THE Northern Rivers has been recognised for its excellence in producing some of life’s little luxuries – coffee and chocolate, and often a mouth-watering combination of the two.
Judges at last weekend’s Royal Hobart Fine Foods Awards reckoned four chocolate-coated coffee bean products from Byron Bay Coffee Company were worth gold medals.
The four winners included dark and milk chocolate and the tempting grand marnier and Irish cream chocolate coatings.
The judges also awarded top gongs to its dark chocolate-coated macadamia nut and chilli-cinnamon drinking chocolate – based on a recipe concocted by one of the company’s owners, Annie Ivancich.
As well as this, the Newrybar firm’s coffee blends picked up silvers for its Utopia and Nero blends in the short black espresso and its Nero in the cappuccino class.
The espresso awards were particularly pleasing, Ms Ivancich said, ‘because this is where the purity of the coffee is really tested’.
Byron Bay Coffee Company also won silver for its gourmet drinking chocolate and for its milk chocolate-coated macadamia nuts – sourced, of course, from a local grower.
Its exotic espresso and Utopia blends picked up bronzes in the cappuccino class.
The award tally of 13 swells an already lengthy list, taking the total to 73 since 1999.
That makes it the most awarded coffee company in Australia, said Ms Ivancich, who runs the company with her husband, Franco.
“We are incredibly proud, and the staff are so excited,” Ms Ivancich said.
“It’s a wonderful thing when you work hard and get an accolade like this.”
Four coffee growers in the region also picked up awards.
A silver went to Dunoon’s Hills of Byron in the ‘plunger single origin’ category.
A bronze went to Red Door Coffee of Fernleigh for its ‘whole bean in the plunger’.
Other bronzes went to Green Cauldron for its Federal Estate espresso blend in the ‘espresso short black’ and to Kahawa Estate Coffee in the ‘cappuccino’ class.
In the nuts and nut products category, Brookfarm collected a silver for its 7 Mile Beach Walkabout Mix and a bronze for its Mt Bogong Walkabout Mix.
Brookfarm also took the gold for its Mueslikrunch.