1. Havelock Mussels
Havelock is a small coastal town in the North East of the South Island that has become famed as the ‘mussel capital of the world’. There are many different restaurants serving delicious green lipped mussels together with wine from the same region – Havelock is in the Marlborough region of New Zealand so there are also many fantastic wineries close by. So, if you are planning a trip to the South Island you shouldn’t miss out on a bowl of Havelock green lipped mussels, served with a crisp white Marlborough wine.
2. Bluff Oysters
Bluff Oysters are said to be the best and tastiest in the world. Oysters have been harvested in the oceans around Bluff for over 130 years, so these fisherman know a good Oyster when they see one. Bluff is a town at the far south of the South Island and is one of earliest areas of European settlement in New Zealand.
Bluff hosts an Oyster and Food Festival, usually the last weekend in May, each year – the next festival will be held on 20 May 2017.
3. Pineapple Lumps
When I first visited New Zealand and tried pineapple lumps for the first time – I wasn’t impressed. The contrast of the fruit and the chocolate just didn’t taste right to me at first. Although I kept eating them, and now I am hooked. As I am living in New Zealand now, each time I go to the supermarket I have to stop myself from buying a packet – because once the packet is open it is hard to stop eating them. They are just so juicy and delicious.
4. Chocolate Marshmallow Fish
These are fish shaped marshmallows covered in chocolate. I can’t honestly say that I like these – but hundreds of Kiwi kids would disagree! Grab a couple from a supermarket and try them for yourself.
5. Sausage Sizzle
A ‘sausage sizzle’ is normally held to raise money for charity or for a community purpose – sausages are sold either on bread or in buns. You will normally find ‘sausage sizzles’ outside of large stores (i.e DIY stores / Supermarkets) or at community events.
6. Cookie Time Cookies
‘Cookie Time’ is a chocolate chip cookie that means business – its thick with delicious big chocolate chunks. Cookie Time is a family owned New Zealand company that has been producing cookies for more than 30 years – their cookies are a Kiwi classic and Air New Zealand even distribute them on their flights.
7. Afghan Biscuits
Afghan’s are my favourite homemade biscuit of all time. Afghan’s have it all – the crunchiness which comes from the cornflakes in the biscuit mix, and the indulgent chocolate icing on top. Try these at a cafe rather than buying them from a supermarket – mass produced afghan’s are just not the same as homemade.
8. Fish and Chips
Fish and Chips is an extremely popular takeaway meal in New Zealand. In the summer months, me and Ben like to get a mixed seafood basket (mussels, crab sticks, squid rings, fish bites & chips) and sit on the beach and eat them for dinner whilst watching the sunset.
Marmite is a ‘love it or hate it’ food, Ben loves it and I hate it. Marmite is actually different in New Zealand and Australia compared to the rest of the world – the Sanitarium version that is manufactured in New Zealand is not as strong in flavour compared to the marmite manufactured in the UK by Unilever, so if you usually hate it you should still try the New Zealand version.
Kiwi’s love Marmite so much that the country went into meltdown after the Christchurch earthquake in 2011 damaged the factory. The marmite factory had to close for 6 months whilst repairs were undertaken so Kiwi’s actually started to panic buy Marmite.
New Zealander’s love their pies. If you walk into a dairy (corner shop), you will almost always find a hot display cabinet full of pies. The pies in New Zealand are made from thin flaky pastry and are FULL of filling – try a steak or a scallop pie.
11. Fairy Bread
Ben recently asked me whether I had fairy bread when I was little and I looked at him like ‘noo… what the heck is fairy bread!?’ I looked at him even funnier when he told me what is was. Fairy bread is bread with butter and sprinked with hundreds and thousands (multi coloured balls normally used to decorate cupcakes).
Pikelets are popular for ‘elevenses’ or for an afternoon snack in New Zealand – they are small ‘pancakes’ that are served with a variety of toppings such as jam and cream or salmon and cream cheese.
13. Whitebait Fritter
Whitebait fritters are a much loved New Zealand delicacy, and the Whitebait from the West Coast is said to be the best. You can find Whitebait fritters on restaurant menus either as a starter/appetiser or a light lunch. Sprinke with fresh lemon juice and enjoy.
Whilst Feijoas are native to South America, they are a very popular garden fruit tree in New Zealand. Feijoas can be eaten raw or are also popular in desserts and even in ciders.
Scroggin is a type of trail mix made with nuts, dried fruit and little bits of chocolate. Scroggin is sold in most supermarkets in New Zealand and you will find it in the section with the dispensers also selling nuts, fruits, grains, chocolates. Scroggin is a great energy boost / reward if you are going to attempt any of the great walks in New Zealand. Me and Ben took it when we walked the Tongariro Crossing, and also take it when we head out on a campervan trip.
16. Peanut Slab
The Whittakers peanut slab is a classic kiwi chocolate bar – available in all supermarkets and also to buy at the airport. A peanut slab is, put simply, a bar of hard chocolate with peanuts in. There are actually different variations on the classic milk chocolate peanut slab including dark chocolate, almond, white chocolate, and coconut.
17. Hokey Pokey & Goody Gum Drops Ice Cream
I hadn’t even heard of these flavours of ice cream until I visited New Zealand. Hokey Pokey ice cream is a New Zealand childhood institution – it is vanilla ice cream with honey comb toffee peices. Goody Gum Drops is a blue coloured ice cream with gummy sweets in it – strangely good.
Lemon & Paeroa (“L&P”) is world famous in New Zealand since ages ago – according to its slogan anyway. L&P is a lemon flavoured soft drink that you are unlikely to have seen anywhere else in the world. Paeroa is the town in which the drink was originally manufactured, although the drink is now produced in Auckland by the Coca-Cola Company.
Honey is big business in New Zealand, head to a farmers market and buy a tub of local honey, you’ll find the well known Manuka honey, and lesser known varieties such as Rata.
20. Anzac Biscuit
Anzac biscuits are popular in both Australia and New Zealand. They are made with ingredients that include oats, dessicated coconut, and golden syrup. Yum!
Pavlova is a real ‘celebration’ dessert that seriously should be cooked more often than christmas and birthdays. Pavlova is meringue covered with whipped cream and fruit/berries. Australia and New Zealand have long argued over whom invented the dessert, but it is now ‘official’ – New Zealand has won the battle, the Oxford English Dictionary have confirmed that New Zealand invented the dessert.
Milo is a malt chocolate drink popular in New Zealand (and Australia). We bought this on our camper trip and it warmed us up on the cold New Zealand nights.
23. Lolly Cake
Another unusual ‘sweet’ to try whilst you are in New Zealand, the lolly cake is a no bake cake made with malt biscuits, condensed milk, lollies, butter and dessicated coconut.
Raro is a powdered drink available in New Zealand – simply add water. Ben tells a hilarious story of walking into a large supermarket in the UK when he first arrived and asked a shop attendant for ‘Raro’ – she looked at him rather oddly when he said ‘you know, RARO, its a powdered drink’. There is no such thing available in the UK (I am not sure about other countries).
25. White Wine
In my opinion, New Zealand has the best white wine in the world. There are many stunning vineyards you can visit to try a tipple and have a bite to eat. One such example is the Wairau Valley in Marlborough, it is such an impressive region to drive through as there are vineyards for miles and miles.