Our fabulous food companies rack up major taste awards in Great Britain

Congratulations Mauds Ice Cream in Carrickfergus on winning a well-deserved Regional Fork for Northern Ireland in this year’s highly competitive UK Great Taste Awards for its delicious Pistachio Ice Cream flavour. The prestigious award was presented at a gala showcase in London on Monday night attended by many of the UK artisan food industry’s leaders.

It really is one of the highlights of the year to see our artisan and smaller food and drink companies being recognised in such an important international challenge. It’s an event which, justifiably, attracts high-level publicity from the influential Guild of Fine Foods, the organisers, in a host of glossy publications.

Great Taste is the largest and most trusted accreditation for food and drink producers in the world and now attracts entries from across the globe. It supports, promotes and mentors the people crafting fantastic food and drinks in businesses large and small – much like Food NI’s role in Northern Ireland.

The Guild has been immensely supportive of our food and drink over very many years. In Food NI, we appreciate greatly the Guild’s ongoing support and are very keen to continue to develop our relationships with this highly influential organisation.

It is an objective of Food NI to support our companies by raising the level of awareness in Britain, our most important marketplace, by coverage for our members and their products in key magazines there. It’s vitally important that retailers, including delis and farm shops, in Britain are aware of our produce and consumers have as many opportunities as possible to sample and purchase these.

It was good, then, to hear that one of our members, Whoosh in Coleraine, is now selling its tasty noodles to Selfridges and that another member, Ke Nako Biltong in Ballyclare, won the Best from Northern Ireland in this week’s World Charcuterie Awards.

Great Taste’s mission is “to discover the best food and drink, not just in the UK but across the entire globe”. It’s essential that our food and drink are an integral part of this important process. Upwards of 500 judges were involved in assessing 14,195 food and drink entries. Some six local products reached the final stages, including entries from our members Hannan Meats, Morelli Ice Cream, Baronscourt Estate, Whitewater Brewery, Hinch and Ballyboley Dexters.

It was also tremendously encouraging to see Tandragee’s Jackson Roze non- alcoholic ginger wine, another Food NI member, listed among the top four contenders for New Product of the Year at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair in London.

Our members were also in great form at this year’s Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards in Dublin. Milgro Onions crispy onions original flavour took the gold slot; Morelli’s Ice Cream won two gold awards for their Simply Better Dunnes Stores’ Irish made butterscotch ice cream and Irish made caramelized hazelnut ice cream. Their Dunnes Stores Simply Better Irish made mixed berry ice cream took a bronze prize.

In ready meals, Karri Kitchen mango chicken curry was awarded gold. Karro Foods’ deluxe pork fillet medallions with a creamy apple cider sauce for Lidl won a bronze award. Carol’s Stock Market’s free range chicken broth and slow cooked beef bone broth – both for Dunnes Simply Better range – won silver awards. Jackson Roze extra strength non-alcoholic ginger wine won a silver as did Moocha Kombucha for organic elderflower and lemon kombucha. White’s Speedicook Oats organic oats for Aldi won a bronze prize as did Clandeboye Yoghurt’s Madagascan vanilla for Aldi. In Drinks, McCracken’s Premium Pilsner won bronze.

We congratulate all our winning members and everyone who entered and who keeps the quality of our food and drink to such a high standard.