Weird and wonderful flavours galore at New Zealand Ice Cream Awards

Asparagus and cream cheese is not an unusual culinary combination - until you see it on the ice cream menu.

It's one of more than 300 entries - some of them completely wacky - in this year's ice cream awards.

You've got your tried and trues like chocolate and berry - then you've also got smoked garlic and white chocolate shavings gelato and even a korma curry.

There are 316 flavours in this year's New Zealand Ice Cream Awards and it's taken very seriously.

It's conducted using a double-blind testing system - judges don't know the brand nor the  flavour. Some are not so nice, but there's more to it than taste.

Key criteria are colour, uniformity and distribution of inclusions - which are bits or a ripple. Texture's important too, sometimes more so than flavour.

"A lot of it is the about the way the ice cream develops in your mouth, does it have a gritty texture," one judge says.

Competition is stiff as winning the gong leads to huge sales.

"Ice cream and dairy is one of the backbones of New Zealand's export industry and the average New Zealander eats about 23 litres of ice cream a year. We make the best world standard of ice cream in NZ," says chief judge Jackie Matthews.

World-class ice cream - no matter the flavour.