Rugby World Cup: A feast in our own back yard

By Celeste Gorrell Anstiss

Eden Park. Photo / Richard Robinson
Eden Park. Photo / Richard Robinson

Individual tickets to the Rugby World Cup final have sold out - but for those willing to pay the eye-wateringly big sums, some mouth-wateringly good packages are still available.

For a mere $6607, the most devoted fans can watch the game from one of the best of Eden Park's "Category A" seats. That's "A" for an arm and a leg. But it's also "A" for appetising.

The seat comes with an invitation to the pre-match soiree at the ultra-lux on-site pavilion, so you'll avoid the traffic chaos and get to rub shoulders with international celebrities and VIPs.

Also included is all the wine and beer you can drink, plus four courses of culinary indulgence as you warm up for the game.

The extravagant menus planned for each match have, until now, been kept under wraps. But the Herald on Sunday was this weekend given a sneak peak into what will be served up.

The menus for the top packages include Canterbury eye fillet, Marlborough king salmon and Hawke's Bay lamb for those with deep pockets - and battered blue cod for those in the cheaper seats.

Brancott Estate and Heineken are providing the booze, while local producers including Puhoi and Kapiti are supplying six tonnes of boutique cheese.

More than 1.5 tonnes of New Zealand beef and 650kg of Hawke's Bay lamb has also been ordered, as well as 200,000 plates, 150,000 wine glasses, 350,000 pieces of cutlery and 5000 tablecloths.

Austin's Food Design, which also holds the catering contract for The Edge, the Pacific Events Centre, Hampton Downs Motorsport Park and the Auckland Tennis Centre, has developed 85 menus for the tournament to ensure each match is different.

The brief given by Rugby Travel and Hospitality was to design a series of menus that showcased fresh, quality produce sourced from New Zealand. Cobus Klopper, who worked under world-renowned chef Peter Gordon, will be leading the Pavilion kitchen as executive head chef. He will be assisted by 300 waiters and 70 kitchen staff.

Rugby Tourism and Hospitality operations manager David White said the Pavilion would offer an experience never before seen in New Zealand.

"It cost $7 million to build. It's carpeted, air-conditioned: it's going to be like going into a ballroom."

Guest speakers and entertainment would also be provided. "I think it's important to point out it'll be a once in a life-time experience and it's right in our back yard."

Of course, if money is no object, you can still hire a corporate box: for as little as $108,000 you can enjoy the match with 15 friends.

At that price, of course, they would have to be really, really good friends...

- Herald on Sunday

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