Denizen Previews F.A.W.C!

New Zealand’s most hotly-anticipated summer food and wine festival returns for its eighth iteration.

Calling out to all gastronomes, Hawke’s Bay’s Summer Food and Wine Classic (F.A.W.C!) is back for its eighth year and the ten-day agenda from the 1st of November until the 10th of November looks more promising than ever before. Hawke’s Bay is widely recognised as one of New Zealand’s leading food and wine destinations and F.A.W.C! is showcasing the region’s crème de la crème, making this series of events a line-up you don’t want to miss.

This year, over 75 events will be endeavouring to capture the best of New Zealand summer. Expect to find the likes of elevated barbecues, brunches, daytime baking events, alongside walk-up wine bars, exclusive and epic chef collaborations and restaurant swaps. And when you need a break from the never-ending cheese and vino, F.A.W.C! has also set up enchanted gardens and cinema screenings to keep you entertained.

Some of Auckland’s most acclaimed chefs will be putting in guest appearances in the summer series, including Kiwi icon, Al Brown and Cazador’s respected Executive Chef and Owner, Dariush Lolaiy. The exciting, jam-packed itinerary will take place over 10 days, and will offer something for everyone. But before you start feeling overwhelmed, we’ve rounded up a few of the ones we’re looking forward to, to give you a starting point. To see the entire schedule and for more information about the all-encompassing event, click here.

Garden Party at Craggy Range

Day 1 — Friday, 1st November
F.A.W.C! Launch Party with Hawke’s Bay Winemakers
Kick-off the eighth year of F.A.W.C! at the beautiful Black Barn Vineyards, where Hawke’s Bay’s top winemakers and brewers will be showcasing their best local drops, accompanied by seasonal bites and live DJs.

Day 2 — Saturday, 2nd November
Leading Ladies Lunch with Nici Wickes & Fleur Sullivan
Escape to the idyllic Black Barn Retreat for a three-course lunch that showcases the cuisines of the land and the sea. The menu has been designed by television host and cookbook author, Nici Wickes and New Zealand’s goddess of seafood, Fleur Sullivan. Together, they will be sharing tips, tricks, recipes and stories, making it an afternoon to remember.

Day 3 — Sunday, 3rd November
Bish & Chips
You can’t get more Kiwi than fish and chips in the summer heat and it only gets better when the culinary caravan, Vagabond Jack’s, is frying up the feast. When it comes to fish and chips, a beverage is mandatory and Tony Bish is bringing the goods including the Fat & Sassy Chardonnay and Golden Egg Chardonnay. There will also be five beers on tap on offer for the brewski-lovers.

Day 4 — Monday, 4th November
Go ahead, bake my day
Maxine Schektorof from Wellington’s infamous French bakery, Sugar Flour is heading up North and offering a day of education on how to create the most indulgent desserts. While you learn about the long and challenging process (for which a fair amount of patience is required), Forage and Bloom teas, Allpress coffee and bubbles will be on hand to keep energy levels high.

Guest Chef Nici Wickes

Day 5 — Tuesday, 5th November
Restaurant Swap with Milk & Honey
Restauranteurs and friends, Sean Burns and Sarah Watson are swapping restaurants and teams as they take over each other’s kitchens. Renowned for serving up some of the finest modern Asian-fusion cuisines in the Hawke’s Bay, Milk & Honey’s takeover of the award-winning, European restaurant, Deliciosa is set to be a unique experience.

Day 6 — Wednesday, 6th November
Does my cheese look big in this?
Enjoy an evening of our two favourite things — cheese and wine, an undeniable iconic and universally beloved pairing. The award-winning food writer and world-class cheese expert, Juliet Harbutt, is joining forces with Mac from Advintage Wines and are hosting an evening to expand our cheesy horizons and teach us how to make the perfect pairing.

Cheese and Wine Pairing

Day 7 — Thursday, 7th November
Get ya craft on!
Wine isn’t the only drink this series has in store for us. The craft beer scene in New Zealand seems to never stop growing and what better way to embrace this evolving culture than with an evening of brewskies and live music alongside a summer barbie? Emerson’s, Macs and Little Creatures will be taking part and the food will be cooked by the critically-acclaimed chef and Beef + Lamb Ambassador, Damon McGinniss.

Day 8 — Friday, 8th November
Chimera, Amoise & Halcyon Days
The Auckland pop-up series, Restaurant Chimera is taking their simplistic style of cooking to the Hawke’s Bay and collaborating with Amoise Wines and Halcyon Days. Organic wines will be poured along with unique dishes while ’90s R&B music fills the air.

Day 9 — Saturday, 9th November
‘Five Fires’ with Al Brown
Renowned for his no-frills, informal style of casual dining, Al Brown will be hosting a chilled-out afternoon where event-goers are welcome to graze and get up close and personal with the food they’re eating. Not only will attendees be invited to tuck into oysters, Al will make them try their hand at shucking as well.

Secret Location Lunch

Day 10 — Sunday, 10th November
Foraged Wild – Bistronomy X Cazador
What better way to conclude a ten-day foodie adventure than with a feast, cooked and served by Cazador’s Dariush Lolaiy. He will be joining James Beck to showcase the best of the local produce through tasty snacks on arrival, followed by a delicious six-course menu.


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F.A.W.C! Food & Wine Classic

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