The secret to getting one of New Zealand’s new airline meals

Lorna Thornber is a journey journalist at Stuff.

opinion: Historically, it was not advisable to order a “particular meal” in heaven except you needed to.

Whereas flying at altitude impairs our sense of style, making all meals much less flavorful than they might be on the bottom, meals designed for particular dietary necessities are sometimes as scrumptious as one thing you’d be served in hospital or at dwelling.

Twenty years in the past, this was comprehensible. After I first gave up gluten and dairy, my force-made loaves of bread had been so exhausting that I needed to swallow a number of occasions to get them down my throat, and the yogurt, normally made out of soybeans, seemed a lot like molten plastic.

Nevertheless, today, cafés, eating places, and producers who cater to vegan clients or these with meals allergic reactions or intolerances are sometimes among the many most artistic you will discover anyplace. Even my late father, a Yorkshireman who categorised something containing nuts or seeds as “fowl feed,” was so impressed by the uncooked vegan cheesecake he sampled at a vegan café he was drawn to that he started researching vegan cheesecake recipes Uncooked by way of Google on it as quickly as he received dwelling.

One way or the other, the airline trade ignored the memo, persevering with to consider, regardless of mounting proof on the contrary, that meals freed from animal merchandise or widespread allergens must also be taste-free.

Happily, the tide is popping. With particular meal requests on the rise, airways have realized they should up their recreation to maintain dieters comfortable. Emirates, for instance, provides 15 completely different particular meals, together with meals for individuals who are solely all in favour of cake or champagne.

Gluten-free main course.
Lorna Thornber

Gluten-free primary course.

Air New Zealand has not been a pioneer on this space, however it’s making an effort. On my latest home flight, passengers had been supplied a bit of gluten-free chocolate fudge along with their common Cookie Time.

Now, it is taking it a step additional, providing revamped menus for its 4 hottest particular meals in distinct Auckland cabins: vegetarian (VGML), lacto-vegetarian (VLML), gluten-free (GFML), and youngsters’ meals (CHML).

Even when you haven’t any diets, they’re price contemplating: they would not look misplaced on a elaborate restaurant menu. The gluten-free can sit up for eye fillet with kumara and grilled leeks, poached hen with Asian-style salad and golden kiwifruit, and lemon cheesecake with ardour fruit and mango compote. This dessert is made by Kiwi firm LILO Desserts, which makes use of oddly formed fruit that might in any other case go to waste.

Different new gluten-free choices are scorching smoked salmon with cucumber-dill salsa, roasted hen with pumpkin and thyme risotto, and a summer time fruit dessert with raspberry compote.

Gluten-free salmon and cucumber dish on a business class flight to Chicago.

Lorna Thornber

Gluten-free salmon and cucumber dish on a enterprise class flight to Chicago.

Vegetarian passengers are additionally effectively catered for, with vegetarian mains together with charred broccolini with tender polenta, and pasta fricelli with broccoli, roasted shallots, leafy greens and Parmesan cheese. That is complemented by pumpkin hummus with roasted artichokes, feta and sunflower seeds, or a small meze plate consisting of dolmades, tomatoes, cucumber, pomegranate salad and beetroot sauce. Plus cheesecake with compote for dessert.

In the meantime, vegetarians can select between vegetarian “hen” tikka dishes with turmeric rice and eggplant sauce, and spinach and ricotta ravioli with basil pesto and sautéed greens.

Small flyers can select both the creamy hen ‘zoo animal pasta’ with uncooked greens, chickpeas, chocolate lamingtons and raspberries, or the delicate butter hen with a starter of hen, mozzarella and ‘tropical cake’.

Brooke Sabin

Final 12 months Air New Zealand launched some nice eating choices – so we went undercover to check them out (video printed March 2023).

The brand new particular meals come simply over a month after Air New Zealand unveiled its ‘common’ in-flight menu for premium cabins.

Air New Zealand’s chief buyer and gross sales officer, Leanne Geraghty, mentioned the airline acknowledged the significance of assembly numerous dietary preferences and necessities with “modern, high-quality” choices.

“The method of choosing the brand new merchandise was a collaborative effort involving our devoted culinary crew and on-board experience. We fastidiously reviewed the newest culinary improvements within the trade and looked for native, sustainable and scrumptious choices that might elevate our signature meals. Every product was handpicked. To supply the best ranges of high quality and style, in step with the altering preferences of our clients.

Geraghty mentioned suggestions on the brand new menus had been “overwhelmingly optimistic”, including that the airline was dedicated to “making certain a complete and satisfying eating expertise for all clients”.

On this regard, the airline is off to an excellent begin. However will probably be attention-grabbing to see if it will definitely commits to getting ready particular meals for economic system class passengers.

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