Last Friday I flew to Wellington to be a judge at the inaugural Lesnies 100% New Zealand Bacon Competition.
The criteria for entry was that the bacon be New Zealand Pork.
While this may seem logical unfortunately it did prohibit some of the big commercial companies from entry!
For those that wonder why the emphasis on NZ reared pork – aside from the obvious of supporting a local economy there is also the animal welfare issue which in other countries may not be as stringent as NZ and also imported pork could contain growth hormones. Growth hormones are not used in NZ.
NZ Pork have released stickers for companies to label their bacon and ham NZ Pork, they assure also that they will be auditing the companies using these stickers to ensure that they are sound.
Back to tasting bacon – 233 in all and divided into 4 categories of middle, shoulder, streaky and danish.
We looked, poked and prodded 2 rashers of each bacon in its raw state and then got to sniff, poke and taste it once cooked. After counting that our table were tasting over 20 bacon samples I realised I would in fact have to chew and spit – not quite as elegant as it is with wine tasting :)
The level was fantastic and there was such a range of bacon available. Personally I favoured those with a good crisp rind and a lovley smoky bacon flavour.
I did have a problem with a couple of samples that had taint – an unpleasant odour that is most commonly detected by women and Asian people. Funny that men can’t seem to pick it up – being the only female at our table I was on my own a bit with that one but it was only a few samples.
Overall top bacon went to Heller Tasty from Christchurch with it’s Danish Bacon.
The top midle bacon went to Murchison Meats, Murchison, Elite Meats won the Shoulder bacon and Franklin Country Meats from Pukekohe won the Streaky.
Heller Tasty Danish – Heller Tasty
Gold Murchison Meats, Murchison
Silver Goodman Fielder, Auckland
Bronze Bream Bay Butchery, Ruakaka Town Centre
Gold Elite Meats, Christchurch
Silver A E Preston, Wellington
Bronze Allenton Meat Centre, Ashburton
Gold Franklin Country Meats, Pukekohe
Silver Peter Timbs Meats, Christchurc
Bronze Verkerks Pancetta, Christchurch
Danish style Bacon
Gold Heller Tasty, Christchurch
Silver Buzz the Butcher @ Westown, New Plymouth
Bronze Pork n Poultry. East Tamaki, Auckland