While New Zealanders have been enjoying a relaxing summer, in the kitchens of some of New Zealand’s best restaurants the country’s top chefs have been slaving away to create what they hope will be the world’s first award-winning deer milk ice cream.

The Pāmu & Cuisine Deer Milk Ice Cream Competition launched this month when some of New Zealand’s best restaurants were invited to create an innovative ice cream dish made out of deer milk produced in a small farm in Gore.

Twenty-six chefs across Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown, have submitted their entries for the competition, with dishes varying from deer milk sorbets with smoked manuka honey chocolate to crunchy caneles with deer milk custard and ice cream.

Pāmu’s Deer Milk business lead, Hamish Glendinning, who has been reviewing entries from the likes of The Sugar Club, Cocoro and Paris Butter, said the rules of the competition were simple.

“The chefs were asked to make a dish which featured ice cream made from our award winning Pāmu deer milk. The rest was left entirely up to them.

“Now the hard work for the chefs is over and the difficult part for the judges begins. Three experts have the enviable task of tasting each dish and crowning the winner of New Zealand’s inaugural deer milk ice cream competition.”

The chefs’ ice cream creations are in good hands, with the official judging panel made up of New Zealand food royalty.

Geoff Scott, executive chef and former chef at Vinnies, is touring the country to shortlist three final dishes which will be put to the test by Kelli Brett of Cuisine Magazine and Godfather of ice cream, Giapo, at a finale event in March.

Scott says deciding on finalists will not be an easy task with the high calibre of entries he’s seen.

“The level of originality and thought that has gone into the creation of the deer milk ice cream desserts is really high.

“Deer milk is a very smooth and silky ingredient, so it’s ideal for desserts like ice cream, and we’re looking forward to seeing the creativity that has gone into each dish.”

The competition winner will be announced on 16 March and have the opportunity to collaborate with Giapo at his legendary Auckland ice cream shop.

Pāmu Deer Milk has won several awards including a New Zealand Food Award and a Fieldays Innovation award, and is sold to chefs in New Zealand, Australia and selected Asian markets.

Participating restaurants where people can taste a deer milk ice cream dish for themselves:


  • Cocoro
  • Ostro
  • The Grove Restaurant
  • SO Auckland
  • The Sugar Club
  • Lillius
  • Cassia
  • Sid at The French Cafe
  • ParisButter
  • Giraffe


  • One80 (Copthorne)
  • Charley Noble
  • Artisan
  • Jano Bistro
  • Hippo QT
  • Field and Green
  • Chameleon
  • Noble Rot
  • Portlander
  • Atlas


  • Botswana
  • The Rees
  • No 5 Church Lane
  • Millhouse

Editor’s note:

Pāmu is the brand name for Landcorp, a Stated Owned Enterprise, and one of New Zealand’s most innovative farmers and food businesses. It is also the name given to the quality products created by the company. Pāmu is the Māori word ‘to farm’ and reflects the deep connection New Zealanders have with the land, born from respect, and a genuine desire to protect and enhance the environments in which the company works. It’s a proud provenance that stands behind every product bearing the Pāmu name.

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