This is the first year the Food and Wine Classic event will be held in Hawke’s Bay. F.A.W.C. (pronounced ‘fork’) showcases the best chefs, the best winemakers in the best
Bay in New Zealand. For those living outside of Hawke’s Bay this is their first opportunity to experience Hawke’s Bay through the eyes of the people who contribute to our regions dining diversity.
While there are some amazing high end events, there are also one-off events that make it affordable for everyone. I’ve been asked by friends in Wellington to put together a three day stay recommendation in Hawke’s Bay, so I thought I’d share it with you as an option to build your own itinerary for friends and family you’re attempting to entice to visit you in the region! If you want us to build a customised itinerary for you, scroll to the bottom.
All in for $700 per person
- Spend under $200 for 3 days on F.A.W.C events
Arrive in the Bay on Thursday 1st November
Book the 1130am flight from Wellington so you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast your favourite Wellington cafe before
boarding the flight to Hawke’s Bay. We’d recommend Ti Kouka Cafe with it’s strong Hawke’s Bay connections.
You’ll arrive around 1230pm and if you’re staying with friends or family, head straight out to a late lunch and catchup with them over lunch in the sun. There’s a couple of options in Ahuriri which is on your way in from the airport.
Milk and Honey. The place where you’re almost guaranteed a table in the sun and a place where there’s a good chance of bumping into some of Hawke’s Bay’s food and wine set.
Sol Cafe. Fantastic coffee, fresh muffins in this little suntrap location.
Boardwalk Restaurant. Enjoy calamari on the deck while directly overlooking the beach and sea. Ideal for families with the park next door, this place has a welcoming
bach vibe and friendly staff.
Walk around Ahuriri and enjoy the art galleries, take in the beach sounds and start getting acclimatised to the Hawke’s Bay lifestyle.
The evening you’ll probably spend at your friends or family house so go with their recommendation for a home cooked meal. I recommend they source their meat and fish from one of these nearby stores.
If you’re a group staying together, I recommend renting one of the amazing beach houses in Westshore. It’s the closest coastal hotspot to Napier, although you’ll need a car to get to events in Havelock North and Hastings. Fish n Chips at Westshore Fish Cafe with champagne is an easy way to get dinner prepared while enjoying your first night in.
Friday 2nd November – Let the F.A.W.C festival begin
It’s time to put your adventurer hat on and start to explore Hawke’s Bay. The first event up is Bay Espresso’s Single Origin
Coffee tasting. You’ll taste beans from Mexico, Ethiopia and Colombia roasted to three different levels. The tastings takes place in Bay Espresso’s premium cafe called Adam & Eva’s in Havelock North. Once finished, I recommend driving up to the top of Te Mata Peak and taking in the beautiful vistas of the region. On the way down, drop in at Black Barn or Craggy Range for a wine tasting as they’re both nearby and have fantastic cellar doors.
If you don’t stay at one of the wineries for lunch, you’ll want to stay around Havelock North as the Oyster Saloon is on at 4pm at Advintage Wines. Thyme Cafe is relatively new you might like to have lunch at, while No 5 Cafe & Larder is a destination cafe with consistently good food at reasonable prices. There you have the opportunity of staying a while, checking out the gift shop before arriving back at Advintage Wines for your oyster shucking. If you stay
Havelock North side for dinner, look no further than Black Barn Bistro’s Friday nights. This is a new option and is in high demand for locals so book well in advance during FAWC. Black Barn’s Friday nights costs $60 for three courses allowing you to order a bottle of wine a level up from what you might usually order.
FAWC Tickets to book
The Oyster Saloon $13ea
The Olive Festival is an opportunity to try Telegraph Hill olive oil, dukkah alongside a host of other olive products. Last year there were intimate live Q&A sessions with New Zealand cooking stalwarts such as Alison Holst. For a family of four you’ll only pay $15 so there’s more of your moolah to buy products. The three pack of Telegraph Hill with garlic, orange and lime flavours is the perfect take home gift! The Olive Festival is again at the Hastings Racecourse. For something out of the box, and a little off track, build a picnic from your Olive Festival products and head to Ngatawara Winery where you can picnic by the lily filled pool while enjoying their Farm Gate wine range. Ngatawara is a another place where your kids can run free while you relax with a chardonnay in the summer sun or under the tree shade.
Don’t eat too much, as I’ve booked you in at Clambake & El Bulli. It’s a beach party, Ahuriri style. Walking distance to your rental beach house accommodation so no one has to drive. This is my hidden pick of the Napier F.A.W.C events. Watch your seafood dinner laid on hot coals and buried in the sand. While it cooks, sit back in the luxurious leather of the Globe Theatrette and watch the movie El Bulli. That’s a behind the scenes look at one of the worlds best restaurants. After the movie, pop next door to Milk and Honey for dinner family style and enjoy matched Hawke’s Bay’s aromatics.
Still going? Thirsty Whale is the place where you’re guaranteed a dance floor boogie and is a five minute walk from Milk and Honey. From there, it’s a ten minute walk and you’re home in Westshore.
Clambake and El Bulli $97ea
Ok, so you’ll probably have a hangover right now. Get down to Sol Cafe and order the omelette. One of the best around, fluffy, fresh and you choose your filling. Order a double shot Flight Coffee and you’ll be back on form. The flights at 1:40pm so there’s enough time to go for a walk on the Napier pathway and meander through Napier CBD. Personally, I’d make the effort and get across to the Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market. It’s the best market in New Zealand, with the biggest selection and the most committed producers. There’s no entry fee, but put aside $100 to spend on produce. There’s so much you just won’t see anywhere else. Origin Earth cheeses, Singita Foods Droe Woers sticks, the German bread dude, oh the list goes on.
Once you’ve shopped, you’ll be treated to a gourmet lunch prepared by that famously thick rimmed glasses wearing Masterchef judge Ray McVinnie. It will be like your very own Masterchef invention test, but with locally grown gourmet produce. If you want to meet Hawke’s Bay locals who love their local produce, I reckon this may be the event for you.
FAWC Tickets to book
Sunday Farmers Market $FREE
Ok, it’s time to get to the airport now and back to your city busi-ness and business. Enjoy the produce you’ve purchased that evening back at your home in Wellington having experienced a 3 day gourmet weekend for the cost of two high end Wellington dinners!
Receive your own customised F.A.W.C itinerary for just $129
If you are a visiting kiwi food blogger and would like FREE accommodation for the duration of F.A.W.C, Tweet2eat will open it’s home and has three rooms available for media who need high speed Internet, and the help of local foodie knowledge with contacts on hand. Interested?