This year, March 1st is significant for two reasons.
First, it marks the first day of Autumn, meaning it's almost time to cozy on down with our favourite hot drink and indulge in a three-month-long Netflix binge.
Second, it's the first day our favourite underwater delicacy are in season - oysters!
This year's month-long Princes Wharf Oyster Festival kicks off on March 1st, with events and special offers at popular Auckland restaurants Euro, The Culpeper, Coley & Punch and The Crab Shack.
Nourish Group executive chef Gareth Stewart will be present when the first commercial catch of oysters arrive into Bluff, before returning home to Auckland where him and his team will be eagerly shucking furiously all month long.
“It’s always one of the highlights of my year,” says Stewart. “I’m crazy about oysters and Bluffies are the best of the best. Going out on the boat to help bring in the first haul really makes you appreciate how much work is involved in harvesting them and why they are such a treat.”
The best way to enjoy oysters, says Stewart, is with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of Tabasco sauce.
Imbibers and diners along Princes Wharf will enjoy all-you-can-eat oysters, to bargain-priced dozens, live music, oyster shucking masterclasses and more.
Add these unmissable events to your diary, stat:
The First Haul: All You Can Eat Bluff Oysters
Tuck into new season Bluffies at Euro's all-you-can-eat bonanza. Whether served natural, kilpatrick, or tempura, these freckly shucked oysters will delight your palate.
Friday 2nd March, 12pm-3pm, $195pp, Euro
Great Bluff Lunch
The champagne will be flowing at Euro come Thursday 15th March, where you can dine on five delicious courses with oysters at its heart. Crayfish and whitebait will follow the main act.
Thursday 15th March, 12pm-3pm, $250pp, Euro
The Oyster & Music Festival
Be one of the first to arrive at The Culpeper on Saturday 24th March and you could be enjoying one of 200 free oysters! There'll also be live music, and an oyster shucking competition!
Saturday 24th March, from 2pm, The Culpeper
Bluff Meat Beer
The geniuses behind craft beer Panhead will host a night of beer and oyster pairing, with three courses, and half a dozen Bluff oysters per person, matched with Panhead's top brews.
Thursday 14th March, 6pm on, $65 pp, The Culpeper
Whisky and Oyster Master Class
Allow mixologist Katie Cramphorn to guide you through the finest whiskies, while an oyster farmer from Te Matuku and chef Gareth Stewart instruct you on the art of oyster shucking.
Tuesday 20th March; 6pm-8pm, $120pp, Coley and Punch
Remember, bookings for all of these events are essential to avoid you don't miss out.
If that weren't enough, there are specials on all month, sure to satisfy your oyster craving!
Enjoy a dozen Bluff oysters for $24.99 from 12pm - 3pm, Sunday to Wednesday at Euro.
Sip on a glass of rose and nibble on half a dozen oysters for $25 at Euro, Coley & Punch and The Culpeper.
For only $80, you'll enjoy a dozen Bluff oysters and two glasses of Louis Roederer Champagne, or a bottle for $155, at Coley and Punch, Euro or The Culpeper.
Nab a glass of Panhead beer with a half dozen oysters for only $25 at The Culpeper.
For bookings and details, visit eurobar.co.nz; theculpeper.co.nz and coleyandpunch.co.nz