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Freshly Ground PR is a PR and marketing agency based in Bath, specialising in independent food and drink, hospitality and lifestyle brands.

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Press RELEASES

Here are some of the latest press releases from the people we work with. If you’re a journalist, blogger or writer and would like more information, images or samples, please get in touch.


 

Sustainable sourdough from GAIL’s Bakery mixes ancient wheat with cheesemaker’s whey

Amy Brice

Einkorn and whey sourdough

Rising to the challenge of both cutting waste and protecting biodiversity, the new Einkorn & Whey Sourdough from GAIL’s Bakery combines the oldest wheat known to man with the leftover whey from Quicke’s Clothbound Cheddar. The latest product of GAIL’s partnership with the Devon-based cheesemaker, this sourdough loaf introduces whey into the bakery’s menu for the first time, to help ensure that nothing from the cheesemaking process goes to waste.

A carefully kneaded mix of tradition and innovation, Einkorn & Whey Sourdough uses a flour made from the nutritious Einkorn wheat, which has been grown and harvested by farmers since around 6000 BC. Seeing an opportunity to help preserve and promote rare varieties of wheat and protect biodiversity, the bread heads at GAIL’s created a recipe featuring traditional British wheat flour, dark rye, whey and their 20-year-old sourdough, folding in red quinoa, whole soya beans, chia and millet, with a scattering of seeds across the top to achieve a crust with a crunch.

Having been united by Rhuaridh Buchanan of Buchanans Cheesemonger, who identified the businesses' shared commitment to sustainability and the reduction of food waste, Quicke’s and GAIL’s first came together with lashings of Whey Butter topping sourdough toast and crumbly scones. Whole truckles of Cheddar are now sent up to London for the bakery’s epic Ham & Cheese Sandwich, with offcuts used in its Cheddar Sourdough Stick. A new Cauliflower & Cheese Quiche makes use of Quicke’s multi award-winning Goat’s Milk Clothbound Cheese and GAIL’s Cheddar Cheese Crackers are set to be launched in November, with grated cheddar offcuts and cracked black pepper bringing a new twist to its much-loved buttermilk cracker recipe.

GAIL’s Bakery’s Einkorn & Whey Sourdough is available to purchase on Ocado, priced at £4.20 for a 525g loaf, alongside a range of other GAIL’s and Quicke’s products. Quicke’s Cheddar can be purchased from www.quickes.co.uk and all of GAIL’s products are available to buy from its 48 bakeries across London, as well as online at gailsbread.co.uk.

Dorset Sea Salt Co. crystallised with sharp new look

Amy Brice

Sea salt

Dorset Sea Salt Co. has revealed a brand new look for its range of natural and flavoured sea salts, a year after winning The Seed Fund’s annual prize. Having worked closely with the start-up accelerator’s mentors, including branding and marketing consultancy, The Collaborators, the Portland-based producer has now created a contemporary new image to bring its whole story to life.

With provenance remaining at the heart of the brand, paying tribute to Chesil Beach on the Jurassic Coast where the sea salt is harvested by hand, fresh ideas have also been incorporated into Dorset Sea Salt Co.’s identity to better communicate what sets it apart from the crowd. Bronze foiling and a striking signature D brand mark provide instantly recognisable elements for consumers, while the product’s impressive kitchen credentials have been brought front and centre with a more clearly differentiated colour palette.

Showcasing the eight flavours on offer, ranging from Celery and Chilli to Apple Oak Smoked and Tomato, Olive & Basil, Dorset Sea Salt Co.’s new look gives consumers an instant taste of the diverse flavour at their fingertips. To encourage a more imaginative approach to cooking, a quick reference visual flavour wheel has also been developed with The Seed Fund mentors, helping food enthusiasts to discover which flavours will pair well with the ingredients they have to hand.

A culmination of Dorset Sea Salt Co.’s journey with The Seed Fund, which began when founder, Jethro Tennant first joined the philanthropic project’s annual Academy in summer 2018, this reimagined brand has been built upon the foundations laid by his time on the comprehensive business development programme. Supported by The Collaborators and Great Taste, the Academy covers areas including funding, finance, law, brand values, PR and social media, bringing together hand-picked mentors with the future stars of food and drink.

