Food glorious food. We don’t know about you, but we love everything about food. Eating it. Talking about it. Talking about eating it. Food takes up at least 87% of our daily conversations in the office and here in New Zealand, we are blessed with an abundance of wonderful and delicious foods.

A nation’s food is integral to its identity, its people, and its culture. But what is your favourite food from New Zealand?

Let’s GO on a food journey, and sample what New Zealand has to offer.

The Land of Milk and Honey

With its fertile land, pristine oceans and temperate climate, New Zealand has long been recognised as a land of natural abundance.  It is quite literally ‘the land of milk and honey’, with dairy and honey dominating our export markets.  But don’t worry, we New Zealanders don’t export all of the good stuff, and there is plenty to indulge on.

1.      Cheese

 

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You only have to drive 30 minutes north of central Auckland to sample some of New Zealand’s best artisan cheeses.  Whether you linger for the rich buttery flavour of a creamy brie, or you long for the flavours of a feisty blue, Puhoi Valley Café and Cheese Store has something to tempt your tastebuds.

2.      Hokey Pokey Ice-Cream


This delicious ice-cream flavour is a kiwi favourite.  Rich vanilla ice-cream, bursting with nuggets of honeycomb.  When visiting Hawkes Bay, a visit to Rush Munro’s Ice Cream Gardens is a must!  This locally owned ice creamery is the oldest in New Zealand, serving up freshly churned Hokey Pokey every day of the week.

3.      Honey


Don’t miss the opportunity to sample New Zealand’s largest selection of 100% pure New Zealand and manuka honey.  The Huka Honey Hive in Taupo not only allows free tastings but has live displays to view the bees in action! Even if you’re not planning a trip to Taupo, there are plenty of places throughout New Zealand to satisfy you honey craving and if in doubt, your local supermarket will have a good selection.

Greener Pastures

With lush green pastures, fresh air and sunshine, New Zealand provides the best environment for rearing grass-fed livestock.  Pastoral farming is New Zealand’s largest industry, so naturally, New Zealanders enjoy tucking into a juicy steak or tender roast.

4.      Lamb


If there is one food that people typically associate with New Zealand, it’s lamb and there is nowhere more appropriate to enjoy mouth-watering lamb shanks, than in the original Speight’s Ale House in Dunedin.  The pub provides the perfect cosy spot to enjoy the belly-warming meal, which they recommend washing down with a glass of their Porter. You will find lamb on most menus up and down the country and no matter how it’s cooked, you’re in for a treat.

5.      Beef


Go no further than Auckland’s Jervois Steak House to sample a perfectly cooked steak of Wakanui beef.  The best Angus and Hereford cattle are reared free from antibiotics and hormones, providing a truly premium product. Beef is right up there with lamb in terms of popularity here in New Zealand and during the summer months, beef becomes even more popular with Kiwis as an absolute staple on the summer BBQ.

The Ocean’s Bounty

A bounty of seafood is harvested from New Zealand’s cool, clean waters.  Proudly, New Zealand is a world leader in its approach to sustainable and environmentally friendly fishing practices.  There is a lengthy list of delicious ocean delights, but here are a few local favourites:

6.      Crayfish


A delicacy, but here in New Zealand, locals prefer to catch it, cook it simply, and eat it with their fingers.  This deliciously succulent crustacean has a delicate and slightly sweet flavour.  Eat it like the locals do, at Kaikoura’s Nin’s Bin.  This quintessentially kiwi family business has been catching crayfish for three generations.  They cook and serve their catch from their iconic roadside caravan to commuters travelling to or from Kaikoura, on State Highway 1.  Check it out, it’s a must!

7.      Green Lipped Mussels

 

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Native to New Zealand, green lipped mussels are one of the largest varieties.  Rather than harvesting them freshly from the New Zealand shorelines, most locals opt to pluck these plump and juicy molluscs from live tanks in the local supermarket.  A tasty treat after a long drive. If you don’t fancy cooking them yourself, Havelock, a small town located at the top of the South Island on the shores of the Marlborough Sounds, is widely regarded as the mussel capital of the world. The Mussel Pot is one of the best places in Havelock to sample green lipped mussels, so give it a go when you’re next in town.

8.      Fish and Chips


Fish and chips in New Zealand are all about that fish.  To sample the best, simply make your way to any coastal town, stop a friendly local and ask them where you might find the best ‘fush & chups’ (that’s kiwi for ‘fish & chips’).  Follow your recommendation and ask the staff what the fresh catch of the day is.  Order and enjoy. If you want to know where to find New Zealand’s best fish and chips, make sure you check out our blog and discover where to find the best fish and chips in New Zealand, from Akaroa to  Mangonui.

Vegans, Fear You Not!

Thankfully, New Zealand is so much more than its amazing animal produce, with the horticultural industry growing over $6 billion worth of produce each year.

Many small towns in New Zealand will be best known for the crops they are famous for growing.  In true kiwi style, such towns will often erect a statue or open a theme park in the name of their famous fruits and vegetables.  Here are a few of our favourites:

9.      Ohakune Carrots


Ohakune is a small town located on the southern slopes of Mount Ruapehu. Since the 80s, Ohakune has grown two-thirds of the nation’s carrots, earning it the title of ‘Carrot Capital of New Zealand’.  How better to commemorate this, than with a giant carrot statue.

10.  Kiwifruit Country


Participants can experience the wonders of New Zealand’s rock star fruit, the kiwi fruit, during a tour of this real-life working kiwifruit orchard.  After being driven around the orchard in their kiwi fruit-shaped carts, you can sample some of the fresh produce in their tasing rooms.

11.  Cromwell Fruit Sculpture


The North Island’s Hawkes Bay has long proclaimed itself “the fruit bowl of New Zealand’, but the South Island’s Cromwell challenged this in the 1980s when they erected a giant fruit sculpture.  You’ve got to love that kiwi sense of humour!

Summary

New Zealanders are ethnically diverse, enjoying many different cultural backgrounds, but when it comes to food, we share a common ground.  We enjoy delicious and quality homegrown seasonal food.  As you can see, food is an integral part of our identity, and we can’t wait to share it with you!