Following more than 60 days of judging, the results of the Great Taste awards have just been released, with scores of Food NI members now celebrating.
The highly-coveted three-star winners included a trio of classic products with a twist - including our very own Hannan Meats who were praised for their ‘salty, wonderful and magnificent’ Sweet Cured Bacon Rack with ‘sweet fat and skin that melts in the mouth, and a perfect cure.’
Antrim’s Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative Society’s lightly brined and hot-smoked Smoked Lough Neagh Eel, was also praised for its ‘perfect luscious texture, creamy flavour and sweetness.’
Meanwhile renowned Tempted Cider Company, based in Lisburn, won big with their Tempted Irish Cider Elderflower. A light and fruity medium sweet ‘proper cider, with a good balance of distinct elderflower notes.’
There were also three stars for Echlinville Estate’s Single Estate Pot Still Gin, Erin Grove’s Blackcurrant Preserve, Baronscourt Estate’s Wild Sika Venison Loin, Ispini Charcuterie’s Rosemary and Thyme Bresaola and Hannan Meat’s Glenarm Salt-Aged Lamp Rump.
In the two star category, Kennedy Bacon impressed with their Dry Cured Gammon Steak, Deli Lites’ Seeded Ginger Cake Traybake, Thompson’s Decaffeinated Tea, Tyndale Goat Kid’s Shoulder and Tenderloin, Burren Balsamic’s Blackberry and Thyme Infused Vinegar, Yellow Door’s Potato Bread, Kettyle Irish Foods’ Malt Pitt Beef Ribs, Hop Fed Bishop’s Cape Steak and Hop Fed King Arthur Rib of Beef as well as Morelli’s Pistachio Supreme and Caramelised Hazelnut Ice Cream to name but a few.
Winners of the one star awards meanwhile, ranged from Tempted Irish Cider Medium Dry to Thompson’s Punjana Tea and Mash Direct’s Potato Rosti Cake and the popular Jawbox Gin plus dozens more.
Also in the one-star category were Northbound Brewery’s 26 Pale Ale, L’Artisan Foods Berry Natas, Carol’s Stock Market Beef Stock, Dale Farm’s Fivemiletown Ballyoak, Dromona Extra Mature Cheddar, Dromona Foil Wrapped Salted Butter, Rowan Glen Salted Butter and Loseley Rich and Creamy Yoghurt Blackberry and Apple.
Squeeze Wheatgrass took the final Food NI star for their Ready to Drink Wheatgrass Shot with Orange and Lemon Juice.
The winners were announced as it was revealed that there was a grand total of 12,366 Great Taste entries this year.
Of those products, 165 were awarded a three-star, 1,011 received a two-star and 3,171 were awarded a one-star accolade.
The panel of judges included; chef, food writer and author, Gill Meller, MasterChef judge and restaurant critic, Charles Campion, author and chef, Zoe Adjonyoh, baker, Tom Herbert, and food writer and baking columnist Martha Collison as well as food buyers from Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, and Harvey Nichols.
The top awards for each region including the Great Taste 2017 Supreme Champion, will be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Awards Dinner on Monday, September 4 at the Intercontinental Park Lane Hotel, London.