Jethro Tennant, founder of Dorset Sea Salt Co., explains:

“The Seed Fund was a game changer for my business, it was a great way for me to meet likeminded individuals and well-established business mentors. The mentoring sessions throughout the programme helped to give me an insight into a multitude of subjects, from brand positioning to finance and investment, and I feel extremely lucky to have been involved in the 2018 Academy, let alone win. The Seed Fund is an amazing initiative that gives back to small businesses and start-ups, for which I will be eternally grateful. It’s an opportunity that you would be foolish to miss. As a result of our 2018 win, The Collaborators have rebranded Dorset Sea Salt Co. with a clear understanding of our position in the marketplace, so that our product stands out on the shelf! I now feel that we’ve put everything in place for the business to go from strength to strength, slowly and steadily populating every kitchen pantry in the country.”

Dorset Sea Salt Co.’s range of eight flavours are sold in 125g and 75g glass jars, as well as in gift packs, available from www.dorsetseasalt.co.uk and independent retailers across the UK. RRP £3.99 for Natural sea salt (125g) and £5.99 for flavoured sea salts (125g).

For more information about The Seed Fund, visit www.theseedfund.co.uk.

World Cheese Awards announces record-breaking entries, as Japanese cheesemakers join competition

Amy Brice

WCA entry stats

Records are set to be broken across the board at this year’s World Cheese Awards, with 3,804 cheeses due to be judged in Bergamo on Friday 18 October, as the competition visits Italy for the first time. A 10% increase on last year’s record, these entries will represent more nations than ever before and will see Japanese cheesemakers making their debut at the awards, following Japan being added to the list of countries permitted to export dairy products to the EU earlier this year.

Japanese entries including hard, soft, blue, brown, goat’s and smoked cheeses will join entries representing 42 nations from six continents, which will all be judged in a single day at Fiera di Bergamo. Following the morning’s judging session, when Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold awards will be decided, the best of the best will be debated in front of a live audience, before the World Champion Cheese 2019 is announced across the globe on WCA TV.

This year, the largest cheese-only competition on the planet will form part of an epic celebration of all things cheese in Bergamo, as the city’s annual FORME festival expands to include the brand new international dairy trade show, B2Cheese (www.b2cheese.it). A bustling cheese market will also be taking place in the medieval heart of Bergamo and visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the World Cheese Awards action with a free exhibition of World Champion Cheeses at the Palazzo della Ragione and tickets available to witness the judging unfold live and to join tasting tours over the weekend.

Record-breaking numbers

  • 3,804 entries into the 32nd edition of the competition (10% increase on record set in 2018)

  • Entries representing 42 different nations from six continents

  • 260 judges from 35 different countries, including Barbados, Japan, New Zealand and Russia, including cheesemakers, cheesemongers, buyers, chefs and food commentators

Intercontinental competitors

  • 42 entries from Japan – the first time Japanese cheese will be judged at WCA

  • 845 entries from Italy, in its first year as host nation (102% increase from 2018)

  • Mexican entries ranging from traditional cheeses such as Queso Chihuahua and Queso Panela to international styles including Gouda, Mozzarella and Manchego

  • Entries featuring chocolate, caramel, butternut squash and harissa from South Africa

  • Australian entries including fresh buffalo curd, labna and goat’s cheese wrapped in vine leaves

  • Entries from Argentina, Brazil and Chile representing South America’s cheesemakers

Palates on the panel

  • Nicola Bentoglio, master taster at ONAF in Italy

  • Gill Meller, chef and food writer from the UK

  • Roland Barthélemy, president of the Guilde des Fromagers in France

  • Kris Lloyd, head cheesemaker at Woodside Cheese Wrights in Australia

  • Carlos Yescas, cheesemonger and author from Mexico

  • Cathy Strange, global cheese buyer at Whole Foods Market USA

  • Regula Ysewijn, food writer and host of Bake Off Vlaanderen in Belgium

The World Cheese Awards, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, will take place on Friday 18 October 2019, forming part of the FORME festival in Bergamo, which will run from Thursday 17 to Sunday 20 October.

