NZ’s best ice creams and gelatos named

by | Sep 1, 2023 | News

A boutique ice cream maker from Queenstown who moved to NZ to work as a hang gliding pilot – has taken out the country’s top ice cream accolade – with Patagonia Chocolates, Hazelnut Cremino named Formula Foods Supreme Champion Boutique at the NZ Ice Cream & Gelato Awards 2023.

Patagonia Chocolates, Hazelnut Cremino received two trophies – the Boutique Champion as well as the PACT Packaging Champion Standard Ice Cream Award. Chief Judge Jackie Matthews noted that the base of NZ-grown nuts which are hand roasted, “provided a delicate and truly authentic flavour, which combined with a superbly crafted and well-made ice cream is simply stunning, deserving of the Supreme Award.”

Patagonia Chocolates founder Alex Gimenez moved to Queenstown in 2002 and in 2005 the chocolate-loving Argentinean and his wifeLorena Giallonardo started their business. Despite the challenges of Covid-19 closures and ongoing staffing issues, the couple run four stores in the Southern Lakes, creating delicious flavours ad ice cream experiences. This year their entries were recognised with five Gold Medals and three Silver Medals as well as two Trophies.

These accolades were among 16 Trophies revealed at the NZ Ice Cream & Gelato Awards 2023 in Auckland on the evening of Thursday 31 August. The Trophy winners are the best of best, and came to the fore after a thorough tasting of more than 270 entries from makers from across Aotearoa.

A newcomer to the trophy winners’ podium isAmericold Supreme Champion Commercial,Allied Faxi New Zealand Food Co with its G’nature Vanilla Ice Cream. It was also awarded IMCD & Givaudan Champion Premium Vanilla Ice Cream Award. It was a favourite with the judging panel who said, “This classy ice cream has an uncompromising depth of flavour, is rich and creamy and succeeds perfectly in its mission to deliver a super smooth vanilla flavour.”  ChiefJudge Jackie Matthews added that it is a great example of a classic flavour, “it is perfectly produced, with wonderful texture and balanced flavour.”

Allied Faxi is a Chinese-owned maker that reopened the Kerepehi cheese factory in Paeroa in 2016 to make the G’nature brand, which issold in Beijing and Shanghai as well as New Zealand.

Auckland’s Island Gelato Co is another first-time Trophy Winner with two trophies awarded this year. Island Gelato Co, Sour Cherry & Rich Chocolate received the Sensient Technologies Champion Gelato Award with the judges saying, “Huge flavour interest here – with a cornucopia of exotic tastes brought together in colour coordinated splendor!” Island Gelato Co, Rich Chocolate was awarded the DKSH Belcolade Champion Chocolate Award, with judges describing it as a chocolate lover’s dream. Since opening in 2014 on Waiheke, Island Gelato Co has built its following in Auckland and now has five Scoop Stores offering a delicious range of award-winning gelato.

Category Trophy winners are a roll call of the country’s finest ice cream and gelatos from Tip Top Ice Cream Company, Jelly Tip which was judged the best by students from West Harbour Intermediate, Auckland who awarded it Pacific Flavours & Ingredients Kids’ Choice Award, through to exciting new flavours such as Little ‘Lato, Raspberry Lamington Gelato which won the Infruit Champion Dairy-Free Trophy.

Tip Top affirmed its position as the country’s favourite ice cream maker taking out five trophies for:

  • Tip Top Ice Cream Company, Tip Top Chocolate Trumpet; Davis Food Ingredients Champion Novelty Ice Cream Award
  • Tip Top Ice Cream Company, Tip Top Jelly Tip; Pacific Flavours & Ingredients Kids’ Choice Award
  • Tip Top Ice Cream Company, Tip Top Frozen Yoghurt; NZ Life & LeisureChampion Low Fat & Frozen Yoghurt
  • Tip Top Ice Cream Company, Baklava Bonanza; Invita NZ Champion Open Creative Award
  • Tip Top Ice Cream Company, Kāpiti Fig & Manuka Honey; Chelsea Sugar Champion Premium Ice Cream Award

An esteemed panel of 20 food judges led by Chief Judge Jackie Matthews had the arduous task of evaluating each entry with meticulous attention to detail over two days in late July. After careful deliberation, they decided upon the 16 Trophy winners and a remarkable 183 medals; 64 Gold Medals, 74 Silver Medals and 45 Bronze Medals.

Jackie Matthews made special mention of thehigh standard of entries in 2023. “The ice cream, gelato and sorbet from the boutique makers were especially fabulous with sensory indulgent, rich, complex flavours. While dairy-free products are following global trends with entries made with an oat base growing rapidly,” Jackie says.

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