The Hawke's Bay is a mecca for excellent food and wine. With great year-round weather, food and drink events and weekly farmers markets, Hawke's Bay is one region you won't go hungry in.
Here are our top things for food lovers to do in Napier and Hawke's Bay.
Over thirty cellar doors(opens in new window) restaurants are scattered around Napier, Havelock, Hastings, Bridge Pa and Te Awanga areas. Featuring sharing platters, venison and seafood, the menu at Crab Farm Winery(opens in new window) is a favourite among locals and the open fire and live music set the scene. Established in 1851 by French missionaries, The Mission Estate(opens in new window) is the oldest winery in New Zealand. Often the venue of choice for international music concerts, Mission Restaurant also draws in the crowds with their unique culinary delights. Starting with a champagne sunset at Te Mata Peak, the Twilight Odyssey Progressive Winery Dinner(opens in new window) takes you on a 3 -5 course degustation experience at 3 different local wineries.
When it comes to fine dining, the Hawke's Bay region will exceed your expectations. No two days are the same at multi-award winning Pacifica Restaurant(opens in new window) - the five-course degustation menu changes daily and with an intimate setting of just 30 seats, you need to book in advance. Focusing on a 'paddock to plate' philosophy, The Mangapapa Kitchen(opens in new window) create gourmet dishes - the Trust the Chef five-course dining experience is a creative feast not to be missed. Inspired by local seasonal delicacies, the exquisite menu at Craggy Range Restaurant(opens in new window) is paired with the finest Craggy Range wines, and matched with serene vineyard views.
Known as ''The Fruit Bowl of New Zealand", Hawke's Bay is one of the main producers of stone fruit. During summer, Golden Queen peaches, yellow fleshed nectarines, apricots and Black Doris plums can be found for sale at road-side stalls. Try a real berry ice-cream or fruit picking (PYO) in summer, specialties are raspberries(opens in new window), strawberries(opens in new window) and blueberries(opens in new window) straight from the farm. Delicious Hawke's Bay apples and pears are harvested in autumn. Foraging for truffles and mushrooms is a highlight during the winter months and loads of fun.
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(opens in new window) (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!
Open every Sunday morning, the Hawke's Bay Farmers Market(opens in new window) in Hastings is the ultimate place to stock up on locally grown produce. Seasonal goods include creamy Hass avocados, berries, grapes, watermelons, asparagus, feijoas, walnuts, and nashi pears. Saturday mornings in central Napier are bustling with the Napier Urban Farmers Market(opens in new window). Available at the markets year-round, you can find olive oils, honeycomb, breads, herbal teas and coffee. Also, chocolate, kombucha, freshly squeezed fruit juices, organic meat and cheeses. Open every Saturday morning during summer, The Growers Market at Black Barn Vineyard(opens in new window) is a relaxed market experience with loads of summer produce and the chance to meet the local growers. So, take your reusable shopping bags and head to the markets!
Hire a bike and buckle up your helmet. The Hawke's Bay Trails(opens in new window) are a network of cycle trails which link between Napier, Hastings and the greater Hawke's Bay area. Passing through wineries and vineyards, this is the ultimate way for active-foodies to taste their way around the region. Ranging from Cycling Grades 1 to 3(opens in new window), the cycle paths are suitable for beginner to intermediate riders. For a relaxing getaway, spend the night at a boutique accommodation or local farm stay. Stop in at the many wineries along the way(opens in new window), and sample world-famous chardonnays, Bordeaux-style red wines and delicious syrah. Beer lovers, make sure you stop in at Roosters Craft Brewery(opens in new window). Hire your bike and gear from Napier Bike Hire & Tours(opens in new window), Good Fun Bike Rides(opens in new window), or Coastal Wine Cycles(opens in new window).
Eat and drink like a local at the many unique eateries in the Napier area. Known for their quirky donut creation, Mister D Dining(opens in new window) bake fresh donuts which you can inject with your chosen flavours. With vibrant decor and quirky furniture, The Lounge(opens in new window) at Emporium Eatery & Bar is a welcoming room within the Art Deco Masonic Hotel, complete with an extensive drinks list. At Bistronomy(opens in new window), the menu's change seasonally to feature the finest local produce set in a relaxed, homely atmosphere.
Time to stock up the pantry. Products on sale at Black Barn Kitchen(opens in new window) are produced no more than 20 kilometres away, it doesn't get more local than that! Complete your grazing table or platter with some gourmet fig compote or dried figs from Te Mata Figs(opens in new window). Impress your dinner guests with olive oil and hemp seed dukkah from Telegraph Oil(opens in new window). Made into every condiment you could image, St Andrews Limes(opens in new window) are bursting with zesty flavour, try their saffron and lime dressing. Handcrafted chocolates and creamy fudge can be found at (opens in new window)Silky Oak Chocolates(opens in new window). And of course, don't forget your Hawke's Bay wines.