For more information about the World Cheese Awards, visit www.gff.co.uk/wca.

Bottlebrush Ferments lands top award, as Great Taste judges go with their gut

Amy Brice

The Red One and The Yellow One

London-based raw fermented foods start-up, Bottlebrush Ferments has been named among the top food producers in the UK this year, picking up a highly prized 3-star Great Taste award for its “vibrant, crunchy and balanced kimchi”, The Red One, along with a 1-star Great Taste award for its “showstopping sauerkraut”, known as The Yellow One. Standing out from the crowd as a record breaking 12,772 products were put through the competition’s rigorous blind tasted judging process, Bottlebrush Ferments was dubbed a “marvel of fermentation” at the world’s most coveted food and drink awards.

Packed with fresh Chinese cabbage, mooli, carrot, spring onion, garlic and chilli, all selected for their natural health properties and naturally fermented using pink Himalayan rock salt, The Red One was one of only 208 products to receive a 3-star Great Taste award in 2019. Commended for its “mouth filling heat, supple vegetables and funky complexity”, this spicy and versatile vegan kimchi was a big hit with the Great Taste judges.

Adding more stars to Bottlebrush jars, The Yellow One impressed with its “eye catching colour” from “comforting and warming turmeric”, which is added to white cabbage, pineapple and fresh ginger, then naturally fermented in pink Himalayan rock salt. Sunshine yellow in tribute to Australia’s beaches, this sauerkraut is “subtle and smooth” with “bite, balance and beauty”, bringing together the sourness of a classic sauerkraut with a summertime twist.

Rich in gut friendly enzymes and probiotics, which feed the gut’s microbiome, as well as vitamins and minerals, The Red One and The Yellow One bring a lip smacking, mood enhancing and immune boosting accompaniment to any dish, from breakfast to dinner. Whether dolloped on a burger, scattered over seafood or served with salad, these two Great Taste award-winners lift the health credentials of any dish.

Both The Red One and The Yellow One are available from Whole Foods Market and Planet Organic, as well as online at bottlebrushferments.com. RRP: The Red One, £6 - £6.50 (250g) or £7.50 - £8.50 (500g), and The Yellow One, £5.50 - £6 (250g) or £7 - £7.50 (500g).

For more information about Bottlebrush Ferments, visit bottlebrushferments.com.

Mary Quicke named Dairy Industry Woman of the Year

Amy Brice

Mary Quicke outside barn

Mary Quicke MBE from Devon-based cheesemaker, Quicke’s was presented with the Dairy Industry Woman of the Year Award on Wednesday 18 September, receiving the accolade during the national Women in Dairy Conference, held at Sixways Stadium, Worcester. Selected by the panel for having consistently demonstrated the core values of Women in Dairy - to connect, share and inspire - Mary’s contribution was celebrated alongside the achievements of women from across the British dairy industry.

Since taking the reins of the family farm in 1987, following her mother, Prudence Quicke, building the original cheese dairy at Quicke’s in the 1970s, Mary has overseen the steady evolution of both farming practices and cheesemaking at Home Farm. From the switch to specially bred cows to the development of an eco-friendly cheese mite management system, Mary has been driven by the pursuit of excellence in her craft, while remaining committed to sharing experiences, ideas and advances with the wider industry.

Now sitting on the board at both the FSA (Food Standards Agency) and AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) Dairy Sector, Mary has also contributed her palate to cheese competitions throughout the world, including the British Cheese Awards, World Cheese Awards and American Cheese Society Awards. Mary received an MBE for her contribution to farming and cheesemaking in 2005, became a member of the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers in 2016 and was instrumental in the establishment of the Academy of Cheese in 2017.

Shining a spotlight on the leading role taken by women on dairy farms across the UK, Women in Dairy, which is run by RABDF and supported by a number of organisations, was established to acknowledge those individuals who promote the sector and everything it stands for, whatever their role within the industry. The shortlist for this year’s Dairy Industry Woman of the Year Award also included Gemma Smale-Rowland, founder of Cornish Moo in Cornwall, Becki Leach, senior consultant at Kite Consulting in Yorkshire, and Lynsey Awde, owner of Broadmeadows Farm in Cumbria.

