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200 Mouthwatering Menus In Restaurant Competition


200 Mouthwatering Menus In Restaurant Competition

Diners are in for a treat when New Zealand's largest restaurant competition gets underway soon.

Nearly 200 restaurants in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are taking part in the 1999 Corbans Wine and Food Challenge - 80 in Auckland, 58 in Wellington and 55 in Christchurch.

"These impressive numbers reflect the challenge's position as the country's most sought after restaurant accolade," said Noel Scanlan, chief executive officer of Corbans Wines Ltd. "And of course it means diners will have the chance to try a huge range of wine and food matches in restaurants and cafes of all kinds."

On offer in all restaurants during the month-long challenge will be a special wine and food matched menu. Diners can choose the whole menu (three courses matched with three glasses of wine) or just one or two of the matches. The challenge starts on August 3.

"The growing number of diners wanting to experience these menus shows the very high level of interest in wine and food matching in this country," said Mr Scanlan. "Every year since the challenge began, we've seen diner numbers increase. Although the challenge doesn't start for some weeks, we are already seeing the interest building in each city, with many diners eagerly waiting to try the best wine and food New Zealand has to offer."

He believes there are two main reasons for the challenge's growing popularity with diners. "A huge range of restaurants takes part - there is literally something for every taste, budget and occasion. It's also a value for money dining experience with a maximum price of $75 for three courses and three glasses of wine. Many menus are priced below this and diners do not have to have all three courses. They can choose to try just one or two of the wine and food matches," said Mr Scanlan.

A panel of wine and food experts in each centre judges the challenge. The competition runs until September 4.

To make choosing the dining experience easier, Corbans is publishing all the menus on its website ( as well as in a special publication which will be widely available. Last year thousands of people visited the website to view the menus and many restaurants reported receiving bookings as a result.

Restaurants are in the process of developing their special challenge menu, aiming to create the ultimate three-course menu with matching wines. The menu is offered to all diners at the restaurant during the challenge.

At stake is a prize package worth more than $20,000 in each city. While the prize is very attractive, restaurants also appreciate the prestige that comes from winning the challenge.

"It is recognised as the most sought after award for a restaurant to win," said Mr Scanlan. The winner of each city's challenge will be announced soon after the challenge ends.

The challenge has been running for eight years in Auckland and for four years in Wellington and Christchurch. Last year's winners (Vinnies Restaurant, Roxburgh Bistro and Le Bon Bolli) stand down from the competition and are invited to join the judging panels.




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