Invest NI gets behind Great Taste judging in Northern Ireland
Belfast is to host three days of Great Taste judging in June, after another rise in entries from Northern Ireland this year and an unprecedented two Supreme Champions in the space of three years.
Invest Northern Ireland is supporting the initiative by the Guild of Fine Food, which has received 716 Great Taste entries from 125 NI producers this year – a 14% increase on 2013.
Senior food buyers from stores including Harrods and Paxton & Whitfield will be judging at Belfast’s Stormont Hotel, June 3-5, alongside influential food writers and critics including MasterChef’s Charles Campion and Huffington Post blogger Rebecca Williams.
Invest NI also hopes to organise a short ‘food tour’ for VIP buyers and journalists.
Northern Ireland has seen a mini-boom in artisan food production in recent years, given more impetus by Great Taste Supreme Champion titles for McCartney’s of Moira in 2011 and Hannan Meats in 2012.
This year’s Irish judging sessions follow last year’s successful staging of several days’ judging at Dublin’s Bewley Hotel in April (pictured).
In January, the Guild announced a 10,000 cap on entries to the Great Taste scheme, after numbers rose 25% to 9,700 last year. Guild MD John Farrand said: “We hit this year’s 10,000 limit at 9.30pm on March 21 – two-and-a-half hours before the midnight deadline.”