Mary Quicke MBE commented:

“I’m a great admirer of the work that’s been carried out by the Women in Dairy project since it was first established in 2015, so winning this award is a huge honour and a tremendous achievement for me and all the team. We have so many challenges and opportunities before us in dairy, including the chance to improve the carbon sequestration value of permanent pasture to make sure that eating dairy actually helps save the planet, but in order to thrive we must make the best use of all the people, regardless of their background or where they come from. There are so many amazing women in the dairy industry and I am very proud to be one of them.”

For more information about Quicke's, visit www.quickes.co.uk.

Vegan cheese start-up wins The Seed Fund annual prize

Amy Brice

Photo credit: Neil White Photography.

Photo credit: Neil White Photography.

London-based dairy free cheese producer, Kinda Co. has been named as The Seed Fund’s 2019 champion, picking up the award at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner on Sunday 1 September. A one-woman enterprise, founded by Ellie Brown (pictured above) in October 2017, Kinda Co. will now embark on full year of business support and mentoring with the food and drink industry’s only philanthropic start-up accelerator.

The latest step in Ellie’s mission to spread the word on great tasting vegan cheese, The Seed Fund prize caps off a remarkable two years in business for the lifelong cheese fan, which began with her switch to veganism and the struggle to find enjoyable dairy free alternatives. Having encountered issues with texture, taste, aroma and digestion along the way, Ellie took to the kitchen to create her own vegan cheeses. Two years later, Kinda Co. now offers nine nut-based products, including Feta-inspired Greek Style cubes, a cheesy Nacho Dip made with cashews and a Cheddar-esque Farmhouse block.

One of 14 start-ups to win a place on the seventh Seed Fund Academy, supported by The Collaborators and Great Taste, Kinda Co. spent the summer taking part in the philanthropic project’s intensive business development programme. Guided by mentors such as Renée Elliott, founder of Planet Organic, Camilla Barnard of Rude Health, Guy Tullberg from Tracklements, fine food consultant, Scott Winston and Yasha Estraikh from Piper Private Equity, the Academy covered everything from branding, PR and social media to funding, finance and law, before selecting a Final Five to pitch for the annual prize. Coming out on top among a short list featuring Borough Broth Co., Bottlebrush Ferments, Flawsome! and PRIME, Ellie was commended for her significant progress and commitment throughout the programme.

Ellie Brown commented:

“I’m so delighted to have won! The Seed Fund has been such an incredible experience and I’m so excited to have their continued help for the year ahead. The guidance and expertise offered throughout The Seed Academy has been invaluable, not only in shaping Kinda Co. in a practical sense, but also in terms of the support offered from both the mentors and my fellow classmates. Dairy free cheese is a new concept for many people and changing perceptions can be tough. However I’m confident that with this wonderful prize I’m in such a great position to successfully grow Kinda Co., and show just how tasty dairy free cheese can be!”

Jayne Noblet of The Collaborators, founder of The Seed Fund, adds:

“The standard of our Academy jumped up yet again this year, so it’s a huge achievement for Kinda Co. to have taken the top prize. Ellie has impressed across the board, from her devotion to the Academy, soaking up the knowledge and experience of our mentors like a sponge, to the quality of Kinda Co.’s product range. It’s no mean feat to create new products in a category that’s still in its formative years, and Ellie is one of those leading the charge for dairy free cheese, winning fans among vegans and dairy consumers alike. Driven by Ellie’s energy, tenacity and positivity, Kinda Co. has hit the ground running and it was great to see her take the stage on the fine food world’s biggest night of the year. Moments like this need to be savoured, as there’s a lot of challenges and hard work ahead, but with the help of our mentors we’re hoping there will be plenty more nights like this to come!”

For more information about The Seed Fund, visit www.theseedfund.co.uk.

Contribution to Fine Food award presented to Xanthe Clay

Amy Brice

Photo credit: Sam Pelly Photography.

