Like the landscape, the food here is wild. In March, the popular Hokitika Wild Foods Festival offers extreme challenges, such as huhu grubs and fish eyes, alongside more the traditional delicacies - venison, pork and whitebait. Hunting deer or boar by helicopter, deep in the forest-covered mountains, will appeal to gastro-tourists who prefer to source their own wild food. During the September to mid-November season, tiny native whitebait are caught in their thousands along the river mouths. Combined with egg and a little flour, they make amazing fritters - the perfect accompaniment for any of the local boutique beers. Speaking of beer, Monteiths brewery in Greymouth provides tours and fascinating insights into their range of boutique beers. And New Zealandís oldest ice cream company, Westland Snowflake, makes a beer flavoured ice cream. The tiny mining town of Blackball, which hosts a sausage festival in November, is known for its salami company and an apiary that specialises in a distinctive rata-kamahi bush honey. Throughout the West Coast region, historic hotels, luxury lodges, restaurants and cafes offer light alfresco dining in summer and hearty fireside meals during winter.
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