Posted: 07/09/2015

Nostalgia rules as Irish dripping earns Great Taste’s top title

Whelan beef dripping
James Whelan’s beef dripping was chosen as Supreme Champion from 10,000 Great Taste entries

Top honours in the world’s biggest fine food award scheme have returned to Ireland after an ultra-traditional beef dripping from James Whelan Butchers in Co Tipperary was named Great Taste Supreme Champion 2015.

The Harrods-sponsored trophy was presented last night (September 7) at the annual ‘Golden Forks’ dinner at London’s Royal Garden Hotel.

Whelan’s product, made with suet from grass-fed Angus and Hereford beef clarified into a clear, richly flavoured dripping, evoked a wave of nostalgia among the Great Taste final panel.

Describing the winner as “an old friend”, MasterChef judge and restaurant critic Charles Campion said: “I’ve never seen such an outrageous reaction to a simple product.”

James Golding, chef director of The Pig hotel group, was “taken back to my childhood”, while another judge dubbed the dripping “a distilled moment of the perfect beef roast”.

The win for James Whelan Butchers, based in Clonmel, gives the Republic its first Supreme Champion since Woodcock Smokery’s wild smoked salmon in 2006. But it follows victories for Northern Ireland in 2011 (McCartney’s of Moira’s corned beef) and 2012 (Hannan Meats’ guanciale), cementing the island of Ireland’s reputation for simple products based on exceptional primary ingredients.

Great Taste organiser John Farrand, MD of the Guild of Fine Food, said: “Great Taste recognises flavour above all else and James Whelan’s dripping is a perfect example of this, astonishing our panel of judges with its pure beefiness and savoury depth.

“It’s a quite humble product made exceptionally well by a master of butchery.”

Pat Whelan collects Great Taste trophy
Ireland’s Pat Whelan (second from right) is pictured collecting the 2015 Great Taste Supreme Champion trophy with (l-r) Guild of Fine Food MD John Farrand, Harrods food supremo Bruce Langlands and awards presenter Nigel Barden

Among the other major Golden Fork trophies announced on Monday evening, Berkshire craft brewer Savour Beer was named Artisan Producer of the Year for its Sparkling Beer Brut, an innovative twist on a classic Belgian Saison beer.

Chocolatier Åkesson´s of London was named Great Taste Producer of the Year after four of its single estate chocolates made it into the 2015 Great Taste Top 50 – the highest achieving products out of 10,000 award entries.

Ann-Marie Dyas, founder of The Fine Cheese Company, received this year’s Guild of Fine Food Lifetime Achievement Award, while Ludlow Food Centre was named Great Taste Shop of the Year.

The full list of Golden Fork winners can be found here, and all this year’s one-, two- and three-star winners can be found on the Great Taste website:

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