Food and Wine Classic Opens in New Zealand

The first annual event kicks off with a launch party in Hawke’s Bay
Lauren Mack


New Zealand’s top chefs, food producers, and wine makers have gathered in Hawke’s Bay in northeastern New Zealand for the first annual Food and Wine Classic Nov. 2 to 11.

The food and wine event showcases New Zealand’s best wines paired with regional cuisine like lamb, venison, and oysters. The 10 day event includes wine tastings at vineyards, cooking demonstrations, and chef dinners with Brett McGregor and Chelsea Winter, winners of first and third seasons of MasterChef New Zealand.

Chef Leyton Ashley of Craggy Range Winery served smoked mushroom miso cones with truffle and port paired with Trinity Hill 2011 Hawke’s Bay Syrah and razorback boar belly bites with beetroot confit at the launch party on Friday.

Ashley, working alongside other local chefs, created a range of savory and sweet canapés like whitebait, watercress, and lemon mayonnaise sliders and Clevedon oysters with ginger jelly at the sold-out event.

“It’s a play on what we’re doing at the restaurant,” said Ashley of the food and wine pairings. “It’s real food put together with care and love.”

Surrounded by the Te Mata Peak at Craggy Range Winery, delicate food and wine pairings like Firstlight wagyu sliders with rocket, mustard, and aioli paired with Church Road Merlot Cabernet 2010 and 42 below vodka cured salmon on sesame grissini served with Elephant Hill chardonnay 2010 were served from the trunks of cars parked beneath a white tent. The bite-size snacks were served from the trunks to replicate a 'boot sale,' like an American garage sale in which household goods are sold from the back of the car.

The Friday night fête is the start to the 10 day festival that includes events like an interactive breakfast cooking demonstration with cooking duo Farmer Dan and oysters and champagne from the pop-up Oyster Saloon food truck.


Lauren Mack is the Trave Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @lmack.