The Best Possible Taste

The Best Possible Taste

Described as the Oscars of the food world, the Great Taste Awards are widely recognised as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality producers with over 500 judges, comprising discerning chefs, restaurateurs, food writers, buyers and producers, undertaking extensive blind-tastings.

The results are in. Fewer than 3% of products were awarded the top grading of 3-Stars for extraordinarily tasty food and drink. The next ranking of 2-stars (Outstanding) is given to fewer than 15% of products and the final ranking of 1-star (Simply Delicious) goes to 25% of entries.

3-Stars Congratulations are due to Goddards Brewery which received 3-Stars for Quarr Abbey – a strong ale flavoured with coriander and sweet gale from the Abbey’s own gardens. Lyburn Farm were awarded 3-Stars for their Old Winchester Extra Mature cheese – a hard cheese with a distinctive nuttiness. Owton’s Butchers picked up 3-Stars for their moreish Lamb Faggots. Finally, The Wasabi Company took 3-Stars for their Wasabi Mustard and Sudachi Kombu Ponzu, a Japanese dipping sauce with peppery citrus flavour.

2-Stars We are delighted to report that many members were awarded 2-Stars. These include Beau Farm for both their Soft Cheese with Ash and their Mature Gouda; Catch (IoW) for Mac ‘n’ Hari (mackerel and harissa) fishcakes and Crabbie Crabcakes; Chococo for Cabin Pressure Gin & Rosemary chocolates; Conker Spirit for RNLI Navy Strength Gin; Hockey’s Farm Shop for their rare breed British Lop pork belly and hand of pork; and IOW Espresso (Island Roasted) for Wight Label Smooth Shores Espresso.

The list continues with JK Fine Chocolates awarded 2-Stars for Madagascar Volana Mini Rustic Truffles; Lyburn Farm for Stoney Cross cheese; Isle of Wight Distillery for Mermaid Gin which uses foraged rock samphire for the flavour of fresh sea beeze; Naked Jam for Coconut & Lime Curd; New Forest Spirits for their recently launched Wyrd Dry Gin; Olives Direct for their tasty Tomato and Olive Tapenade; Owton’s Butchers for both their Game Faggots and Mrs Owton’s Streaky Bacon; The Real Jam & Chutney Company for their Spicy Carrot Pickle; and The Wasabi Company for Yuzu Mustard and Yuzu Soy Sauce.

1-Star The following picked up a much-deserved 1-Star: Briddlesford Farm for their Feta-Style Cheese; Catch (IoW) for their Smokey Bill, Mac ‘n’ Beet, The Colonial and Gluten Free Wightcake fishcakes; Chalk Stream Foods for their Smoked Trout Pate; Chococo for Conker Gin & Lime chocolates; Hill Farm Juice for English Pear with Apple Juice and Cloudy Apple Juice; IOW Espresso (Island Roasted) for Wight Label Primavera Family - Small Producers of Guatemala; JK Fine Chocolates for Madagascar Maraina Mini Rustic Truffles; and Jude's Ice Creams which picked up five 1-Stars for Black Coconut, Chocolate and Chocolate Brownie Dairy Ice Creams, Mango Sorbet and Little Jude's No Refined Sugar Chocolate Milk.

More 1-Star holders include: Lyburn Farm for Lyburn Lightly Oak Smoked cheese; Moonroast for Guatemala medium roast coffee; Olives Direct for their Carnevale Olives, Marinated Artichokes, Pitted Basil and Garlic Olives, and Tomato and Basil Tapenade; Owton’s Butchers for their Lamb, Mint & Pea Sausage; The Garlic Farm for Garlic Butter with Parsley, Thyme and Black Pepper; Smith & Weston for Orange Gin Liqueur; Summerdown Farms for Dark Chocolate Peppermint Thins; Tipsy Wight for Tipsy Wight Vodka Liqueur; Turner Hardy & Co for Turner Hardy The Feisty One, made with Isle of Wight Tomatoes; Winchester Distillery for Hampshire Fine Dry Gin, Twisted Nose Watercress Gin and Twisted Nose Wasabi Vodka.

Enjoy your Great Taste adventure trying out these exceptional local products.

Photograph: Judging in process; thanks to Sam Pelly Photography and The Guild of Fine Food.