Auckland’s Best Food & Wine Experiences

Grab a snack and tuck in for a delicious food post! You do not want to read this on an empty stomach. Let me quickly introduce you to Amanda and Matt from Above Our Means. Not only are they fabulous travel blogging expats who just spent their first married year living in New Zealand, they are also great friends of mine. Lucky for me, they are creating amazing content across Oceania and Asia for Bon Voyage Lauren over the next few months. But for now, enjoy reading about some of Auckland’s best foodie experiences. Enjoy!

#1 Main Course Cooking Class

We were looking for a fun date night activity in Auckland and stumbled upon Main Course’s website! Before we knew it, we were in their kitchen and putting on aprons. It was our first ever cooking class and the theme was Italian, so we got to make homemade pasta, among other delicious treats.

It was easier than you’d think to make the pasta and so much fun. Plus, it tasted amazing! One of the main goals of this specific Main Course class, is to show you how easy and affordable it is to make your own pasta. All you really need is flour, eggs, and a pasta maker to flatten it out. This class definitely inspired us to get a pasta machine in the future now that we are experts! Other than that, you can use any flat surface to dry your noodles on. We made tagliatelle pasta but you can make your own ravioli, lasagne, anything really!

In this three hour class, we made three delicious courses: a white bean & pancetta soup, homemade tagliatelle pasta with Italian sausage, and tiramisu for dessert! The instructor was very passionate about cooking and also very informative. It was so helpful to be able to watch him put each course together before we tried it ourselves.

We are so glad we finally tried a cooking class, and Main Course offers so many different types of classes that there is sure to be one you will love too! It has certainly inspired us to try more cooking classes while we travel, including two we have already booked during our Thailand trip this month. Bon appetite!

#2 Eat Auckland Walking Food Tours

If you’re like us, your travel decisions are often dictated by food. That is one of the reasons why we are so excited to visit Thailand since we love Thai food so much! When you visit Auckland, you will see there is some great Kiwi food such as: lamb, green-lipped mussels, and fish & chips on the beach, however – Asian food is really the most abundant. This is because so many people from all over Asia have moved to New Zealand to live and work. The number of Asian, or Asian-fusion restaurants around Auckland are really good and authentic too, especially if you visit any of the spots on Dominion Road.

To start your food journey on Dominion or Balmoral Road can be intimating though, considering most of the signs are in Chinese or another language other than English. In order to get a variety of delicious bites on that famous road, we recommend doing a food tour from Eat Auckland!

They also offer tours in Ponsonby and Sandringham (the original location), but we knew we wanted to try this one to see where the best Chinese & dumpling restaurants are, and this tour definitely succeeded in that! We enjoyed 7 stops along Dominion and Balmoral Road, including a Chinese Medical Shop and traditional tea shop. The exact tour we did was called Balmoral – Dumplings & More Chinese Food Tour and is only offered on certain dates so make sure you check their calendar first!

I don’t want to spoil every stop for you but I must share a few of our favorites. The tour started off with a bang at Shaolin Kung Fu Noodles where we feasted on steamed and snowflake dumplings, as well as XinJiang noodles. Both were so flavorful and unlike any type of Chinese food I had tasted before. We moved onto Xi’an where I was excited to try their famous Chinese burgers which did not disappoint.

I’m not a vegetarian, but I was presently surprised by how much I enjoyed the tasty tofu dishes at Spicy House. This is one of the reasons why I love taking food tours, you almost always discover something new that you never imagined yourself loving! It was great to break up some of the foodie stops with a visit to the traditional Tekkoon Tea Shop. We had some time to browse and also taste their rare, authentic Chinese teas. The tour ended on a sweet note at Flavour House where we tasted both the classic Shanghai soup dumplings and Sugared Kamara for dessert which are essentially candied potatoes.

Rest assured, you won’t walk away from this Eat Auckland tour hungry!

#3 NZ Wine Pro– Villa Maria Wine Makers Experience Tour

We have visited several wineries since living in New Zealand on our own time, but were dying to try out a designated wine tour. Some of our favorite stops for a great day filled with wine are Waiheke Island and Brick Bay Winery and Sculpture Tour in Matakana. However, one that has been on our list since we moved here was the very popular Villa Maria. I already knew I loved their wines from buying them at the grocery store, but when we found the Villa Maria Wine Makers Experience Tour, we knew it would be the perfect activity for our last weekend in New Zealand!

The tour we chose with NZ Wine Pros takes you first through the Central Business District of Auckland, past the water at the Viaduct and through one of the beautiful suburbs of Remuera.

From there we went through the historic and gorgeous Cornwall Park. Our knowledgeable guide told us about the history of the 550 acre park which was gifted to the city by John Logan Campbell. Although Campbell was a trained doctor from Scotland, he invested in everything in New Zealand. He started a brewery, flour mill, imported salt/sugar, and even Auckland Savings Bank. The only venture he ever failed at was trying to produce olive oil, despite planting over 5,000 olive trees.

Cornwall Park is actually a working farm on a volcano that is 15,000 years old. Fun fact: The summit of the park is called One Tree Hill except there is no longer a tree there! A rebel in the British army cut down the original tree during the First World War. Then, only 10 years ago, a Maori activist cut down the western pine that was planted in its place due to the fact that it was not a native New Zealand tree.

From there, we travelled to the gorgeous Villa Maria Wine Estate. In New Zealand, the wine industry represents a 1.6 billion dollar industry (with 80% of those exports being Sauvignon Blanc). We learned that Villa Maria is the largest privately owned winery in the country!

We were lucky enough to see the storage area where the wine is kept in barrels and large cool tanks. The biggest of these tanks stores the sauv blanc – their best seller! Although the bottling line facility is not operating on the weekends, we still got to see inside. On a normal day, they bottle an incredible 12,500 bottles of wine per hour!

Last but certainly not least, our favorite part of the day was definitely trying six delicious wines! We even bought a bottle of sauv blanc and rosé to take home with us. This truly was a lovely afternoon, and we really enjoyed having a nice recap of Auckland city which we have come to know and love. I’d also highly recommend this tour to anyone visiting Auckland for the first time. Cheers!

Which foodie activity is your favorite? Have you visited Auckland before? I’d love to know in the comments below!

Happy travels!

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16 comments

  1. Kay says:

    The food looks amazing and I read this on an empty stomach! Auckland is on my bucket list and I’ll definitely check out some of these places you visited, and of course, the wine! Thanks!

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