Ge­lato scoops the prize pool

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Lucy Vick­ers

James Oliver may be only 22, but he’s al­ready a mas­ter at mak­ing ice­cream.

Last month the Taka­puna man, who shares the same name as the celebrity chef, scooped the pool at the New Zealand ice­cream awards.

All seven flavours he en­tered won medals – even his ex­per­i­men­tal ba­con and egg flavoured ice­cream.

James has had his own fac­tory in Albany for a year and prides him­self on mak­ing his prod­uct from scratch, us­ing the best in­gre­di­ents.

He does the qual­ity con­trol him­self, try­ing each flavour to make sure it’s up to his high stan­dards. And he’s not sick of ice­cream yet. “I still eat it my­self af­ter a year,” he says.

His toasted co­conut, lime and mas­car­pone ice­cream and manuka honey ge­lato won golds.

His vanilla bean, poached pear and blue cheese, pump­kin and caramelised pe­can flavours won sil­ver, as did his mango co­lada-sor­bet.

James em­u­lates the north­ern Italy style of ge­lato which is creamy and uses a lot of eggs.

The blue cheese ice­cream has chunks of blue cheese and the ba­con and egg flavour has ba­con in­fused in the milk and in­creased egg yolk in the mix.

“We do ev­ery­thing, in­clud­ing poach­ing the pears, our­selves.”

His love of sweet things and food came from his mother, who was a dessert and pas­try chef.

He then trav­elled around Italy learn­ing how to make au­then­tic ge­lato be­fore set­ting up his busi­ness, which em­ploys one other per­son.

“I have loved Ital­ian cui­sine since I was lit­tle,” says James.

He cur­rently sup­plies his ice­creams to del­i­catessens in Devon­port, Pon­sonby and Glen Innes.

He prides him­self on qual­ity over quan­tity and has a max­i­mum batch size of 100 litres.

And does he ever get con­fused with his fa­mous name­sake?

“I do get the odd joke but not too of­ten,” he says.

But un­like the other Oliver, he is adamant he will not sell his prod­uct to su­per­mar­kets.

Other win­ners were The Kiwi Ice­cream Com­pany, Massey Univer­sity food tech­nol­ogy stu­dents, Mon­ica’s Pizza and Ge­lato Cafe in Mil­ford, Pen­guino Ice­cream in Browns Bay and Taka­puna Beach Cafe and Store.

Photo: BEN WAT­SON

Ice­cream king: Award-win­ning ge­lato maker James Oliver.

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