Cream of the Crop – Irish companies fare just fine in the Great Taste Awards

Cream of the Crop – Irish companies fare just fine in the Great Taste Awards
The Great Taste Awards are judged by a panel of food critics, chefs, restaurateurs, retail buyers, cooks, producers, food writers, journalists and social media influencers. Photograph: Sam Pelly

A diverse range of products from Ireland have shone at Great Taste, as this year’s list of award-winners was announced on Tuesday 21 September 2021. Out of the 5,383 products worldwide to receive a Great Taste 1-, 2- or 3-star accolade from the largest and most trusted food and drink awards on the planet, 377 are based in Ireland and these include; Ballyhoura Apple Farm’s Great Taste 3-star award-winning Glazing Syrup, an apple-based syrup made in Kilfinane, Limerick; Carlingford Oyster Company’s Great Taste 3-star award-winning Louet Feisser Select Carlingford Oysters; and Wexford Home Preserves’ Great Taste 3-star award-winning Seville Marmalade, a bright and lively marmalade packed full of Seville oranges grown on a family-run farm in Spain.

Following 86 socially-distanced judging days in London and Dorset, Great Taste, which values taste above all else, has unearthed the very finest food and drink from every nook and corner of the UK and beyond. Regardless of branding or packaging, each product is judged on a level playing field, according to its texture, appearance, composition and of course taste. Food critics, chefs, restaurateurs, retail buyers, cooks, producers and a host of food writers, journalists and social media influencers are among the 355 esteemed palates to have rigorously blind tasted and judged the 14,113 entries from 108 countries, while providing detailed written feedback for the producer.

Black and Gold Logo

Every Great Taste award-winning product will now be able to display the unmistakable black and gold logo, a stamp of excellence that is recognised by retailers and consumers alike. A wide range of these winning products are already available to buy in delis, farm shops and independent retail outlets across the country.

Ireland reaped an incredible 21 three star awards! All Great Taste 3-star award-winning products will be re-judged to find this year’s regional Golden Fork Trophy winners and the Great Taste Supreme Champion 2021. These final results will be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Reception on Sunday 17 October, set to be held at the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate following the first day of Fine Food Show North, a trade-only exhibition organised by the Guild of Fine Food.

The annual awards scheme, administered by the Guild of Fine Food in the UK and judged blind by a panel of 355 judges, attracted more than 14,000 entries and less than 2 per cent of those were awarded the top, three-star rating. Awards were also made at two-star level to 1,138 products, and 4,027 attained a one-star rating.

Great tasting coffee

Coffee companies performed particularly well among those attaining three-star status in Ireland, with four successful at that level: Velo Coffee’s Velo Morning Fixie, a 100 per cent Arabica espresso blend; Pure Roast Coffee’s Valentia, a Brazilian bean; Greenbean Coffee Roasters’ Torero, an Arabica blend from Mexico, Ethiopia, Brazil and Honduras, and Java The Hut’s Spezial, a Colombian natural process coffee.

Marvellous Meats

Meat products fared well, with seven three-star winners in this category. Peter Hannan of Hannan Meats, a former winner of the supreme championship at these awards, and recently awarded an MBE for his contribution to economic development in Northern Ireland, was awarded three stars for his Sugar Pit Bacon Rack.

An easy carve Hampshire breed ham fillet from the SuperValu Signature Taste range, also received three star status.

James Whelan Butchers, also a former supreme champion, took three stars for the Slow Braised Shortrib from the company’s new Dine at Home range. ABP Cahir’s Angus Bone-in Rib was also awaded three stars. Two lamb products were included in the top level, Lisdergan Butchery’s Murley Mountain Rack of Lamb, and Musgrave Retail Partners’ Signature Tastes Hill Lamb Rump Roast. Musgrave in Northern Ireland also made the three-star rankings for its Signature Tastes Riojan Chorizo Cular, a dried cured sausage from Iberian pigs.

Lucy Williams-and Tony-Rodd judging three star awards

Fish and shellfish

In the fish and shellfish category there was a strong performance from the Carlingford Oyster company which won three-star awards for its own label oysters as well at its Louet Feisser Select Carlingford Oysters, grown in A-classified waters in Carlingford Lough. Rooney Fish’s Millbay Oysters were also awarded three stars. Smoked salmon produced only one three-star this year for Serendipity Smokehouse’s Hot Smoked Salmon, with dill and black pepper.

Two apple producers are included among the Irish three-star winners, Attyflin Estate for its Rosette apple juice, and Ballyhoura Apple Farm for its glazing syrup. Only one cheese made it into this category in Ireland, Inagh Farmhouse Cheese for its St Tola in Ash. Crawfords Rock Seaweed Salt, along with Wexford Home Preserves’ Seville Marmalade and Morelli Ice Cream’s Caramelised Hazelnut variety, also earned three-star status.

Supreme champion

The 14,113 products entered for the awards were assessed at 86 socially judging sessions at four venues. The three-star products will be re-judged to determine the winner of the regional awards and the supreme champion, which will be announced on October 17th. Here is the complete list of one-, two- and three-star winners.

Anna Jones Judging

Three-star Irish Great Taste winners

  • Attyflin Estate: Rosette Apple Juice
  • Velo Coffee: Velo Morning Fixie
  • Pure Roast Coffee: Valentia
  • Greenbean Coffee Roasters: Torero
  • Java The Hut: Spezial
  • Wexford Home Preserves: Seville Marmalade
  • SuperValu: Signature Taste Irish Hampshire Easy Carve Ham Fillet
  • ABP Cahir: Certified Angus Bone-In Rib
  • Musgrave Retail Partners: Signature Tastes Hill Lamb Rump Roast
  • Serendipity Smokehouse: Hot Smoked Salmon
  • Carlingford Oyster Co: Carlingford Oysters
  • Carlingford Oyster Co: Louet Feisser Select Carlingford Oysters
  • Inagh Farmhouse Cheese: St Tola in Ash
  • Ballyhoura Apple Farm: Glazing Syrup
  • James Whelan Butchers: Slow Braised Shortrib
  • Crawfords Rock Seaweed Co: Seaweed Salt
  • Hannan Meats: Sugar Pit Bacon Rack
  • Musgraves Retail Partners NI: Signature Tastes Riojan Chorizo Cular
  • Lisdergan Butchery: Murley Mountain Rack of Lamb
  • Rooney Fish: Millbay Oysters
  • Morelli Ice Cream: Morelli’s Cramelised