Where to eat, food and drink New Zealand
New Zealand cuisine has long stuck to the fish & chips, meat pie and pudding landed directly from their native England. Fortunately, this is no longer the case! Marked by the excellent quality of fresh local products (very often organic) and the mixed influences of different immigrant communities (Asian in particular), modern New Zealand cuisine can be excellent, in a salty-sweet fusion genre.
Of course, on a daily basis, in cafes, you will not really have culinary orgies: in addition to the essentials mentioned above, still very present, count on potatoes in dressing gowns, various quiches, burgers and other fruits. fried seafood with large fries.
In real restaurants, it's better. This is where you have to go to taste the excellent lamb from the country. Some recipes will surprise you, such as lamb with mint and Worcestershire sauce, lamb with kiwi and camembert, chop hearts with redcurrant jelly ... roe, high for export.
Meat of all kinds is often very cooked, so specify if you like it blue (rare). Medium is equivalent to a well-to-point "point". The vegetables served as an accompaniment are, on the contrary, often crunchy, trendy nouvelle cuisine.
- fish and seafood occupy a special place, which will not surprise anyone in a country with 15 km of coastline and many rivers with trout and eel. Oysters and mussels are everywhere, the latter sometimes as big as the palm of your hand (we only eat two)! In the local shellfish genre, we also find from time to time paua (abalone), tuatua and toheroa (rare and expensive). And also, scallops and crayfish - although most of it is exported.
Anyone who has traveled to Australia or a Commonwealth country is likely to know (and hate!) The Vegemite and the Marmite. Spread for children (from 7 to 77 years old), these vitamin pastes made from yeast extracts (originally recovered from the waste of beer breweries ...) and vegetable flavors are not only unconditional . The second tastes more caramel, but both are very salty. Ideal, it seems, to avoid a hangover… Unless it gives you one!
In Auckland, the variety of restaurants reflects the large number of communities of foreign origin. Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai… Many cuisines from around the world are represented.
There are also all the variations of Australian and cheap cuisine: fish & chips, lamb & chips, burger & chips, pork shop & chips, roast beef & chips, BBQ & chips, chips & chips ... Very cheap gastronomy!
New Zealanders, vehemently contradicted by Australians, claim they are the inventors of the pavlova (“Pav”), a meringue dessert designed in 1935 in honor of the Russian dancer of the same name. Otherwise, full of fruit, of which the essential Kiwi, stung from the Chinese in 1904 by a schoolmaster. This fruit was then called "Chinese gooseberry".
However, the price of fruit per kilo (including in supermarkets) remains high compared to our European references.
New Zealanders are big beer lovers: with around 120 liters per year per capita, they are hardly outnumbered by the Czechs and Australians!
There are beers of all sizes and all kinds, from seven (200 ml) to jug (pitcher), from light and thirst-quenching blonde to intense brown. Lion Red, DB Draft, DB Natural, Speights on the South Island are the most popular.
Liquor stores abound, including in small towns, and alcohol is sold at least in packs of 12, or even 24!
Do not miss the beverages concocted for all microbreweries which in recent years have grown like fields of hops after the rain ...
The wine is aimed at an older clientele. New Zealand wine is starting to gain recognition on the international scene. Fruit of the temperate climate, quite rainy, the whites are on the whole better represented than the reds. But don't let that deter you from trying them, we have found some excellent ones, like the Merlot from Saint Clair Wineries.
The two main producing regions, the sunniest in the whole country, are Hawke's Bay, on the North Island, attached to Chardonnay, and Marlborough, on the South Island, famous for its sauvignon blanc. In both places, many estates, some established since the second half of the XNUMXth century, are open to the public, with the possibility of tasting and visit of the cellars.
New Zealand wines are generally designed to be drunk young: there is therefore no need to age your Merlot or Pinot Noir for more than 2 years.