We take pride in our creative flavours and integrity-driven processes and our kitchen team is at the heart of this innovation! Our patisserie engineer and superstar Hannah Clarke developed what is believed to be the world’s first gelato made from upcycled Tokatoka (gold) kumara.
Named after Tokatoka Peak near Dargaville, the gold kumara is the least known of the kumara varieties. It has a soft, smooth texture with a delicate, sweet taste.
The culinary innovation is part of a new initiative to reduce food waste by demonstrating the use of imperfect fruit and vegetables in artisan food products.
Clarke says while premium foods are not normally associated with produce diverted from landfills, the ingredients have a number of advantages – including making the product’s cost more accessible for consumers.
She says while they have previously utilised imperfect fruits in their gelato, this was the first time a root vegetable had been used and required extensive trials to determine whether it was feasible.
“Weather events are contributing to greater crop yield uncertainty and with climate change accelerating this process it’s becoming increasingly important that we learn to adapt and become more efficient with food production.”
“We work closely with producers to rescue as much cosmetically imperfect produce as possible before it reaches landfill.”
Clarke says they have been experimenting with the gold kumara and was fortunate enough to find a supplier who had hundreds of kilos available after recent weather events.
The gold kumara brûlée gelato has a distinctive caramelised flavour and the high carbohydrate levels of the root vegetable manifest in an almost custard-like consistency when used in the frozen desert.
Clarke says along with kumara she has been inspired to create a number of gelato flavours with other fruit and vegetables including avocados, bananas, grapefruit, rhubarb, blueberries, strawberries and other stoned fruit destined for landfill.
“We ended up with hundreds and hundreds of the most beautiful cherries, which were deemed ‘too dark’ for the export market, but they were just gorgeous. We needed to work with another Kiwi company to pit them all for us, but the gelato at the end was exquisite. It was wonderful that we were able to give money back to the farmer who grew such an incredible product.
“We are definitely on a journey with vegetables, up until now it hasn’t been something we’ve delved into much because we weren’t sure customers would go for it, but I’m hoping to bridge that gap.”