Award winning Hamilton & Waikato artisan producers

The rich farming and agricultural heartland of the Hamilton & Waikato region provides the ideal base for award-winning local fare, and delicious foodie finds. With awards stacking up all over the place, here’s just a sample of some of our more recent award-winning producers and restaurants in our region:

Viands Bakery

For years the pies and sweet treats of Viands Bakery in Kihikihi have been winning awards, the most recent being the gold award for the Steak and Gravy pie in the Bakels Pie of the Year award 2017. Their chicken and vegetable also fared well with a bronze award, as did their vanilla, pear, ginger and caramel gourmet pie.

Previous awards also include the New Zealand Baker of the year in 2012.

For more info visit Viands Bakery

Over the Moon Dairy Company

Since its inception in 2007, Over the Moon Artisan Cheeses have been entering awards around the country and the world, with great results.

While their list of awards is impressive, their most recent haul from the New Zealand Champion Cheese Awards in 2016 saw the company take out an impressive array of silver and bronze awards for their burgundy moon cheese, camembert (cow’s milk), Creamy Blue, fresh goat curd, galactic gold washed rind cheese, goat camembert and volcano cheese.

Previous awards include the Monteith’s Champion Sheep Cheese Award and the Thermaflo Champion Washed Rind Cheese Award.

For more info visit Over The Moon Cheese Company

Hatted Restaurants

Following the recent Cuisine New Zealand Good Food Awards 2017, Hamilton restaurants Palate and Victoria Street Bistro gained two hat status.

Palate Restaurant is famed as one of Hamilton’s must-visit restaurants, with a tempting fine-dining menu based around locally-sourced produce and some of New Zealand’s best meats.

Highly recommended by anyone who has visited this stylish eatery, Victoria Street Bistro is one of Hamilton’s finest. Based on the same road as it’s named, the bistro has a bevy of awards with Cuisine Magazine naming it top regional restaurant in 2013.

Hamilton’s Chim Choo Ree restaurant was also awarded one hat in the 2017 awards. With a strong reputation for amazing flavours, great food and a relaxed vibe, Chim Choo Ree has been awarded many other accolades, taking out Cuisine Magazine’s top regional restaurant award in 2014.

Zealong Tea Estate

New Zealand’s only tea plantation has won a selection of awards in recent years, with the most recent being from the Global Tea Championships held in 2017. Deemed the world’s purest tea due its organic status, and single origin nature, Zealong’s oolong tea won first place for its green oolong tea single serves, and another first for black tea bags (single origin). In June, Zealong’s presence at the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas saw them named winner of the people’s choice award too.

Previous awards have included the best new natural or organic beverage from the 2016 Natural or Organic awards in Hong Kong.

For more information on visitor experiences and dining options, check out Zealong Tea Estate.

Sweetree Honey

Sweetree Honey is a beautiful raw honey sourced from apiary locations around the wider Waikato. Recent awards include gold, silver and bronze awards in ApiCulture Honey Awards, as well as receiving highly commended at the New Zealand Farmers Markets Awards from Taste Magazine. Sweetree Honey were also finalists in the recent New Zealand Food Producer Awards.

To shop for honey or learn more, check out Sweetree Honey

Meyer Cheese

Made in the authentic Dutch way, Meyer Cheese’s gouda has been gathering awards for nearly a decade. Its most recent awards include Champions of Cheese Awards for their gouda, smoked goat gouda cheese, fenugreek gouda cheese and smoked gouda.

Their sheepmilk gouda gained a silver award in the champion sheep cheese category, while their vintage gouda, Amsterdammer and cumin gouda also gained awards. With such a huge range of gouda cheese, add The Gouda Cheese Shop in Hamilton to your list of must-visit foodie destinations where you can sample some of their delights.

For more info, check out Meyer Gouda.

Volare Artisan Breads

Sink your teeth into New Zealand’s best hot cross bun! Voted in 2016 as the top Easter bun in the country, Volare’s hot cross buns are a sought-after delicacy and well worth the visit to one of their stores in Hamilton and the wider Waikato. 

For more info, check out Volare Bread.

Duck Island Ice Cream

Even in winter, Duck Island Ice Cream in Hamilton East is the place to indulge in an ice cream cone or tub. The interesting flavour profiles of some, combined with more traditional flavours, makes for a fun visit for ice cream lovers of any age. Try their award-winning roasted white chocolate and miso; or step out of the box and enjoy some of their seasonally changing range including blackberry, sage and honey; toasted marshmallow, black sticky rice cream; or a vegan option of strawberry, coconut and kaffir lime.

Winners of a 2016 Cuisine Artisan Awards for their creations, Duck Island’s reputation and following is growing. Experience it for yourself.

For more information, check out Duck Island Icecream.

New Zealand’s top barista

New Zealand’s top barista has just been named: Dove Chen from Hamilton East’s Grey St Kitchen took out the title at national championships held in Wellington recently. With a bevy of judges watching and tasting his every move, Dove was named the winner. Dove has worked at Grey St Kitchen for four years and says that great coffee doesn’t need to hide behind anything – a simple black shot is his favourite.