With an abundance of top international-quality restaurants and fresh produce, New Zealand cuisine satisfies even the most discerning palates. In the last few decades New Zealand cuisine has undergone a major renaissance. Drawing on influences from many different cultures, including indigenous Māori cuisine, New Zealand’s dining culture has emerged innovative and sophisticated.

Part of New Zealand’s secret lies in its geography. The diverse landscape means a wide variety of ingredients can be grown – so the majority of produce is locally grown. Add to that the seafood gathered from its 15,000 kilometres of coastline and you have the recipe for a special local cuisine.

New Zealand is a natural home for the fusion approach to cooking. Blending flavours from around the Pacific Rim, this vibrant style is internationally popular and Kiwi chefs such as Peter Gordon, Ben Shewry and Josh Emett have played an important role in its development. Other well-known New Zealand cooks and chefs include Annabel Langbein, Giulio Sturla, Al Brown and Steve Logan.

For visitors interested in the culinary arts, look for food and wine tours, factory/farm visits and cooking schools, while best-selling cookbooks are a great way to take a slice of New Zealand home.

To prepare a Māori hangi, a hole is dug and filled with hot stones. Baskets of food, wrapped in leaves, are placed on top and covered with earth to cook in their own steam.

Sampling The Cuisine

There’s more to sampling Kiwi cuisine than dinner in a local restaurant. Your clients can browse farmers’ markets, visit food festivals and have a go at cooking lessons!

Buying Food & Wine New Zealand cuisine dishes up delicacies ranging from cheeses, oysters and crayfish (rock lobster) to handcrafted chocolates and gourmet wines. Visitors can buy wines at the cellar door and direct from the grower at farmers’ markets around the country. The number of gourmet grocery stores is steadily increasing – every main centre has stores dedicated to the best local produce.

Cook Schools Found in all major centres, cook schools provide an insight into culinary New Zealand. Participants can learn how to cook local favourites, match food and wine, and find out about indigenous ingredients! Renowned schools include Ruth Pretty Cooking School just north of Wellington and the Akaroa Cooking School on Banks Peninsula (near Christchurch).

Restaurants, Cafés & Bars

Every city and small town has its own iconic eateries and bars, showcasing the best of New Zealand food and wine. Your clients may dine at the waterfront in Wellington or Auckland, indulge at a Christchurch winery or unwind in a Queenstown lakefront restaurant. Local pubs offer great atmosphere, while top restaurants such as Auckland’s The Sugar Club, Wellington’s Logan Brown and Christchurch’s Roots Restaurant offer world-class cuisine and service.

The Sugar Club (Auckland) www.skycityauckland.co.nz/restaurants/the-sugar-club/

Logan Brown (Wellington) www.loganbrown.co.nz

Roots Restaurant (Christchurch) www.rootsrestaurant.co.nz