Details of the 50 events which make up the inaugural Food and Wine Classic, or FAWC, were revealed last night, giving those involved a new sense of optimism heading into the summer holiday season.
The initiative was headed by Hawke's Bay Tourism which met food, dining and tourism operators at the Black Barn Vineyard, Havelock North, to reveal the event's summer series which runs from November 2 to 11. The events will give locals and visitors a chance to have experiences they might not find elsewhere in New Zealand.
It includes the catch, cook and consume with Moana Park Winery event, where people can learn how to fly fish, fillet a trout and learn how to match it with wine.
The National Aquarium of New Zealand, with Pacifica restaurant and Esk Valley Estate, will hold "A night at the aquarium", where people can learn about the sea creatures in and out of the water, while being introduced to nibbles such as sea urchin and smoked-eel porridge.
FAWC will also involve the Hawke's Bay Trails Wineries Ride launch of the Bridge Pa Triangle section of the regional cycle network. The off-road cycle track takes in about 17 wineries and people will be able to use the pathway for the first time.
One of wineries involved is Trinity Hill and its marketing manager, Catherine Rusby, said the initiative would bring back people to the Bay: "There is a branding opportunity there for Trinity Hill but I think overall this is more about the region and a great opportunity to put Hawke's Bay on the map.
"This can be something that is really sought after and that can encourage people to return to Hawke's Bay after the decrease we've all experienced."
Luxury B&B; Hawthorne House will offer a two-night accommodation event package including an eight-course degustation menu showcasing Hawke's Bay's fresh market food, matched with "old vintage Hawke's Bay wine" not available commercially. Owner Mike Lewis said Hawthorne House would have a chance to show the rest of the country the Bay had top quality, high-end accommodation options.
"But I've also been impressed with the list of other events, there's everything from bangers and mash, to really high-end dining, the catch, cook and consume event, things that people couldn't otherwise do."
Celebrity chef Ray McVinnie is the summer series ambassador. The official launch will be on November 2, at Craggy Range Winery, Havelock North. A winter series will follow in June 2013.