The Ice Cream Awards – instituted in 1997 – are being held again this year. The specific objective of the Awards is the raising of standards and promoting the quality of New Zealand Ice Cream. The results will be announced at the Annual Conference in Auckland on Thursday, 26 May 2016.
In 2012 organisers introduced a new category for “Best of …” and the first flavour to feature was New Zealand’s iconic ice cream flavour, Hokey Pokey followed by Cookies & Cream, Chocolate and Berries. This year they have chosen to showcase the “Best of Caramel”.
In 2912 they introduced an additional “New to Market” Award, which was presented to the highest total score, as judged in the appropriate category, for a new product launched in the previous 12 months. There were 41 entries eligible for this Award, which shows the depth of innovation in the ice cream industry. This Award will be presented again this year.
In recognition of the growth in small boutique ice cream and gelato manufacturers, organisers will continue to have a Supreme Award for Large Manufacturers and a Supreme Award for Boutique Manufacturers. Similar to the New Zealand Cheese Awards, the criteria will be determined by the manufacturer’s annual production with a declaration on the entry form. A Boutique manufacturer must produce less than 500,000 litres per annum.
Any manufacturer (large or boutique) or individual can enter the New Zealand Ice Cream Awards and will be eligible for the Silver and Gold Awards, however to win a Best in Category or Supreme Award they must be a Member of The New Zealand Ice Cream Manufacturers’ Association (Inc.) (NZICMA) at the time Judging commences. All Gold Award winning ice cream entries from NZICMA Members are then eligible for the Supreme Awards based on their score.
There are separate categories for Low Fat, Gelato and Sorbet and these three categories cater for those products that do not meet the Standard or Premium Ice Cream formulation guidelines.Last year the Supreme Award for a Large Manufacturer went to Tip Top Ice Cream for their Boysenberry Ripple Ice Cream. The Supreme Award for a Boutique Manufacturer was awarded to an entry in the Premium Ice Cream category, Chai Latte Ice Cream made by Puhoi Valley Cafe and Cheese Store.
The Vanilla Ice Cream judging is divided into Standard and Premium categories, which allows Premium Vanilla Ice Cream to be judged separately from other Premium products. The ‘Open Creative’ category once again has two sections, Ice Cream and Gelato/Sorbet, and is open to any individual, restaurant, hotel or catering establishment that produces and serves these products on the premises. Entries in this category should not be available for sale in any retail outlet. Entries are also expected from the Research and Development departments of the manufacturers and suppliers. The judges pick an overall winner across the two sections of this category and last year’s winner was an Earl Grey tea flavoured ice cream made by Kapiti Ice Cream called “Gelatea”.
Kay McMath is the Chief Judge and has been judging the Ice Cream Awards since 2002. Judging will take place at The FoodBowl, Auckland in early May and the ’Kids’ Choice’ category will again be judged by local school children.