A Brisbane gelato shop has beaten out a crowded field to win big at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards.

Hamilton’s Milani House of Gelato won the event’s ultimate prize, the 2017 Grand Champion Dairy Product, for its smooth and creamy dark chocolate gelato.

A panel of 24 expert judges tasted their way through hundreds of gold medal-winning dairy foods — including cheese, ice cream, milk, butter, cream, yoghurt, dips and gelato — to arrive at the winner, assessing flavour, aroma, texture, body and appearance.

As well as winning the grand prize, Milani House of Gelato also won the gong for Australia’s Best Gelato.

The Australian Grand Dairy Awards are now in their 18th year. Convenor Amanda Menegazzo says the awards are the highest accolades that can be bestowed on Australian dairy producers.

“These Awards are the grand final of dairy competitions in Australia, recognising the talented Australian farmers and producers who bring such high quality dairy foods to our fridges,” she says.

“The quality and variety represented by our 2017 champions marks a really exciting time for the industry and dairy lovers. It’s really pleasing to see some of the country’s well known and loved supermarket brands alongside new-to-the-market, artisan dairy products. We encourage Australians to look out for the blue and gold Champion and Grand Champion medals on pack and show their support for these talented Australian producers.”

This is just the latest honour for Milani House of Gelato, which scooped the pool at the Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show last year, winning five of the six gongs on offer for ice creams, gelatos and sorbets (including the coveted Grand Champion Ice Cream, Gelato or Sorbet of Show award).

Owner Yue Lin has been in the hospitality industry for two decades, but it was a trip to Italy in 2004 that set him on the path to gelato greatness.

He fell in love with gelato overseas, and undertook a gelato training course in Sydney when he got back to Australia. He then learned how to make gelato directly from the masters of the craft at the University of Bologna, and eventually bought the Hamilton gelateria in 2014.

Mr Lin hand-makes his gelato every morning, and says it stands out from the pack because of its freshness and natural ingredients.

“All natural ingredients, nothing artificial, fresh milk, fresh fruit and made fresh daily,” he says.

So, as you wait for the much-anticipated Gelato Messina to open in South Bank, remember — Australia’s best gelato is already in Brisbane, and you can have it right now.

Milani House of Gelato is located at 53 Racecourse Road, Hamilton. It’s open from 3pm to 10pm Tuesday to Friday, midday to 10pm Saturday to Sunday, and closed on Mondays.

For the full list of 2017 Australian Grand Dairy Award winners, visit legendairy.com.au.