The New Zealand food is just another reason to treat yourself to a New Zealand vacation. If you had to pick one word to describe New Zealand food, you might go with fresh. But alas, so many more choice adjectives could be used all the same. Delicious and unforgettable also come to mind. It's not only the food that makes New Zealand dining such a pleasure, though that would surely suffice. The wine here is also about as good as it gets, and as any gastronomical fanatic knows, should you pair a good dish with a good wine, it can make for a monumental affair. Food is special for New Zealanders, and they take pride in their ingredients. Lucky for them, all they could ever want grows practically right outside their doors. Great New Zealand restaurants can be found all over the country, and they represent not only native influences, but also those taken from the many immigrant groups that have taken up residence in this beautiful land.
You may have heard that there are more sheep than people in New Zealand, and it is true. What does that mean? Plenty of rack of lamb to enjoy. For those that like seafood, New Zealand's waters provide a rich bounty. In the waters near Nelson, for example, you can find bay scallops, oysters, trout and salmon. Coincidentally, the trout fishing in New Zealand is some of the best, so anglers will want to book a fishing trip to snare these large beauties. At Lake Taupo, you can take your catch of the day to one of the local restaurants to have them prepare it for you. Doesn't get much fresher than that. The fruits and vegetables grown in New Zealand certainly make it into the dishes of many a chef here, and among other entries, you'll find tasty yams, sweet potatoes, tamarillos, and kiwi fruits. Just be sure not to confuse the kiwi fruit with the kiwi bird, which is the country's national symbol. You don't have to be daring by any means to try the New Zealand food. In fact, it's quite the opposite, as you'll more than likely find yourself having to exercise a certain amount of restraint. For the more daring culinary crusaders, you can still go down some odd New Zealand food avenues. Bug larvae and sheep's eyes are good for starters.
New Zealand traditional food has its roots in the Maori and European cultures. The Maori were the first to settle these lands, with European settlers arriving later. While the Maori brought with them various food plants from their Polynesian islands, these did not fare well in New Zealand. Thus, they turned to the fernroot and native animal species like the extinct moa. Huhu grubs often made the menu for the Maori, as did the native marine life. These days, you can still experience a hangi, which is a traditional Maori earth-oven meal consisting of meat and vegetables. Perhaps the best place to do so is in Rotorua. New Zealand traditional food of the Maori was often seasoned in interesting ways. Salmon flavored with New Zealand tea tree honey and kelp enhanced with dried algae are just two examples of this.
When the Europeans first arrived, they brought their culinary influences, helping move New Zealand traditional food in another direction. The Europeans brought pork and potatoes, and their potato varietals quickly did well. In the New Zealand city of Dunedin, Scottish settlers were influential in the food scene. You can still get haggis in Dunedin today should you be interested. Colonial goose is a traditional New Zealand dish inspired by early Colonial pioneers, and it's often featured at festivals and other special events. Colonial goose actually doesn't employ goose, but lamb instead. A leg of lamb is stuffed with dried apricots, honey, breadcrumbs, chives, parsley, and onions. After marinating in a red wine sauce, it's off to be cooked. Pork, beef, and venison are often featured at top New Zealand restaurants, though roast lamb seems to reign supreme for the most part. Most commonly, carrots, potatoes, and fresh peas accompany it. When you head to the various New Zealand restaurants, you'll enjoy a food scene that is still pretty much developing. Recent Asian influences are seeing more precedence, and fast food eateries are becoming more popular. At the fine-dining institutions, New Zealand chefs are creating their own dishes using all the fresh and handy ingredients found here. Among the more curious New Zealand foods is what's known as a Pavlova. Named after Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballet dancer, it is a meringue dessert that is crusty on the outside and topped most often with whipped cream and fresh, tart fruits.
You'll surely have to savor some of the New Zealand wines when you are here. New Zealand dining definitely benefits from the quality of the varietals produced here, perhaps the most renowned of which is the Marlborough region's Sauvignon Blanc. Quality red wines are produced in the Auckland region and the Bay of Islands, and plenty of chic chardonnays from all over make the cut. Wine tours in New Zealand are a good way to sample some of the local product, and you can of course order a bottle with dinner at any number of New Zealand restaurants. New Zealand is very much a laid-back country, and for the most part, this extends into the New Zealand restaurants. It's all about enjoying the enjoyment of good food, good friends, and good times. You might not be coming to New Zealand exclusively for the food, but chances are good that you might return one day because of it.