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Le Cordon Bleu News, 10/14/2014
New Zealand cuisine, is a fusion of flavors from around the world
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World Culinary Traditions

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New Zealand cuisine, is a fusion of flavors from around the world
New Zealand's cuisine reflects perfectly the multicultural mix that exists there. A fusion of flavors from around the world denotes the style of cuisine, representative of the diverse waves of immigration that the country has known. An invitation to travel with this cosmopolitan cuisine

New Zealand is an ancient British colony, where two ethnic groups coexist: the Maori people and the Pakeha.  The former were already present in precolonial times and originated from indigenous Polynesian inhabitants. The latter are of European descent, notably British. They came to New Zealand during the colonization. Each one has its own unique style of cuisine that influences each other, leading to the existent fusion of savors.

Maori gastronomy is similar to that of the tropical Polynesia cuisine. Kumara (sweet potatoes brought by the early Maori inhabitants), taro, birds and fish form the basis of their cuisine. One of the Maori culinary traditions is hangi, a mode of cooking which consists of slow cooking over an ember bed recovered with a layer of soil in an earth oven.

When the British colonialists first settled in New-Zealand they wanted to maintain their culinary traditions and foods of their homeland. So, they introduced European foods, such as potatoes, wheat, sugar and all kinds of meat, into the local cuisine. However, they still had to adapt to the constraints of the resources available locally, it is thus that Pakeha cuisine came into existence.  It is therefore not surprising that one of the signature dishes of New Zealand's cuisine is fish & chips.

The country has also undergone several spates of immigration, notably from East Asia and South Asia, forming the basis of the cosmopolitan cuisine in New Zealand today.

In terms of local ingredients, New Zealand yields produce of exceptional quality from both the land and sea.

With more than 15 000 km of coastline, there is an  absolute abundance of fish and seafood. Among the typical New Zealand products, are the singular green mussels, crayfish, whitebait, as well as the excellent Bluff oyster.

The country also has a wealth of meats available. Lamb, beef, chicken and pork are widely available. To give you an idea, there are some 30 million sheep for only 4 million inhabitants. What is more, Lamb is one of New Zealand’s star culinary products and roast lamb, the national dish.

In respect of cooking ingredients, the choice is wide and reflects the multicultural mix present in the country, such as quinoa, wasabi, rice vinegar, olive oil, white vinegar, mustard or the famous Manuka honey, which comes from the highly fragrant white flowers of the Manuka tree.  This honey has long been known to the Maoris, not just for its taste, but also for its medicinal properties.

As regards desserts, Pavlova is the emblematic dessert in New Zealand, as in Australia. Named after the graceful Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. Pavlova has a crisp and crunchy outer shell, and a soft, moist marshmallow-like center that in New Zealand is traditionally decorated with a topping of whipped cream and fresh seasonal fruit such as kiwifruit, strawberries or feijoa.

New Zealand’s gastronomy is changing, with a tendency towards lighter and healthier cuisine. Even if many fast food restaurants progressively have sprung up in New Zealand over the last few years, whilst at the same time we see an emergence of numerous vegetarian restaurants.  Vegetables such as kumara, butternut squash or peas are increasing taking preference over meat.

In parallel to these tendencies, we can also see many of New Zealand’s Chefs drawing on the broad-based culinary influences to be found there, where they harmonize with ease all these wonderful savors in their culinary preparations. What is more, Fusion food is the culinary trend in New Zealand today.

Shortbread with Jazz apple and Manuka honey, yogurt cream and sorbet

Shortbread with Jazz apple and Manuka honey, yogurt cream and sorbet

The Cordon Bleu’s Chefs recommend this recipe for shortbread with jazz apple and Manuka honey, yogurt cream and sorbet. An invitation on travel, this recipe will transport you directly to New Zealand!

Get the recipe



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