HOKITIKA, New Zealand - It’s a food festival that would probably even make Andrew Zimmern queasy, when wood-dwelling grubs are among the most benign delicacies being offered.
The Wildfoods Festival in Hokitika, New Zealand – about three hours west of Christchurch – has been serving up some truly baffling gastric challenges for more than 20 years.
This year’s festivities, planned for March 12, will feature such delectable morsels as sea tulips, raw—and cooked—scorpions, weka (which is a type of flightless bird), and a variety of other comparatively-mundane items (calamari, sea cucumber, and pickled walnuts).
But the piece de resistance—the item sure to be the subject of more double-dog dares and “you-go-firsts” than any other at the festival—has to be the shots of horse semen.
Feel free to read that sentence again, because it bears repeating.
Festival organizers claim the “drink” is an energy booster, although according to their press release each shot will be washed down with a “big swig of Red Bull,” which begs the question—why the semen shot at all?
“It’s sort of quirky, I suppose,” organizer Mike Keenan told AOL News. So quirky, in fact, that media outlets from all over Europe have inquired about the festival's newest offering.
Finland television’s Maria Talk Show has even planned its own tasting.
Keenan admits it might be difficult to get people to try the shots.
“I’ve been practicing greetings in all languages but have yet to find a phrase in any that says ‘swallow this morsel and experience a life-changing moment’,” Keenan said in a recent interview on Perth’s Ugly Phil breakfast show, out of Australia. “However, smiles and ‘come on, have a go’ gestures are universal.”
The shots will be available for $10 each, and come in a variety of flavors including cherry, licorice, and banoffee pie (according to Wikipedia , a type of English dessert made with bananas, toffee, and cream).
"You often hear from a female perspective that semen has an awful alkaline taste,” said a horse trainer whose stallions will supply the shots. “So we thought we'd better make it more user friendly.”
Of course if you’re a purist—or lost a bet—it’s also available, well, in the raw.
"Think of it like a milkshake,” Keenan encourages. ”It's all safe. We're getting the semen in the same way breeders do, using an artificial vagina and storing it in the formula they use."
Aside from the food—or “food”—offered, the Royal New Zealand Ballet will be there, as well as belly dancers and musicians.
Keenan said he doesn’t know if the recent earthquake in Christchurch will affect attendance this year.