Photo credit: Sam Pelly Photography.

Esteemed chef and columnist, Xanthe Clay was presented with a Contribution to Fine Food award at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner, held on Sunday 1 September at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel, London. This special trophy, which recognises a knowledgeable individual who promotes small food producers with integrity, was announced in front of 350 guests from the world of fine food, who gathered to celebrate the grand finale of Great Taste 2019.

Having studied at Leiths School of Food & Wine, before becoming a regular columnist at The Daily Telegraph, Xanthe has continued to use her knowledge and influence to inspire and encourage others in the food industry for over two decades. With a deep rooted love for home cooking and five accessible cookery books to her name, Xanthe, who is also Academy Chair for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, knows all too well the hard work and dedication that goes into making top quality food, so has been a valuable palate on both the Great Taste and World Cheese Awards judging teams.

John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, organisers of Great Taste, explains:

“There are now too many writers and so-called opinion-formers out there, who actually don’t know enough about food and drink, with content seemingly generated to satisfy celebrity rather than imparting knowledge. This style over substance approach is concerning but Xanthe Clay has the rare ability to demonstrate both style and substance in her work, which is put to such good use in the promotion of excellence in food and drink, wherever she finds it.”

For more information about Great Taste, visit www.greattasteawards.co.uk.


Nocciola Gelato scoops Great Taste Supreme Champion 2019, as genius gelato captures hazelnut harvest

Amy Brice

Nocciola Gelato

Following a record-breaking 12,772 entries, Great Taste, the world’s most revered food and drink awards, has reached its grand finale for 2019 and the top honour of Great Taste Supreme Champion has been awarded to Nocciola Gelato, made by Swoon Gelato from Bristol. The result of 75 days of rigorous judging, the Supreme Champion trophy was announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner held on Sunday 1 September at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel London, where over 350 guests from the world of fine food gathered to discover this year’s stars of food and drink.

The hazelnuts for this “silky smooth and super creamy” Nocciola Gelato, which was also awarded the Golden Fork from the South West, come from a small property in Piedmonte, where the trees have been tended to by the same family for four generations. “Delivering exactly what it promises”, Swoon’s “faultless and unreal” Nocciola Gelato received high praise from the Great Taste judges, who were bowled over by its “sensational pure hazelnut flavour” and simply wanted more of this “very impressive gelato”.

Set up in 2016 by the fourth generation of the Forte family, who brought traditional Italian gelato to the UK over a century ago, Swoon has consistently impressed the Great Taste judges with its enchanting array of gelati and sorbetti. In 2017, four of its products received a 3-star Great Taste award, with this resounding success scooping Swoon the Great Taste Golden Fork for Producer of the Year. Following awards for nine of its products in 2018, Swoon’s meteoric rise has culminated in the Great Taste Supreme Champion trophy in 2019, just three years after it first opened its doors.

John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, commented:

"Simplicity has won the day at Great Taste again this year, rising to the top in a field packed with new concepts, innovative flavour combinations and products from every corner of the world. All of the above have taken stars, but I think our 2019 Supreme Champion says a lot about the enduring appeal of straight up products made using the finest quality ingredients. Simple can be very sexy and Swoon's Nocciola Gelato stood out at every stage of the judging process, wowing all in its path with a pure, unadulterated hazelnut hit, carried on a silky spoonful of perfectly executed gelato. After only three years in business, this trophy for Swoon should inspire all those small food producers trying to make something really special, so I can't wait to see what lands on the judging tables next year."

The Great Taste Supreme Champion award was sponsored by Kenwood.

