New Zealand: Cuisine, Wine & Nature

November, 2017 (13 days, 12 nights)

Stretching across the two main islands and home to only 4.5 million people, New Zealand is a long way to travel, but it may be one of the most memorable journeys in your life.  Called “Land of the Long White Cloud” by its indigenous Maori people, this clean, green paradise is renowned internationally for its stunning scenery, fresh produce, award-winning wines and friendly, welcoming people.

Fresh, innovative and delicious, New Zealand’s incredible cuisine and world-class wines are not to be missed – whether it’s fine dining, casual outdoor meals, a wine tasting at a cellar door or an authentic Maori hangi meal.  For many, New Zealand’s wines are the main reason to visit, particularly the famed Marlborough region (included on our itinerary), which produces some of the world’s finest Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs.

New Zealand’s South Island landscape is majestic, stunning and unspoiled.  From snow-covered alpine peaks to lush rain forests and the coast, which is a treasure trove of geological and wildlife sites.  It is all set amid a wonderfully uncrowded space.  The South Island offers up a pristine wilderness and a haven from our everyday hectic lives.

*Please note that if booking independent travel as a self-drive, some culinary elements of the tour may change.

Delicious Highlights will include

  • Gourmet lunch on aboard a 65 ft yacht while cruising the Bay of Tasman
  • Day trip to New Zealand’s famous Marlborough region for tastings at four of its best boutique wineries, including some wines that are only available to taste at the cellar door
  • Experience a unique dinner experience exclusively for Global Gourmands presented by the Food Design Institute of Dunedin; young graduate chefs will create a pop-up event at a mystery historic building – a surprise for us all!
  • Tasting at a distiller’s of artisan whiskey.  Left untouched in a hanger for 30 years, 80,000 barrels were recently sold to this new owner
  • Lunch at Fleur’s Place, the chosen destination of a celebrity chef offered a meal anywhere in the world; Fleur herself has a Chaîne des Rôtisseurs
  • Wander around New Zealand’s best known Otago Farmers’ Market
  • Dinner prepared by a chef and winery owner who is well known for delicious meals (with wine flights) using old pinot noir barrels for grilling and/or smoking
  • After a breathtaking drive through the Southern Alps down to the ocean, lunch at a roadside diner for a fantastic meal of fresh fish and seafood
  • Five-course degustation meal a luxurious rainforest retreat where you will spend two days
  • Participation in a special Maori cultural experience including helping to prepare the meal to be cooked in a traditional Maori earth oven

Sightseeing Highlights:

  • Experience a river safari from the ocean up to a rainforest in the hills with stops to learn about local history visit a kiwi bird sanctuary, passing through some of the most remote and inaccessible country in the world
  • Cultural experience (mentioned above) that will include a formal Maori welcome Powhiri ceremony and the chance to learn about a very special part of Maori culture – the hangi or “earth oven”
  • Frequent touring of the beautiful hills and mountains of New Zealand’s South Island, already well-known to Lord of the Rings fans!
  • Drive through the majestic Southern Alps and up the west coast
  • Explore the amazing Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

Optional Sightseeing Highlights:

  • During Dunedin stay there will be an opportunity to see the Royal Albatross Center, Olveston House OR enjoy high tea at Larnach Castle
  • During Queenstown stay there will be an opportunity for a day trip to Milford Sound, a cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard the legendary TSS Earnslaw, or to play golf at the Millbrook Resort.

Included in your tour is:

  • Thirteen-day tour by coach
  • Breakfast daily
  • 4 lunches and 6 dinners
  • One night at Hotel Montreal, Christchurch
  • Two nights at the Hotel Distinction, Dunedin
  • Three nights at St Moritz Hotel, Queenstown
  • Two nights at Te Waonui Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef Glacier
  • Four nights at the Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Day 1
Arrive Christchurch, New Zealand.   You will be met by a Global Gourmands representative and transferred directly to the Hotel Montreal in Christchurch. Later this evening we will enjoy an exclusive welcome cocktail party to meet your travel companions and enjoy a three-course welcome dinner and discuss the activities planned for the week.  

Hotel Montreal, Christchurch

Day 2:
A brief sightseeing tour of Christchurch before heading southward, to the historic limestone city of Oamaru.  On arrival we will make two stops: one for a cheese tasting at a cheese maker known for special blue cultures, and then on to a whiskey tasting.

