If you love to eat, Auckland is a foodie’s paradise. The reason? New Zealand is still primarily an agricultural country, and the city’s grocery stores are bursting with the bounty of a nation full of farms. Supermarkets routinely carry locally-raised, grass-fed meats, artisan cheeses, fresh produce, fish from New Zealand’s oceans and rivers and award-winning local wines and beers. Beyond the city’s incredibly well-stocked supermarkets, there are also dozens of specialty stores providing gourmet goods and international foods, and weekend farmer’s markets featuring fresh-from-the-farm meats, produce and specialty items.
When you don’t feel like cooking, Auckland is also home to a thriving restaurant scene offering everything from elegant, gourmet restaurants to local cafes. And for those who can’t live without fast food, there are also dozens of McDonalds, Burger Kings Pizza Huts and KFCs, competing for diners’ dollars with local burger chains and traditional fish & chip shops. There are also ethnic restaurants in almost every neighbourhood, with a particular emphasis on Indian, Asian and South Asian cuisines.
“New Zealand cuisine” would probably best be described as fresh food, simply-yet-creatively prepared. Whilst there is an abundance of amazing cuisine, there are also the pies – pastry encased meats, cheeses, vegetables or fruits; think of a food type and I’m sure somewhere in New Zealand someone has wrapped it in pastry and sold it as a pie. You can’t go anywhere without seeing these pies for sale. They are sold hot and ready to eat from cafes, petrol stations, supermarkets, newsagents, corner shops and many more places, including pie shops. The pie, at times, appears to be the favourite food group of most New Zealanders with many of them eating a pie for breakfast with their coffee.
Over the past few years New Zealand has experienced a food revolution. A new generation of chefs turned their focus towards the incredible bounty of fresh ingredients that grow in their own country, seas and rivers. Today, New Zealand specialties include locally grown beef and lamb, manuka honey, amazing smoked fish, cold-pressed olive oils and native fruits like the kiwifruit and the feijoa.
As the country’s largest city, Auckland has clearly benefited from New Zealand’s food revolution. The city boasts several award-winning, world-class restaurants, including downtown’s ‘dine by Peter Gordon’, ‘The French Cafe‘ in Grafton, ‘Clooney‘ in Freeman’s Bay, ‘Delicious‘ in Grey Lynn and Northcote Point’s ‘The Engine Room‘. Still, you don’t need to make a reservation to enjoy a great meal in Auckland — even small neighbourhood joints dazzle diners with their own fresh, delicious creations.
Auckland celebrates food with several festivals throughout the year. Taste of Auckland kicks off the summer with an extraordinary array of restaurants showcasing their best dishes. It’s best to go with a friend and share all the dishes on offer, and even then you’ll still need to be rolled back to your transport home. Towards the end of summer we have the Auckland Seafood Festival, a delicious feast of fresh seafood covering the full range of locally caught offerings of fish, shellfish, sea vegetables and crustaceans. At the start of autumn those who prefer a good brew are catered for with the annual New Zealand Beer Festival, a joyous occasion with a lot of different beers, wines, spirits and gourmet food on offer.
Auckland’s love affair with food culminates every winter at The Auckland Food Show, where exhibitors from across the country — and even from around the world — gather to showcase their wares. Thousands of Aucklanders crowd the festival for the weekend-long event, tasting and taking home the latest and greatest in food and beverages.