Diners and bar patrons are being invited to vote for their favourite specially designed menu item during this week’s inaugural Flavours of Plenty Festival.
Twelve eateries and bars across the Coastal Bay of Plenty region have signed up for the Produce Box Competition, which will see entrants utilising a selection of locally produced ingredients to create a unique food or beverage item that will only be served during the four-day festival.
A six-member panel of industry representatives will then judge the results, with the winning entrant earning a $700 Southern Hospitality voucher and the Judge’s Choice Award title.
However, diners will also get to have their say via the People’s Choice Award.
The eatery with the most popular product will earn a $300 Southern Hospitality voucher, while voters will enter a draw to win a prize pack worth more than $400, including tickets to a Taste of Plenty tour.
Tourism Bay of Plenty is overseeing the Flavours of Plenty Festival, which is being held 7-10 April and is being supported by the Regional Events Fund and sponsorship from TECT and Tauranga City Council.
Tourism Bay of Plenty Tumuaki/general manager Oscar Nathan says the festival is a timely way to support local hospitality operators, many of whom have been struggling with low patronage and staffing issues during New Zealand’s recent Omicron outbreak.
“The Produce Box Competition is an ideal way to showcase some of the unique horticultural offerings that are available throughout the region, while in turn inspiring creativity and celebrating the innovative local café and bar staff that we have.
“This festival is the first that we intend to host annually right across our coastal region. We’re delighted that tickets have been selling so well and this augurs well for next year’s festival too.”
Ten different growers and artisans, producing goods such as macadamia nuts, chocolate, honey and ale, have donated their wares to each produce box.
The competing bars and eateries (listed below) are required to create and sell a festival menu item based on one or more of the produce box contents.
Participating eateries and bars
- Surf Shack Eatery, Waihī Beach
- Astrolabe Brew Bar, Mount Maunganui
- Brew Co, Mount Maunganui
- Hide Thirst & Hunger, Mount Maunganui
- Solera, Mount Maunganui
- Spongedrop Cakery, Mount Maunganui
- Mount Made, Mount Maunganui
- Izakai Bar + Eatery, Mount Maunganui
- Lantern, Papamoa
- The Trading Post, Paengaroa
- Javaman Café, Whakatāne
- The Comm, Whakatāne
Produce box donations
- The Snag C. (Bacon, Chilli & Maple Sausages)
- Flame Lily Orchard (Blueberries)
- Webster’s Tea (English Breakfast Tea)
- J3 Freshstre (Golden Passionfruit)
- Harburside Macadamias (Macadamias & Macadamia Liqueur)
- Mārama’s Mushroms (Phoenix Oyster Mushrooms)
- Manawa Hney (Mānuka, Pua-ā-Tāne, Rewarewa & Tāwari Honey)
- Mata Brewery, Whakatāne (Glden Kiwi Cider & Salt Air Pale Ale)
- Slomon’s Gold, Mount Maunganui (Smooth Dark Chocolate)
- Heilala Vanilla (Vanilla Beans)