Following more than 60 days of judging, the results of the Great Taste awards have just been released, with scores of Food NI members now celebrating.
Great Taste 3-star winners include a trio of classic products with a twist; Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative Society’s lightly brined and hot-smoked Smoked Lough Neagh Eel, which has a “perfect luscious texture, creamy flavour and sweetness”; a “salty, wonderful and magnificent” Sweet Cured Bacon Rack from Hannan Meats, with “sweet fat and skin that melts in the mouth, and a perfect cure”; and Tempted Cider Company’s Tempted Irish Cider Elderflower, a light and fruity medium sweet “proper cider, with a “good balance” of distinct elderflower notes.
There were also 3 stars for Echlinville Estate’s Single Estate Pot Still Gin, Erin Grove’s Blackcurrant Preserve, Baronscourt Estate’s Wild Sika Venison Loin, Ispini Charcuterie’s Rosemary and Thyme Bresaola and Hannan Meat’s Glenarm Salt-Aged Lamp Rump.
In the two star category, Kennedy Bacon impressed with their Dry Cured Gammon Steak, Deli Lites’ Seeded Ginger Cake Traybake, Thompson’s Decaffeinated Tea, Tyndale Goat Kid’s Shoulder and Tenderloin, Burren Balsamic’s Blackberry and Thyme Infused Vinegar, Yellow Door’s Potato Bread, Kettyle Irish Foods’ Malt Pitt Beef Ribs, Hop Fed Bishop’s Cape Steak and Hop Fed King Arthur Rib of Beef.
There were also 2 stars for En Place Foods’ Apple and Elderflower and Blackberry and Hawthorn Ice Cream, Morelli’s Pistachio Supreme and Caramelised Hazelnut Ice Cream, Carnbrooke’s Salt-Aged Ribeye, Quail’s Himalayan Salt-Aged Cote de Boeuf and Rack of Lamb, Knott’s Bakery Rich Fruit Cake, Abernethy Butter Fudge, Buchanan’s Dry-Aged Gammon, SD Bell’s Lady Londonderry Tea, Yahi’s House Granola, Mourne Mountains’ Mourne Mist Pilsner, East Coast IPA and Big Rock Wheat Beer, Baronscourt Estate’s Wild Sika Venison Burger and Venison French Rack, Suki Tea’s Rooibos Vanilla, Ispini Charcuterie’s Pimenton de la Vera Chorizo, Hannan Meats’ Mighty Marbled Cote de Boeuf Steak and Rib Cap, Corndale Farm’s Fennel Salami and Dale Farm’s Fivemiletown Boilie Goats Cheese Barrel 70g.
The number of one star awards would fill a galaxy. They include La Coquine’s Fino de Aroma 70 per cent Chocolate, Holmes Bakery Ultimate Christmas Pudding, Shortcross Gin, McKee’s Farm Shop Steak and Onion Pie, Thompson’s Luxury Everyday Loose and Turkish Apple Amazing Teas, Kennedy’s Dry-Cured Middle Cut Bacon, William Baird’s Traditionally-Cured Middle Bacon, The Heatherlea’s Moist Fruit Malt and Traditional Boiled Fruit Cake, Burren Balsamic’s Strawberry and Mint White Wine. Armagh Bramley Apple and Christmas Balsamic Vinegars, Kilmegan “Real” Cider, Yellow Door’s Pancakes, Rye Bread, Mini Carrot Cake and Passionfruit Gateaux, Cauliflower and Cheese Quiche and Short Rib Pie, Tempted Irish Cider Medium Dry, Glenballyeamon Eggs, Genesis Crafty’s Maple Pancakes, Toaster Wheaten and Sliced Oven Wheaten, Kettyle Irish Foods’ Salt Moss-Aged Dirty Steak and Dirty Beef Steak, Super-Aged Yearling Mowhawk Steak, Salt-Aged Ribeye Steak and Dinby Boozy Brat bratwurst sausage.
