Annual NZ Ice Cream Awards announced just in time for summer
Announced last night as part of NZ Ice Cream Week, the diverse range of winners of this years’ NZ Ice Cream Awards reflects the overall quality and wide variety of ice cream that is made in New Zealand. Run by the NZ Ice Cream Manufacturers Association (NZICMA), the more than 300 entries in the awards were judged across 13 different categories by an independent panel of expert food industry judges using a blind judging process and strict criteria.
Hannah Wood, representative of NZICMA and Founder & Chief Gelato Maker at boutique manufacturer Little ‘Lato, says New Zealand-made ice cream and gelato is arguably the best in the world, made from our top quality dairy and other locally sourced ingredients, and the awards are a great opportunity to showcase this.
“It’s fantastic to see so many different ice cream makers – from smaller boutiques to large established manufacturers – take out the coveted ‘Best in Category’ trophies. It demonstrates the high level of quality overall, which is great news for anyone who loves ice cream and gelato,” says Hannah.
Already well-known for its other artisan dairy products, Zany Zeus not only won the ‘Premium Ice Cream’ category but also scooped the Supreme Award for boutique manufacturers for the first time with its Ghana Chocolate ice cream. The judges commented on the ice cream’s dark, rich chocolate flavour, which leaves a clean mouthfeel, calling it absolute indulgence.
Proving that sometimes you just can’t beat the classics, Tip Top once again won the ‘Standard Ice Cream’ category with its Boysenberry Ripple ice cream and the 2019 Supreme Award for large manufacturers – the fifth time this flavour has taken this top spot.
There is one category that changes each year to highlight a star ingredient, and for 2019 it was all about nuts. The winner of the ‘Best of Nuts’ category was Little ‘Lato, which made hazelnuts sing in its winning Hazelnut Chocolate gelato. Little ‘Lato also took out the ‘Open Creative’ category with something a little bit different, Massaman Curry gelato.
Judges said that the spicy, sweet Massaman Curry gelato delivered a unique hint to the complex flavours of the popular Thai dish and is a great example of the innovation NZ ice cream makers bring to the ‘Open Creative’ category. There was no shortage of creativity for this year with other entries including turkey with white chocolate gravy and stuffing, and beetroot and ginger.
Talley’s Group proved themselves masters of vanilla, taking out the ‘Standard Vanilla Ice Cream’ category with their Oravida Vanilla as well as the ‘Premium Vanilla Ice Cream’ category with Motueka Creamery’s Mt. Arthur Snowfall Vanilla.
“For an insight into new ice cream trends, the New to Market Award is one to watch. It is judged across all the categories for a new product that has been released in the last 12 months,” says Hannah.
This year, there were 115 eligible entries in this category, up from 91 last year, which is a testament to the level of innovation across NZ’s ice cream industry. The 2019 New to Market winner was Gelissimo Gelato’s Pistachio Premo.
Ranking as ‘extra yummy’ on the ‘yum to yuck scale’, Puhoi Valley Cafe’s Puhoi Choc Bomb has landed the Kids Choice Award as voted by a group of VIP 8-12 year old guest judges from local YMCA holiday programmes.
NZ Ice Cream Week culminates in NZ’s national ice cream day, Ice Cream Sundae, on 17 November when Kiwis are encouraged to find their own way to celebrate the role ice cream plays in their lives.
“With summer just around the corner, it’s perfect timing to check out some of the award-winning ice creams, maybe try something new, and show support for local ice cream makers, suppliers and communities across New Zealand who are involved in making our much-loved frozen treat,” says Hannah.
Look out for NZ Ice Cream Awards medal stickers on packs in supermarkets and other retail outlets, from the New Year.