26 Jul 2016

Celebrating home-grown porky perfection

4:43 pm on 26 July 2016

The New Zealand Pork Awards in Christchurch last night celebrated turning 100 percent New Zealand grown pork into bacon, ham and pork products.

pork awards

L-R: Sam Hutchison & Ron Hudson, Agora Butchery & Deli, Dunedin; Chanelle & Shaun Neustroski & baby Katie, Thames Valley Bacon Coromandel; Gretchen & Brendan Foster, Akaroa Butchery and Deli. Photo: Supplied

It is the ninth time the annual awards have run and there were 210 entries from nearly 50 expert butchers.

The three top awards were won by Akaroa Butchery and Deli for the best ham; Thames Valley Bacon in the Coromandel took out the best bacon and Dunedin's Agora Butchery and Deli took out the best pork category with their pulled pork entry.

Owner of the Akaroa Butchery and Deli, Brendan Foster said winning the best ham category was a big thrill.

"It was a bit of a surprise and very humbling that's for sure.

"It just sort of got thrown on us so we launched our website this morning, Facebook, twitter, all those things. It's hard to say what it will do for business, hopefully it means growth cause every small butcher could do with some growth."

Each entry was scrutinised by an independent panel of 33 judges comprised of leading chefs, food connoisseurs and master butchers

The head judge for the competition, Anita Sarginson, said judging was a big job.

"We look for perfect balance of saltiness and salinity, and particularly in the bacon that lovely crispiness and a well crafted product made out of New Zealand pork.

"It sounds like a great job but it's actually not that easy to keep your concentration levels up and your palette fresh and to do justice to all the entries."

Ms Sarginson said judging took about nine hours, including a blind tasting test at Welltec in Wellington.

"I don't think I want to see bacon or ham until Christmas!" She said.