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Wildfoods Festival Plays Chicken with Menu

Wildfoods Festival Plays Chicken with Menu

If you thought Colonel Sanders had tried every which way with chicken, then you thought wrong.

Forget about headless chooks because if you see any legless chickens in the yard, blame it on the 15th Hokitika Wildfoods Festival.

Marinated chicken feet are among the dare-you-to-eat new foods for the adventurous gourmet at the annual festival on Saturday, March 13, on the West Coast of the South Island.

Forgo the four and twenty blackbirds of nursery rhyme pie fame, too. Get rid of aggressive pests and have magpie pie instead. With a name like that, how else could you eat a magpie?

While there won’t be four and twenty in each pie, the Wildfoods Festival bakers guarantee there’ll be three in succulent gravy under the pastry lid. So tuck in.

Festival organiser Mike Keenan says, if that doesn’t get the taste buds going, then try some other new food treats – conventional and unconventional - that will feature at this year’s festival for the first time: dandelion delight, marinated hare testicles, swordfish steaks, venison ham, stuffed seaweed, smoked sausage, pig’s ears, bull semen, jellied fish eyes, worms on toast, gorse flower iceblocks, crispy fried cricket, pupae pate and chicken hearts.

“New drinks include French liqueur and alcohol-free wine as well as those other tried and tested treats including billy tea, home-made ginger beer, kowlua and milk, kava, liquid ice, rhubarb champagne, gorse-flower and broom-flower wines, West Coast berry juices. That icon of the West Coast, Monteith's beer, will also be readily available.”

He says that while enjoying the food, festival-goers will have a wide range of musical entertainment to make their weekend swing along from bush and folk songs to hot Latin Caribbean dancing.

Friday evening in Hokitika will see the gathering crowds welcomed by the Bush Telegraph Folk Ensemble, Hardcore country rock, Gecko jazz, rock and blues, and Black Velvet Irish music.

Saturday at the Festival site contains an absolute wealth of musical talent from mid morning through to the wee small hours at the post-festival dance. To name just a few, there’ll be Adrian Stuckey and his Latin jazz guitar, the Don Mountain Distillery Bushband, Hot Tempo Latin Caribbean dancing, Steve McDonald with Celtic rock and classic hits, Mweya with African marimba, Fat Boy and Slim with Edwardian Music Hall, Rebecca Daniel and The New Originals with pop rock, Scratched Vinyl with rock from the 60s and 70s, and Steven and Anneka with New Zealand original music.

Mike Keenan says that international media interest in the Wildfoods Festival is at an all time high with radio and print media expected from the BBC, Australia, Japan and the US.

Since its inception, the Wildfoods Festival has been a success story with numbers continuing to escalate from an initial 1800 in 1990 to over 22,500 last year. With interest showing no sign of waning, the Westland District Council has decided to limit tickets to a more manageable 18,000 this year and to enlarge the festival arena for better shelter and thoroughfare.

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