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In general, food in New Zealand is of a high quality. We are a net producer of many foods, and a good exporter of fruit, vegetables, dairy produce and meat.

Prices are unexpectedly high in comparison to the UK, mostly because the farmers insist on actualy selling their produce for more than it cost to produce it. I know this is unheard of in the UK, where the supermarkets exert such a huge pressure, but our farmers (up to now) have managed to avoid being backed into a corner, and boy, do they produce some good stuff.


The quality of vegies is superior to anything I've seen in Europe, and the choice is mostly the same as in UK or most European countries.
Some little differences;
Peppers in the UK are known as capsicums here.
Kumara is a sweet potato
Silver Beet (Swiss Chard) is a strange long cabbage-like green vegetable.  The Kiwis seem to like it   I used to feed it to the chooks


Chicken is good, tasty with a good texture, available in fresh, frozen, pre-cooked and pre-flavoured.
Pork is mostly good (not quite as good as some Scottish pork I've tasted in the past)
Beef varies, top quality "Scotch" or "Angus" fillet can be really good, but not as good as best Aberdeen Angus steak from Scotland
Lamb is (not surprisingly) good, but it is "known" that all the really good stuff gets exported (traditionaly to the UK, but since the advent of the EU (b***ards) now to the USA and Japan)
Many supermarkets offer schnitzel variations on beef and pork.  This is a cheaper cut which seems to have been put through some large rollers, or possibly pounded with a large hammer to make it thin.  Avoid.

Many type of sausages are available, most quite reasonable and recognisable.  However beware the difference between beef sausages and beef-flavoured sausages.  I believe that beef sausage actually has some real meat in it, while beef-flavoured has considerably less.
Pre-cooked sausages are available for use on the BBQ (avoids that Salmonella rush)
Cheerios are not a 'farewell call', nor a breakfast cereal produced by Nestlé, but are small, fat, bright reddish-orange sausages, normally pre-cooked, served heated in boiling water (like a frankfurter), and served with tomato sauce.  They do not taste like frankfurters.  Quite honestly they do not taste like anything else I've ever eaten, unless it was the ever so slightly rancid Donner Kebab I once had in Dundee after a night on the beer.  
A memory not particularly treasured.


Because of our warmer climate (in some areas) we do get access to local fruits not normally seen in the UK
Peaches, Nectarines, and Apricots in season are superb.
Cherries are seen as a traditional Christmas fruit.
Kiwifruit are in abundance
Lemon trees grow in almost every Kiwi garden, and oranges, limes and grapefruit are also grown locally.
Pineapples, Mangos, Coconuts are imported from nearby Pacific Islands.
Apples and Pears are grown in Hawkes Bay.
There is a more seasonal variation in NZ.  In the UK we were used to mountains of all fruits available from all round the world, all year round.
Kiwi fruit shops and supermarkets offer a superb, but mostly seasonal range.
I've never eaten so much fruit in my's great.

Butter & Cheese

In the past, New Zealand was known world-wide as a country packed with sheep, but with the removal of the fairly lucrative UK market when the EU developed some claws, Kiwi farmers had to try something else.  Cows.
They discovered that there was a small but growing market for dairy products in Asia and the Pacific rim..  We have always had a dairy industry, but it began to grow rapidly.  Most of the milk produced goes to a farmer owned co-operative called Fontera.
This has, in the past, made available excellent quality milk, butter and cheese to the Kiwi family.  The very recent explosive growth in the Asian dairy product market, linked to a reduction in Australian dairy exports (they are having an awful drought) has caused prices to almost double.


Available in supermarkets and specialist shops.  The main types in the bulk counters is Mild, Tasty and Colby.
Tasty is closest to cheddar, Colby is smoother and milder than cheddar, with a fresh taste.  I've never found any real taste at all in tastes to me like solidified, rubbery butter.
There are hundreds of small and specialist cheese makers up and down the country, making every type of cheese.  Not being part of the perfidious EU, we can make NZ Brie, Camembert, Gorgonzola, Stilton, Parmesan. Mozzarella,.  Mainly consumed in NZ, I don't believe that the EU food name laws have any relevance to these sales, and the cheeses are good.  

Ice Cream

Oh boy, do you have a treat in store.
Kiwi ice cream tastes like ice cream used to taste.
Made with only cream, butter, sugar and fruit/natural flavouring.
It's relatively cheap, every dairy sells it (normally Tip-Top, the most popular brand) at about $2.00 for a very large cone.
While most flavours will be recognized by most western cultures, there are some unique to NZ.

