Festival competition challenges taste buds

24 March 2023

The second annual Flavours of Plenty Festival kicks off today, with several of its 34 events already sold out.

A dozen eateries are also competing in the Plates of Plenty Challenge during the 10-day festival, offering special dishes based on a set box of locally-produced ingredients.

Tourism Bay of Plenty is organising the festival, and general manager Oscar Nathan says it’s exciting to see the region’s foodie producers, hospitality venues, tour operators and event organisers coming together to showcase their edible offerings.

The festival and challenge event is designed to highlight the impressive foodie talent that is flourishing throughout the Coastal Bay of Plenty region, despite the staff shortages many eateries are continuing to grapple with.

The Plates of Plenty Challenge supports local innovative foodie producers by improving their access and exposure to nearby hospitality businesses.

Each challenge eatery receives a box containing seven locally-sourced ingredients (mushrooms, sausages, peanut butter, truffle salt, limoncello, chillis, and eggs) and must use at least three of the items to create a bespoke festival dish. Each dish is then judged by a panel of experts, and diners also have the chance to submit votes.

“Two of this year’s festival events – the Battle of the Snack and Our Future Creative Gifts – specifically acknowledge the essential role our region’s most experienced chefs have in mentoring the next generation of culinary superstars,” Oscar says.

“Culinary tourism is a valuable global phenomenon thanks to the ever-increasing number of travellers who are keen to learn about the place-to-plate journey (from produce creation to culinary consumption). We’re therefore very keen to support our foodie sector to ensure we earn our rightful place on the national and international culinary tourism scene.”

The following eateries are competing in the Plates of Plenty Challenge:

  • The Phoenix, Tauranga
  • Fox’s Hawker House, Mount Maunganui
  • Solera, Mount Maunganui
  • Saltwater, Mount Maunganui
  • Pearl Kitchen, Papamoa
  • Izakai Bar & Eatery, Mount Maunganui
  • Miss Gee’s Bar & Eatery, Tauranga
  • The Comm, Whakatāne
  • Javaman Cafe, Whakatāne
  • Master Kong, Mount Maunganui
  • Alma Eatery, Ōmokoroa
  • Trinity Wharf Tauranga

 

The Plates of Plenty Challenge box features:

  • Sausages from El Jefe Meats (Mount Maunganui)
  • Mushrooms from Fat Guy Fungi (Whakatāne)
  • Chocolate hazelnut peanut butter from Small Batch (Mount Maunganui)
  • Truffle salt from Ohiwa Black Diamonds (Ōhiwa, Eastern Bay)
  • Lemon:Cello from Distillerie Denlein (Te Puna, Western Bay of Plenty)
  • Rocoto chillis from Bay Tropics (Ōropi, Western Bay of Plenty)
  • Eggs from Kaimai Eggs (Kaimāī, Western Bay of Plenty)

 

Further information, including festival tickets, is available at flavoursofplentyfestival.com.