Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Keeping a secret

Keeping  a secret

When you know something that everybody else wants to know then it is always hard to keep your end of the bargain so with great anticipation the Inaugural Artisian Cuisine Awards 2009 were announced last week and my secret was now broadcast to the rest of NZ

Flying  to Auckland in early December 2008 I skipped breakfast as today was going to be a culinary journey of epic undertaking, with over 100 tastings on the table from bread to kina, bacon to rhubarb fizzy  this was not a day for the faint hearted .  Two strong black coffees later and the  judges comprising of myself, Cuisine editors, Lauraine Jacobs and Ray Mc Vinnie, Brett Fullerton and Al Brown with Enzo Bettio donned forks and napkins to find NZ top artesian food producer. 

Sipping, slurping, dribbling and a little drooling were the order of the day and the top ten products were put aside so that we could resample later.  Sheep's milk ice-cream, Kina Pickle (sea eggs), Farm house cheeses (with photos of the cow that produced that milk), NZ ultra hot wasabi paste and Happy Valley Butte r where all great but we were only interested in the very best that NZ had to offer

It was exciting to see the emergence of a real NZ style of food products, and even more exciting to see 2 Marlborough products in the top ten.  Premium games Wild Rabbit sausages (boudin blanc)  was just squeezed out by overall winner, Salumeria Fontana Sicilain Sweet fennel Sausages  and that left Sherrington Cheese and Uncle Joes walnut spread (I judged Uncle Joes Walnut Oil as the supreme winner in the Canterbury Olive oil awards last year and this is another of there great products!) .   My personal favourite was the Kina Pate from Northland that was unique and had a real kiwiana taste and flavour to, but please don't tell anybody otherwise it will be sold out and I wont be able to buy any

Th only problem with awards is that now that my secret is out of the bag I am going to have to look even harder to find more unique and wonderful artesian products for my kitchen !!  Well done to all Marlborough and NZ food producers and to all of the consumers who vote with there feet at more than 40  Farmers' markets  each week around NZ


Artisan food producers Awards 2009 

100 Unique Artesian Food Products as voted by NZ Consumers

8 Judges with hunger pains

16 cups of strong black coffee

8 Forks and teaspoons

Chopping board, breadknife and serving spoons

I tub of Sheeps' milk ice-cream

Method – Slice, dice, cut and scoop the Artesian Food products into small pieces.  Taste, discuss, argue, agree to disagree and slurp.  Dissect each and every product down to tiny detail – is it sour – sweet – bitter – confused – salty  - dry  or tannic , record all results and then announce the winners through National media.  Promote and educate to the consumers of NZ that we do have a vibrant and growing food community

Take the ice-cream and Taste ( a small amount) – while I am sure that people who are allergic to cows milk will love it there are some things that we are just not ready for (unless you like the smell of damp wool sheds)

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