Hokey Pokey
Feijoa (a slightly astringent gooseberry-like fruit, with an aromatic addition)
Boysenberry (A milder version of the blackberry)

Alcoholic Beverages

You would think that a nation which has a brand of beer as an iconic national symbol (Tui) would know how to make the stuff.
Mostly it doesn't. (Aussie isn't much better)
Beer bought in a pub in a traditional glass (a "handle") from a pump is gassy and in many cases reminiscent of British beer of the 70s.  (remember Watney's Red Barrel).
There are now many micro-breweries in NZ, offering beers which really taste of beer.
However to put it in perspective, I read a quote from a long-time immigrant to NZ.
'I've never tasted beer that was so bad, nor have I ever drunk so much of it'

Traditionally, Kiwis are not big spirit drinkers.  The Scottish immigrants brought a taste for whisky, but successive governments have made it quite expensive.  
A bottle of Grouse costs about $40.
The younger generation has been got at by the international conglomerates, who are hooking youngsters all round the world on fizzy and sweet alko-pops.
However there are many staunch traditionalists who insist on getting totally wrecked on beer.
As the NZ economy changed in the 90s to a true market driven (almost Thatcherite) model, the first of the conspicuously rich (mostly in Auckland) began to appear.
These jokers started a trend for cocktails, which persists to this day, mostly in upmarket hotels and specialist bars.
Note that spirits can only be bought for home consumption at a liquor store.  Supermarkets are limited to beer, wines and sherries

It is only fairly recently that good wines have been home produced.  The original NZ wine was a sweet nondescript, never really popular.
The development of the wine areas of the Wairarapa, Marlborough and Otago, (plus others), specialising in Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, has led to NZ becoming a really first class wine producer.
Unfortunately, it's so bloody good, that all the really good stuff goes for export, and the remainder is becoming too expensive for everyday use.
Good fruity Aussie reds are cheaper in the supermarkets than their Kiwi equivalent.

Sauces and Tinned Goods.

Immigrants from the UK will spot familiar or almost familiar cans and bottles on supermarket shelves.
The local brand  "Watties" has a packaging identical (apart from the name) to Heinz
Campbell's soups are widely available.
Be warned, they do not taste the same as the ones you have grown used to in the UK.
Almost everything is slightly sweeter.  Pickles and sauces seem sweeter and less acidic or vinegary.

It is really strange.  

You travel 13,000 miles to the other part of the world.
You uproot from friends, family and native culture.
You embrace your new country.
You enjoy the diversity of  the new cuisine.

And you feel absolutely betrayed because the tomato ketchup tastes different.

There are a few ex-pat shops around, but I've never succumbed to the temptation.
Why go back?

However I must admit to the occasional daydream about  City Bakeries Mutton Pies from Glasgow, or Fisher & Donaldson Bridies from Fife and Dundee.


Before we arrived in NZ, I assumed, based as it was on Imperial British Culture, that NZ would be a tea imbibing nation.
Well it was, and many of the older generation still are tea drinkers, but coffee has taken over in a big way.
The quality of the coffee is much, much higher than that normally found in the UK.
Espresso machines abound, and baristas are highly trained.

The local coffee culture and providers are so good, that the international chains (Starbucks etc.) find it very hard to compete.
In Wellington, a city with a population of about 200,000, there are two Starbucks.
I am not saying that Starbucks coffee is no good, it's not, it gives a good standard of coffee worldwide, but...
It's not as good as the majority of local coffee outlets, and there are hundreds of them.

Coffee used to come in two types.  Black or White.
We now have a different categorisation, which I'll try and explain below.    (Sizes vary, and you can further vary these with your own personal preferences,
 i..e.. Skim Milk, Soy Milk, Extra shot etc.)  
Short Black A single espresso consisting of 30 mls.
Long Black A single/double espresso topped up with hot water to 140 mls.
Flat White A short black topped with creamy steamed milk. Size 190 mls.
Cappuccino About 1/3 short black with frothed milk. Size 190 mls.
Latte A large cup with a double short black and plenty of steamed flat milk. Size 300 - 330 mls

Much of the coffee is roasted locally, and there is a high level of competition between the coffee suppliers, resulting in a reasonably priced (about $3.50) high quality product.