A few years ago we went to the Wild Food Festival in New Zealand. It is held every year on the South Island on the West Coast in the township of Hokitika. The west coast is absolutely wild and wonderful. It is a rugged place with black sand beaches. Hokitika is full of friendly locals and it is known for the pounamu (greenstone) from the Arahura River. The festival was first started in 1990 and is still going strong. The festival is an icon in itself and one of the premier special happenings in New Zealand. We just had to be a part of the happening
Once on the festival grounds the fun is never ending. Everybody is here to celebrate wild food washed down with drinks of all sorts. There is live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, prizes to win for the best dressed festival goers.
The food presented is amazing. It is time to pig out! It looks like one delicacy after the other and where to start and what to try! The amount of choices you have to make in a day is amazing. There is a cornucopia of the most exotic dishes. Some more adventures than others. There are seagull eggs, whitebait patties and mountain oysters. What are mountain oysters one would ask! By the looks of them they are definitely not oysters. So true! They are sheep balls! I am not going to eat any of them. What a ghastly thing to eat. For some pygmy deep in the jungle it might just be a delicacy. Not for this girl!
There are chicken feet, colostrums cheesecake and the infamous wicked stallion protein shots. I am not going to risk my life on this concoction. Thank you! I am just wondering what the ingredients could be. I am not even game to ask. I am not going down that track. I spot a seafood stall and head straight for the marinated tuna which turns out to be a gastronomic highlight of the day. There is also an abundance of smoked high country salmon and an immense assortment of game meat. This is a delight for any gourmet freak.
Gourmet food, culinary creativity, originality and crazy chefs have done a great job for sure.
Snails in the shell cooked in garlic butter. Grasshoppers with white rice served on a small square of flax leaf. Insects – food of the future one of the stall holder claims advertising that they are widely eaten throughout Asia and Africa. So true we tried some in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. Very high nutritional value and they are easy and cheap to grow. Fried grasshoppers served on baguette. Crispy Cricket also served on baguette. Very interesting looking beer battered beetle and chilli. Bug jelly and Wasp larvae ice cream.
The Startled Worm Café has a few terrific dishes amongst others Worm Dukkah. The recipe is said to originate from Egypt. Spicy, roasted worms and nuts served with bread and olive oil. It is supposed to be an ancient recipe, loved by Cleopatra. You can also have W.W.W. (Worm With Wings) an aged recipe from Austria. Pickled worms in Red Bull to give you that extra lift.
There is an awful lot of pickled Huhu beetle served on toothpick. They are yummy just like our own Australian Witchery grub with a nice nutty flavour. Wash them down with wine made from Rose and Rosehip petals and from Gorse and Broom flowers. It sure makes you fall about laughing.
Westland Scouts has Bush Bacon Butties served with wild plum sauce and my mouth is watering. There is nothing like Grandma’s wild plum sauce. Next door serves venison porcini sausage and duck giblet. I prefer the giblet in a soup not just to eat as finger food. You can have Sangria which is a cold punch or wine and brandy while munching making a pig of myself.
The Offal Pit serves BBQ sheep tail still in the wool! The stink of burnt wool is so disgusting that I give the sampling a miss. It is utterly repulsive. It is gross. I find some glorious Pig Brain Cheese and Pig in the Mud Muffins instead and some lip-smacking chocolate cakes and honey. I try the inner part of the local tree fern raw as well as pickled it is a scrumptious surprise.
Aussie Tucker stall serve crocodile and kangaroo bites washed down with cider.
I could have done without Pohowaitai Mutton Bird with fried bread and syrup. It is in fact horrible but I think it is because it is a very fat bird and it must have been preserved in salt as salt is the dominating taste.
The wild pork and lambs dishes are absolutely magnificent and outstanding. The same can be said about the blackberry and venison sausage. Around the corner I find some superb tasty mussels and Littleneck clams. May I just say:” This is the superlative degree for master cooking”
I give the Testicle spew and testicle sandwiches a miss. It is too revolting for me to handle. Just the thought of cooking them up makes me nausea. What a complete horrendous disaster to see this on the menu! I find some nice wallaby patties to compensate. They are excellent.
Wild Curry House serves venison curry with rice amongst others. For those that are thirsty there is heaps of West Coast Draught. “Olle Bolle” has original Dutch Donuts with cinnamon and sugar or with cream, and a choice of coffee, hot chocolate and tea.
I could mention much more but I don’t want to drag on. You might just end up twiddling your thumbs or get hungry!