New Zealand lamb is renowned for its flavour and tenderness, but that doesn’t mean Kiwis take it for granted.
Once, sheep outnumbered people 22 to 1; these days there are a mere 30 million woollies, but lamb remains as popular to dine on as ever. You’ll find it in many guises, from streetside shawarmas to culinary masterworks and everything in between.
For The Love Of Lamb
1. Jervois Steak House
This Auckland eatery was among the winners of NZ’s Beef & Lamb Excellence Awards 2014. Try the Duo of Lamb – olive and tomato-rubbed lamb leg, plus lamb rack, or the 250-gram lamb rump from grassy Hawke’s Bay.
2. The Sugar Club
Peter Gordon’s local take on his famous London restaurants is not cheap, but it is fabulous. From the 53rd floor of the Sky Tower the view over Auckland is stunning, but it won’t distract from head chef Neil Brazier’s slow-cooked lamb shoulder with prunes – especially with a bottle of Waiheke Island cab sav!
3. Pedro’s House of Lamb
When Pedro Carazo lost his home and restaurant in the 2011 Christchurch quake, he started again in a converted shipping container. Now folk flock to Pedro’s House of Lamb for takeaway (now in both Christchurch and Queenstown). The signature dish? One whole shoulder of lamb baked with rosemary and garlic, served with scalloped potatoes for only 40 bucks.
Burn it off with a surf. Catch A Break Off Muriwai
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Foodies with a sense of adventure and a taste for gourmet bush tucker will head to the West Coast on 12 March next year for the annual Hokitika Wildfoods Festival: huhu grubs, chicken feet, grasshoppers, colostrum cheesecake, mountain oysters, the infamous stallion protein shots (don’t ask!) and much more.
Save your appetite for one of NZ favourite producers, Whitestone Cheeses in Oamaru. The shop is next door to the factory; take the tour then choose your cheese: Windsor Blue, Lindis Pass Brie, Waitaki Camembert… yum! For wine and cheese in one spot, head to the pinot country near Queenstown; Gibbston Valley Cheese will see you right.
No, we’re not talking molecular gastronomy, just a sweet Kiwi icon. The chocolate-coated marshmallow fish even has a Wellington cafe named after it. The Pineapple Lump is another old favourite; a chewy pineapple-flavoured sweet covered in chocolate, it’s been the dentist’s friend since 1952.