New Zealand cuisine

Talented Kiwi chefs, innovative cuisine, top wines, and a growing list of high-end destinations and food events are helping New Zealand develop a reputation in the world of fine cuisine.

The creative people inspiring this food revolution include not only internationally and locally renowned chefs, but also dedicated producers of award-winning wines and foods, and New Zealand’s hospitality industry. Hotels, lodges and enthusiastic local hosts are all pushing the culinary boundaries for their guests.

While New Zealand food and wine buffs know where to go, it can be harder for visitors to find trend-setting cuisine. At Concierge NZ we are keen foodies ourselves and can help guide you on your culinary journey through our country.
 
Whether food and wine is the main focus of your visit, or just something that enhances the time you spend with friends and family, we’ll be able to match New Zealand’s gourmet offerings with your tastes and travel style.

Let us be your local advisors on food and wine tours, guides, and must-see gastro destinations. We can get you bookings at the best city restaurants, and tell you where to find top notch coffee and cafes. We’ll also let you in on all those out-of-the-way farmers’ markets, artisan producers, and regional restaurants you might not otherwise hear about.

While we tailor all experiences and itineraries to your interests and needs, the following should be enough to whet your appetite…
 

Our special Kiwi style

New Zealand's Pacific Rim cuisine draws inspiration from Europe, Asia and the Pacific islands of Polynesia - a blend of influences that has created a unique range of flavours and food styles.

Our best cuisine is based on local ingredients that are harvested from the surrounding ocean, rivers, and rich agricultural landscape. And New Zealand’s food evolution has gone hand-in-hand with the rise of Kiwi wines which, over the past 30 years, have developed into an important export industry.
 
While fine dining exists in all of New Zealand’s major cities and wine regions, the Kiwi style is generally more casual. Long summer days provide a great opportunity for outdoor dining - casual picnics, fish and chips on the beach, or al fresco in restaurants and street-side cafes. Kiwi barbecues - featuring New Zealand beef, lamb and seafood - are a big part of our culture, and reflect our laid-back nature.
 
Produce that you really should try while in New Zealand include lamb; venison; salmon; some of the many species of fish and shellfish such as Bluff oysters, paua (abalone), greenlip mussels, scallops, pipis and tuatua; kumara (sweet potato); manuka honey; and fruits like kiwifruit, tamarillo, and feijoa.
 

Luxury gastro destinations

Fine cuisine is an essential part of the experience offered by luxury lodges throughout New Zealand. All the top-end lodges have built international reputations on their outstanding hospitality, and weekends for high-end foodies are a regular feature on the calendar for Huka Lodge, Kauri Cliffs, The Farm at Cape Kidnapper’s, Matakauri, and Blanket Bay.
 
Other lodges offer more homegrown experiences. Near Martinborough, luxury lodge Wharekauhau Country Estate is famed for its home-reared texel lamb. It is farmed year-round on meadows of grass and flowering herbs, and destined exclusively for the lodge’s own kitchen.

The estate also has pesticide-free gardens that grow a lot of the vegetables eaten by guests. Salad, herbs, tomatoes, asparagus, watercress, Pajaro strawberries and wild honey are all collected from the grounds.
 
At Otahuna Lodge near Christchurch, in the South Island’s Canterbury region, the focus is also on fresh seasonal produce, much of which is grown in a large potager garden.
 
The lodge’s organic vegetable garden grows 95 different types of vegetables, herbs, nuts and fruit. The mushroom crypt has oyster and shiitake mushrooms, and porcini mushrooms grow in the shade of the lodge’s 100-year-old oak trees.
 
The lodge also keeps free-range chickens for eggs and meat, sheep, cows and pigs. Otahuna’s chefs make their own prosciutto, salami, chorizo, sausages, coppa, brasaola, pancetta and bacon – and conduct cooking classes for guests.
 
Hunting lodge Poronui, near Lake Taupo, and Rotorua’s Treetops offer a wilder spin on cuisine. Kiwi celebrity hunting and fishing chef Al Brown features at Poronui’s ‘wild’ weekend events, and Treetops offers an authentic Maori food trail - collecting and sampling indigenous New Zealand ingredients.
 

The indigenous experience

A traditional Maori hangi, with its distinctive smoky flavour, is a New Zealand culinary experience that you should try at least once. Cooked in an underground pit filled with hot stones, a hangi feast usually includes kumara (sweet potato), pumpkin, chicken, pork, lamb, and seafood.
 
Many Maori tourist destinations offer a hangi meal for groups of visitors but, for a truly authentic cultural experience, we can organise exclusive tours to introduce you to traditional food sources, gathering and preparation.
 
Vineyards and wineries
Best known internationally for sauvignon blanc, New Zealand also has a growing reputation for pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris, riesling, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and methode traditionnelle sparkling wines.
 
The majority of the country's more than 500 winemakers are boutique, small scale operations. But most welcome visitors at their cellar doors for tastings and sales; many vineyards also have restaurants on site.
 
Leading New Zealand wine regions include West Auckland, Gisborne, Martinborough and Hawke's Bay in the North Island, and Marlborough, Canterbury and Central Otago in the South Island. Central Otago is the world’s most southern wine producing region.
 
We can introduce you to knowledgeable guides in all of New Zealand’s wine regions. They will take you to the best wineries, introduce you to winemakers, and guide you through tastings. And best of all, your transport is taken care of so you don’t need to limit your sampling.
 

Guided food tours and workshops

Food tours in New Zealand can take many different forms – from urban tours of coffee roasters, chocolatiers, and artisan butchers, to greenlip mussel cruises, and paddock to plate cooking workshops.
 
A good example of the latter is the 'Pasture to Plate’ experience offered by Greenhill Lodge in the sunny Hawke’s Bay. You discover ingredients first-hand from local suppliers and farmers’ markets, sampling everything along the way. Then, after returning to the lodge, you meet the chef to discuss the day’s discoveries and help prepare dinner.
 
If you want to learn, as well as taste, we can organise interactive workshops that will teach you how to make everything from wine, olive oil and cheese, to the quintessential Kiwi dessert – pavlova.