A spreadable mixed-milk cheese from Greece has taken the title of Supreme Champion at this year’s Great Taste – crowned as the best of all the 14,195 products entered into the accreditation scheme in 2023.
Roussas Dairy’s Galotyri PDO cheese was announced as the winner at Battersea Arts Centre, which played host to the Golden Forks ceremony – the culmination of a months-long judging process organised by the Guild of Fine Food.
The pasteurised sheep and goats’ milk cheese is made in Attica by a family business which has been producing premium feta and other traditional dairy products since the 1950s.
Among the other Golden Fork winning products announced were Belazu Ingredient Company’s Sour Cherry Molasses, Confit Duck Legs from Irish supplier Silver Hill and a Pistachio Ice Cream made by Mauds in Northern Ireland.
All the Golden Forks were selected from a pool of 248 food & drink items that had already won the top 3-star Great Taste award. After the main judging process, which spanned 89 judging days from March to June, the 3-stars were all re-judged to determine who would win the trophies.
The Galotyri was described by Great Taste judge and Whole Foods Market buyer Louise Allen as “beautifully light and creamy”, and praised by celebrity chef Ravneet Gill for its versatility.
She said: “I would love this in my fridge. You could serve it in so many ways – gorgeous.”
Upon winning the award, Supreme Champion Alexandros Botos, Galotyri chairman and CEO said: “We’re very happy. The award goes to the farmers who produce the milk. They work very hard in an economic environment which is not the best. They’ve suffered a lot in the past several years. This award belongs to them.”
“This award will give us the opportunity to open the doors for this product to become well known. This is the first for a small product like this that is made at a very small scale.
“To become more well known will mean that we can keep these farmers, who move from the valleys to the mountains every summer time. It helps keep the environment they work in sustainable, we’re keeping them, their herds and their communities there. It’s very precious for the country life to let them be financially viable and independent, to earn a living on the mountain preserving this long tradition.”
Meanwhile, the Guild of Fine Food managing director John Farrand said: “It’s no wonder this delightful soft cheese from Roussas Dairy has taken the top spot in this year’s Great Taste. It was a real conversation starter in the judging room, complimented for its delicate yet zingy taste, beautiful appearance and ‘utter moreishness’. Each year we see cheese, meats, and fish doing very well in Great Taste, and this year is no exception.
He said it was unsurprising to see a “simple, but well-made product” crowned Supreme Champion.
“Every year is different, palates change, flavour fashions evolve, and new products and trends do well, but quality will always shine through. It is such an honour to award Roussas Dairy this accolade and to recognise all the other outstanding producers that have won stars across the globe this year.”
Also announced at this evening’s ceremony, another nine producers were awarded coveted Golden Forks, as follows:
- Great Taste Golden Fork for England: Belazu Ingredient Company for Sour Cherry Molasses
- Great Taste Golden Fork for Wales: Hive Mind Mead & Brew Co. for Wye Valley Mead Traditional Mead
- Great Taste Golden Fork for Scotland: Loch Fyne Oysters for Loch Fyne Kinglas Fillet
- Great Taste Golden Fork for Northern Ireland: Mauds Ice Creams for Pistachio Ice Cream
- Great Taste Golden Fork for Ireland: Silver Hill Duck for Confit Duck Legs
- Great Taste Golden Fork for Spain: Fino for Dark PX Balsamic Vinegar
- Great Taste Golden Fork for Italy: Caseificio Il Fiorino for Cacio di Afrodite
- Great Taste Golden Fork for the Rest of Europe: Bagoila for Cold Pressed Pumpkin Seed Oil
- Great Taste Golden Fork for the Rest of the World: DoYouBo for Naturally Brewed Brown Soybean Soy Sauce
- Great Taste Startisan of the Year: La Maritxu for La Maritxu Basque Cheesecake
Finally, the Nigel Barden Heritage Award went to The Newt in Somerset for its Ice Cyder and food author Silvija Davidson was given the title of Guild of Fine Food Contribution to Food & Drink.
Celebrating its 30th year, Great Taste 2023 saw 4,088 entries granted a 1-star, 1,568 a 2-star, and 248 – less than 2% – were given a 3-star accreditation.
This year also marked the launch of the Guild of Fine Food’s bursary programme, which saw 50 micro producers given the opportunity to enter Great Taste free of charge. Among them, 21 won an award, and two – Karobi’s Ghee and Antur Brew Co. – were awarded the coveted 3-star award for their items.
The Golden Forks reception was the final event in the Great Taste calendar for 2023, but you can keep up to date via the Guild of Fine Food’s social media channels and website.
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