NZ Life & Leisure - - Ruth Pretty -

Supreme Cham­pion is cho­sen from each of the four cat­e­gory cham­pi­ons – Dairy, Earth, Pad­dock and Wa­ter. In ad­di­tion to each cat­e­gory cham­pion, gold and sil­ver medals are awarded for out­stand­ing prod­ucts. A spe­cial award, the NZ Life & Leisure Spirit of New Zealand Award, rec­og­nizes an en­trant with an out­stand­ing story across a broad set of prin­ci­ples in­clud­ing com­mu­nity in­volve­ment, en­vi­ron­men­tal con­scious­ness and prod­uct qual­ity. This year’s win­ner, Turk’s Poul­try of Fox­ton, is a de­serv­ing re­cip­i­ent on many fronts – see page 133. Other spe­cial awards in­clude: Out­stand­ing New Prod­uct, Out­stand­ing De­sign, Out­stand­ing Sus­tain­abil­ity and Out­stand­ing Drink.

Head judge Lau­raine Ja­cobs over­saw the judg­ing of 186 prod­ucts from through­out New Zealand by an ex­pert panel in­clud­ing NZ Life & Leisure Taste edi­tor Lucy Corry, chefs, re­tail­ers and food writ­ers.

“Judg­ing is not easy given the tal­ent of food pro­duc­ers and the quan­tity of fine fare. Pad­dock entries – lamb, beef, chicken and veni­son – were of an even higher stan­dard than in 2017, with the grow­ing pad­dockto- plate trend ev­i­dent in the num­ber of thought­fully cre­ated brands. Bak­ing re­mains a big par t of our na­tional food psy­che with some de­light­ful entries, many cater­ing to folk with al­ler­gies and in­tol­er­ances. It’s a priv­i­lege to be a par t of this com­pe­ti­tion, lead­ing the pro­fes­sional judges who have a com­plex job as­sess­ing this high num­ber of ex­cel­lent prod­ucts,” says Lau­raine.

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