Here’s the scoop on how Anna Howard and Brian Thomas from PURE NZ Ice Cream satisfy our frozen food cravings with their award-winning ice creams, gelatos and sorbets.
Every year, a panel of specialist judges from the Outstanding New Zealand Food Producer Awards gather together to selflessly taste-test the best ice creams and gelatos from across the country. For the last few years, PURE NZ Ice Cream has consistently come away with medals, but in 2020, they stole the dairy crown, winning Gold and Dairy Category Champion for their “difficult to resist” Boysenberry Ice Cream.
Owners Anna Howard and Brian Thomas acquired PURE NZ Ice Cream two years ago and are thrilled to have won the award.
“Part of the joy in what we do is sourcing the purest of ingredients and transforming those into intense ice cream flavours,” says Anna, who is ‘Chief Churner’ looking after ice cream production, while Brian takes care of “everything that Production doesn’t do”.
Anna makes their range of ice creams, gelatos and sorbets from scratch, churning through around 500 egg yolks (for the ice cream alone!) on busy days, and using only fresh ingredients with no artificial flavours or colouring, keeping the product as local as possible.
Their flavours are luscious and original, ranging from Mascarpone, Date & Orange, Lemon Curd and Kaffir Lime & Ginger ice creams through to Blackcurrant & Coconut Gelato and Berry Fusion Sorbet.
“Our ingredients lists are short because we use 100% natural ingredients,” says Brian. Egg yolks, milk, cream, cane sugar – all foods that you would use at home. Their flagship ice cream is the popular Vanilla Bean which is delicious as an eat-alone or as an accompaniment to a wide range of desserts. Brian confesses that they sometimes succumb to a morning tea affogato, ‘as part of quality control’.
“It’s a tough job but we taste the ice cream daily to make sure that the quality and intense flavours are there.”
It’s clear that Anna takes care to choose the very best produce that will elicit the most vibrant flavours. The boysenberries and blackcurrants in their ice creams, gelatos and sorbets hail from sunny Nelson, their lemons from Hawke’s Bay and the aromatic mānuka honey is sourced from Canterbury. Anna’s team also hand-make their caramel, mascarpone and hokey pokey, ensuring every ingredient is as delicious and natural as possible.
On the packaging front, their attention to detail and commitment to the environment is evident. Brian explains that their tubs are sturdy, made from materials that are fully reusable and 100% recyclable in NZ.
PURE NZ Ice Cream are delighted to be out of Covid-19 in one piece. “We simply can’t make our delicious ice creams without amazing ingredients so it’s been good to get back to handshakes with our suppliers,” says Anna.
PURE NZ Ice Cream Boysenberry, from $18.99 /Litre.