Food NI members strike gold in Great Taste Awards 2018

Almost 60 Food NI member companies won over 200 gold stars in this year’s Great Taste Awards.

Six companies achieved the coveted three gold stars in what has become the most important endorsement of taste from food and drink companies in the UK, Ireland and other parts of Europe. Three gold stars are awarded to a product judged by a panel of food experts to be extraordinarily tasty.

The three gold star winners which will now be in the running for the Supreme Champion Award and the Northern Ireland Gold Fork are:

Burren Balsamics, Richill, Hannan Meats, Moira, Lacada Brewing Company, Portrush, Maud’s Ice Cream, Carrickfergus, The Cookie Jar, Newcastle, Thompson’s Family Teas, Belfast.

Hannan Meats won three gold stars each for four separate products and Thompson’s Family Teas three gold stars each for two products.

Burren Balsamics, Hannan Meats and Thompson’s Family Teas also won a series of two and one gold stars.

Michele Shirlow, Food NI Chief Executive, congratulating the winning companies, said: “This is another outstanding year for Northern Ireland in the most important event for the food and drink industry in the UK, Ireland and other parts of Europe. Overall, 2,010 products from Northern Ireland companies were successful in this year’s awards.

“The awards are an important showcase of quality, innovation and outstanding taste from Northern Ireland companies, both large and small. It’s immensely encouraging to see our companies winning so many gold stars. It highlights the skills, expertise and enterprise of local processors especially the smaller companies which are the backbone of the local food and drink industry.

“Two of our member companies, Hannan Meats and Thompson’s Family Teas, are now among the most successful in the UK and Ireland in the Great Taste Awards,” added Mrs Shirlow.

The results of the world’s most coveted food awards followed judging over 65 days. Out of a record breaking 12,634 products to be judged in 2018, 4,653 were awarded a highly prized Great Taste accolade and a remarkable 210 are based in Northern Ireland.

Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers.

A record breaking 12,634 different products were entered in 2018. Over 500 of the most demanding palates, belonging to food critics, chefs, restaurateurs, cooks, producers and a host of food writers, journalists and social media influencers, blind taste each product. The judges awarded 3,254 1-stars, 1,207 2-stars and just 192 3 stars.

Other Food NI member companies collecting either 2 or 1 gold stars were:

Abernethy Butter, Dromara

Amberline Preserves, Dungannon

Andrew’s Flour Mills, Belfast

Ann’s Pantry, Larne

Baked in Belfast, Enniskillen

Balloo Inns/Poacher’s Pocket, Lisbane

Brambleberry Jams, Lisburn

Cavanagh Free Range Eggs, Newtownbutler

Carnbrooke Meats, Dromara

Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt, Bangor

Corndale Farm Free Range Charcuterie, Limavady

Dale Farm, Belfast

Davison Canners, Dungannon

Deli-Lites, Warrenpoint

Deli-Muru, Belfast

Draynes Farm Ice Cream, Lisburn

En-Place Foods, Cookstown

Erin Grove Preserves, Enniskillen

Food Stories, Crawfordsburn

Gracehill Fine Foods, Ballymena

Glastry Farm Ice Cream, Kircubbin

Hercules Brewing Company, Belfast

Hillstown Farm Shop, Randalstown

Holmes Bakery, Portadown

Irwin’s Bakery, Portadown

Ispini Charcuterie, Aughnacloy

Johnson Brothers, Lisburn

Kennedy Bacon, Omagh

Ke Nako Biltong, Ballyclare

Kettyle Irish Foods, Lisnaskea

Kilmegan Cider, Newcastle

L’Artisan Foods, Portadown

Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative, Toome

Mange Tout Bakery and Deli, Downpatrick

Mash Direct, Comber

McKee’s Farm Shop, Newtownards

Morelli’s Ice Cream, Coleraine

North Coast Smokehouse, Ballycastle

Prep House Sauces, Crossgar

Ocean Veg, Rathlin

Quail’s Fine Foods, Banbridge

Whitewater Brewery, Castlewellan

Yellow Door Bakery and Deli, Portadown

Rich Sauces, Newtownards

Rooney Fish, Kilkeel

SD Bell’s, Belfast

Sea Sugar, Whitehead

Springmount Farm Free Range Eggs, Ballygowan

Tayto Group, Tandragee

William Baird Butchers