En Place won a star each for their Elderberry and Rhubarb Vinegars. There were also stars for Thompson’s Punjana Tea, Mash Direct’s Potato Rosti Cake, McKee’s Farm Shop Dry-Aged Sirloin, Morelli’s “Artisan Range” Double Cream Vanilla Ice-Cream, Carnbrooke Salt-Aged Sirloin, Glastry Farm’s Yellowman Ice-Cream, Quails’ Home Made Beef Dripping, Home Made Honey Roast Ham and Himalayan Salt-Aged Leg of Lamb. Deli Muru’s Sugar Spice Snaps biscuits won a star as did Ann’s Pantry’s Irish Fruit Loaf and Spelt Potato Bread with Black Pudding, Springmount Farm Free Range Eggs, Knotts’ Bakery Flakemeal Biscuits, Abernethy Butter, Dulse and Seasalt Butter and Unsalted Butter, Ann’s Pantry’s Oatmeal Cookie, Erin Grove’s Irish Whiskey Marmalade, Clement’s Free-Range and Farm Fresh Eggs, Buchanan’s Free-Range Bronze Turkey, Extra-Mature Rib-Eye Steak and Dry Cured Bacon, Rich Sauces’ Alfee’s Chipotle BBQ Sauce, Country Range Honey and Mustard Dressing and Beef Bouillon, White’s Jumbo Porridge, Speedicook Oats, Toat’ly Oatly Apple and Cinnamon and Apple, Cranberry and Raspberry Granola, Blackthorn Food’s Madagascan Vanilla Fudge, Cavanagh Free-Range Eggs, Amber Catering’s Guinness and Treacle Wheaten Bread, Jawbox Gin, SD Bell’s Colombian Water-process Decaffeinated Medium Roast Coffee, Greenwell Farms Hawaiian Kona Coffee, Old Java City Roast, Lapsang Souchong Tea and 1st Flush Darjeeling, Yahi House Pesto, Irwin’s Bakery Artisan Hearth Corn Bread, Red Dog Artisan Foods’ Chipotle-infused Flake Sea Salt, Hercules Brewing Yardsman Belfast Pale Ale, Baronscourt Estate Wild Sika Venison Sausage, Suki Tea’s Pink Grapefruit, White Tea Pear, Turkish Delight and Lemongrass and Ginger Pyramids.
There were more stars for Hannan Meats for Mighty Marbled Wing Rib Sirloin Steak, Glenarm Salt Aged Lamb Rack, Moyallon Air Dried Back Bacon, Moyallon Air Dried Streaky Bacon and Moyallon Air Dried Pancetta.
Also in the one-star category were Northbound Brewery’s 26 Pale Ale, L’Artisan Foods Berry Natas, Carol’s Stock Market Beef Stock, Dale Farm’s Fivemiletown Ballyoak, Dromona Extra Mature Cheddar, Dromona Foil Wrapped Salted Butter, Rowan Glen Salted Butter and Loseley Rich and Creamy Yoghurt Blackberry and Apple. Squeeze Wheatgrass took the final Food NI star for their Ready to Drink Wheatgrass Shot with Orange and Lemon Juice.
“Out of 180 winning products, 143 were from Food NI members, which is an outstanding achievement” says Michele Shirlow
“Every week there are new contracts and new accolades for our members. Our strategy now is to spread the word even further with our Taste the Greatness campaign. Our products speak for themselves. Once tasted, often craved.”
There were 12,366 Great Taste entries this year and of those products, 165 have been awarded a 3-star, 1,011 received a 2-star and 3,171 were awarded a 1-star accolade. The panel of judges included; chef, food writer and author, Gill Meller, MasterChef judge and restaurant critic, Charles Campion, author and chef, Zoe Adjonyoh, baker, Tom Herbert, and food writer and baking columnist Martha Collison as well as food buyers from Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, and Harvey Nichols.
The top awards for each region including the Great Taste 2017 Supreme Champion, will be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Awards Dinner on Monday 4 September, to be held at the Intercontinental Park Lane Hotel, London.