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Intriguing collisions ahead for annual foodie festival

The organisers of the award-winning Flavours of Plenty Festival say foodie fans should expect the unexpected as they start choosing from almost 50 events in this year’s programme, which has been released today.

It’s the third time the annual festival is being offered across the Coastal Bay of Plenty, after recently earning two prestigious titles at the New Zealand Events Association Awards (Best Lifestyle Event and Best Local Government Event).

Festival director Rae Baker says while it would have been easy to repeat a winning formula, she’s taken a fresh approach to emphasise fun and innovative collaborations in this year’s 4 – 14 April programme.

This has produced unusual matches like a beer and dessert event called A Dark Night, a Kong Meets Roxie Asian-Mexican fusion banquet, and the More is More Maximalist Supperclub communal feast.

“We’re showcasing and connecting the region’s best growers, creators, kai, beverages, and chefs as we entice locals and visitors to savour our best culinary collisions – from Waihī Beach to Ōhope and everywhere between,” Rae says.

“We’ve got proven favourites such as degustation dinners, some food and beverage crafting classes, a few orchard tours, and the Battle of the Snack which will see top chefs and their protégés vie for national media exposure.

“There are also lots of new additions,” says Rae. “I can’t wait to experience the Filipino Boodle Fight, which is being held in a pizza restaurant – go figure! We’re also really looking forward to welcoming all the wannabe Vikings at our Sizzle & Stein Sunday.”

In addition to the ticketed events, there’s a selection of free community markets and a specially designed The Food Bowl of Plenty Exhibition at Western Bay Museum, in Katikati.

A seven-hour Mystery Bus Tour, journeying through some of the Eastern Bay of Plenty’s best food and beverage options, is also being offered.

The festival has continued to evolve since it was first mooted during significant community engagement work that was undertaken by Tourism Bay of Plenty in 2019 as part of its Place DNA® research.

Tourism Bay of Plenty general manager Oscar Nathan says last year’s festival, its second iteration, generated a noticeable social vibe and significant economic boost for the region.

“The great thing about Flavours of Plenty is that it’s a platform that enables us to uncover, connect, and celebrate the distinctive eco-system of growers, suppliers, and retailers in the Coastal Bay of Plenty’s food and hospitality scene. It’s really rewarding to see this recognition and momentum growing from strength to strength during each annual festival,” he says.