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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

o-CNN: Chucking Scallops at the Whitianga Scallop Festival in Coromandel, New Zealand

Raw is Better

Or, is it? 

One of New Zealand's most popular seafood events, the Whitianga Scallop Festival took place this past Saturday the 10th of September 2016. 

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Sixty cuisine stands came together to cater for an estimated 4,000 - 5,000 attendees by turning out mouth watering dishes, and serving crisp chilled local wines (from the Waikato of all places!). 

If the food wasn't enough to get you there, then the entertainment did the rest. The festival included performances from iconic New Zealand performers (none of whom we knew), seafood cooking demonstrations from celebrity NZ chefs (Ray McVinnie we knew and were also fortunate to interview). The stars of the occasion were undoubted: Fresh Coromandel Scallops, Oysters, and Kina (Sea Urchin).

And this is exactly where the rubber hit the road. All three of these star attractions needed no special attention if you listened to the locals. Once chucked: "You should eat them raw!".

We can now proudly proclaim that we've lost our seafood virginity. We ate our scallops raw. All of them. Whitianga Scallop Festival introduced us to heavenly combinations of Scallops and Champagne, Kina and Port, and Oyster Shots (something to do with Tomato, Tabasco, and Vodka). 

I can honestly testify that once alcohol got involved, it was hard to know the difference between cooked or raw. In the end, the texture was all that gave it away - rubbery or juicy. All of them stayed down with our breakfast.

The Coromandel put its best foot forward in all manner of ways. The Spring weather was perfect. The roads were as twisty as usual (making sure that only the best Scallops stayed behind). The scenery was breathtaking, and the people friendly. 

Anyone that contemplates a trip to New Zealand, should aim for the Coromandel this time of year. It is surprising to see how well the Kiwi's are keeping this thirteen-year-old event, a secret from the outside world (of New Zealand). 

I think we were probably the only foreigners there, except for a few lost Canadian Geese on a pond.

Enjoy the video. We had fun making it

Hendrik van Wyk
Sea Cowboy (not really).

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