Nigel BardenOut of 10,000 food and drink entries into Great Taste 2014 the list of stars is now available and it reads with as much thrill and anticipation as a tasting menu from a Michelin-starred chef.
From north to south, east to west, farmer to brewer, baker to butcher – producers have delivered the most outstanding entries to expert judges who have blind-tasted their way through every kind of food and drink from humble beef dripping to rhubarb vodka.
An example of how a Great Taste Tasting Menu could be created, at home, in a deli, restaurant or pub, inspired by some of the stars of 2014 –
Hand sliced side of Smoked Salmon (Isle of Lewis, Scotland - Uig Lodge)
Organic Seaweed & Rock Salt Sourdough Torsade (London – Flour Power City)
Goats’ Butter (Yorkshire - St Helen’s Farm)
Free Range Gloucester Old Spot Pork Belly (Primrose Herd)
Gigot of Hogget from an upland farm (St Anne’s, Lockerbie – Annanwater)
Himalayan Salt Aged Rib Chop (Northern Ireland – Hannan Meats)
Caramelised Fig & Marsala Gelato (London – DiSotto Foods)
Italian Almond Biscuit (Yorkshire – Dough)
Blackcurrant with Juniper Dark Truffle (East Yorkshire - White Rabbit Chocolate Co.)
Ashridge Sparkling Vintage Cider (Devon - Ashridge Cider)
Bird & Wild Forest Grown Organic Coffee (Dorset – Beanpress Coffee Co.)
Now many producers will wait with baited breath to see if they are in with a chance of the top awards in each region which will be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Awards Dinner in London on September 8th.
Great Taste is simply about taste, not clever branding or smart packaging. Judges are presented with a spoonful of jam, a pie, a slice of salami, or a cup of espresso, with no wrappings, jars or marks – and they taste, confer and re-taste before making the decision on whether a product should be a Great Taste 1-, 2- or 3-star winner.
Judged by over 400 of the most demanding palates belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, Women’s Institute judges, 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. In the words of highly regarded restaurant and food critic Charles Campion, “Great Taste is the only food award worth having”.
When a product wears a Great Taste label it carries a badge of honour but more importantly, the Great Taste logo is a signpost to a wonderful tasting product. Hundreds of judges have worked hard to discover the very best food and drink through hours and hours of blind-tasting a total of 10,000 different products.
Of those 10,000 entries, only 153 have been awarded Great Taste 3-star. A panel of supremely talented judges including; Masterchef judge and restaurant critic Charles Champion, BBC Food Programme presenter Sheila Dillon, Great British Bake Off winner Frances Quinn, MasterChef 2013 Natalie Coleman, food buyers from Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Whole Food Markets, and chefs including James Golding, Chef Director of The Pig hotel group, have together re-judged and tasted yet again the 3-star winners to finally agree on the 2014 Top 50 Foods, the Golden Fork Trophy winners as well as the Great Taste Supreme Champion 2014.
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