New Zealand Embassy Beijing, China
Wine and food
- There are 10 major wine-producing areas in New Zealand. Marlborough is famed for its sauvignon blanc, Gisborne for its chardonnay, and Central Otago and Martinborough for pinot noir and pinot gris. Auckland’s Waiheke Island is home to Stonyridge Larose, one of the top 20 cabernet blends in the world.
- Hawke’s Bay, which has New Zealand’s highest sunshine hours is internationally renowned for its bold cabernets. Hawke’s Bay is home to more than 30 wineries, including the oldest in the country - the Mission Vineyard, founded by the Catholic Society of Mary in 1851.
- New Zealand’s wines have won a range of prestigious international awards. Marlborough has Morton Estate’s Stone Creek sauvignon blanc, winning awards most recently at the London International Wine Challenge in September (2003).
- Central Otago is the world’s southernmost wine growing region, at Latitude 45 south – perfect for the temperamental red wine grape, pinot noir. Sam Neill may be an international man of movies but his heart is at home in New Zealand, among his grape vines in Central Otago. Neill’s vineyards produce pinot noir for his Two Paddocks label.
- New Zealand prides itself on having some of the freshest food in the world - lamb, cervena (venison), crayfish (lobster), oysters and avocados are plentiful. Kiwi cuisine is described as Pacific Rim, drawing inspiration from Europe, Asia and Polynesia.
- New Zealand has its own specialties – the Zespri gold kiwifruit (a new variety of the national fruit), green-lipped mussels, hokey pokey ice-cream and Lemon & Paeroa, a soft drink. Pavlova is to New Zealand what apple pie is to the USA.
- Kai is the Maori word for food, and New Zealand’s indigenous people traditionally cook their meals in a hangi, placing meat and vegetables on hot stones underground. Many top restaurants are now including Maori cuisine in their menus.
- New Zealand’s capital city Wellington has more food haunts per capita than New York. It has more than 300 cafes and restaurants in its inner city area, which spans only 2km (1.24 miles) in diameter.
- Actor Billy Boyd, who plays Pippin the hobbit in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, fell in love with New Zealand’s café capital Wellington. “It's got the right mix … the amount of good restaurants and good coffee shops .. and really good theatre," Boyd said.
- Every year weird and wonderful foods are tasted by the fearless at the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival, on the South Island’s West Coast. It’s an extravaganza of gourmet bushtucker offering such delights as fried locust, possum pie, scorpions and worm sushi. The festival attracts a crowd of more than 22,000.
- When tasting the delights of New Zealand cuisine just isn’t enough, visitors to the country can also learn to cook the Kiwi way. Cooking classes are becoming popular with overseas visitors, especially Catherine Bell’s Epicurean Workshop in Auckland, and Ruth Pretty’s school in the countryside north of Wellington.