Paella-a-plenty: Wellington foodies in heaven at The Food Show
They came in their thousands, brimming with curiosity and hunger – and some with luggage in tow.
The Food Show Wellington proved a hit at the weekend as an estimated 14,000 foodies packed into Westpac Stadium, eager to whet their appetites.
Among them were return-patrons Winnie Cheung and Anita Li who, having learnt from their mistakes in previous years, bought along empty suitcases ready to fill with all manner of gourmet food.
"Last year, we ended up with so many bags on our arms so this year we decided we definitely had to bring our luggage," Cheung said.
The pair spent four hours at the Sunday session, leaving their husbands and children at home, in favour of a day spent sampling the best food New Zealand has to offer.
"It really is quite special being able to try some of the products you can't get at the mall or the supermarkets," Cheung said.
"We got to try tiramisu, some amazing cheeses and ice cream. It was all really yummy."
While there was plenty of decadent options on offer, the show also had a strong focus on showcasing food for those with intolerances and specific food preferences.
A large section of the stadium was home to The Healthy Hub – an array of stalls focused on products free from gluten, dairy, refined sugar, preservatives, and chemical additives.
"My friend's son is allergic to a lot of things so it's always really helpful to see and buy gluten free items as well," Cheung said.
Several live cooking demonstrations from top celebrity cooks, including Annabel Langbein and Simon Gault, rounded out the event programme, giving full punters a chance to digest.
While a final audit was yet to be done, general manager Rebecca Stewart said numbers were up on last year's show, with an estimated additional 4,000 visitors to this year's event.