Pick up your FAWCs for food, wine and a delectable slice of Hawke’s Bay

Hawke's Bay produces such a full table of food and wine that it celebrates this success twice annually with twin festivals.

In winter and summer, 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 seven 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 one place at one time – and 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 more than 60 events, often in stunning al fresco locations, offering a variety of creative food and wine experiences that launched with a big day out at Black Barn Vineyards in Havelock North.

Meanwhile Winter F.A.W.C! 2019 has a cosy programme of more than 65 events spanning four action-packed June weekends. It’s the biggest yet, boasting top local chefs, winemakers and foodies, collaborating to produce and devour a diverse range of dishes and experiences, staged across the region.

Event prices range from $NZ30 to $2,000 and include everything from champagne and whisky weekends at Cape Kidnappers to Fat Freddy’s Drop and food at Black Barn Vineyards, vegetarian feasts, international cuisine, world-class wine, and mid-winter parties. 

Discerning diners can also look forward to an extensive ‘F.A.W.C! by 5’ line-up of special dining deals throughout the month of June - with the cost being in increments of $5 (range between $5-$50) at popular cafés, wineries, and restaurants. 

The F.A.W.C! programme and bookings are available online at www.fawc.co.nz. 

Hawke’s Bay holidays

A long-time favourite New Zealand beach holiday destination, Hawke’s Bay’s other visitor attractions include spectacular coastal scenery and a world-renowned collection of Art Deco era architecture. 

The so-called ‘fruit bowl of New Zealand’ is a productive region of fertile soils and a pleasant climate, that 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 source 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 the region’s historic agricultural show grounds – home to one of New Zealand’s finest farmers’ markets. Cosy vineyard lunches, olive grove tours and garden parties are just a few ways to enjoy the festival in spectacular settings.

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.

About F.A.W.C!

  • F.A.W.C! – Hawke’s Bay’s ‘Food and Wine Classic’ – is a twice-yearly wine and food festival held in November and June. 
  • The first F.A.W.C! was held in 2012. The Summer and Winter F.A.W.C! festivals feature around 65 events. 
  • Situated on the east coast of the North Island, Hawke’s Bay is a 5-hour drive from Auckland, two hours from 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 twin Art Deco cities of Napier and Hastings.

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