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Serving up the best of the Waikato

Corks were popping last night at the official launch of Feast Waikato 2021. Over 200 lucky guests gathered at the Hamilton Gardens to celebrate the release of this year’s programme and to be treated to an array of local food.

Good things come to those who wait. That’s the mantra the Waikato Food Inc team have been clinging to ever since Feast Waikato 2020 was cancelled. And if this year’s line up is anything to go by, they were right.

For starters, this year’s festival goes for five days. “Feast is always on the first weekend in April,” says Julia Clarke, WFI Special Projects and Events Manager. “This year that fell over Easter, so we took it as a great opportunity to spread the festivities over more days and nights. Plus, we hope people will see it as a great reason to stay in the Waikato over the long Easter weekend!”

Feast Waikato kicks off with the flagship CBD Events Progressive Dinner. This year’s Progressive Dinner starts with canapes and drinks in the heart of the city at Mr Pickles before heading on to Sky City, Palate and then culminating at Hamilton’s newest hot spot, Cream Eatery. “This is always quick to sell out, and we are working on making this the best yet,” says Julia.

If you miss out on tickets to the Progressive Dinner you won’t have much time to be disappointed, with five more days of delicious events on the menu.  Events range from free family fun like the Vetro Italian Festival and free foodie movies at Victoria on the River to out of this world dinners by guest chefs like Ben Bayly and Giulio Sturla.  There are cooking classes, workshops, food tours, even a cookbook sale and swap, there really is something for every taste and appetite.

Also running throughout Feast is the Dononvans Chocolate Challenge.  “In the spirit of celebrating Feast falling over Easter we thought challenging our local chefs to come up with the ultimate chocolate dish was a fantastic way to get more people involved in the festivities” says Julia.  “And Donovans, a great Waikato company was the perfect partner.”

Entries for the Dononvans Chocolate Challenge are now open to all Waikato Eateries with the dishes available for public voting from the 29th March.

Feast Highlights

CBD Progressive Dinner
This flagship event which kicks off Feast every year is sure to sell out!  Event organiser Vicki Ravlich Horan says the Progressive Dinner highlights what Feast weekend is all about: “We want Feast to be an opportunity for local businesses to work together and to do something different. Waikato Food Inc are all about raising the profile and pride in our region, so we love the chance for local producers and eateries to show off and for locals to savour what the region has to offer.”

We’re Bringing Ben Home
One of New Zealand’s leading chefs and proud Te Awamutu lad, Ben Bayly, is joining forces with Megan Priscott from Red Kitchen in Te Awamutu for a very special night on Thursday 1st April.

Keystone Wine night
With Vilagrads Winery and Greenlea Ambassador Chef Andrew Clarke, Thursday 1st April and just $20pp

Taste Asian Flavours Walking Tour
Enjoy delicious authentic Asian cuisine at different stops throughout Hamilton CBD, Friday 2nd April.

Food Truck Friday and Foodie Movies
CBD Events are turning Victoria on the River into an outdoor theatre for the day/night.  Foodie themed movie will run from noon until 10pm.  Gather the family and settle in for some binge watching.  Some of the best food trucks in the land will also be converging on Victoria on the River for the occasion.

A night with Emma Galloway at Punnet
Come and enjoy an intimate evening with Emma Galloway from My Darling Lemon Thyme, Friday 2nd April.

Vetro Italian Market
Join us for a fun family day out celebrating all things Italian.  There will be Italian cars, music, gelato, pizza, pasta and so much more. Saturday 3rd April.

Forage to Table
Immerse yourself in a pop-up dining experience within the idyllic Cambridge Community Garden. We’re super excited to partner with amazing local chefs to showcase the incredible bounty on offer in our own backyard, Saturday 3rd April.

Almuerzo Blanco
Make your Easter Sunday extra special with an exquisite lunch catered by guest chef Giulio Sturla. Giulio Sturla, formerly of the three hatted restaurant, Roots and Cuisine Magazine Chef of the Year (2018), Sunday 4th April.

Hoppin' Hounds Egg Hunt
On-Leash Easter Egg Hunt for Dogs! Sunday 4th April.

For a full line up of events go to

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