Following 75 days of judging and a record breaking 12,772 entries, the results of the world’s most coveted food and drink awards, Great Taste, have been released, with producers from 50 different countries now celebrating. Having received entries from 104 nations this year, including 27 member countries of the EU, this global recognition of the Great Taste accreditation highlights Britain’s leading position in speciality food and drink worldwide, as uncertainty surrounding the UK’s future trade relationships continues.
With international entries increasing year-on-year, all blind-tasted alongside products from the UK, the consistent success of British producers pays testament to the exceptional quality of the nation’s food and drink. Every corner of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is represented among this year’s stars, as artisan makers continue to shine through.
Great Taste 3-star winners from the UK include; St Andrews Farmhouse Cheddar, a buttery 9-12 month matured unpasteurised cows’ milk cheese by St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company in Fife; a “smooth, perfectly balanced and umami rich” Black Garlic Miso, which is produced by Craic Foods Limited in Armagh; the “clean, sophisticated and easy drinking” 4.5% ABV Keeved Bottle-Conditioned Cider, produced by Seidr y Mynydd in Cardiff; and a handmade single variety Blaisdon Red Plum Jam produced by Gloucester-based Artisan Kitchen, which uses rare, heritage, Gloucester-sourced Blaisdon Red Plums from ancient, private orchards to create a “dark and velvety” jam, which “wraps around the tongue like a blanket” and is “like eating a plum right off the tree”.
Great Taste 3-star winners from around the world feature; a “light, clean and complex” Organic Thyme Honey produced by THE FAMILY BEEZ from Serifos Island, Greece, reminiscent of “parched Greek countryside with hints of drying thyme and warmth”; Matsesta Tea Factory’s “wonderfully complex” Premium Black Organic Matsesta Tea, which is grown and hand-harvested in Sochi, delivering a “natural sweetness with hints of malt and chocolate”; and the super-satiating, nutrient and mineral rich, Mount Mayon Premium Pili Nuts Kerala Coconut Curry from Hong Kong-based The Passionate Food Company, using a “well-balanced blend of flavours” to achieve a product that is “rich, creamy and aromatic with an original flavour”.
While these producers revel in their success and begin displaying the unmistakable gold and black Great Taste logo, with 1-, 2- or 3- stars, on their award-winning products, they will wait with much anticipation to see if they also scoop the top awards for their region. These final honours, including the Great Taste 2019 Supreme Champion, will be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner on Sunday 1 September, to be held at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel, London.
Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, values taste above all else, with no regard for branding or packaging. Whether it is honey, kombucha, coffee or bread being judged, all products are removed from their packaging 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.
The panel of judges this year included; cook, writer and champion of sustainable food, Melissa Hemsley, Kenny Tutt, MasterChef 2018 champion, author, Olia Hercules, chef and food writer, Gill Meller, Kavi Thakar from Dishoom, food writer and stylist, Georgina Hayden and author and chef, Zoe Adjonyoh, as well as food buyers from Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Sourced Market and Partridges. These esteemed palates have together tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners to finally agree on the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the Great Taste 2019 Supreme Champion.
Details of this year’s winners can be found at www.greattasteawards.co.uk and a wide range of award winning products are available to buy in delis, farm shops and independent retail outlets across the country.
Facts and figures about Great Taste 2019:
Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers
A record breaking 12,772 different products were entered in 2019
Entries were sent in from 104 different countries, including Australia, Brazil, Botswana, China, Indonesia, Russia and the USA, as well as 27 member countries of the EU
Over 500 of the most demanding palates, belonging to food critics, chefs, restaurateurs, retail buyers, cooks, producers and a host of food writers, journalists and social media influencers, blind tasted each product over 75 days
Judging took place at the following locations:
Guild HQ in Gillingham, Dorset, as well several other Dorset venues
The Guild of Fine Food’s London home, No. 42 Southwark Street, SE1
3,409 awarded 1-star
1,326 awarded 2-star
208 awarded 3-star
As the judges searched for the stars of 2019, waste was kept to a minimum, with unused products being donated to local food banks and hampers made up of excess products for local businesses to raffle in aid of charities. No plastic plates or cutlery were used during the judging rounds, reducing plastic waste by almost 100%. The Guild of Fine Food also donates surplus computer equipment, used to record the judges’ comments, to community-based projects across the UK, which are then refurbished and used to facilitate after school clubs and many other initiatives designed to support underprivileged families.