Deliciousness galore in store at 2019 Taste of Auckland

One of my favourite events has announced its lineup – and I think we’re in for a bit of a treat!

A few years ago I was lucky enough to meet Marco Pierre White at the absolutely unforgettable Margaret River Food Festival. He really does have a presence that’s larger than life – but when he comes over to our sunny shores for this year’s Taste of Auckland, he’s rubbing shoulders with some pretty shining stars of our own!

Food lovers won’t want to miss this year’s Taste of Auckland, with Epicer, Andiamo, Hugo’s Bistro, &Sushi, Culprit, Xoong, Shucker Brothers, Lowbrow, Crab Shack and a Paris Butter & Friends collab just some of the restaurants confirmed in this year’s line-up.

With tickets on sale this week, the four-day festival on from 31 October to 3 November 2019 on Auckland’s waterfront is shaping up to be a veritable ‘foodies’ playground’. New festival themes to explore include Spice Alley, Ocean Terrace, The Shed and Decadence Collective, showcasing signature dishes from some of Auckland’s most exciting restaurants, and gourmet treats, condiments, fine wines and chef favourites just waiting to be discovered.

New on this year’s restaurant line-up are Ponsonby newcomer Epicer, serving up modern Indian cuisine by Michelin starred chef Manjunath Mural, the bustling inner city Hugo’s Bistro, and Herne Bay favourite Andiamo. Also making an appearance for the first time are artful sushi makers &Sushi, Collab Kitchen by Paris Butter & Friends, and the coastal themed Crab Shack, bringing their edgy mobile caravan to the Ocean Terrace zone.

Kyle Street and Jordan MacDonald return for the second year with Culprit and their fresh and seasonal take on fast food at Lowbrow. Also making a return with new inspired dishes are popular Asian fusion eatery Xoong with chef Cameron Knox and oyster specialists Shucker Brothers, with more restaurants to be announced in the coming months.

From further afield, one of the biggest names in the global culinary scene, Marco Pierre White, is a special guest at New Zealand’s largest food festival.

Dubbed the ‘godfather of modern cooking’ and known for his razer-sharp wit as much as his signature wild mushroom risotto, Marco will navigate his way around the festival as head judge of the Best in Taste Awards. With daily appearances, keep an eye out for Marco’s schedule on the Taste website and be sure to bring a book by the British chef, restaurateur and TV personality for book signings at selected sessions.

Around 400 diners will also enjoy an exclusive four course dinner created by Marco, his executive chef Andrew Bennett and leading local chefs Josh Emett and Gareth Stewart. With a charity auction to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, tables are selling fast so if you’re a fan of the famous chef be sure to act quickly to secure your seat at this very special one-off event.

The festival’s second year on Queen’s Wharf, Lemongrass Productions director Rob Eliott says visitors can expect a new layout, fresh aesthetic and innovative line-up, with plenty to explore for both seasoned festival goers and newcomers alike.

With more than 80 producers of beautifully crafted fine food, wine, spirits and craft brews on offer, the festival’s Artisan Market Place will offer everything from Forty Thieves all natural and delicious nut butters, to Olive Black’s aromatic fresh and fruity tasting olive oils, to The Baron’s ethically-sourced and naturally harvested premium snacks and so much more.

“Yes we’re New Zealand’s largest single-venue food festival, but Taste of Auckland isn’t just about the food,” says Eliott.

“Taste is about what’s happening in Auckland’s restaurant scene, the best wine, craft beer and spirits, top notch artisanal producers from all over the country, live entertainment, engaging experiences; this year includes high tea by Hotel Grand Windsor; a 1930s speakeasy Whisky Lounge by 9k International, and the addition of large format sculptures and artistic elements for a more enjoyable environment.

“Since our move to Queen’s Wharf last year, it’s also about enjoying the best of Auckland’s urban lifestyle on our beautiful waterfront.”

Tickets to Taste of Auckland are on sale now, with early bird GA tickets from just $20, Premium tickets from $65 and VIP tickets from $89.

With an extra-special VIP offering this year, VIP ticket holders get exclusive access to the elevated waterfront Platinum Lounge with spectacular views of the Waitemata Harbour and a glass of No. 1 Family Estate Cuvée on arrival. Also available exclusively to VIP ticket holders is the Curiosity Botanical Experience, a masterclass experience for the gin curious.

Event partner YOU Travel has travel packages on offer for those living outside of Auckland. See Taste of Auckland website for details.

Taste of Auckland, Thursday 31 October to Sunday 3 November 2019

Shed 10, The Cloud and Queen’s Wharf, Auckland. Tickets on sale now, with early bird tickets from just $20, as well as premium, VIP, group and corporate bookings all available. See www.tasteofauckland.co.nz

‘Dine with Marco Pierre White’, Thursday 31 October 2019

This White Tie Dinner includes four courses, matching wines, entertainment, charity auction and tickets to Taste of Auckland. Remaining tables and individual seats from $460 pp via hospitality@lemongrassproductions.co.nz