Lunch will be at a beloved restaurant, the first choice of UK chef Rick Stein when offered a meal anywhere in the world – Fleur’s Place.  Fleur is a Chaîne des Rôtisseurs member and local fishing boats land their daily catch directly on the jetty alongside the restaurant’s door.

After a walk along the beach we continue south to Dunedin, known as “Edinburgh of the South” and enjoy a brief city tour and then time to explore the antique shops and local cafés on your own.  Dinner at leisure.

Hotel Distinction, Dunedin

Day 3:

Today is a highlight of the trip – a visit to the Otego Farmers Market, one of the best in Australasia.  Enjoy time to browse and sample many local specialities including whitebait “patties”, bluff oysters, local fresh ham and venison, cheeses, fruits and local characters at their stalls.

The afternoon is free for three optional sightseeing activities:

  • The Otago Peninsula and the Royal Albatross Centre
  • Olveston House
  • High tea and visit to the historic Lanarch Castle

This evening, prepare for a special culinary experience as the Dunedin Food Design Institute surprises with a unique dinner accompanied by fine New Zealand wines in a historic building.

Hotel Distinction, Dunedin

Day 4:
This morning we depart for Queenstown, traveling through some of the South Island’s most majestic scenery (which may be familiar to Lord of the Rings movie fans).  We stop on the way at an old gold mining town for a gourmet meal at a craft brewery.  After lunch we have time to wander around the town before we continue to Queenstown and then settle into our new hotel with a view of the Remarkable Mountains and Lake Waktipu.  Evening at leisure.

Hotel St. Moritz, Queenstown

Day 5:
Today is a full day at leisure, but we are spoiled for choice with great experiences close at hand for you to choose from (not included):

  • Take the day to visit the majestic Milford or Doubtful Sounds
  • For something a little more relaxing, try a cruise across Lake Waktipu aboard the leisurely matriarch of the lake, TSS Earnslaw
  • Stretch your legs with a round of golf at the Millbrook Golf & Spa Resort, recently voted the best golf resort in Australasia in the World Travel Awards.
  • Try your hand at a little fly fishing with an expert

Dinner at leisure.   

Hotel St. Moritz, Queenstown

Day 6:
Today we explore the wild landscapes Central Otago, the world’s southern most wine producing region.  With numerous vineyards spread throughout its deep valleys and basins, the local soils have proved excellent for for growing the Pinot Noir grape.  With the area now lauded as one of the best places outside Burgundy for cultivating the notoriously fickle grape.  a

Visits to three tasting rooms which may include Waitiri Creek, Peregrine, Carrick, Chard Farm or Akarua. After the wine tastings we will stop at The Damn Good Fruit Baron outside Cromwell, where you will enjoy picking your own gorgeous cherries and sampling their mouth-watering fresh fruit ice cream.

Late afternoon, we’ll head back to the hotel to change before our Queenstown-tour-highlight dinner.  Quintin Quidder, head chef and owner of Wild Earth wines hosts us for a private Central Otago regional dinner event at Derby Downs – a unique location set amidst the ruins of an early colonial homestead.  Featuring his unique oak stave method, the menu features five courses with paired wines presented on barrel staves.

Hotel St. Moritz, Queenstown

Day 7:
An early start as we drive up the impressive Crown Range.  The views become more breathtaking as we climb towards the summit where we’ll make a photostop.  After a coffee break, we continue along the scenic road through Hasst Pass.  We travel through lush, ancient rain forests of Mount Aspiring National Park.  As we drive down towards the sea, we are truly on the road less travelled, going through some of the most remote wilderness areas, hugging the wild coast and its windswept beaches.

Nestled at the end of this long, solitary road there is a seafood “caravan” known as The Craypot (on the bucket list of serious foodies all over the world) and it will be. The menu is seasonal and subject to the day’s catch.  There are non-seafood options as well.

Before continuing on we will have another matchless experience enjoying a river safari that takes up from the ocean into the mountains!  As we travel, we will make frequent stops to learn about the local history, geology, flora and fauna of New Zealand – all while sitting comfortably, warmly and safely in our boats.

In the mid-afternoon we will get back on the road and continue north along the coast towards our eco-hotel, nestled within the rainforest – conveniently situated right next door to the geo thermal glacier hot pools.  Dinner at leisure.

