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The stars shine bright above the farmyard, as Great Taste reveals its Top 50 Foods 2016

Amy Brice

Great Taste Awards

As the world’s most coveted blind-tasted food awards nears its grand finale, Great Taste has now announced its Top 50 Foods for 2016, a who’s who of the very finest food and drink products around. This year’s Top 50 Foods list is once again jam-packed with diverse and innovative products, all with one thing in common – great taste – but also pays tribute to the exceptional work of the UK and Ireland’s farmers, with traditional staples tantalising the judges’ taste buds.

The Great Taste judges couldn’t get enough of products like Jess's Ladies Organic Farm Milk’s “utterly delicious” Organic Double Cream, with its “silky smooth and thick clotted cream-like texture”, or Hannan Meats’ Sugar Pit Beef Brisket, which “smashed it out of the park”, while The Traditional Free Range Egg Company’s Waddling Free duck eggs were thought to be “as good a duck egg as you can get!”

The Top 50 Foods list, from which the Supreme Champion will be selected, has been whittled down from 10,000 entries by the most experienced and professional food judges, who have blind-tasted each and every product before declaring it truly worthy of its position. It is now available for all to see on www.greattasteawards.co.uk and most importantly – to taste. Traditionally tantalising products such as the “meaty, moist and plump” Jaffys Kippers, can be found alongside a host of more dynamic delights, ranging from a “moreish” Coconut Jam with a “screamingly fresh coconut hit”, to an urban rooftop honey from Bermondsey Street Bees, applauded for its “surprisingly refreshing taste of limes, mint, fennel and liquorice”, making The Top 50 Foods a voyage through the most exquisite, delicious and WOW foods in the UK and beyond. 

John Farrand, Managing Director of the Guild of Fine Food, explains;

“Once again, The Top 50 Foods shines a light on the work of some outstanding producers and it’s wonderful to see so many farmers making the cut this year with their simple, honest, traditional and above all delicious products. Whether butter, eggs or a truly sensational cut of meat, their presence in The Top 50 Foods list is testament to the incredibly high standard of farming we have on our doorstep, more than holding its own when up against the very best produce from across the UK, Ireland and further afield. With everything from chocolate and cheese to coffee and curd now able to proudly display this hard-earned stamp of excellence, consumers can now once again enjoy searching for the latest Top 50 Foods in delis, farm shops, restaurants and cafes everywhere.”

While these producers revel in their tremendous success and begin displaying the unmistakable gold and black Great Taste Top 50 Foods accolade on their award-winning products, they will wait with much anticipation to see if they also scoop the top awards for their region and who will be crowned the Supreme Champion for 2016. These awards will be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner in London on Monday 5 September. 

Recognised as a mark of quality among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, values taste above all else, with no regard for branding or packaging. Whether it is jam, gin, beef or butter being judged, all products are removed from their wrapper, jar or bottle before being tasted. The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1-, 2- or 3-star award.

Judged by over 500 of the most demanding palates, belonging to food critics, chefs, restaurateurs, cooks, producers and a host of food writers and journalists, Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers. In the words of highly regarded restaurant and food critic Charles Campion, “Great Taste is the only food award worth having”.

The panel of judges, including; TV chef and author, Valentine Warner, MasterChef judge and restaurant critic, Charles Campion, fifth generation baker, Tom Herbert from Hobbs House Bakery, food buyers from Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Waitrose, James Golding, chef director of THE PIG Hotels, and Kevin Gratton, chef director of HIX Restaurants, have together re-judged the 3-star winners to agree on the Top 50 Foods, the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the Great Taste Supreme Champion for 2016. 

Regular Great Taste judge and MasterChef the Professionals finalist, Adam Handling, hosted the judges at his brand new restaurant, The Frog in Shoreditch, after the final round of judging, to enjoy a menu made up of some of the Great Taste 3-star award-winning products of 2016.

Full details of this year’s winners can be found at www.greattasteawards.co.uk and a select range of products will also be made available via Taste Distribution (www.tastedistribution.co.uk), which has been established exclusively to distribute Great Taste award-winning products to independent retailers. On Tuesday 27 September, QVC will also air a two-hour Great Taste Top 50 Foods special.

Facts and figures about Great Taste 2016:

10,000 different products entered in 2016 and judged by more than 500 palates.

Judging took place across the UK and Ireland, including many sessions at the Guild HQ in Gillingham, Dorset, as well as several other Dorset venues. This year’s Great Taste Roadshows saw Great Taste judged at Fulham Palace in London, Hotel Minella in Clonmel, Tipperary and Belfast Metropolitan College’s Titanic Quarter Campus.

2,520 awarded 1-star
878 awarded 2-star
141 awarded 3-star

Then final announcement of the winner of Great Taste Supreme Champion 2016, sponsored by Harrods, and the regional Golden Fork Awards will be made at The Royal Garden Hotel in London on Monday 5 September.  

More information on Great Taste can be found at www.greattasteawards.co.uk.

For more information about The Guild of Fine Food visit www.gff.co.uk