Irish food producers dominate Great Taste Awards
Top honours claimed by 25 Irish made products in a blind taste competition that received almost 13,000 entries
Peter Hannan of Hannan Meats, twice former winner of the supreme champion title, leads a strong posse of Irish winners at the Great Taste Awards with four three-star products.
Irish food producers have again performed strongly in the Great Taste Awards, with a total of 25 products being awarded three-stars, the highest honour, at the UK and Ireland industry event run by the Guild of Fine Food.
The awards have been running for 24 years and attracted almost 13,000 entries competing to be named the best food products in the UK and Ireland.
The Republic of Ireland claimed 10 three-stars, while a further 15 were awarded to food produced in Northern Ireland
More than 500 judges took part in 65 judging days, from March through to early July, to select the finalists. The supreme champion, a title which has been claimed by Irish food producers for each of the past three years, will be announced next month at a gala dinner in London.
A total of 192 of the 12,634 products submitted for judging were awarded three stars, 25 of them from Ireland. Awards were also made at two-star and one-star level, including five for meat products from James Whelan Butchers, a former winner of the supreme award in 2015.
Last year's supreme champion, Hugh Maguire Butcher of Ashbourne, who triumphed for his smoked black pudding, also made it to three-star level this year, with sweet dry cure smoked bacon collar.
The village of Ballyhoura in Co Limerick appears twice among the 10 three-star winners from the Republic. Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms triumphed for their mushroom salt, and Ballyhoura Apple Farm were successful with their Apple Chai Shrub, a sweet drinking vinegar made with apple juice, spices, cider vinegar and honey.
Peter Hannan of Hannan Meats in Moira, Co Down, the only producer ever to win the supreme championship title at these awards on two occasions, was awarded three stars for four of his meat products this year - salt-aged lamb striploin, lamb bacon, and two varieties of burger.
Another Northern Ireland producer, Thompson's earned three-star status for two of its teas, Signature blend and Everyday blend.
The panel of judges included MasterChef 2018 champion Kenny Tutt, chef and food writer Elly Curshen, eco chef and food writer, Tom Hunt, author and chef, Zoe Adjonyoh, baker Tom Herbert, author and blogger, Izy Hossack, and baker and recipe writer, Martha Collison, as well as food buyers from Harrods, Selfridges and Sourced Market.
Three-stars (Republic of Ireland)
Crafty Brewing Company Irish Lager (Lidl)
Apple Chia Shrub (Ballyhoura Apple Farm)
Mushroom Salt (Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms)
West of Ireland 50-Day Aged French Trimmed bone in Rib (Dawn Meats)
BEEACTIV Raw Ivy Honey
Sweet Dry Cured Smoked Collar Bacon (Hugh Maguire)
Boyne Valley Bán Farmhouse Cheese
Signature Tastes Smoked Rack Of Bacon (Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland)
Dunnes Stores Simply Better Handmade Irish Smoked Trout Pâté
Three-stars (Northern Ireland)
Thompson’s Signature Blend tea
Thompson’s Everyday Blend tea
Signature Tastes Gubbeen 170g (Musgrave Retail Partners NI)
Utopian Stout (Lacada Brewery)
Salted Almond Ice Cream (Maud’s Ice Cream)
Salt Aged Lamb Striploin (Hannan Meats)
Lamb Bacon (Hannan Meats)
3 Mix Burger Unseasoned (Hannan Meats)
3 Mix Burger Seasoned (Hannan Meats)
Saddle of Colebrooke Venison
Traditional Wheaten Bannock (Cookie Jar)
Ethiopian Duromina (Pure Roast Coffee)
Grant’s Sugar Pit Bacon Rack (William Grand and Co)
Natural Umber Organic Apple Cider Vinegar