Congratulations to everyone who entered the inaugural Fine Food Awards Fresh Garlic Competition. There were 31 entries in total and some really beautiful, high quality garlic. Many AGIA members were included amongst the prize winners. The winners are listed, if you click on Read more below, also a report of how the judging took place and what the judges were looking for. It was great that there were medal winning entries from 4 of the 6 garlic growing states. The photo at left shows the garlic lined up ready for judging at the Melbourne Showgrounds at Flemington.
Gold medal and Best in Show Ontos Purple, Ontos Farm, Victoria
Other Gold medals: Rushnot Garlic Australian Purple, Rushnot Garlic, Victoria; Big Dam Farm garlic, Big Dam Farm, Tasmania; Fleurieu Creole Garlic, Fleurieu Garlic, South Australia.
Silver medals: Green Temple fresh garlic, Green Temple, Victoria; Leah Leah Farm garlic, Leah Leah Farm, New South Wales; Morganics Farm naturally grown garlic, Morganics Farm, New South Wales; Tasmanian Natural Garlic, Tasmanian Natural Garlic, Tasmania
Bronze medals: Angelica Organic Farm Rocambole Garlic, Angelica Organic Farm, Victoria; Spanish Roja garlic, Ayiana Pty Ltd, Tasmania; Australian Garlic Producers - AGPHS5, Australian Garlic Producers Pty Ltd, Victoria; Bangalay Bend garlic, Bangalay Bend, New South Wales.
Silver medal: Morganics Farm naturally grown garlic, Morganics Farm, New South Wales
Bronze medals :Garlic- Rio Red, Agrico Produce Pty Ltd, New South Wales; Australian Garlic Producers - AGPSS5, Australian Garlic Producers Pty Ltd, Victoria; Tooley Garlic, Tooley Garlic, Victoria; Australian Garlic Producers - AGPSS4, Australian Garlic Producers Pty Ltd, Victoria.
The Judges awarded points as follows. All entries were scored out of 100. With 20 points allocated to uniformity of bulbs and cloves (shape, size, colour). 20 points to condtion of bulb and cloves (freshness, cleanliness, physical condition). 10 points to quality (firmness, true to varietal type). 10 points to aroma. 40 points to taste (made up of 20 points to raw taste and 20 points to baked taste).
The medal range is Gold 90-100, Silver 82-89, Bronze 74-81
The garlic was unpacked by the Fine Food Awards staff and was identified by numbers only, so it was not possible for the judges to know who grew the garlic or have any idea as to what region or state it came from.
The judges started judging just after 9.00 am and finished just after 6.00pm. Each entry was approached in the same way. The bulbs were inspected closely for plumpness and strength of skins, one bulb was then pulled apart and the cloves, cloves bases and skins looked at. Several cloves were then peeled and the flesh of each clove inspected. Another bulb was cut in half and the plumpness and tightness of the cloves and clove skins observed. At this point the aroma was also noted. Individual comments and scores were recorded by each of the three judges.
Once this procedeure was completed for every entry, the judges then went back to the beginning and starting with the first entry again, tasting the roasted flesh of the cloves. These had been prepared by one of the excellent Fine Food Awards chefs, with all bulbs cooked in the same way for the same length of time. Scores and comments were again recorded.
After a short break for a late lunch it was time to taste the raw garlic. Each entry had a clove cut into several slices. The slices were left for a short period to ensure that the chemical changes had time to happen and the allicin to be released. In this case the garlic was not actually swallowed, just chewed and removed. The judges found that the most effective palet cleansers were bread, and lemon sorbet with plenty of water to wash out the mouth between tastings. Again the scores and comments were noted by each judge.
At the end, the individual scores were tallied and it was only at this point that it became clear which bulbs had won gold, silver and bronze medals.
This was the first time that fresh garlic has been tasted, tested and judged so comprehensively in Australia. Both the organisers and judges were to some extent feeling their way. We would be very happy to accept feedback about the process either through the AGIA website, or on the Fine Food Awards website at http://www.rasv.com.au/Events/RMFF_Home/
As you have probably guessed I was one of the Judges. It was a priviledge to serve the Garlic Industry in this way, but it was also a very long day and it was a couple of days before I was able to consider eating garlic again! It is very encouraging though that so much beautiful garlic is being grown in Australia.