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More New Zealanders To Eat Duck This Year

More New Zealanders To Eat Duck This Year

The Gamebird Food Festival is opening this weekend and has expanded to allow more food lovers to indulge in wild food fare.

Fifteen Restaurants from Kaitaia to Invercargill are going all out in their celebrations to coincide with the start of the duck hunting season tomorrow.

A Fish & Game New Zealand initiative, the aim of the festival is to promote game birds as a delicious, free-range food source: Hunters can take their own birds into participating restaurants to have them prepared by professional chefs, or those who do not wish to hunt ducks themselves can choose commercially sourced duck, pheasant or quail from the menu.

Hamish Carnachan, Fish & Game New Zealand’s Communications Manager, says that restaurants are excited by the new focus of the festival. “We decided to expand the festival by inviting restaurants to offer commercially farmed ‘game’ birds to the public; it’s not technically ‘game’, because it’s illegal to sell wild game birds, but it helps introduce more New Zealanders to the heritage of game bird hunting and this delicious cuisine.”

Each restaurant is celebrating in their own way. Brew Restaurant, Café and Bar in Thames for example, have dressed their building up as a maimai and are hosting story telling evenings for duck hunters to share their adventures. They are even taking care of those who just want a roast duck cooked the ‘old fashioned way’ as well as catering for those who want to try something new. “We are delighted by the continued enthusiasm of restaurant owners around the country, a tribute to what appears to have become an integral part of the duck hunting season,” says Carnachan.

The festival is not just about the restaurants. Recipes are available on the website to demonstrate that cooking duck is nothing to be frightened of. Dariush Lolaiy of Cazador Restaurant says, “If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a duck this season, it is so worth experimenting with it because you will be rewarded with something very special.”

Carnachan sums up the festival: “It is about trying something new, whether it be taking your own duck you’ve harvested from the wild into a restaurant to be cooked by a professional chef, ordering one of their special festival dishes for the first time, or simply being brave enough to try cooking the birds yourself.”

Stoney Creek are also pleased to be involved in the festival, and are putting all those who purchase a hunting licence for this season into the draw to win a quality hunting jacket. Now in its eighth year, the festival runs for nine weeks from May 4th to July 7th. For more information please see the website www.gamebirdfoodfestival.co.nz.

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