Synlait chief executive Leon Clement still hopes to open the company’s new Pokeno milk powder plant on time.
Auckland boutique ice cream producer Ginelli’s last month scooped the NZ Ice Cream Manufacturers Association (NZICMA) supreme award for a boutique manufacturer with its Black Sesame Ice Cream for 2018.
The judges described the ice cream as “creamy, with a natural roast sesame flavour”.
Ginelli’s, which supplies premium ice cream, gelato and sorbet to the hospitality and food service sector, buys its whole milk powder from Westland Milk in Hokitika.
Ginelli’s managing director Max Tairi says top quality milk is an essential base ingredient for making ice cream.
“Westland Milk has been delivering us top quality milk powder without any hassles,” he says.
“We deal directly with Westland Milk; there are no issues ordering and milk powder is delivered to us on time.”
Tairi says most gourmet ice cream manufacturers use whole milk powder, instead of fresh milk, because of its longer shelf life.
“You can’t keep fresh milk here for too long so logistically we can’t afford to use it.”
Chefs who taste and buy Ginelli’s products aren’t worried about the use of milk powder “as long as they get the taste they want,” Tairi said.
Ginelli’s has been operating in NZ for 25 years as a gourmet ice cream company; Tairi took over the company 14 years ago.
It recently upgraded its factory in Mount Wellington, gaining a pass from the Ministry of Primary Industries.
The company boasts 19 premium ice cream flavours, 20 gelato flavours and 14 sorbet offerings
“We are limited only by size of our freezers not by number of ideas says,” Tairi
NZ has a competitive domestic ice cream market. Most players make standard ice cream with fat content between 10-12%. Ice cream with fat content of 12 - 14% is considered premium. Gelato contains at most 8% fat.
Tairi says Ginelli’s tried to sell its products through retailers but couldn’t match the “cut-throat” pricing.
“The public is driven by price not that much about the quality but in the food service and hospitality sector it’s quality and not the price; the chefs put one spoon of our ice cream in their mouths and they know that’s the product they want. They hardly ask about the price.”
Ginelli’s also supplies award-winning hand-crafted desserts to restaurants and hotels in variety of shapes.
The company is no stranger to NZICMA awards, having won 80 awards in the past 12 years. Last month it won nine other category awards.
But although the supreme award had eluded the company until last month, Tairi wasn’t surprised at the eventual victory.
“It’s not like winning the lottery where you are caught by surprise; you know you will get it one day,” he says.
So confident was he that he kept a space on the awards wall for the supreme title.
“It was only a matter of time but I was a little surprised at the flavor that won me the top award.”
Creating the black sesame ice cream was a bit bumpy road, he says. “Took bit longer to get it right, but we manage to do it just right…lots of grinding, boiling, ageing and finally it paid off,” he says.
About 80% of paste for Ginelli’s products are imported from Italy.
Tairi says the black sesame ice cream is popular in Japanese and Thai restaurants in NZ. Winning the supreme award is not the end of the road for him. “For me it’s business as usual.”