The Rees - True South

Press Release: Deer Industry New Zealand


Germans take home venison message
Joanna Grigg

They love it and seek it out.

This is the way Innes Moffat wants chefs to think about New Zealand (NZ) venison. As the Marketing Manager for Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ), Moffat recently hosted four young German chefs and eight  German journalists to NZ. The aim was to enthuse them about farm-raised – venison and develop on-going relationships with these influential people within German cuisine.

Some of the feedback from both the young chefs and journalists reveals that there is an ongoing need to improve the level of understanding of how NZ venison is grown and how it can be prepared on the plate.

The big difference between European and NZ venison is that imported kiwi venison is farmed (rather than shot wild game), comes from younger animals and is processed in meat plants, said Moffat.

“This means the product has an excellent level of hygiene and well as being consistently tender and mild flavoured,” said Moffat. “Farmed venison suits summer-style modern dishes and can be used in a less seasonal fashion than game venison which is traditionally cooked slowly with heavier sauces and flavourings.”
The Germans were taken to farms in Canterbury and Otago to see how deer are farmed, then taken through processing plants. They were surprised how quiet the deer were in a farmed environment, said Moffat.

Through meeting farmers the visitors put faces to the product and learnt about the venison supply chain, from farm to plant to market. The five journalists are food and wine writers and the group also included a television crew who are producing a 12 minute lifestyle feature on NZ venison to be shown to nation-wide on Germany’s Kabel 1 station.

They asked us why Germany should import NZ venison and our answer is that they should want to because of the taste, tenderness of our venison.  Germany isn’t  self-sufficient in food, so they should be importing good food from trustworthy sources, Moffat said.

“While the trend towards local and seasonal sourcing is very strong in Germany at present – a chef needs to put quality and consistency first – and New Zealand can provide that assurance.

The chefs were hosted by 12 restaurants, where they learned how to prepare venison from New Zealand’s best. Meredith’s, Clooney Restaurant, The Grill, Dine by Peter Gordon , Depot in Auckland, Logan Brown, Hippopotamus, The White House, and Martin Bosley’s Yacht Club in Wellington, Blanket Bay, True South Dining Room, and Rata in Queenstown all hosted  a chef for several days. The four chefs won their selection to the NZ Venison Young Chef Exchange by producing a stand-out recipe using NZ venison, and being recommended by their German employer.  There were 60 entries for the 20-day trip, sponsored by DINZ. On their return to Germany they will pass on their experiences with venison at cooking schools and the German press – a series of interviews are currently being arranged.

“They said they had a wonderful trip, one of the best experiences of their lives, so we expect them to be enthusiastic about New Zealand,” Moffat said.

The initiative is part of  the NZ deer industry’s  aim to position NZ venison as premium and to extend its consumption outside the traditional European game season. Four chefs from Belgium toured NZ in January and future visits are also being planned as well.