Continuing on a food and drink journey through New Zealand’s South Island, F&W's gourmet traveller, Nadia El Ferdaoussi visits the country’s most famous burger joint, cooks for herself with a little help from a remote luxury villa whose tagline is ‘Stay Where the World Can’t Find You’ and eats the “best meal ever” that she teased about in part one.
You can’t go to Queenstown without stopping by local institution Fergburger (well, in the last almost twenty years anyway) for a mouthwatering meal at nearly any time of the day or night. Open 21 hours a day, queues spill out onto the street as hungry punters wait patiently for their turn to order. Grab a beer and soak up the sun while listening out for your number. Try the Little Lamby or Sweet Bambi if you fancy a Kiwi take on a classic and enjoy down by the waterfront. GF and veggie options are also available.
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Annandale on the Bank’s Peninsula offers four completely private villas on a 4,000-acre farm, guaranteeing only sheep and cows for neighbours. Meals are based on their locavore philosophy, prepared and delivered to your accommodation with simple instructions on how to finish off each dish. When we mentioned that I ‘cooked for myself’ it was a bit of stretch, still, you feel a sense of accomplishment when tucking in. If that all feels like too much work, one of the property’s chefs will come and create a three-course dinner for you. Pop your head into the kitchen before checking out of Annandale to see how the operation runs. I was lucky enough to chat to chef Ethan, who walked me through the fruit and veg gardens, picking snacks for my drive straight from the tree and sending me off with freshly baked banana bread.
This cheese platter (pictured above) I enjoyed on the terrace though? I can’t take any credit, it arrived ready to devour.
While in Fiordland visiting the Sounds...
Make it your mission to stay at family-run Cabot Lodge in Manapouri. The passion that is poured into every minute detail of your welcome, information on how best to see the local area, the wine list, the homemade cookies in your room, the turndown service and of course all of the food created on site is second to none. Hot smoked salmon blinis, melt in the mouth venison and award-winning Maude Wines Pinot Noir made for an unforgettable meal. Another standout suggestion by NZ in Depth.
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If you make your way to Wanaka, call ahead to Cinema Paradiso to book in for the most informal movie experience of your life. Forget rows of recliners and think bean bags, squishy sofas and old armchairs. No single-use plastic straws in fizzy drinks, more like local wines in actual glasses and real cups of freshly brewed coffee. There’s an interval too, which you should use wisely to pick up a still-warm homemade cookie and maybe get a refill on that Pinot. If only more cinemas were like this one!
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The best meal ever!
During my trip in New Zealand, I had what I can only describe as the best thing I’ve ever tasted and it was only the starter of another unforgettable meal at a very special place in Kaikoura. Hapuku Lodge and Tree Houses have it all; stunning location, unique accommodation, beautiful views, gorgeous staff and then there’s the restaurant.
The Lodge’s Executive Chef Fiona Read is so passionate about creating simple honest food, it oozes out of every bite. Like many places in New Zealand and especially the luxury lodges, you can expect farm-to-table, locally sourced, organic, excellent quality fresh ingredients. Here Fiona goes above and beyond though, looking after the Lodge’s gardens, free range chickens, sourcing the best seafood from local fishermen, foraging on land and by the sea and creating the daily menus. The dish in question? Lamb backstrap and crispy spinach with pickled green chilli, almonds, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, pistachios and coriander (pictured above). The combination and balance of the ingredients is utter perfection, as is the preparation and presentation. I would fly back to NZ to eat this one meal again!
New Zealand is full of culinary delights and a whole host of people who is bursting with pride to show them off, stick it on your gastronomic bucket list and you won’t be disappointed.
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