Kiwi Kai on Xmas Day - What to Expect

Traditional Kiwi Kai on Christmas Day

New Zealand's Christmas culinary traditions often reflect the country's diverse cultural influences and the fact that Christmas falls during the Southern Hemisphere's summer. Here's a list of ten Christmas foods commonly enjoyed in New Zealand, each offering a unique flavour of the festive season:

A quintessential Kiwi Christmas dessert, pavlova is a meringue-based treat - crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and typically topped with whipped cream and a colourful array of fresh fruits, such as kiwi, strawberries, and passion fruit.  A steadfast dish on the Xmas table every year.  Top tip:  You can buy them pre-made from the bakery section in New World, the supermarket in Remarkables Park!

Given New Zealand's extensive coastline, seafood is a popular choice for Christmas feasts. Prawns, crayfish, green-lipped mussels, and whitebait fritters are commonly served, reflecting the abundance of fresh, local seafood.  While Queenstown is an alpine lake community, not a coastal one, it still has fresh seafood brought in every day!  Try South Island muscles - steamed open in white wine!

Honey Glazed Xmas Ham
Roast ham is a staple of New Zealand Christmas dinners. It's often glazed with a mixture of honey, mustard, cloves and other flavorful ingredients, giving it a sweet and savoury taste. Leftover ham is commonly used in sandwiches and salads in the days following Christmas.!

New Zealanders love to barbecue, and the Christmas season is no exception. Whether it's lamb chops, sausages, or burgers, many Kiwi families celebrate the holidays with a festive BBQ, taking advantage of the warm summer weather.

New Potatoes
Baby or new potatoes, harvested in the early summer, are a popular side dish during Christmas meals. They are often boiled or roasted and served with butter and fresh herbs.

Christmas Cake and Mince Pies
Christmas cake, a rich and fruit-laden cake often soaked in brandy or rum, is a common Christmas dessert. Christmas mince pies, filled with a mixture of dried fruits and spices, are also popular during the holiday season - these can be eaten from about the 1st of December, and be bought from any bakery or supermarket in Queenstown

Trifle is a layered dessert that typically includes sponge cake, fruit, custard, and whipped cream. It's a refreshing and visually appealing treat that's often enjoyed during Christmas celebrations - it does take a little time to put together and we suggest grabbing the sponge premade from New World or Countdown in 5 Mile Shopping Centre.

Asparagus season aligns with Christmas in New Zealand, and it's a popular addition to festive meals. Grilled or steamed asparagus is commonly served as a side dish, and here in Queenstown, you'll find fresh lemons to squeeze over them to make it super delicious!

Cheese and Crackers
A platter of local cheeses, accompanied by crackers and chutneys, is a common starter or nibble during Christmas gatherings. New Zealand produces a variety of excellent cheeses that are showcased during the festive season.  We have to say, if you are staying with us at Spinnaker Bay Apartments, Queenstown, then we'd suggest popping into somewhere like Wine Experience in the Mall, and grabbing some local Gibbston Valley cheese!

Whitebait Fritters
A summer Southern favourite - Whitebait, a tiny translucent fish, is a delicacy in New Zealand. During the Christmas season, they are often used to make whitebait fritters—a simple and delicious dish enjoyed as a starter or light meal - waitbait, eggs, a little flour and seasoning!  Often slapped on a piece of buttered bread!  Delicious!

These Christmas foods in New Zealand reflect a combination of traditional European influences, indigenous ingredients, and the Kiwi love for outdoor cooking. The variety of fresh, seasonal produce contributes to a festive and flavorful Christmas dining experience.