Patagonia's Hazelnut Cremino crowned country's best ice cream

Sep 01, 2023

A small-scale Southern Lakes ice cream maker has taken out the country's top ice cream accolade.

Patagonia Chocolates, with four branches across Queenstown, Arrowtown and Wānaka, was last night named supreme champion at the NZ Ice Cream and Gelato Awards 2023.

The flavour that impressed: Hazelnut Cremino, which starts with a handmade paste from Central Otago hazelnuts.

It won the Boutique Champion category on its way to securing the overall top spot for the year.

Chief judge Jackie Matthews the locally roasted nuts “provided a delicate and truly authentic flavour, which combined with a superbly crafted and well-made ice cream is simply stunning".

Patagonia Chocolates founder Alex Gimenez moved to Queenstown in 2002 to be a hang gliding pilot and in 2005 the chocolate-loving Argentinean and his wife Lorena Giallonardo started their business.

Despite the challenges of Covid-19 closures and ongoing staffing issues, the couple have preserved in a thriving business in creating chocolates, ice creams and desserts.

Alongside the Hazelnut Cremino, other Patagonia entries were recognised with five gold medals and three silver medals as well as two trophies at the annual awards night held in Auckland.

In total 16 trophies were handed out, recognising the best of the best after a thorough tasting of more than 270 entries from makers from across Aotearoa.

Keen to know the country's other top ice creams and gelatos? A list of all winning entries is available can be found on the NZ Ice Cream Association’s new website. 

Main image (Facebook/Patagonia Chocolates): Patagonia Chocolates owners Alex Gimenez (right) and Lorena Giallonardo.

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