Bacon awards judging 'tough gig'

STACEY KIRK
Last updated 10:50 20/07/2013
Fairfax NZ

Chefs and food writers gather for judging in the best bacon in New Zealand awards.

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Is there anything that can't be made better with bacon?

The judges of the third annual 100% NZ Bacon Awards think not, and that was even after ice cream was considered.

Judging for the awards took place yesterday and the winners will be announced next month. The competition will see nearly 200 different types of bacon and six types of ham from more than 50 butcheries across the country vie for the supreme awards.

A 33-strong panel of leading chefs, food writers and industry leaders have been assembled to judge the entries - at the helm is head judge and president of the NZ Chefs Association, Anita Sarginson.

She said though the job was a "tough gig", it was one the judges took seriously.  

"There are a few key things we're looking for. Firstly whether the cooked bacon translates to what is in the packet in terms of appearance. We're also judging the aroma, the taste and the texture."

The judges will choose five bacon and two ham category winners, as well as the supreme award winners.

Fellow judge and Wellington food industry expert Lorenzo Bresolin said bacon was undoubtedly the world's most popular meat.

"Even vegetarians will try and find alternatives that taste like bacon - it really is the gateway meat," he said.

"It really does have a lot of cultural significance in different parts of the globe - no matter where you go, countries have their own style. And it's great to see the Manuka and smoked styles really becoming engrained in New Zealand."

NZ Pork marketing manager Campbell Nash said the awards were an important recognition of the quality of the product produced in New Zealand.

"Currently more than 60 per cent of the bacon and ham sold in New Zealand is made from imported pork but not many realise this.

"If New Zealanders are buying New Zealand pork, not only are they obviously supporting local industry, they can be sure of the quality and freshness of the product as well as the care and ethics behind it."

The winners and medallists of the bacon categories will be announced at a ceremony of August 8, while the ham contestants will find out their results in October.

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