Where: Hokitika, South Island, New Zealand.
When: Annually in March.
What happens? A celebration of weird and wonderful ‘wild food’.
Remember to bring: A healthy appetite and a strong stomach!
The wacky Wildfoods Festival on the west coast of the South Island is not an event for the faint-hearted! Traditionally, the windswept west coast has had a reputation for its people living off the land and the organisers of this festival have taken this notion a few steps further by bringing together a celebration of weird and wonderful foods.
The small coastal town of Hokitika is completely overtaken as thousands of young Kiwis and tourists descend to titillate their taste buds for one weekend in March. In an open-air arena in the centre of town, hundreds of stalls serve up tempting fare. Some of the sumptuous delicacies on offer include: deep fried eel, magpie pies, roasted possums, duck tongues, wriggly worms, poached fish eyes (gruesome!) and the stomach-churning “mountain oysters” otherwise known as sheep’s testicles) as well as: huhu grubs, escargot, lambs’ tails, sheeps’ brains, sweetbreads, wild pork. whitebait, pāua, pipi, gorse flower wine, earthworms, possum, pigs’ trotters, mussels, venison, scallops, sphagnum moss candy floss, hāngi, whisky sausages, stallion’s semen.
Many Kiwis find this a perfect excuse to deck themselves out in fancy dress – which means there is always an abundance of pretty strange-looking characters wandering around the stalls. To further add to the party atmosphere there’s live music and plenty of beer on tap.
Hokitika Wildfoods Festival
Everything you could possibly want to know about the event and more!
main image by Charlotte Simmonds of huhu grubs in a rotten pine wood. They are the larvae of the huhu beetle, Prionoplus reticularis, the largest endemic beetle of New Zealand, a member of the longhorn beetle family Cerambycidae. The whitish larvae are up to 70 millimetres (2.8 in) long. They are edible and are said by some to taste like buttery chicken.