Three great Auckland food events featuring oysters, quinoa and venison

It’s peak oyster

Slurp down this ocean delicacy at the Matakana Oyster and Wine Festival

October marks the peak of the Mahurangi oyster season, with seven local oyster farms attending this year’s annual Matakana Oyster and Wine Festival. At this time of year, the north Auckland region produces plumper and creamier oysters than elsewhere in the country, which will be served in myriad ways at this day-long festival. A ticket gets you entry, two oysters and a glass of wine, with the option to add transportation from either the central city or North Shore. Shucking contests, a superb local wine selection – including pours from Ransom and Heron’s Flight – and live music round off the offering. Fingers crossed for some sunshine.

$35pp, Sun 8 Oct, Woolshed, Matakana Country Park, 1151 Leigh Rd, Matakana

Great minds think alike

Cazador X Sawmill

Like many great collaborations, the menu development for this pop-up dinner series between chefs Dariush Lolaiy of Cazador and Will Michell of the Smoko Room at Sawmill Brewery started over a beer. But the two businesses go a fair way back: Cazador co-owner Bex Smidt says their neighbourhood bistro has been pouring Sawmill beers for years and recently installed two taps so they could always be pouring the Session Ale and whatever seasonal brew was on offer. So, after sitting down to sample the brewery’s most recent seasonal releases – which include an oyster stout and beetroot and orange beer – everyone threw some ideas into the pot. The result is one collaborative five-course dinner, held over two nights – first at Cazador and then at Sawmill – using Matakana produce like venison, buffalo milk, habanero pig’s ears and foraged kawakawa, to reflect the uniqueness of each restaurant. Each dish will be matched with a Sawmill beer, of course.

$110pp, R18, Mon 2 Oct at Cazador, 854 Dominion Rd, Balmoral, and  Wed 4 Oct at Sawmill Brewery, 1004 Leigh Rd, Matakana

A Peruvian pop-up

Five ways with quinoa

Eco warriors Ceres Organics are partnering with chef Nadia Lim (above) for a five-dish Peruvian pop-up dinner at Pilkingtons to celebrate Ceres’ newest range of compostable packaging (when roughly eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean each year, it’s a thing to celebrate). The menu will showcase quinoa, one of the world’s most sustainable grains, in multiple ways. Hard to say, but delicious to eat.

$60pp, Fri 6 Oct, 41 Shortland St, tickets from