The Flavours of Plenty Festival may be one of New Zealand’s newest food festivals but it’s already bringing a huge energy to the Bay of Plenty’s culinary community. Now in its third year, the festival not only hosts exciting and innovative events for the ravenous fans of the region (and beyond) but forges connections and collaborations within the food neighbourhoods of Te Moananui ā Toi / the Coastal Bay of Plenty and highlights the impressive foodie talent that flourishes throughout the region.

Long known as a place of abundance and plentiful produce for its kūmara, rīwai and kamokamo, kiwifruit, avocados and berries, today it boasts a plethora of innovators and creators of new ventures (think truffle farms and new varieties of colourful kiwifruit), an energetic dining scene, night markets, farmers’ markets and pop-up restaurants. Flavours of Plenty Festival 2024 will weave these diverse strands together with a packed festival calendar of events running the length of the Coastal Bay of Plenty from Waihī Beach to Ōhope. Here we sneak a look at just some of the events on this year’s calendar.

A DARK NIGHT / 4 & 11 APRIL Ooh, beer paired with dessert – that’s an intriguing combination. Join head brewer Pawel Lewandowski of Mount Brewing Co as he unveils three exceptional dark beers to be paired with delectable desserts created by Dani Cubis of Mount Maunganui favourite Spongedrop Cakery. Discover how the makers explore and combine flavours to excite both cake lovers and beer connoisseurs.

SOLERA AFTER DARK PRESENTS: JAPAN / 5 APRIL / Head to Solera for a captivating late-night journey through the diverse world of Japanese spirits. Experience the artistry of sake and whisky as well as liqueurs flavoured with yuzu, plum and peach. Chef Neil Sapitula (winner of Cuisine’s Rising Talent award 2023/2024) will be complementing the drinks with three delectable Japanese-inspired snacks.

HONEY HARVEST WITH BEE FIRST APIARIES / 5, 6, 7, 12, 13 & 14 APRIL / Embark on a bee-themed adventure with ‘Honey Harvest’ by Kitchen Takeover and Bee First Apiaries. Don a beekeeping suit for a hands- on experience, harvesting honey at the Whakamārama apiary. Sample unique meads and enjoy an optional two-course bee-inspired lunch at St Amand in Tauranga by chef Will Dods. An immersive, flavourful journey for bee enthusiasts and foodies alike.

MORE THAN TASTE: A SENSORY ADVENTURE / 6 APRIL / One event, three local stars in a roaming lunch in downtown Mount Maunganui which promises a playful exploration of the senses – sight, touch, taste, smell and sound. Three stops showcase local businesses, uniting food, art and sensory experiences. Embark on this unconventional dining journey that’s not just about taste; it’s a feast for all your senses.

FORAGE AND FLAVOUR / 9, 10 & 13 APRIL / Embark on a truffle lover’s dream. Choose either a morning of truffle- inspired breakfast delights at The Trading Post in Paengaroa, followed by a truffle- scent hunt by the two truffle dogs at Te Puke Truffles. Or dive straight in and see the dogs in action before enjoying a truffle- infused three-course lunch dégustation.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT / 11 APRIL / Held at The General in Mount Maunganui, experience an evening of tastings, Q&A and stories, hearing from immigrant figures who have shaped the Bay of Plenty’s food-and-beverage industry. Tasting plates inspired by the speakers’ home countries will merge far-flung culinary cultures with the beloved tastes of the Bay.

TIO ŌHIWA OYSTER CRUISE / 11- 14 APRIL / The Tio Ōhiwa Oyster Cruise is a 2.5-hour culinary and cultural voyage through the rich history of oyster farming in the Ōhiwa harbour. Cruising aboard Kōtiti you’ll dive into layers of Māori history of the land and seas, learn about oyster farming and shuck your own oysters at the farm before sailing back to Port Ōhope wharf.

MORE IS MORE – A MAXIMALIST SUPPER CLUB / 12 APRIL / Immerse yourself in the lively world of ‘More is More,’ a wildly delicious supper-club experience. Join the communal table for a vibrant feast filled with bold flavours, colourful tablescapes and interactive elements that encourage connection. It’s not just dinner; it’s a slow-eating, energy-packed celebration with friends, new and old.

THE TASTE OF CIGOL / 13 APRIL / Whakatāne favourite Cigol conjures a rich fusion of local ingredients and global flavours, putting on a vibrant night of live music featuring its top eight Korean-Pacific fusion dishes paired with exquisite cocktails and wines.

FIVE GO WILD WITH FOOD / 13 APRIL / Don’t miss the festival’s culinary highlight as the region’s own famous five foodies collaborate in a Kitchen Takeover special. Join MasterChef’s Kārena and Kasey Bird, Ian Harrison of Sugo, Neil Sapitula of Solera and Saltwater, and Perrin Yates of Sailor, Hide and Brew Co., as they each create their own dish, using mystery box ingredients, then bring it all together to create a five-course dégustation feast.