New Zealand was love at first sight for me when I first landed there in 2002. I am French, and my husband is a Kiwi. Although we live in Australia, each year we visit the beautiful South Island. Below are only some of the things that urge me to go there every year and yes, they’re all FOOD related!
My husband’s parents live in Timaru – this is why we always go here at the start and end of our holiday. (In between we take little trips to discover a little more of South Island each year. One year Marlborough, the next Doubtful Sound, Franz Josef Glacier, Tekapo-Twizel Combo, Wanaka (our favourite) but more of that another time!). There is one thing I always have to do when I arrive in Timaru: savour a custard Square from Legends Café! Located in the old Post Office building, this is the original home of the famous Denheath Custard Squares. I am unable to leave the country until I have had a slice while day dreaming to the sound of the neighbouring old Steam train. A tradition I always look forward to. We French are pretty good at custard desserts but the Pleasant Point Custard Square beats everything I have had in this area – yes! Even Croquembouche! Warning: your tastebuds need to be ready for the overwhelming second when the Vanilla custard cream hits your palate. Dribbles anyone?
Fush & Chups
I have to admit the first time my husband took me to the lake for a nice leisurely lunch, holding a big chunk of newspaper smelling fish and French fries, I was a bit bamboozled. That is until the moment he opened the newspaper packaging and the smell came out. He said “fancy some fush and chups?” and I said “some what?”. I figured out what he meant, I just never heard such funny pronunciation. I have to say I love the Kiwi accent and can even understand it now. My tastebuds certainly enjoyed the battered fish mixed with crunchy chips – But the best Fish and Chips I have had so far was in Stewart Island Kaikart fish and chip shop. Not only is it located in an extraordinary spot that is like heaven on earth, but the product that comes out of that kart is purely delicious. I personally recommend the burger: full of goodness with heaps of lettuce, onions, beetroots and tomatoes and stuck in this yummy bed a large fish steak that melts in your mouth (don’t forget the squeeze of lemon). First burger I did not share with my husband.
This year, on our way down from Christchurch to Wanaka, we stopped in Tekapo to break the trip and “catch” a salmon. Mt Cook Alpine Salmon farm is located a short drive from Tekapo in Twizel.the facilities are really impressive and the Salmon is sensational.
There is something odd about visiting a farm and feeding the fish you are about to it, but at the end of the day, this is some of the best Salmon I have ever had, and I would prefer Salmon over beef any day. We normally spend some time around the lake sipping on a glorious “local beverage” then head to the Hot Pools for a relaxing end to the day, before barbecuing the salmon for dinner. Yum!
All of these places are in the vicinity of the beautiful Wyndham Resort Wanaka. I’ll save my favourite foods from Wanaka for another time as well!
Have you enjoyed any South Island food experiences? Care to share yours?
Marie is our adopted French resident. Always passionate about foreign languages and cultures, she travelled the world to learn more. She has been a proud hotelier for 20 years, with Marketing as her true calling. Food is like a religion for Marie! She also loves dancing, lifting weights and travel. She’s our resident expert on cooking, Europe, Middle East and New Zealand’s South Island.