Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life


Slow Food On The Move At The Hokitika Wildfoods Festival

Remember the American game show that Joe Rogan hosted called Fear Factor? Remember how the contestants had to eat testicles, brains, cockroaches, worms or other creepy stuff?

Well, there is an entire food festival based around this very notion, except the participants are more than willing to pay for the fearful grub. It’s the annual Wildfoods Festival in Hokitika. Every March people travel from all over New Zealand to enjoy a day of eating ‘wild’ food and drinking lots of piss (the fermented, alcoholic kind..lol).

The event is sponsored by Greymouth brewery, Monteiths, but if beer is not your thing, there  is also cider, wine, flower power bubbles, honey mead, kava, moonshine, kowlua and milk shots scattered around the 74 stall event. Still thirsty?

Another satisfied customer!!

How about a strawberry flavoured shot of horse semen? They are sure to get a rise out of you!! Pure protein and testosterone. I considered trying one but my stomach said no. The stall was certainly active with keen participants and curious onlookers.

I’m sure that has your mouth watering for some other tasty west coast delicacies. Being that it is a food festival, there are plenty of yummy and crazy morsels to fill you up. And it’s not all what you may be thinking! There are sweets to be had.

Waffles with fresh blackberries, strawberries and ice cream; fudge, crepes, pancakes, churros, donuts, honey and licorice are just some of the sweet treats to drool over.

But if you’re more of a carnivore or a wannabe Coaster (person living on the West Coast) you may want some real protein. How does sheep’s brains, eyeball eggnog or mountain oysters fancy you? In case you’re wondering, mountain oysters are lambs balls! They’re quite chewy!!

If you’re not that adventurous, there are plenty of other dead animal parts to tempt. Venison, pukeko, rabbit, paradise duck, ostrich, wild pork, BBQ beef, sausages and chicken were all served up in different ways.

I was all set to try the pukeko but they had run out of samples by the time I got there. The paradise duck was yummy and not at all what I expected wild duck to taste like.It was more like a red meat.

Fish and seafood are big favourites of the west coast and there was an abundance of it at the festival.

Me with my gluten-free whitebait pattie

Whitebait is a local delicacy and there were five different stalls selling the fish patties. I was delighted to see the Curly Tree Whitebait Company offering gluten-free patties!! With a bit of fresh lemon, they were delicious.

Other sea and river dwelling snacks included: trout, salmon, scallops, tuna, paua,kina (sea urchin), mussels, smelt, shark, prawns, octopus and snails.

I’ve had escargot before (even in Paris!) but the snail I enjoyed from the Westcargo stall was very plain. It was fine, but I do prefer my snails to be drowning in melted butter and garlic.

And save room for the crunchy selections……

There were lots of huhu grubs, grasshoppers, crickets and chocolate covered beetles. I did try a BBQ huhu grub. It is not something I would order again but I am proud that I gave it a go. They certainly were a popular item with a hand-full of stalls offering the crawly goo-filled creature. Some say they taste like peanut butter. I love the stuff but did not relate the two at all. My favorite exhibit was the Hoki Hocki Huhu Grubs where they had strong blokes chopping the huhus out of the wood pile. Can’t get any fresher than that!!

One big huhu grub!!

If you plan to be in New Zealand in March 2013, be sure to include Hokitika and the Wildfoods Festival on your list of TO DO. But book your accommodation well in advance!! The small town of under 3500 residents jumps to over 15,000 on the festival day!


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Dairy, Dairy Me

At the Utterly Wild Desserts Stall

Yesterday, I spent the day at the Wildfoods Festival in Hokitika (New Zealand).

The second stall I stopped at was the Utterly Wild Colostrum Desserts. As the name suggests, their products are all made from milk and the staff were busy rounding up potential buyers.

Dave Ritchie was dressed like a mad scientist with a pink wig and wearing a backpack of milk. Boy, was I in the wrong place at the wrong time!!

Dave picked me from the crowd to be the first victim customer to be shot in the mouth with his cream filled pistol. Now stay with me, this is a clean post…well almost.

I am the last person to ever want to be on centre stage but with the crowd gathered around, I didn’t know how to say NO THANKS.

The cow hat with floppy ears was forced upon me and I stood there with my mouth wide open. The bell rang out to announce to everyone in the near vicinity that the gun was about to go off.

I’m not sure what exactly I expected, but when the stream of full-cream milk hit my tonsils, I closed off my throat so I wouldn’t ingest the forbidden liquid.

As the milk spewed from my mouth, Dave shouted, ‘You’re supposed to swallow it!!!’

Milk covered my face and hoodie and I swallowed the small amount that remained in my mouth ( to be polite) and confessed to not eating  dairy!!

I felt pretty silly but it was a laugh and the bit of creamy milk I did take in did not kill me. The other desserts looked yummy but I didn’t feel the urge to blow my restricted diet for them. Hubby said the cheesecake was delicious though.

Dave and his herd were awesome at making their stall fun and entertaining. They won Best Community Stall for the 4th year in a row!!!

A willing customer prepared to take a spill.

Milk was probably the least ‘wild’ thing I consumed at the festival. Stay tuned for the gory details of my food adventures at the Wildfoods Festival!