Judges have licked their way through the finalists of the annual National Ice Cream and Gelato Awards this week.
Chief judge Jackie Matthews told 1News that sorting through hundreds of entries was no small challenge at the 25th year of the awards.
"A lot of people think we've got the best job in the world and it's just: 'eat ice cream and it's yum and that's what wins', but there's actually a lot more to it and it is actually quite hard work."
Matthews said judges used a scoresheet with prompts like mouthfeel, iciness, sweetness, and acid-sugar ratio, among many characteristics.
Plant-based frozen desserts were in vogue this year, but adventurous new flavours were a spoonful for the judges with gin featuring in some flavours.
"There's some really interesting flavours," he said.
"We've seen Marmite with cheese and crackers on the side - and that was fantastic - some with kimchi, a lot of peanut products, teriyaki and pineapple was another one... some pear and blue cheese with actual chunks of blue cheese in it."
Award winners from the competition are expected to be announced in the spring.
New Zealand has around 50 commercial ice cream producers with exports to countries like Japan and China.