For over a decade, the F.A.W.C! Food and Wine Classic festival has showcased the region’s food and wine.
“Tourism is really important and it’s vital we get back on our feet as quickly as we possibly can,” said Hamish Saxton, chief executive of Hawke’s Bay Tourism.
“It’s our third biggest industry, worth well in excess of $600 million, and it employs roughly 10 per cent of our residents.”
From cooking classes to fine dining experiences, the festival is still going strong.
Food writer Christall Lowe’s unique take on a traditional hāngī was just one of the many dishes on show.
“What I want to do in my workshops is be able to bring these traditional practices into a modern environment so that people can do it at home,” she said.
Hine Waitere travelled from the Bay of Plenty for the event and took a cooking class on her birthday.
“It’s been a great morning.
“My daughter and I came along. It was just fabulous to find out there was an opportunity to work with Christall. So it’s been stunning.”
Lowe’s cooking class was hosted at The Farmhouse Kitchen, just outside Havelock North, and owner Pauline Koreavaar has been involved with the festival from the very start.
“We have had pasta makers, bread makers, and cheese makers. People have hands-on experience so they have the confidence to cook at home and try something new.”
With 60 events taking place around the region, all taste buds are catered for.
At Napier’s Bistronomy, guests are offered a special food and wine-pairing experience, with six European dishes matched with the wines from Linden Estate.
Co-owner Sabrina Brown said, “We go through a journey with our customers to showcase to them how beautiful the food can be with wine.”
In February, many hospitality businesses, including Linden Estate Winery, were hit badly by the cyclone.
Operators are thrilled to have something to celebrate after a tough start to the year and there’s plenty more to come.
“We’ve got a great event on June 23 in Hastings to celebrate our recent addition to the great wine capitals.
“We’re going to be sampling wines from Hawke’s Bay, as well as some wines from the other 11 countries that are also part of the great wine capital networks.”
For more information, check out the F.A.W.C! website.