Great Taste Awards 2019: which Irish food producers and retailers got the nod?

Three-star awards for 18 Irish producers, from almost 13,000 entries, at Great Taste Awards 2019

Chef, food writer and cookery tutor Gill Meller participating in the judging of the Great Taste Awards in the UK

Chef, food writer and cookery tutor Gill Meller participating in the judging of the Great Taste Awards in the UK

 

Irish food producers and retailers have earned a total of 18 three-star ratings, the highest accolade, at the prestigious Great Taste Awards run by the Guild of Fine Food in the UK.

From almost 13,000 entries in the competition, which is in its 25th year, just 208 three-star awards were made, 10 of them going to entries from the Republic of Ireland and eight to producers in Northern Ireland. Last year, Irish entries received 25 three-star awards. the Republic again claiming 10, while Northern Ireland earned 15.

Awards were also made at two-star (1,326) and one-star (3.409) level, with only 4.943 of the 12,772 entries being deemed worthy of an award.

The Republic’s three-star winners included three dairy products, three meats, three alcoholic drinks, and one artisan vinegar. Both SuperValu and Aldi had two winners at this highest level, with one from the Simply Better range at Dunnes Stores, and the remainder entered by independents.

The Northern Ireland three-star winners were all from independent producers and included products in the fish, flour, beer, confectionery, meat and condiments categories. Two of the three-star winning products from the Republic originate in Spain, while all eight of the Northern Ireland winners are indigenous.

SuperValu’s three-star winning products are both from its Signature Tastes range – rosemary sheep’s cheese (rubbed with Ibérico lard and fresh rosemary and aged for six to eight months) and smoked rack of bacon (smoked over beech and applewood). The three-star winners from Aldi (Ireland) are its Specially Selected Irish free range whole goose, and Roadworks IPA . The Dunnes Stores three-star product is a recent addition to its range, Simply Better free range Ibérico rack of pork.

Ibérico pork rack from Simply Better at Dunnes Stores scored three stars
Ibérico pork rack from Simply Better at Dunnes Stores scored three stars

The dairy sector three-star winners from the Republic are Killowen Farm’s Greek-style yoghurt with Wexford Blackcurrant compote, and creme fraiche from Green pastures in Donegal.

Longueville House in Co Cork took three stars for its Mór cider, made with Dabinett and Michelin apples and wild yeasts, aged in brandy casks. Irish Times drinks writer John Wilson, writing about Irish craft cider being on the cusp of getting the recognition it deserves, describes this as “a delicious, rich and powerful cider, with great length.” Trouble Brewing, in Co Kildare also earned three stars for its Sabotage IPA.

Fionntán Gogarty’s Wildwood Vinegars, made in Ballina, Co Mayo, earned three stars for its elderberry and star anise variety, an infused balsamic aged in oak.

A small batch vinegar, made with apple and elderflower, also took three stars for Northern Ireland producer En Place Foods. The North performed strongly in the condiments category, with three-star awards also going to Irish Black Butter, a conserve made with Armagh Bramley apples, spices and cider brandy, and black garlic miso produced by Craic Foods in Craigavon, Co Armagh.

Hannan Meats in Moira, the only producer ever to win the supreme championship title at these awards on two occasions, earned three stars for its bone-in bacon loin, which is dry cured and buried in a sugar pit.

Northern Ireland’s shellfish industry was strongly represented by three-star winner Millbay Oysters, cultivated on the north side of Carlingford Lough by family firm Rooney Fish.

Baking sector three-star winners from Northern Ireland are Neill’s soda bread flour, and The Little Bakehouse’s courgette and lime sponge cake topped with lime infused cream cheese.

The drinks category three-star winner from this region is Kreme dela Kremlin, an Imperial Russian Stout made by Whitewater Brewery in Castlewellan.

Judging of the Great Taste Awards took place over 75 days at two centres in the UK, and the three-star winners were then re-evaluated by an expert panel of industry figures included MasterChef 2018 winner Kenny Tutt, food writers Olia Hercules, Gill Meller and Melissa Hemsley, along with food buyers from Selfridges and Fortnum and Mason. Regional winners. The Great Taste Supreme Champion, claimed by Irish producers in 2015, 2016 and 2017, will be announced at a gala dinner in London on September 1.

Three-stars (Republic of Ireland)

Killowen Farm Greek style Yoghurt with Wexford Blackcurrant Compote
Green Pastures Creme Fraiche
SuperValu Signature Tastes Rosemary Sheep's Cheese
SuperValu Signature Tastes Smoked Rack of Bacon
Longueville House Mor Cider
Sabotage IPA, Trouble Brewing
Wildwood Vinegars Elderberry and Star Anise Balsamic
Aldi (Ireland) Roadworks IPA
Aldi (Ireland) Specially Selected Irish Whole Goose
Dunnes Stores Simply Better Iberico Rack of Pork

Three-stars (Northern Ireland)

Millbay Oysters
Neill's Soda Bread Flour
Whitewater Brewery Kreme dela Kremlin stout
The Little Bakehouse Courgette, Lime and Pistachio Cake
Irish Black Butter
Craic Black Garlic Miso
En Place Apple & Elderflower Vinegar
Hannan Meats Sugar Pit Bone-in Bacon Loin

 

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