At dish, we love summer, and one of the fun ways to enjoy these warm days is with something delicious in hand, under the sun at one of many food festivals across New Zealand. Sink your teeth into the freshest seafood, have a sip among the vines, or try something new and unexpected.
We’ve rounded up eight sensational food festivals that are sure to make your summer that much better.
Rotorua Summer Seafood Festival, Saturday 2nd February
Indulge in the region’s best seafood vendors paired with a fine glass of wine. Watch Masterchef Brett McGregor’s cooking demonstrations and drift away to a magical music lineup headlined by Sons of Zion. Add a picturesque lake view and we think there’s no better way to enjoy seafood by the water.
Marlborough Wine and Food Festival, Saturday 9th February
Food and wine: try to name a more iconic duo. It’s almost impossible.
As one of New Zealand’s oldest food and wine festival, Marlborough is the perfect place to enjoy this unbeatable combination. Budding wine connoisseurs – prepare to be schooled. At this festival, you’ll find more than 40 local wineries such as Wither Hills and Tohu Wines to try. Enjoy them alongside nibbles from more than 20 food stalls. We’re talking wholesome baked potatoes, beautiful top tarts and Kaikoura Cheese. Pair that with celebrity chefs and entertainers, such as Mike Puru, Karena & Kasey Bird, the Sweet Mix Kids, and it becomes one summer party you won’t want to miss.
Melted Ice Cream & Frozen Dessert Festival, Saturday 9th February, Tauranga
New for 2019, Melted is shaping up to be the coolest festival this summer. To satisfy your sweet tooth there’ll be a wide range of ice creams, milkshakes, gelato, sorbets and more. Enjoy your desserts while you go for a walk along the stunning Tauranga Waterfront, and cool off by jumping off the bombing platform. It’s fun for all at Melted!
Auckland Vegan Food Festival, Sunday 10th February, Wairau Valley
Those following meat-free diets will flock to Auckland’s dedicated vegan food truck festival. The plant-based diet has gained traction for its ethical philosophy, health benefits and its unique flavours. Brought to you by the Auckland Food Truck Collective, the event will serve up vegan street food from your favourite vendors, including Otherside, Wise Boys Burgers, The Rolling Pin, Vege Bang Bang, Double Dutch Fries, Lalele Organic Gelato and more. This festival is perfect for vegetarians and vegans and could even satisfy the biggest meat-eaters.
Takapuna Food, Wine & Music Festival, Saturday 16th February
Wine and food aficionados: listen up. The Takapuna Food, Wine & Music Festival is returning to Smales Farm in 2019, and we couldn’t resist putting another food and wine festival on the list. Show off your chopstick skills with a fresh poke bowl or munch on a taco. Better yet, this 20+ event will have local and international acts including the Sneaky Sound System and Tiki Taane to keep the party going.
Twizel Salmon & Wine Festival, Saturday 23rd February
You could say salmon is the king of all fish. What better way to honour this fantastic fish than by dedicating an entire festival to it? While you get your grill on for the Salmon Sizzle Cook-Off, there is plenty of entertainment to keep the kids happy. Baked, grilled, smoked, raw – there’s bound to be something for all salmon lovers. Proceeds go towards the Twizel Promotions Community Fund – set-up the folding chair, eat, drink and enjoy an afternoon of great summer fun.
Wildfoods Festival, Sunday 3rd March, Hokitika
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Wildfoods festival has curated an extra-special menu. Crowd-favourites such as whitebait and venison will be on offer. But you won’t get the full experience without trying one of their “almost inedible delicacies”: huhu grubs, mountain oysters, colostrum shooters lamb testicles, and possum kebabs. Discover new things, surprise yourself and embrace your wild side.
CubaDupa’s Moore Wilson Food Fest, Saturday 30th - Sunday 31st March, Wellington
Nicknamed New Zealand’s ‘coolest street’, Cuba Street’s arts and dining scene will be taken up a notch over one electrifying weekend. Let your nose guide you through the sea of people... Patrons have the opportunity of watching chefs cook their food on the sidewalk, without needing to step foot into a restaurant. The night market will also be open the entire weekend to satisfy any type of craving. Wash it down with a craft beer from signature breweries such as Parrot Dog and Garage Project. And groove along to an impressive programme of more than 250 performances. This will be a weekend of delectable dining alongside sensational sights and sounds. So, make sure to mark this event on your calendar.