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A moment to relish… The Quirky Cook wins Great Taste Ambient Product of the Year

Amy Brice

Fig relish

Paving a new way for preserves, Derby-based The Quirky Cook is now celebrating its runaway success at this year’s Great Taste awards, with its punchy and pioneering Honeyed Fig Relish with Black Garlic winning the Golden Fork for Ambient Product of the Year. Impressing the judging panel with its “bright explosive flavour” and “wonderful complexity”, this brand new product came out on top to claim one of Great Taste’s most fiercely competed honours.

Founder, Kay Hawkins collected the award at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner earlier this month, where the Great Taste 3-star winning Honeyed Fig Relish was named among this year’s Top 18 products and was also nominated for the Golden Fork for the best food or drink from the Midlands. Having been the first UK producer to launch condiments using black garlic back in 2016, three of The Quirky Cook’s black garlic relishes scooped Great Taste awards this year, with Honeyed Fig Relish joined by the 2-star winning Red Pepper & Apricot Relish and 1-star winning Apple & Date Relish.

Balancing the delicate sweetness of honey and figs with the earthy savoury notes of black garlic, the Honeyed Fig Relish had the Great Taste panel dreaming of smearing it on toast, crackers, cheese and gammon, with one judge saying it “would be perfect used with roasted root vegetables in the middle of winter.” Packed with fig seeds “which pop in your mouth”, adding “a crispy texture that you wouldn’t normally get with a chutney”, this innovative handmade product stood out from the crowd at the world’s most coveted food awards.

Kay Hawkins, founder of The Quirky Cook, explains:

“It’s been a whirlwind since our name was read out at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner, catapulting my fig relish from a lovingly honed kitchen creation to a critically acclaimed product that’s now in demand nationwide. It makes me so proud to have achieved this accolade while staying true to principles of honest food that my mum taught me when I was growing up and it just goes to show what can be achieved when treating natural ingredients with respect. I’ve always been driven by the desire to make people happy with my cooking, but it was my turn to smile at the Golden Forks – and I haven’t stopped since. This is a life changing moment for me and my boys and I can’t wait to share my award-winning preserves with as many people as possible!”

The Quirky Cook’s full range of black garlic relishes are available to purchase from www.thequirkycook.co.uk, as well as a growing number of independent retailers, RRP £4.50.