The world’s most coveted blind-tasted food awards, Great Taste, has just released the Great Taste stars of 2015 and several Food NI members are amongst the producers celebrating as its their goods are now able to proudly carry the little gold and black Great Taste logo.
Baronscourt Estate’s Wild Sika Venison French Rack seduced judges with its “iron richness” and perfectly “gamey” and “buttery texture”. They also won stars for Wild Sika Venison Loin and Wild Sika Venison Sausage
Dale Farm’s Fivemiletown Ballyoak,impressed with their “creamy and buttery” soft Irish smoked brie. There were 2 stars for Belfast Black Suki Tea. Suki also won stars for Nana Mint and a star for Belfast Brew, Chamomile, Fairtrade, Organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified Earl Grey Blue Flower, Earl Grey, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Red Berry and Breakfast Teas.
Glastry Farm Ice Cream won two stars for their Ling Heather Honey ice-cream. There were two stars also for En Place Food’s Black Garlic Mostarda and a star each for Chipotle Smoked Chilli Relish, Korean BBQ Sauce and Chorizo Picante Savoury Jam with Oloroso Sherry. Dale Farm took two stars each for their Boilie Goats Cheese Barrel and Spelga 0% Fat Greek Frozen Yogurt Mixed Berries and a star for Whipping Cream, Loseley Butter, Loseley19 Extra Mature Cheddar, Loseley19 Mature Cheddar Loseley R&C Yogurt Plain 150g and Spelga Greek Style Yogurt with Honey. Yellow Door’s Christmas Pudding took two stars as did Hillstown Brewery for their Goats Butt Wheat and Rye Hybrid Beer and Ann’s Pantry for their Guinness Oven Wheaten and a star for their Oatmeal Biscuit, Custard Tart, Spelt Brown Soda Spelt Potato bread with black pudding, Spelt Madeira and All Butter Shortbread. There were also 2 star awards for La Coquine Masala Chai and Salted Caramel, Salted Chilli Caramel and Safari Joe chocolates, Morelli’s Rhubarb & Custard, Espresso coffee and Caramelised Hazelnut Ice Cream and SD Bell’s Natural Leaf and “Directors’ Brew” Teas and Colombian Supremo Coffee Beans.
Long Meadow Cider from Portadown won one star each for their Medium and Sweet varieties. There were also 1 star awards for Quails 28 Day salt dry aged fillet steak and Homemade Pastrami, Hillstown’s 35 Day Dry Aged Shorthorn Rib Eye Steak and Steak and Stout Pie, Northbound Brewery’s 8, Kolsch Styled Beer, Abernethy Seaweed Butter, AJ Pure Apple Juice, Keen Nutrition, Almond Crunchy Maple Nut Butter, En Place Apricot “Pairology” Extra Fruit Jam, Irwin’s Barm Brack and Potato Bread, Whitewater Belfast Ale and Belfast Lager, Rich Sauces Garlic Mayonnaise, Bison Bar BBQ Mustard Sauce and Rib and Wing Sauce. Brambleberry Jams won with a Sea Salted Caramel Sauce and the Krazi Baker took a star for his Shortbread biscuits.
Broighter Gold took a star each for their Rapeseed Oil, their Black Truffle & Porcini and Garlic and Lemon infused flavours. Hilden Brewey won a star for Buck’s Head, Hilden Halt and Headless Dog.
Kennedy Bacon now have a 1 star sticker for their Dry Cured Back Bacon as do Clandeboye for their Greek Style Yoghurt and Madagascan Vanilla Greek Style Yoghurt and Gracehill Fine Foods for their White Pudding. Miss McKeown has a star for Heritage Breakfast tea and Mint Humbug. Tamnagh Food’s Kilcreen cheese, Passion Preserved’s Spiced Damson Jelly, Thompson’s Decaffeinated Tea Bags, Thompson’s Perfect Pyramids, Thompson’s Punjana Original, Keenan Seafood’s Traditional Natural Oak Smoked Cod Loin, White’s Hazelnut, Almond & Honey Granola and Speedicook Porridge Oats and Kilmegan’s Wild Elderflower and Real Ciders. Mash Direct did well with Carrot and Parsnip and Carrot, Parsnip and Turnip mashes.
CEO of Food NI, Michele Shirlow said “Our producers just keep getting better and better. The range of foods and drinks that our members are producing is far more diverse than ever before. We have always had great raw ingredients but there is a growing number of artisans who are really pushing boundaries. This is a huge achievement for Northern Ireland food and drink and it’s something we will be able to build on for next year which has been designated the Year of Food. We are so proud of all of their success.”
Judged by over 400 of the most demanding palates belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs, producers and a host of food writers and journalists, Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers.
Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste values taste above all else, with branding and packaging ignored. Whether it is cheese, ale, steak or chutney being judged, all products are removed from their wrapper, jar or bottle before being tasted. The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1-, 2- or 3-star award.
There were 10,000 Great Taste entries this year and of those products, 130 have been awarded a 3-star, 597 received a 2-star and 2,382 were awarded a 1-star accolade. The panel of judges included Masterchef judge and restaurant critic Charles Campion, TV presenter and cook, Aggie Mackenzie, Great British Bake Off winner, Frances Quinn, Masterchef the Professionals finalist, food buyers from Harrods, Selfridges, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer, and chefs, who have together tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners to finally agree on the 2015 Top 50 Foods, the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the new 2015 Supreme Champion.
Finally on Monday 7 September, at an Awards’ Dinner at the Royal Garden Hotel, London, the great and the good from the world of fine food will gather to hear who has won the Golden Fork Awards and the final applause will be reserved for the Great Taste Supreme Champion 2015.