Wines, Wineries, Chocolate, Olive Oil, Microbrews
Taste testing your way around New Zealand
For many people, a trip to New Zealand must include wine tastings. And why not? There are more than 230 wineries on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail and an estimated 100 of them are open to wine lovers. Visitors to New Zealand have extensive opportunities throughout the country to try Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and, of course, Sauvignon Blanc from both larger and boutique wineries that have gained international acclaim for exceptional wines. In fact, in New Zealand, there are even opportunities to take in movies about wine making and to have a taste testing that follows the film. What visitors to New Zealand might not know is how many other incredible taste testing opportunities there are throughout the country (although wine does go with quite a few of them – a coincidence, we think not!).
Google “chocolate in New Zealand” and you get more than 38,000,000 links. One of the premier boutique chocolatiers in New Zealand is Schoc Chocolates, home of “chocolate therapy” (really, chocolate is considered therapy there). Schoc Chocolates come in a range of incredible, infused flavours including lime chili, geranium, apricot and rosemary, lemongrass, smoked paprika and more. At many of the local shops that carry the brand, you can engage in taste testing sessions that will delight your senses and, according to chocolate therapy, leave you happier and much easier to get along with!
For chocolate lovers visiting New Zealand, there is also the opportunity to visit Cadbury World in Dunedin on the South Island. Here, visitors can learn the history of chocolate and tour the Cadbury chocolate factory. For those lucky enough to be in Dunedin from July 23-29, 2011, there is the Cadbury Chocolate Carnival. This annual event offers all sorts of chocolate focused events, including the incredible Jaffa race. (A Jaffa is a small chocolate ball, covered in a hard orange flavoured candy coating – a favourite among Kiwis.) The race features more than 25,000 Jaffas rolling down the world’s steepest public street – creating huge excitement.
Another interesting taste testing opportunity is with olive oil. New Zealand has garnered quite a number of international awards in this area. Olive oil tastings can be enjoyed throughout the country, most often in the same areas where there are wineries. Olive trees and grapes seem to like the same type of soil. While professional tasters sip the golden liquid straight from a glass, it’s much easier and enjoyable for an amateur to dip small pieces of bread in the different olive oils. There are a range of tastes, textures and blends. Some are flavoured, like those produced by boutique producer Olivo, whose oils are infused with lemon, smoked chili, fennel, orange, vanilla or porcini – and are spectacular.
There are all kinds of other opportunities for taste testing in New Zealand – microbrews, the Wild Foods Festival, specialty coffees (interestingly enough, Kiwis know how to brew great coffee!) and so much more. There really is something for everyone when it comes to trying new things in New Zealand.
Air New Zealand has direct non-stop flights from Vancouver to Auckland and offers flights from many other North American cities. Qantas also offers flights from many Canadian and U.S. gateways.
For more information about New Zealand, please visit NewZealand.com.