Be Like Erwan Heussaff And Travel To New Zealand For The Ultimate Wine And Food Experience
When content creator Erwan Heussaff married Anne Curtis in Queenstown, New Zealand last November, this island nation in the South Pacific exploded in Filipinos’ consciousness as a must-go travel destination, influenced by the gorgeous photos posted from this celebrity couple’s wedding.
Why New Zealand? Erwan shared that New Zealand never fails to amaze him each time he visits. He recently partnered with Tourism New Zealand to host an intimate dinner at his new cooking studio where he cooked dishes that featured Kiwi ingredients like salmon, beef, and lamb, paired with some of New Zealand’s finest wines. The event was a chance to share the fabulous food and wine experiences that people can enjoy when flying to New Zealand.
Erwan Heussaff at his culinary studio
According to Steven Dixon, Regional Manager, South & South East Asia, Tourism New Zealand, over 9,000 Filipino tourists visited in the last year (year-end April 2018), a 28% increase from the previous year, perhaps helped by the exposure from Erwan and Anne’s wedding. Also, Philippine Airlines now flies non-stop to Auckland from Manila, cutting the travel time to just 10 hours.
For food and wine lovers, New Zealand has lots to offer. After their wedding, Erwan and Anne went on an unforgettable road trip through the South Island. Erwan shares, “Beyond experiencing magnificent landscapes such as the Franz Josef Glacier and Ben Lomond, we also got to eat and drink our way through New Zealand’s fresh produce and fine wines, which was very exciting to me as a foodie.
If you do plan to visit New Zealand, here are five food and wine must-visits recommended by Tourism New Zealand:
1. Winery hopping in Central Otago
Nestled in the Southern Alps, Central Otago is the world’s southernmost wine region, dotted with family-owned wineries that grow grapes the old-fashioned way with low cropping and handcrafting. Erwan and Anne visited the area, with Erwan gushing, “A real highlight was winery-hopping in Central Otago, where we tried some of the best Pinot Noir we’ve ever had.”
One can choose a range of wine trails, including a new walking wine trail that passes through the area’s top wine producers: Misha’s Vineyard, Aurum Wines, Scott Base, and Wooing Tree Vineyard.
Craggy Range rosé by the pool
2. Luxury wine tour in Hawke’s Bay
If you’re exploring the vineyards of Hawke’s Bay in the North Island, then you may want to splurge on the two-day Craggy Range Ultimate Wine Tour. Head winemaker Matt Stafford personally guides a small group of four through the vineyards, including a helicopter tour over Craggy Range, as well as nearby Tuki Tuki Valley, Te Awanga coast, and Cape Kidnappers. The tour includes a personalized tasting and blending session, a bespoke three-course meal at Craggy Range’s Terrôir Restaurant, and a stay at the winery’s luxurious four-bedroom lodge.
Sherwood in Queenstown
3. The farm life
Wherever you go in New Zealand, make sure to take full advantage of the local bounty. You can stay in a boutique B&B and farmstay to experience rural life, like gathering your own eggs at The Manse in Hawkes Bay or enjoying the kitchen garden and orchard at Sherwood in Queenstown. At Hapuku Treehouses, you can even dive for paua (abalone) and crayfish. Many farms let visitors pick their own fruit, whether it’s nashi pears from Gary and Lynda’s Orchard outside Christchurch, or apricots and cherries from Coal Creek Farm in Roxburgh. (Check out pickyourown.org or visit the NZ Fruit and Foodshare map on Google Maps.) You can also fish for prawns at Huka Prawn Farm near Taupo, or visit Mahurangi Oysters north of Auckland. Of course, there are farmer’s markets and roadside stalls galore, selling everything from avocados to kiwifruit, and feijoas (a cross between a pineapple and banana).
Chef Steve Beere of Mint
4. Local beef and lamb at Mint Restaurant
When in New Zealand, you’ll want to try the local meat, of course. At Mint Restaurant in Napier in Hawke’s Bay, chef-owner Steve Beere offers a contemporary European menu in a heritage building that faces the sea. His lamb and beef dishes are always bestsellers, including such dishes as 14-hour cooked lamb shoulder with fennel-infused lamb heart, celeriac purée and parsnip sponge, or beef fillet accompanied by slow-cooked beef cheek with white polenta and a beef croquette, using meat mostly sourced in Hawke’s Bay.
Aged New Zealand Wagyu at Pasture (photo by Laura Verner)
5. Pasture, Auckland
There are lots of options for modern restaurants in New Zealand that take full advantage of the bountiful produce. One of the more recent arrivals in Auckland is Pasture, a tiny 20-seat restaurant that focuses on meticulously sourced ingredients from local farmers. Organic rye and wheat grains from Timaru are milled in-house daily for Pasture’s sourdough loaves. Cucumbers, sorrel, and unfiltered olive oil come from the Coromandel Peninsula. Owners Ed and Laura Verner also preserve and ferment foods, so nothing is wasted. And the wine list includes rare labels, organic and natural wines, plus unconventional juices and ferments produced in house.
For more information, visit www.tourismnewzealand.com