New Zealand, A Land of Culinary Wealth
May 17, 2010
A whirlwind two weeks in New Zealand left us both invigorated and exhausted. Between the incredible, product-driven cuisine and the adrenaline-filled activities there was barely a moment to spare to catch our breath and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
With such an abundance of extraordinary local produce, fish, protein, and wine it’s no surprise that the culinary scene in New Zealand is thriving. Chefs are taking full advantage of the natural bounty to create dishes that highlight all the remarkable ingredients they have to work with.
Sustainability in New Zealand is far more than a buzz word—it’s just the way things are done. Even salmon farming, which has been met with great controversy in other parts of the world, is practiced with eco-consciousness and awareness in most of New Zealand—and you can taste the difference. To read more about the debate and the pros and cons of farmed fish, check out our feature on New Zealand King Salmon, based on our visit to the Clay Point Salmon Farm.
Venison has been a flourishing industry since the 1960s and we were able to see first hand at our visit to Firstlight Deer Farm in Hastings. A collection of 35 primarily Māori farms, Firstlight supplies venison and wagyu beef to discerning chefs and consumers. Check it out for yourself with video from our rugged pick-up truck tour of the farm.
We were able to spend some time with gregarious Chef Al Brown, co-owner of Logan Brown and star of Kiwi television series Hunger for the Wild, in his home test-kitchen. Watch what he prepared for us and learn more about his passion for sourcing the freshest seafood.
Merediths in Auckland is reason enough to visit New Zealand. Chef Michael Meredith is soft-spoken and incredibly thoughtful with elegant, polished food and out-of-the box flavor pairings. Read more about his background plus watch a video interview and check out some recipes in our chef feature.
Chefs in New Zealand are highlighting their spectacular ingredients with beautiful presentation to match. Particularly noteworthy were Chefs Michael Meredith of Merediths, Marco Edwardes of Te Whau, Des Harris of Clooney, and Leyton Ashley of Terroir. Take a look at their colorful, inviting dishes in our latest edition of On the Plate.
And a visit to New Zealand wouldn’t be complete without stops at some of the regions great wineries. Rob Hay, owner of Chard Farm Winery in Central Otago, talked with us about his practices and showed us his recently renovated vineyards of Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Gris. Tour the vineyard by watching our video from Chard Farm Winery.
Many of the wineries in New Zealand conveniently also have excellent restaurants, like Amisfield Bistro and Winery, Terroir at Craggy Range, and Te Whau Winery. At Terroir Chef Leyton Ashley and Sommelier Mike Bancks team up from planting grapes to pairing the finished product with food. Read our latest edition of Top Pairs to see what single vineyard wines he selected to complement Ashley’s refined cuisine.
Besides beyond a chef’s culinary playground, New Zealand doubles as an adventure-lovers paradise, making this the ideal location for an adrenaline-seeking culinary pro to vacation (or live). From bungee jumping to horseback riding, and zip lining to sea kayaking (we did it all!) there is an activity for every whim. Read more about all that the places that we ate, played, and stayed in our New Zealand Travel Feature.
Now we’re back to eating our way through the US. We’re in the midst of scouting for New York and Washington, DC Rising Stars so be sure to get in your nominations for chefs, pastry chefs, sommeliers, and mixologists. Houston and Chicago are on the horizon for 2011, so get your nominations in for those cities too!
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