Te Waonui Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef Glacier

Day 8:
This is a day at leisure, but there are numerous options for you to experience.  If you are adventurous, there are some amazing ways to experience the Franz Josef Glacier:  a heli-hike, valley walk or ice-climb.  For those who want an equally exciting adventure, but slightly less strenuous, try an optional helicopter “flight-seeing” trip up to Mount Cook (weather permitting).  Or take the day to relax at the hotel and enjoy their world-reknown spa, which offers clients a relaxing environment with a superior range of treatments that will leave you feeling relaxes and revitalized.

Dinner tonight will be a five-course degustation menu created from the freshest West Coast and South Island produce, giving us an authentic and artisinal food experience.

Te Waonui Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef Glacier

Day 9:
This morning we leave for Nelson, stopping along the way for lunch. We will make a second stop to explore the mysterious Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, and then continuing on for a late afternoon arrival in Nelson.  We will have a brief sightseeing tour before heading to the hotel.

A change of cuisine tonight when we enjoy dinner at the hotel and its prize-winning Miyazu Japanese restaurant.  Its Teppenyaki menu showcases a delicious selection of authentic menu choice, all based using only the freshest local seafood and produce.

Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Day 10:
Today is an exciting day of cultural exchange as we visit a traditional Maori Marae community – this is a truly authentic cultural experience.

After the formal powhiri welcome and a kapa haka cultural performance, we will enjoy a light lunch. We will then move on to assist with the preparation of a special hangi meal. There will be numerous opportunities to learn about this very special part of Maori culture and to actively participate.

Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Day 11:
Today we will visit four boutique wineries and winemakers who have made the fabulous Marlborough region famous around the world.  It’s all due to a wine revolution in this area back in 1970’s, and they now produce over 70% of all New Zealand wines. The types of wines we’ll be tasting range from Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir Rose, Chardonnay and more.

Lunch will be at a vineyard bistro whose executive chef  trained at Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe before heading back to his native New Zealand.  We continue on after this leisurely lunch to two more vineyards – using different winemaking techniques and grape varieties.

Return to the hotel in the evening.

Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Day 12:
Today we enjoy a day on the water aboard a 65 ft yacht for an exclusive charter and day sail on the glorious Tasman Bay.  A gourmet farewell lunch will be served accompanied by a selection of specially selected regional wines (and other beverages). After lunch, there will be time to wander or just relax on the beach (weather permitting).

After arriving back on land in the mid-afternoon, we take the opportunity to visit a stunning gravity-flow winery.  This certified organic vineyard is located in the Moutere Hills and may dynamic wines which continually win five-starred reviews.

Evening at leisure.

Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Day 13:
This morning you’ll be transferred to the Nelson airport for your return flight home.

PAVLOVA

Pavlova, a meringue dessert named for the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova, was born in New Zealand. This dessert can not be attributed to any one cook, but gently evolved from years of recipe-swapping among the women of New Zealand. This is adapted from The Cook’s Companion (Viking, 1996) by Stephanie Alexande.

INGREDIENTS

4 room temperature egg whites
1 cup + 2 tbsp superfine sugar
2 tsp of cornstarch
1/2 tsp white vinegar
a few drops of vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 sliced banana
2 kiwis, sliced
3 cups strawberries hulled and quartered
pulp of 2 passionfruit
a pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350º.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper and trace a 10″ circle on the paper. Place eggwhite and salt into clean bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk.  Beat on medium-low speed until frothy, about two minutes.  Increase speed to medium-high and beat until peaks form, stiff but not dry, 2-3 minutes.  Gradually add sugar while whisking, then increase speed to high and beat until peaks are stiff and glossy, 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla over whites and then gently fold in.

Fill traced circle with meringue, smoothing top and sides. Put meringue in the middle of the oven and reduce heat to 300º.  Bake for one hour. Turn off oven and leave meringue inside until completely cool, about 4 hours.

Remove paper and place meringue on cake plate.  Whip cream to soft peaks, then pile on top of meringue.  Arrange cut fruit over whipped cream.  Slice pavlova into wedges to serve.

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“Even for the well-traveled, New Zealand offers a uniquely refreshing experience.

– New Zealand Board of Tourism

Click on the image
to download a printable PDF
version of this tour.

New zealand Flyer

Prices and departures on request.  Airfare is not included but starts at $1,100.                                                                                           

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