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Rich pickings for the South East in Great Taste 2016, with a healthy helping of fruity flavours

28/07/2016 Download PDF Download Plain Text

Following months of judging, the results of the world’s most coveted blind-tasted food awards, Great Taste, have just been released, with many producers in the South East now able to celebrate. Out of the 10,000 products to be judged, 3,539 were awarded a highly prized Great Taste accolade and a remarkable 511 are based in the South East, including 3-star award-winning; Coconut Merchant’s “moreish” Coconut Jam, with “treacly and date-like qualities” and a “screamingly fresh coconut hit”, the “refreshingly drinkable, lightly cloudy yet clean” Cheerfull Gold apple juice from Owlet Fruit Juice and Stratta’s Sweet Raspberry Vinegar, which judges described as “smooth and jammy – a fun vinegar!”


While these producers revel in their success and begin displaying the unmistakable gold and black Great Taste logo with 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 awards will be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Awards Dinner at The Royal Garden Hotel in London on Monday 5 September.


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 jam, gin, beef or butter being judged, all products are removed from their wrapper, jar or bottle 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.


Judged by over 500 of the most demanding palates, belonging to food critics, chefs, restaurateurs, cooks, 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”.


The panel of judges, including; TV chef and author, Valentine Warner, MasterChef judge and restaurant critic, Charles Campion, fifth generation baker, Tom Herbert from Hobbs House Bakery, food buyers from Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Waitrose, James Golding, chef director of THE PIG Hotels, and Kevin Gratton, chef director of HIX Restaurants, have together re-judged the 3-star winners to agree on the Top 50 Foods, the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the Great Taste Supreme Champion for 2016.


Regular Great Taste judge and MasterChef the Professionals finalist, Adam Handling, hosted the judges at his brand new restaurant, The Frog in Shoreditch, after the final round of judging, to enjoy a menu made up of some of the Great Taste 3-star award-winning products of 2016.


As these judges searched for the stars of 2016, waste was kept to a minimum, with unused products being donated to local food banks and hampers made up for local businesses to raffle in aid of local charities. 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.


Details of this year’s winners can be found at www.greattasteawards.co.uk and a select range of products will also be made available via Taste Distribution (www.tastedistribution.co.uk), which has been established exclusively to distribute Great Taste award-winning products to independent retailers.

Facts and figures about Great Taste 2016: 10,000 different products entered in 2016 and judged by more than 500 palates. Judging took place across the UK and Ireland, including many sessions at the Guild HQ in Gillingham, Dorset, as well as several other Dorset venues. This year’s Great Taste Roadshows saw Great Taste judged at Fulham Palace in London, Hotel Minella in Clonmel, Tipperary and Belfast Metropolitan College’s Titanic Quarter Campus. 2,520 awarded 1-star 878 awarded 2-star 141 awarded 3-star   The next stage involves; the Top 50 Foods being announced on Saturday 6 August on Twitter @guildoffinefood #Top50Foods. Then the final announcement of the winner of Great Taste Supreme Champion 2016, sponsored by Harrods, and the regional Golden Fork Awards will be made at The Royal Garden Hotel in London on Monday 5 September.   A full list of all regional winners is available from amy@freshlygroundpr.co.uk.   Images are available to view in the press room on the Guild of Fine Food website and high resolution images are available from amy@freshlygroundpr.co.uk.   For further information, please contact any of the following:  Amy Brice at Freshly Ground PR on +44 (0) 7717 893123 or at amy@freshlygroundpr.co.uk. Tortie Farrand at the Guild of Fine Food on +44 (0) 1747 825200 or at tortie.farrand@gff.co.uk. www.gff.co.uk www.greattasteawards.co.uk   What are Great Taste judges looking for? They’re looking for great texture and appearance. They judge the quality of ingredients and how well the maker has put the food or drink together. But above all, they are looking for truly great taste.   How do they work? Each team of four judges blind-tastes around 25 products per session, discussing each product as a coordinating food writer transcribes their comments directly onto the Great Taste website which producers access after judging is completed. Over the years, numerous food businesses, start-ups and well established producers have been advised how to modify their foods and have subsequently gone on to achieve Great Taste stars. Food or drink that is deemed worthy of Great Taste stars is also tasted by a team of arbitrators, who taste, confer and agree on the final award given. If judges feel that a product needs some adjustment, and therefore not likely to receive an award, the food or drink gets a second chance on a referral table, where another team, blind-tastes and deliberates. For a Great Taste 3-star award, the vast majority in the room - which can be as many as 30-40 experts - must agree that the food or drink delivers that indescribable ‘wow’ factor.   What should consumers look for? The logo. The Great Taste symbol is their guarantee a product has been through a rigorous and independent judging process. It’s not about smart packaging or clever marketing – it’s all about taste.   ★★★ EXQUISITE. WOW! TASTE THAT   ★★ OUTSTANDING  ★ SIMPLY DELICIOUS   (July 2016)

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