Who would have thought that New Zealand can produce 28 very different chocolate ice creams, complete with inclusions such as peanut butter, cookies, truffles or carob? But in the end, English Toffee and Maple Walnut reigned supreme in the 18th year of the New Zealand Ice Cream Awards.
The judges assessed 302 entries from 32 companies and individuals, with increasing participation by smaller gelato and boutique ice cream producers this year. The Supreme Award for a Large Manufacturer went to New Zealand Natural for New Zealand Natural English Toffee, while the Supreme Award for a Boutique Manufacturer was scooped by Rush Munro’s of NZ for Maple Walnut Ice Cream. The judges were impressed with the freshness of the walnuts and the balance in maple and nut flavours complemented by a smooth creamy texture.
The individual categories that attracted the largest number of entries were Premium Ice Cream with 44 entries, Gelato with 50 entries and Sorbet with 50 entries. The Gelato Best in Category winner was Zuzu’s Gelato with their Turkish Delight, while the winner of the Sorbet Best in Category was Carrello del Gelato’s Feijoa Sorbet.
Emerald Foods, winner of the Supreme Award for a Large Manufacturer, also won Best in Category for the Export Ice Cream category with their Private Label Japanese Vanilla Ice Cream. Tip Top Candy Floss Ice Cream was the winner of the Kids’ Choice category. Tip Top Ice Cream also won Best in Categories for Standard Vanilla Ice Cream, and the Low Fat category with Creamy Yoghurt Ice Cream Strawberry. Their Boysenberry Ripple Ice Cream also scooped Best in Category for Standard Ice Cream, winning this category consecutively for the last five years.
The Open Creative categories in ice cream and gelato/sorbet included some clever flavours such as pandan and coconut meat, and Bourbon and smoke. The winning ice cream of the Open Creative category was a white chocolate and wasabi flavour.