Students enjoy fare at annual cultural picnic

00:33, Jan 25 2013

There was some debate about the origins of pavlova but apart from that, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology professional cooking students and tourism students from Sweden agreed that food from both their countries was not too bad.

The students reached that consensus yesterday when 17 Swedish students from Campus Lidkoping near Gothenberg, served up traditional dishes from their country to students from NMIT's cooking class at a "cultural exchange" picnic at Rabbit Island. The NMIT students returned the favour producing a range of iconic New Zealand dishes including smoked mussels, venison pie, and pavlova.

And the Swedish students, who are studying a 12-week cultural tourism course at NMIT, were impressed with the Kiwi cuisine.

"The venison pie is delicious - it's the best dish," student Marcus Tornell said. "We also have a lot of venison and even moose in Sweden and this compares very well."

Mr Tornell who is a trained chef, also enjoyed the pavlova although he was a little confused about its origins, claiming it was Polish. He was corrected by the NMIT students and staff who pointed out it was in fact a slice of New Zealand culinary history.

"At least he didn't think it was from Australia," NMIT staff member Rob Corlett said.


The Swedish dishes included a shrimp cocktail dip called toast skagen, smoked salmon, potato salad and lumpfish roe. Mr Tornell said the dishes were often served as part of a Swedish summer smorgasbord.

Mr Corlett said students from the Swedish course had been coming to Nelson to study at NMIT for the past 10 years and the cultural exchange picnic had become an annual event. The students had only been in New Zealand for two weeks but had already attended a range of cultural experiences including a hangi at the Whakatu Marae in Nelson.

The students will visit several tourism ventures around Nelson, Marlborough and Wellington as part of the course to see how cultural tourism opportunities were developed.

It was a valuable experience for the international students, Mr Corlett said, and a valuable addition to NMIT's tourism programme.