“It doesn’t get any better than this, it was stunning.” That’s how Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show chief judge Russell Smith described Colin James Fine Foods’ chocolate gelato when it was named Grand Champion Ice-Cream, Gelato or Sorbet of the show a couple of months ago.
After tasting the gelato at the Royal Queensland Show (“Ekka”), I was swooning too. Colin James began producing their artisan gelato at Maleny, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, in 2001, combining rich Geurnsey milk with locally sourced fruit, and perfecting the recipe to the point where dairy connoisseurs like Smith can’t get enough of it.
“Contrary to popular belief, it’s very difficult to get a perfect chocolate flavour and at the same time have the silky texture that this gelato exhibited,” said Smith, adding that the chocolate gelato was one of the best he and his fellow judges had tasted anywhere in the world.
The gelato beat 160 icecream, gelato and sorbet entries to win the Grand Champion award in the Ice-Cream, Gelato or Sorbet competition, part of the prestigious Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show.
It’s one of seven competitions that make up the Food and Wine Show. The others are Cheese and Dairy Produce; Branded Lamb; Branded Beef; Ham, Bacon and Smallgoods; Sausage King Competition; and the Royal Queensland Wine Show.
During our visit to Ekka, we spent a lot of time watching the demonstrations on the Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show cooking stage. Brisbane chef Dominique Rizzo hosted the Champions on Show sessions, which featured products from the competitions in recipes and tastings.
We lapped up tastings of Colin James’ other gelati too, in flavours such as jaffa, raspberry and strawberry, and an intriguing salted lime sorbet. In other sessions, we tasted awesome Tasmanian Royal lamb, an award-winner two years in a row, and a delicious slow-braised pork belly dish made from award-winning Murray Valley Pork, the recipe for which you’ll find here.
We also tasted a quiche made with bacon, leeks and quark from B.-d.Farm Paris Creek, an award-winner in the Cheese and Dairy Produce competition. The Dairy Produce Show is one of Royal National Agricultural’s oldest competitions, dating right back to the first Ekka in 1876.
Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese from Victoria won Grand Champion Dairy Product with their Riverine Blue, described by Smith as “a carnival of flavours on the tongue”. “It was a relatively mild blue cheese with a superb balance of mid palate flavours,’’ he said.
Smith was thrilled with the 20 per cent increase in entry numbers and said it positioned the competition as one of the premier cheese, dairy and ice-cream competitions in Australia. His team of 11 national judges were impressed with the high quality of the 607 exhibits.
Following is a list of the winners of the Cheese and Dairy Produce competition and the Ice-Cream, Gelato or Sorbet competition, so you can check out these fine products and see what all the fuss is about:
* Champion Cheese Of Show: Tarwin Blue produced by Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese, Poowong, Vic.
* Champion Dairy Dessert or Yoghurt of Show: Belgian Chocolate Mousse – classic chocolate produced by Nicholson Fine Foods, Yamba, NSW.
* Champion Butter, Milk or Cream of Show: Western Star Unsalted butter produced by Fonterra, Cobden, Vic.
* Champion Buffalo, Goat or Sheep Milk Product: Riverine Blue produced by Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese, Poowong, Vic.
* Champion Queensland Cheese or Dairy Product of Show: Mungalli Creek Dairy Biodynamic Raspberry tub set yoghurt produced by Mungalli Creek Dairy, Mungalli, Qld.
* Grand Champion Dairy Product of Show: Riverine Blue produced by Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese, Poowong, Vic.
* Champion Vanilla or Chocolate Ice-Cream or Gelato of Show: Colin James Chocolate Gelato produced by Colin James Fine Foods, Maleny, Qld.
* Champion Flavoured Ice-Cream or Gelato of Show: Agrumi Ricotta produced by Gelateria Gondola, Sydney, NSW.
* Champion Ice-Cream or Gelato of Show: Colin James Chocolate Gelato produced by Colin James Fine Foods, Maleny, Qld.
* Champion Sorbet of Show: Colin James Raspberry Sorbet produced by Colin James Fine Foods, Maleny, Qld.
* Champion Queensland Ice-Cream, Gelato or Sorbet of Show: Colin James Chocolate Gelato produced by Colin James Fine Foods, Maleny, Qld.
* Grand Champion Ice-Cream, Gelato or Sorbet of Show: Colin James Chocolate produced by Colin James Fine Food, Maleny, Qld.
More information: www.rqfws.com.au
See our snapshots of Ekka 2015.