Seafood lovers will be flocking to the Coromandel in September to indulge in dishes created using fresh New Zealand scallops, washed down with lashings of beer and wine at one of New Zealand’s favourite seafood events, the Whitianga Scallop Festival.
Scallops are highly prized as a food source the world over; the subtle, uniquely flavoured meat is a delicacy in many countries and there are many ways to enjoy the tasty little morsels. Ever since the Goddess Venus rode ashore on a half-scallop, the fan-shaped shells with their radiating fluted patterns have been valued by shell collectors and used as motifs in heraldry, art and design.
The Whitianga Scallop Festival has been held annually since 2005 to celebrate the delicious little mollusk during a heady weekend of superb food, fine wines, boutique beer and loads of fun. Entertainment includes live music, seafood cooking classes and chef demonstrations, held inside a purpose-built marquee-village overlookingWhitiangaHarbour. Local venues and cafés hold events and theme nights in the four fringing days.
The festival will be held at Whitianga Marina Reserve, The Esplanade, Whitianga, on Saturday 15th September between10amand5pm, with spin off events held throughout the weekend.
Adult Admission: $40.00 (door sales $50)
Child / Teen Admission – Ages 6 – 17 years: $10.00
Children 5 years and under: free
Whitianga is a little over two hours drive from either Auckland Airport or Tauranga, following State Highway 25 to Tairua Road/SH 25, then follow it for 54km to Whitianga. The turnoff to the reserve will be on your right.
Accommodation is available to suit all budgets and tastes, and there are plenty of activities around the peninsula, including forest walks, camping, kayaking, sailing and fishing. The Coromandel is also home to many artists, and some great bargains can be picked up at the many galleries and markets throughout the region.
Other kiwi food and wine festivals include Auckland Seafood Festival in January, the Havelock Mussel Festival and Hokitika WildFoods Festival in March, Bluff Oyster and Food Festival in May, and the Kaikoura Seafest in October.