I was like an excited little kid waiting for Christmas Day and arrived early for day 3 of the Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Show judging. It is widely recognised the Sydney Royal Wine, Dairy and Fine Food Shows set the standard in Australian wine and food judging and offer producers a platform to benchmark their products within the Australian market. Only the most exceptional quality is recognised with gold and silver medals providing a perfect platform for marketing exposure.
All dressed up and ready to work
Today I was to have the ultimate sensory ice-cream experience stewarding the ice-cream judging at the Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Produce Show. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like ice-cream and there I was eyeing off the best the country has to offer.
The Sydney Royal does everything with style and the day started with a yummy breakfast for judges and stewards.
I had a birds-eye view of the massive upgrade being undertaken on the arena
I had the pleasure of meeting international legend that is Herve Mons
Herve Mons discusses the day’s duties with Chairman of the Royal Dairy Produce Show Gerry Andersen
My mentor for the day was RAS Councillor and former chairman of the Sydney Turf Club Bill Picken. Bill is all personality and with lots of wise advice I soon got into the swing of things.
Racing Identity Bill Picken
Ice-cream judges Susan Burns, Craig Davis and Mark Livermore.
The steward’s role is to ensure the judging process runs smooth and effectively. This includes ensuring each entry is presented to the judges at the correct temperature.
A scoop of each ice-cream is placed on a separate plate behind the entry so the judges can view its melting profile. The judges then take numerous samples for tasting.
Ice-cream is judged on Flavour, Texture, Appearance and Melting.
Susan closes her eyes and mind to the world about her and holds each sample approximately the same length of time in her mouth,
As the ice cream melts on your tongue there should be a pure taste
To evaluate the flavour a small amount of the frozen ice cream is placed directly into the mouth and quickly manipulated between the tongue and palate and the taste and odour sensations are noted. By pressing a small portion of the frozen ice cream against the roof of the mouth the smoothness, the coarseness, the sandiness, and the relative size of the ice crystals can be determined
Mark clearly enjoys the task
The experts can get a fairly accurate impression of the ice-cream’s body and texture characteristics by dipping the ice cream. The judges notice the way it cuts and the feel of the dipper or spoon as its cutting edge passes through the ice cream.
You may have heard that the overall quality of an ice-cream line can be judged by tasting its vanilla. True. Simple and pure, a scoop of vanilla should have a distinctive but delicate flavour that lets you experience the texture of the ice cream without masking other quality indicators.
There was no shortage of flavours on offer
Appearance/Presentation – Ice cream should look freshly made. Icy crystals on the surface or around the edges of the tub indicate either that the ice cream has been melted and refrozen or that it’s old.
There was even a Banana and Vegemite Flavour
Texture –There has to be some “air” in ice cream or else it would be hard as ice. But you also don’t want it to be all fluffy. The surface of the ice cream should be smooth. There should be some heft to a cup of ice cream, and when you dig in your spoon, you should feel a little resistance.
A team of 5 RAS staff ensures everything runs smoothly and double and triple check every score card
Once the individual classes are judged and the gold medal winners decided the top four gold medal winners are bought out in each section to determine the champions in their respective categories
The judges from all the sections come together to decide the champions. One of the finalists was a Lamington flavoured ice-cream. Not surprisingly this was a flavour our French judge was not familiar with
Fellow judge Rob Elliott describing the Ozzie icon the “lamington” to Herve Mons
AND THE WINNER IS
Don’t quote me but I got the impression that our Aussie Gelatos and ice-creams could compete with the best of the best world wide
And a great day was had by all including me. I look forward to doing it all again next year
See here for a full list of the Gold Medal Winners
Great follow up from ABC