Wellington’s Wooden Spoon Boutique Freezery has taken top honours in this year’s Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards, being named Supreme Champion. They also won Emerson’s Dairy Champion at the awards in Auckland this week.
Wooden Spoon Boutique Freezery received the awards for their Blackcurrant Crunch ice cream. Founders Sharon Galeon and Midori Willoughby say the creation of Blackcurrant Crunch was the result of a happy confluence of events. A group of Otago Girls High School students asked the Wooden Spoon Boutique Freezery if they could help create a new flavour for their Young Enterprise Scheme called Spoon Me, and then coincidentally the team from ViBERi Organic Blackcurrants got in touch. This serendipitous set of events led to the creation of the pretty purple ice cream, which the judges praised for its crunch and fruity flavour.
Wooden Spoon was founded by the pair in Wellington in 2011. They specialise in small batch, hand-crafted ice cream made with quality ingredients. Their flavours are inspired by memories from their childhood, adventures to new places and local New Zealand treasures. Wooden Spoon has a history with the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards having won awards every year. In 2018, they received a Gold Medal for Wooden Spoon Boutique Freezery Ca Phe Da and a Silver Medal for their Chocolate-Covered Banana. The previous year they were a runner-up in the dairy category with Wooden Spoon Boutique Freezery Movie Night Ice Cream.
The Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards 2019 Champions named on Tuesday night are:
- Supreme Champion; Wooden Spoon Boutique Freezery, Blackcurrant Crunch Ice Cream (Wellington). The judges said they “loved the crunch, the delicious mouthfeel and the creamy, natural flavour.”
- Emerson’s Dairy Champion; Wooden Spoon Boutique Freezery, Blackcurrant Crunch Ice Cream (Wellington)
- Farro Earth Champion; Chia Sisters Bottled by the Sun, Nelson Apple and Boysenberry Juice (Nelson). The judging panel said this juice “had natural colour and flavour and was a great representation of apple and boysenberry.”
- Ara Wines Paddock Champion; Provenance Lamb by Provenance Meat (Otago & Southland). The judges commented that the lamb was “juicy and moist with great flavour.”
- Water Champion; East Rock, Gisborne Tarakihi (Gisborne). Judge Mat McLean chef/restaurateur of Plate in Hamilton said, “The care in processing the fish was evident in the fish which had a superior texture and flavour. The flavour was just fantastic.”
A further seven Special Champion Awards were announced:
- NZ Life & Leisure Spirit of New Zealand Award; Whitestone Cheese
- Fresh.co.nz Outstanding Drink Award; Chia Sisters, Bottled by the Sun Nelson Apple and Boysenberry Juice (Nelson)
- Label & Litho Outstanding Packaging Award; Barker’s of Geraldine, Fruit for Cheese Range (Geraldine)
- FMCG Business Outstanding New Product Award; Harraways, HARR-OS Oat Bites, Indian Spice (Dunedin)
- Outstanding Sustainability Award; Roebuck Farm, Leaves + Shoots (Taranaki)
- Outstanding Start-Up Business Award; Pastrami & Rye, Pastrami (Auckland)
- Outstanding Free-From Award; Thoroughbread, Paleo Gold and Paleo Fruit Loaf (Horowhenua, Levin)
Also announced were the Coast People’s Choice winners, chosen by popular online voting from Kiwi food lovers. They were:
- Coast People’s Choice Favourite Producer; Whitestone Cheese (Oamaru)
- Coast People’s Choice Favourite Farmers’ Market; Otago Farmers Market (Dunedin)
For the third year, well-known New Zealand food writer and champion for locally-grown and made food products, Lauraine Jacobs was head judge. She oversaw a panel of 20 judges who assessed more than 180 food and drinks during judging at AUT School of Hospitality & Tourism in March. Lauraine noted it was great to see the innovative ways food producers had used premium ingredients which were predominantly grown and harvested in New Zealand.
Medal winners deserve the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Award they have earned, said Jacobs. “Consumers are well advised to seek out the delicious and exciting foods such as ice-creams, drinks and juices, honey, pâtés, meats, pickles, bread and so much more which will be carrying 2019 medals.”
Organiser of the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards, Kathie Bartley said it was wonderful to see the breadth and depth of entries this year and the increase in entries from the south. She observed the ‘Free-From’ category, introduced for the first time, was popular with producers.
“With many new products being created to cater for specialist diets including gluten-free, paleo, dairy-free and vegan this is a growth area. It’s wonderful to see so many of these products are packed with flavour, making them a delicious choice for any food lover.”
After three years of awards, Kathie Bartley said there are over a quarter of a million Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards medal stickers on food and drink products around the country. “Food lovers should keep an eye out for products with our Champion, Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal stickers, these are an independent endorsement of quality—a promise that the food and drink products are delicious!”
Kathie thanked the talented team of food professionals who gave their time and taste buds to judge the 2019 awards. The judging panel included specialist sustainability judge Emily Smith, as well as Enzo Bettio, Kathy Paterson, Mat McLean, Mikey Newlands, Andy Aitken, Richard Emerson, Aaron Pooch, James Thomas, Lucy Corry, Tamara Rubanowski, Allyson Gofton, Anna King Shahab, Kimberley Dixon, Amanda Thompson, Hayley McLarin, Janene Draper, Lorna Subritzky, and Michelle Jones.