Winners of the 2011 Produce Awards brought to you by ABC delicious. magazine were announced last night at Guillaume at Bennelong, Sydney. Now in their sixth year, the Produce Awards encourage, showcase and reward Australia’s top producers in categories including ‘From the Earth’, ‘From the Dairy’, ‘From the Paddock’, ‘From the Sea’ and “Artisan”. Within each category, the remaining top producers have been recognised as medallists, acknowledging their consistency in submitting top-quality produce.

All producers who entered the awards were shortlisted by a panel of Australia’s leading chefs from around the nation before being presented to the national judges – Matt Moran, Philip Johnson, Cheong Liew, Alla Wolf-Tasker, and Maggie Beer, patron of the Produce Awards. This year, judging took place over two days at Justin North’s new cooking school Quarter 21 in Westfield Sydney, where our five national judges tasted their way through more than 80 finalists from around the nation before selecting the winners and medallists in each category.

The winners of the five major, highly coveted categories are:

WINNER, FROM THE SEA & PRODUCER OF THE YEAR – PETIT BOUCHOT MUSSELS, KINKAWOOKA SHELLFISH CO. (SA)
Regarded worldwide as the benchmark of mussels, the famous Petit Bouchot, from the Brittany region of South West France, was the inspiration for Kinkawooka’s team which left judges speechless with their perfectly formed mussel. “The almost obsessive quality measures and real pride taken by Kinkawooka have created a mussel that is so sweet and perfect in flavour,” says Maggie Beer.

WINNER, FROM THE DAIRY – GUNDOWRING FINEST ICE CREAM (VIC)
Fourth generation farmers and concerned environmentalists Sarah & Stephen Crooke, together with their two sons, create their ice cream with fresh, rich, creamy milk from their herd of Holstein cows and the best regional and seasonal ingredients including superb quality local grown fruit, nuts and honey. “Gundowring is one of those orchard-to-bowl, paddock-to-plate stories that one wishes could be true of all food,” says Alla Wolf-Tasker.

WINNER, FROM THE EARTH – SHIMA WASABI FRESH WASABI STEM & LEAVES (TAS)
The word shima is Japanese for island, hence Shima Wasabi translates to Island Wasabi. It is grown in the pristine Tasmanian environment, ensuring maximum flavour and quality. The stem provides a hot, sweet flavour when freshly grated. The glossy, deep green leaves are ideal as a garnish “Fresh wasabi tastes green, gutsy and sharp,” says Cheong Liew. “At last we have the real thing for our sashimi.”

WINNER, FROM THE PADDOCK – MONDO WHITE ROCKS VEAL (WA)
A previous winner in the 2009 Produce Awards, Mondo White Rocks Veal has been developed as the leading quality veal in Australia and holds its own not just in the Australian food industry, but on the world stage. “It’s a product that Australia should be proud of,” says Philip Johnson. “The purity of flavour is clearly world class.”

WINNER, ARTISAN – PACDON PARK HAGGIS (NSW)
This year sees the introduction of this new award for artisan products, aimed at discovering specialists and provedores working with their local primary growers. This new category was judged and decided by judges Valli Little, Simon Marnie and Martin Boetz. Pacdon Park pride themselves on crafting the very best of British small goods from the best Australian ingredients. The true Highland Haggis is made using lamb pluck and flank from a local border Leicesters stud. “The standout in this category was Pacdon Park haggis – beautifully presented with such a complexity of flavour,” says Simon Marnie.

The medallists in the five major categories are:

MEDALLISTS FROM THE SEA
• CONE BAY OCEAN BARRAMUNDI (WA)
• SPANNER CRABS NOOSA RAW CRAB MEAT (QLD)
• YARRA VALLEY SALMON CAVIAR (VIC)

MEDALLISTS FROM THE DAIRY
• B.-D. FARM PARIS CREEK QUARK (SA)
• HOLY GOAT CHEESE LA LUNA (VIC)

MEDALLISTS FROM THE EARTH
• MT ALEXANDER FRUIT GARDENS ORGANIC STONE FRUIT (VIC)
• SNOWY RIVER STATION SAMPHIRE (VIC)
• BELLATA GOLD DURUM SEMOLINA (NSW)
• COBRAM ESTATE PREMIER EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL (VIC)
• LI-SUN EXOTIC MUSHROOMS (NSW)

MEDALLISTS FROM THE PADDOCK
• SHER WAGYU BEEF (VIC)
• FEAST! FINE FOOD PURE SUFFOLK LAMB (SA)
• SCHU AM BERKSHIRE PORK (SA)
• REDGATE FARM JURASSIC QUAIL (NSW)
• CORNUCOPIA BIODYNAMIC FARM HEN’S EGGS (NSW)
• MACLEAY VALLEY RABBITS (NSW)
• FERNLEIGH FREE-RANGE CHORIZO (VIC)

ARTISAN
• BRASSERIE BREAD FRENCH MOUNTAIN BREAD (NSW)
• UDDER DELIGHTS GOAT’S CURD (SA)
• WOODBRIDGE SMOKEHOUSE SMOKED OCEAN TROUT (TAS)

PRODUCER OF THE YEAR
KINKAWOOKA SHELLFISH CO. (SA)

BEST NEW PRODUCT
SNOWY RIVER STATION SAMPHIRE (VIC)

OUTSTANDING USE OF REGIONAL PRODUCE BY A CHEF
DAVID MOYLE, THE STACKINGS AT PEPPERMINT BAY (TAS)

HERITAGE AWARD
FIONA CHAMBERS, FERNLEIGH FARMS (VIC)

THE REGIONAL AWARD
HUON VALLEY (TAS)

OUTSTANDING PROVEDORE
IAN & LIZ HEMPHILL, HERBIE’S SPICES

OUTSTANDING FARMERS’ MARKET
EVELEIGH FARMERS’ MARKET (NSW)

HALL OF FAME AWARDS
HOLY GOAT CHEESE LA LUNA (VIC)
BLACKMORE WAGYU BEEF (VIC)
SPANNER CRABS NOOSA RAW CRAB MEAT (QLD)

MAGGIE BEER AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO AUSTRALIAN FOOD – NEIL PERRY, CHEF/RESTAURATEUR, ROCKPOOL

ABC delicious. magazine congratulates all the winners of the 2011 Produce Awards. The complete story and full list of winners and medallists will appear in the August issue of ABC delicious. magazine, on sale Wednesday 27 July 2011.