Shaping up to be a truly gastronomic experience, this year’s Taste of Auckland just keeps getting better with menus taking shape and a host of new talent added to the already impressive line-up.

On from 31 October to 3 November, New Zealand’s biggest food and drink festival will see some of Auckland’s most exciting restaurants take over the waterfront’s Cloud and Shed 10 for four delicious days and nights.

Announcing its biggest line-up yet, new eateries including Nanam, Oyster & Chop and the return of the Gourmet Hangi bring this year’s pop-up restaurant tally to 13, including nine that are new to the festival.

In a festival first, a special Collab Kitchen involving leading chefs Josh Barlow ex Sugar Club, Hayden McMillan ex Etta of Melbourne, Lucas Parkinson from Ode in Wanaka, Phil Clark of Phil’s Kitchen and Nick Honeyman of Paris Butter is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

With new festival zones to explore, treat yourself at the Decadence Collective. Start with delicacies from the special Sashimi Bar created by the clever team at &Sushi or freshly shucked oysters from Shucker Brother. Wash it all down with a glass of No. 1 Family Estate Cuvee.

Then it’s on to Andiamo for modern Italian dishes such as Southland lamb meatballs, preserved lemon, kale and parmesan, or to Collab Kitchen where you’ll find European inspired fare such as truffle dumplings with parsley puree, mushroom custard and cured yolk from Nick Honeyman, wild shot venison short ribs with sticky foraged Wanaka sumac glaze from Lucas Parkinson, and fried potato focaccia, clams and fennel pollen from Hayden McMillan.

Moving on to Spice Alley, ignite your taste buds with exceptional Indian from Ponsonby’s Epicer, a signature beetroot steamed bun with sticky pork belly, crispy shallots and pickles from Filipino newcomer Nanam, or crispy lamb ribs with green nam jim, avocado and mint from Asian fusion favourite Xoong.

Sip away the heat with an ice cold beer or a crisp glass of wine as you enjoy live music from Anna Coddington, Laughton Kora, Two Many Chiefs, Mister Speaker and more on the adjacent Main Stage.

If all things fired, fried and fermented is more your deal, head to rustic refuge The Shed where you’ll find clever comfort food on the menu at Culprit and Lowbrow and charred, smoky notes at Hugo’s Bistro.

Discover a new favourite craft beer, meet some of New Zealand’s best boutique wineries or sip on a smoky whisky, all while savouring a curried goat corn dog from Culprit, aged beef tartare with horseradish and dripping toast from Hugo’s Bistro, or a fried birthday cake sundae with sprinkles and vanilla soft serve from Lowbrow.

For million dollar views, look no further than the Ocean Terrace. Overlooking Auckland’s spectacular Waitemata Harbour, sit back and enjoy the high life with a glass in hand and a trio of cooked oysters from Oyster & Chop or a tempura soft shell crab with miso mayonnaise, pickled daikon and coriander from the Crab Shack’s coastal themed mobile caravan.

Or for a contemporary take on traditional Maori cuisine, head to The Maori Kitchen where trained chef and hangi master Rewi Spraggon and award-winning hospitality veteran Ganesh Raj will tempt with elevated dishes such as pulled hangi pork in coconut and horopito dressing with watercress salad in kumara ciabatta.

From further afield, get set to be entertained by one of the biggest names in the global culinary scene, Marco Pierre White. Dubbed the ‘godfather of modern cooking’ and known for his razer-sharp wit as much as his signature wild mushroom risotto, Marco will appear publicly each session from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon. With more details to be announced soon, be sure to bring a book to be signed by the famous British chef, restaurateur and TV personality.

Just one of a number of new experiences taking shape, let Curiosity Gin Botanical Garden take you on a journey of the senses. Available exclusively to VIP ticket holders, learn about the tastes and aromas of traditional and contemporary botanicals, as well as how best to garnish and tonic match your gin.

Head over to the 9K International’s Speakeasy Whisky Lounge to enjoy a timeless cocktail, or to the Schweppes pop-up bar to discover the brand’s new 1783 range of distinguished premium mixers.

Inspire your palate with a smorgasbord of delicious offerings from more than 80 artisanal producers including tasty treats from Appleby Farms Icecream, La Petite Chocolate and Petal Cupcakes, sensational seasonings from Taipa Salt Pig, Waiheke Herbs and Aromatics, divine drinks from Blush Gin, Lone Bee Mead and Kavalan Whisky, and creative concepts including cricket corn chips from Primal Future and personalised tea boxes from The Tea Curator.

Sample top drops from some of the country’s top wineries including Mount Michael, Yealands, Black Barn, Palliser Estate, Nautilus Estate, Mount Beautiful, Gibbston Valley and Villa Maria, and enjoy beer tastings from leading craft breweries including Fortune Favours, New New New and Liberty Brewing.

And don’t forget to check out the new MINI Countryman – Taste’s official car partner, treating you to a touch of style in the Decadence Collective.

With a crowd of around 20,000 expected over the course of this four-day foodie extravaganza, Festival Director Rob Eliott says Taste of Auckland is an opportunity to sample an array of new food and drink, discover a favourite new restaurant, or product for the pantry, and learn from the best of the best.

“A fun day or night out with friends, family or colleagues, we also have a new layout that makes the most of The Cloud and Shed 10, so we’ve got you covered whatever the weather.”

Tickets to Taste of Auckland are on sale now, with GA tickets from $25, Premium tickets from $65 and VIP tickets from $95. Group packages are also on offer with discounts on tickets for five and 10 plus.

With an extra-special VIP offering this year, VIP ticket holders get exclusive access to the elevated waterfront Platinum Lounge with spectacular views of the Waitemata Harbour, a glass of No. 1 Family Estate Cuvée on arrival and exclusive access to the Curiosity Gin Botanical Garden.

Event partner YOU Travel also has travel packages on offer for those living outside of Auckland. See Taste of Auckland website for details.

Taste of Auckland, Thursday 31 October to Sunday 3 November 2019

Shed 10, The Cloud and Queen’s Wharf, Auckland. Tickets on sale now, with GA tickets from $25, as well as premium, VIP, group and corporate bookings all available. See www.tasteofauckland.co.nz

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