Hemp won’t get you high but it will make you hungry.
Christchurch is hosting Hemp Food Week, a week-long “world-first” celebration where nine venues and chefs will showcase different hemp dishes.
The event is the brainchild of sustainability entrepreneur, Guido Loeffler, who said hemp was the most useful plant known to humankind.
“It provides us with a highly nutritious food, the strongest natural fibre, amazing building materials, compostable plastics, and it can actually restore the health of the environment,” Loeffler said.
“When I started thinking of a way to promote hemp and the new Whakamana education institute on Manchester Street, I mentioned it to a few chefs who were immediately interested in doing something creative with it in the kitchen.”
Hemp seeds became legal to sell in food products in New Zealand last year. They come from the same cannabis plant as marijuana but do not get people “high’, and are densely packed with nutrients.
One of the venues involved in the week is Gatherings, debuting a hemp and honey ice cream tart with fresh thyme.
Gatherings owner and chef Alex Davis said he had never experimented with hemp before but was interested in trying it due to the positive environmental impacts it could have.
“My first thoughts were that this is going to be attached to cannabis, which I’m not about at all, but after a bit of research I discovered they’re two separate things and that hemp can provide a lot of benefits,” Davis said.
Davis said he used the milk from hemp seeds and butter made from hemp to form the dish.
“It came out beautifully rich and creamy, which I was actually really surprised about,” he said. “I’ve trialled it with some customers and once I explained there was no THC (the key psychoactive constituent of cannabis) in the mix, they seemed to really enjoy it.”
Other dishes on show during the week include a hemp burger from Shaka Bros and a hemp acai bowl from Gre3n Superfoods.
The week finishes at the Whakamana Cannabis Museum Sunday when guest speaker Cameron Simms – one of New Zealand’s first hemp-based chefs – will be talking hemp as a food, along with the other chefs who will discuss their dishes.
Venues taking part in the event include:
Gatherings (hemp and honey ice cream tart with fresh thyme).
Shaka Bros (The Whakamana Express – hemp heart pattie, hemp oil aioli, hemp husk bun).
Grater Goods (creamy hemp seed dip with toasted sourdough and hemp oil).
Gre3n Superfoods (hemp acai bowl with hemp protein, hemp seeds, house granola and fresh seasonal fruits).
Vesuvio Vegan (eggplant and cannellini bean meatballs with hemp chimichurri).
Barefoot Eatery (hemp seed and nut loaf toasted and spread with house-made vegan butter, topped with avocado, house-made sauerkraut and sprinkled with hemp and black sesame seeds & hemp power smoothie with hemp protein and hemp hearts).
Bohemian Bakery (hemp seed loaf with hemp seeds, hemp protein and hemp oil).
Slickburger Bacon’s Sister (hemp pattie, vegan cheese, hemp hearts, vegan hemp aioli).