Hawke's Bay produces such a full table of food and wine that it celebrates this success twice annually with twin festivals.
Along with the fine full-bodied red wines that consistently attract international recognition, the Hawke's Bay region - on the eastern coast of the North Island - produces everything from lamb and beef to seafood, dairy, stone fruit and olives making it a perfect spot to host a food and wine festival.
In summer and winter, the F.A.W.C! Food and Wine Classic gathers this bountiful east coast region’s finest producers and purveyors into event-laden feasts of indulgence for an ever-expanding audience of hungry locals and discerning international visitors.
In just eight years, F.A.W.C! has grown to become New Zealand’s biggest food and wine festival bringing together celebrity chefs, hospitable locals and producers, wine makers and champions of New Zealand’s thriving food and wine industry in a series of creative events in one of New Zealand’s most popular holiday destinations.
Summer F.A.W.C! runs for 10 days each November. The 2019 edition brings together 75 events, often in stunning al fresco locations, offering a variety of creative food and wine experiences that launch with a big party at Black Barn Vineyards in Havelock North.
Meanwhile Winter F.A.W.C! has a cosy programme of more than 65 events spanning four action-packed June weekends. Events range from champagne and whisky weekends at luxury lodge The Farm at Cape Kidnappers to music from Fat Freddy’s Drop paired with food at Black Barn Vineyards, vegetarian feasts, international cuisine, world-class wine, and mid-winter parties.
Summer F.A.W.C! 2019
Rather than a one-stop destination experience, F.A.W.C! is a 10-day festival packed with 75-plus events that play out across the entire region ranging into vineyards, country estates and gardens, olive groves, markets and dining establishments in the gorgeous Art Deco cities of Napier and Hastings.
The festival brings together celebrity chefs, wine makers, food producers and champions of Hawke’s Bay’s thriving food and wine industry in a programme of masterclasses and events showcasing culinary genius and the productive goodness of the region.
There's a creative culinary experience for everyone from exclusive dinners with the winemaker to long lunches al fresco and picnics. Spread your picnic blanket on the grass, then put your picnic together as you meet local producers at the Hawke's By Farmers' Market. Dine inside and out in lovely surroundings in restaurants, cafes, vineyards, olive groves and garden settings with food that will satisfy all your temporal desires.
Tickets for Summer F.A.W.C! 2019 are on sale from mid-September. There are 7000 places for events with a wide range of ticket prices, and even some with free entry.
Hawke’s Bay is a long-time favourite New Zealand beach holiday destination with a sunny ‘clime’ and many visitor attractions including spectacular coastal scenery and a world-renowned collection of Art Deco era architecture.
Known as the ‘fruit bowl of New Zealand’, this fertile, productive region also claims the crown of oldest wine region in New Zealand – a story that goes back to 1851 when the first vines were planted by Roman Catholic Marist brothers at Mission Estate on the outskirts of Napier. Nearly 170 years later Hawke’s Bay has matured into the country’s second largest wine producer and producer of an enviable array of other goods from the humble apple, avocadoes and honey, to artisan cheeses, olives, lamb, beef and seafood.
The fine Art Deco cities of Napier and Hastings serve up many festival events in restaurants, cafés and pop-up settings such as the Art Deco Masonic Hotel and Marine Parade Domain. The picturesque countryside surrounding them is liberally sprinkled with atmospheric venues including notable wineries and vineyards, olive groves and gorgeous gardens.
With more than 70 wineries, this vine-lined region is the perfect place to discover what the New World has to offer. And while its Bordeaux and Rhone-rivalling reds and knockout Chardonnay continue to lead the charge, varietals such as pinot gris and gewürtztraminer are worth a trial.
Such delectable largesse blends perfectly with a sunny climate to make Hawke’s Bay one of New Zealand’s great food and wine destinations, at any time of year.
A wine tour can take in any of around 30 tasting rooms and more than a dozen cellar door restaurants. In between are country cafés, artisan food factories, fruit stalls and family-friendly attractions, all easily reached from the main visitor hubs.
One of the best ways to see the sights is on a bicycle. The Hawke’s Bay Trails – more than 200km of cruisy cycle paths and quiet country roads – offer an almost endless array of routes to suit whatever interests and itineraries. It’s a great way soak up beautiful coastal, riverside and rural scenery, with plenty of opportunity to sample the Bay’s delicious bounty along the way.
- F.A.W.C! – Hawke’s Bay’s ‘Food and Wine Classic’ – is New Zealand’s biggest food and wine festival, held twice-yearly with a summer series in November and winter series in June.
- The first F.A.W.C. was held in 2012 with 55 events and 3000 tickets. Summer 2019 will present 70-plus events.
- Situated on the east coast of the North Island, Hawke’s Bay is a 5-hour drive from Auckland, two hours from Lake Taupō, and four hours from Wellington.
- The region’s airport has daily flights from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
- Hawke’s Bay is home to the Art Deco twin cities of Napier and Hastings.
- The F.A.W.C! programme and bookings are available online at www.fawc.co.nz.