New Caledonia is a true foodie paradise, offering a gastronomic experience that is as unique as it is diverse. With its fusion of French and Melanesian influences, this small French island nation in the South Pacific boasts one of the best cuisines in the South Pacific. Reflective of the many cultures that reside here in perfect harmony, meals are always full of flavour, mixing spices and tropical flavours with French techniques. And thanks to the abundance of fresh local produce and seafood, they are always deliciously fresh.
It should come as no surprise then that New Caledonians are passionate foodies themselves and incredibly proud of their wonderful produce and gourmet offerings. They find great joy in the pleasure of food and celebrate it with many food-focused events and festivals throughout the year.
From now until the end of the year, New Caledonia’s foodie calendar is jam-packed with an exciting range of food festivals, offering visitors the opportunity to experience the local life and traditions of this incredible destination’s unique culture.
6 – 24 June – French Cheese Festival
Vive la fromage! For more than 20 years, award-winning French “Maître fromagier”, or cheese masters, have been visiting Noumea to share their knowledge, expertise and tastings of an amazing variety of speciality French cheeses and wines. Enjoy the great taste of France with an amazing buffet of more than 130 cheese specialities, paired with wine.
9 – 11 June – Lagoon Festival, Ouvéa Island
This weekend-long festival celebrates the heritage of the island, marine heritage, the island’s beautiful lagoon, water sports, and of course, the fresh, local seafood. Plenty of sea produce will be on offer, while raising awareness of environmental conservation and sustainability.
August – Bourail Fair
Discover and taste all the flavours of Caledonian soil, at New Caledonia’s oldest and most popular agricultural and bush fair. Located at the Téné Racecourse in Bourail, a small town on the West Coast, this popular annual fair is hosted by the New Caledonian bush community and attracts over 25,000 visitors each year. From stock-car racing and wood-chopping, to sheep dog shows and the rode, there’s plenty of entertainment for the whole family. Foodies will also be spoilt for choice with a range of specialities such as venison sausages, homemade jams, and fresh fruit and vegetables.
August – Coffee Festival Sarraméa
Coffee fans will love this annual coffee fair, which was launched in 2000 to commemorate the centennial of Sarraméa, a coffee plantation village 120 kilometres north of Nouméa. Alongside plenty of cultural entertainment, the fair includes a coffee tastings and visit and tour of the coffee plantation.
September – Gastronomy Festival
Offering a fusion of French and Melanesian cuisine, foodies will love this festival, which will offer a range of local delicacies, produce and a hefty dose of French flare all throughout New Caledonia.
September – Bancoule Worm Festival, Farino
Not for the fant-hearted, or for the weak-stomached, this festival in New Caledonia’s smallest town honours the bancoule worm – a type of beetle larva. It has a nutty taste and can be eaten raw or soaked in coconut before being sautéed in butter or flambéed with pastis. You can partake in bancoule worm hunting, worm eating contests and browse market stalls featuring local delights such as pickles, jams, vegetables, cured meats, coffee, vanilla and plenty more.
October – Vanilla Festival, Lifou
Renowned for the quality of its produce, Lifou is also famous for its vanilla plantations, a flavour widely used in New Caledonian cooking. Throughout the Vanilla Festival, visitors can expect traditional song and dance, Kaneka concerts, vanilla plantation visits, guided hikes, and plenty more.
November – Beef Festival, Paita
This vibrant festival features live rodeo, French cowboys, livestock demonstrations, and food tastings, including New Caledonia’s famous “brochettes”, or kebabs, which are bursting with flavour. In addition to some great beer tastings, other highlights include scenic helicopter tours, a vintage car exhibition, arts and crafts, markets, and more.
December – Festival of the Sea, Borendy
Devoted to marine produce with a focus on lobster, fresh and smoked fish and shellfish, this festival offers fish smoking demonstrations, fishing contests, hiking tours, traditional dance groups, spear shooting, and much more.