I have already explained in a previous post the amount of mouthwatering dishes that can be found in New Zealand, however, I neglected some very important ones. Well, I’ll get out of it by saying I didn’t want to give too much away at once, and there IS such a thing as too much of a good thing. So without prolonging your suffering further, here are some of the gastronomic stepping stones of New Zealand.
1) Kiwi: Incredible how I could have forgotten to mention this one before, since in New Zealand everything is kiwi-related. If you are from New Zealand you are called a “Kiwi”, the iconic bird that that inhabits this country and is a symbol of everything-New Zealand is called Kiwi, and of course, there is the fruit that we all know which is produced by the tons in this country.
As a matter fo fact, New Zealand is the second exporter of kiwifruit in the world and the harvest of this agricultural product is a major component of New Zealand’s exports. Not to mention you can include this tasty fruit in many dishes to give them a fruity twist or simply scoop the delicious meat out of the kiwi’s skin.
2) Pavlova: This one is kind of a funny story. Once upon a time there was a ballet dancer named Ana Pavlova. She was Russian, nothing to do with New Zealand. Except around 1926, she visited this country as well as Australia. Supposedly, the dessert was cooked specially for her and therefore baptized with her name. The funny bit is, New Zealand and Australia have been debating ever since about who came up with the recipe first.
|The ultimate Kiwi delight, Pavlova with kiwifruit. Source: http://happysmilingmeowmeowworld.blogspot.co.nz/2010/10/blog-post_5124.html|
After many decades of bickering between the two nations, anthropologists and historians have stepped into the ring to state that New Zealand is in fact the country where Pavlova was first cooked. So what is Pavlova? A merengue, turned into a cake. A huge merengue with crispy outside and gooey inside. A sweet delight that -in my opinion- should always be accompanied with fruit to contrast the intense sweetness and consistency of the cake. Serving Pavlova with fruit is common practice anyway, so get your dessert-stomachs ready!
3) Hangi: Please take a sit. This one is going to take a while. But it will be a worthwhile. Because Hangi is simply put, the best dish I have encountered in New Zealand by far. And that is including all of the fantastic food from all over the world that you can find in the coutry and in Auckland. But for you to understand this awsomeness I have to tell you a little story.
According to Maori mythology there was a god, called Rongomatane, who looked over kumara and other crops that would be used as food. Now you might be wondering what kumara is, and the answer is quite straight forward, it is sweet potato. This is a very important factor of Maori worldview: the relation with nature, hence with food, is sacred.
Now, Hangi is not a specific dish, but more of a cooking method, which consists on digging a pit on the ground surrounded by heated rocks, where food is placed to be cooked. However, there a some variations to the method depending on the location and the cook. That being said, Hangi will have kumara, and it will also most likely include pork, lamb and/or chicken. And in addition to that, it will have potato and cabagge. The ingredients can be separate or combined (much recommended), and they can be accompanied by a portion of fried bread. You heard right, a portion of fried bread.
Now, the preparation of a Hangi is no easy task, so for the more traditional Hangi feasts, you would have to look for a Hangi expert amongst the Maori. There are however, public festivals and fairs where less traditional but equally tasty versions of Hangi are available. Then Hangi will look like this: