Congratulations to everyone who entered the third Fine Food Awards Fresh Garlic Competition. There were 40 entries in total and some really beautiful, high quality garlic. Many AGIA members were included amongst the medal winners. The winners are listed below, just click on Read more below right. There is also a report of how the judging took place and what the judges were looking for.
The picture shows judges Trevor Gray and George Biron, still smiling after tasting 40 different raw garlics
Tasmanian Gourmet Garlic, Dunganski, Tasmania
Mirboo Farm, Spanish Roja, Victoria
Mirboo Farm, Rojo de Castro, Victoria
Pokolbin Purple Rojo de Castro, New South Wales
Katamatite Garlic, Italian Purple, Green Temple, Victoria
High Country Purple, High Country Farm, Victoria
Ontos Farm, Ontos Purple, Victoria
Barrington River Organic Farm, Artichoke Garlic, NSW
Tasmanian Gourmet Garlic, Tasmanian Purple #41, Tasmania
Tasmanian Gourmet Garlic, Marbled Blush, Tasmania
Tasmanian Gourmet Garlic, Dunganski, Tasmania
Australian Garlic Producers, Australian Purple - Brown Cloves, Victoria
Rushnot Garlic, Purple Glamour, Victoria
Mirboo Farm, Foster Purple, Victoria
Australian Garlic Producers, Australian White - Red Cloves, Victoria
The garlic smith, Turban, NSW
Tasmanian Gourmet Garlic, Tasmanian Purple #40, Tasmania
Brymworth Farm, Flinders Island Purple, Tasmania
Angelica Organic Farm, Turban, Victoria
GoneGarlic! Turban, QLD
Taylor View Farm, Italian Purple, Taylor View Farm, Victoria
Australian Garlic Producers, Australian Purple - Purple Cloves, Victoria
Australian Garlic Producers, Australian White - White Cloves, Victoria
Australian Garlic Producers, Australian White - Pink Cloves, Victoria
Freshwater Creek Garlic, Italian Late, Victoria
Bawang Farm, Chapman Valley, WA
High Country Farm, High Country Whited, Victoria
Roy's Organic Garlic, Roy's purple softneck, New South Wales
Green Temple, Katamatite Australian White, Victoria
Just Aus Garlic, Just aus, Queensland
Each entry was judged on its own. So they were not ranked in comparison to any other garlic. We had four judges this year, two chefs and two garlic experts. 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 condition 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. They also did not know which were the organic entries and which were the conventionally farmed entries.
The judges started judging just after 9.00 am and finished just after 4.00pm. 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, clove 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. The judges divided into two teams of two for this part. If during this process disease of other problems were noted then another bulb was requested to see if the problem was more widespread. Where the Garlic Group was entered as unknown the judges tried to indicate what Group they thought the garlic belonged to.
They then came back to the full team and started testing the aroma and flavour of 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, assessed to allow flavour to develop and removed. The judges found that the most effective palette cleansers were blueberries, bread, and apple slices with plenty of water to wash out the mouth between tastings. Individual scores were recorded by each judge, but only one wrote down the more extensive agreed comments. This year we tried to convey the flavours and characteristics of the garlics we were tasting in the hope that this might help growers with their descriptions and marketing.
Once this procedure was completed for every entry we then stopped for lunch. After lunch the judges then went back to the beginning and starting with the first entry again, tasting the baked 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 and we again tried to convey the flavours and aromas of each sample. Most of us found that lemon sorbet was a better palette cleanser for the baked garlic.
At the end, the individual scores for each garlic were tallied by the RMFFA staff and it was only at this point that it became clear which garlics had won gold, silver and bronze medals. But the judges still didn’t know who the actual winners were because the garlic was still only identified by numbers. The Champion garlic was the garlic with the highest score across all categories. Judges had to wait until the results had been publicly released to know who had won medals and who had grown the champion garlic.
As always 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, along with Trevor Gray, George Biron and Sui Ling Hui. It was a privilege 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 all over Australia.