wine and food. Taking place during summer under the shade of old oak trees, local musicians and performers entertain the 4,000 festival lovers. The festival is less than one hours drive from both Christchurch and Hanmer Springs. Book your tickets to ''the coolest little wine festival'' in New Zealand.