The time is right for Northland to add its name to the global menu, says the region’s newly appointed Food and Beverage Ambassador Justine Stuart.
“Momentum around Savour Northland – a platform for connecting the food and beverage community – has been building for some time now and, collectively, we’re really starting to define the unique Northland food story,” she says.
The region has acquired a burgeoning reputation for fresh produce, fine wines, boutique or artisan foods and beverages, as well as being home to an array of award-winning cheese, chilli sauce and preserve producers.
“Northland Inc is committed to fast-tracking this vibrant industry and has funded a part-time facilitator role to assist with its momentum, which is where I come in as the Northland Food and Beverage Ambassador,” explains Stuart.
The 2019 Savour Northland industry event at Russell’s Duke of Marlborough Hotel in April, which consisted of a gala dinner and an all-day workshop, provided the perfect launch pad to take the region to the next level. Facilitated by Northland Inc in collaboration with Eat New Zealand – a not-for-profit food movement with the aim of connecting people to our land through our food – the event succeeded in helping to start shaping the region’s identity and boosting marketing and business growth opportunities.
The feedback had been extremely positive, said Stuart, and people are still talking about it. “It set the bar for the future and showed we could put on a food and beverage event here in Northland that was truly world-class.
“The need now is to kick on. I’m passionate about local food and a huge fan of Eat New Zealand, which is doing a great job of helping tie it all together, of speaking to a wider audience and elevating our food to a global scale.”
Eat New Zealand has recently launched the first (modern-day) New Zealand Food Celebration – Feast Matariki – which is in full swing, showcasing an impressive number of local food-related events through the country and highlighting the hospitality that is a hallmark of Kiwis. The celebrations run until the end of July.
Savour Northland has also set up its own Facebook and Instagram page, which is “an important and more formal way to build our community and promote our thriving industry,” added Stuart.
“We’ll share as much as possible to these pages, and encourage all those who are keen to experience and celebrate our beautiful place through food and drink to get involved. Ultimately, we want to create a platform for our food and beverage community to connect, to collectively evolve an identity for the industry here in Tai Tokerau, and to show the world what it means to ‘Savour Northland’.”