The full list of Golden Fork trophies for 2019

Charcuterie Product of the Year sponsored by Fine Food Digest

Capreolus Fine Foods for Guanciale

Golden Fork for Best Imported Food sponsored by ABP Cahir

The Ojos Foods for El Abuelo Maragato - Halal

Nigel Barden Heritage Award sponsored by Dunbia

Worley’s Cider for Special Reserve Keeved Somerset Cider

Ambient Product of the Year sponsored by Petty Wood

Kadode Kampot Pepper UK for Fermented Fresh Green Kampot Peppercorns

Golden Fork from Ireland sponsored by Bord Bia

Longueville House Beverages for Longueville Mór Cider

Golden Fork from Northern Ireland sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland

Whitewater Brewery Co for Kreme dela Kremlin

Golden Fork from the Midlands sponsored by Webbs Garden Centres

Redhill Farm Free Range Pork for Free Range Shoulder of Pork

Golden Fork from the South West sponsored by Speciality & Fine Food Fair

Swoon Gelato for Nocciola Gelato

Golden Fork from Wales sponsored by Food and Drink Wales

New Quay Honey Farm / Afon Mêl for Afon Mêl Heather Mead

Golden Fork from Scotland sponsored by Scotland Food & Drink

Shortbread House of Edinburgh for Pea Green Boat Cheese Sablés - Fennel and Chilli

Golden Fork from East Anglia sponsored by Shire Foods East Anglia

Hadley's Dairy for Burnt Honey Ice Cream

Golden Fork from the North of England sponsored by Fine Food Show North

Dark Woods Coffee for Panama La Huella "Cafe de Panama" (Natural)

Golden Fork from London & the South East sponsored by Tenuta Marmorelle

Gelato Gusto for Salted Caramel & Liquorice Gelato

Small Artisan Producer of the Year sponsored by Selfridges

Artisan Kitchen

Great Taste Startisan of the Year sponsored by Partridges

Matthew's Preserves

Contribution to Fine Food

Xanthe Clay

Details of all this year’s winners can be found at www.greattasteawards.co.uk.

A yuletide truckle from Quicke’s, on the list for St. Nick

Amy Brice

Cheese and sprouts

Bringing Christmas cheer to any cheese lover, the whole Mature Cheddar Truckle from Quicke’s is an unforgettable gift and the grandest of additions to a festive feast. A miniature version of the classic Clothbound Cheddar, weighing in at 1.8kg, this award-winning wheel is more than a match for any cheese knife, made with the extended family in mind.

Hand-crafted using milk from Quicke’s world-famous grass-fed cows, this rich and buttery cheddar is matured for 12-15 months at Home Farm in Devon, delivering outstanding depth of flavour, from brothy to grassy to caramel notes. Taking the palate on a journey from the rind to the heart of the truckle, this cheeseboard heavyweight is ready to put cheddar centre stage this Christmas.

Other mini truckles available from Quicke’s include the territorial twosome, Devonshire Red and Double Devonshire. A West Country take on Red Leicester, Devonshire Red is a vibrant, full-flavoured cheese, bringing together all the hallmarks of this British favourite with the distinctive characteristics of clothbound cheese. Its elegantly mellow counterpart, Double Devonshire, pours Quicke’s world-class milk into the traditional Double Gloucester recipe, delivering a true taste of Devon with a long-lasting finish.

Quicke’s 1.8kg truckles are available to buy from www.quickes.co.uk, with the Mature Cheddar Truckle priced at £36, the Double Devonshire Truckle priced at £32 and the Devonshire Red Truckle priced at £32.


Clothbound Cheddar stars at Great Taste, as Quicke’s lands five awards

Amy Brice

Mary Quicke

Devon-based cheesemaker, Quicke’s has been named among the winners at Great Taste 2019, taking five honours at the world’s most coveted food and drink awards. Standing out from the crowd as a record-breaking 12,772 entries were put through the competition’s rigorous blind-tasting judging process, Quicke’s Cheddar impressed the judges yet again, as both Mature Clothbound Cheddar and Vintage Clothbound Cheddar took home Great Taste stars.

Earning plaudits from the panel some 45 years since the first truckles left the cheese stores at Home Farm, these award-winning cheddars represent Quicke’s continuing dedication to the art of cheesemaking. From its hybrid cows and carefully honed blend of grass varieties to its time-honoured cheesemaking process and continually refined grading system, every element of the process has been enhanced over the decades, as science and the senses come together in pursuit of greatness.

Other Great Taste award winning wedges include Quicke’s Goat’s Milk Clothbound Cheese, a vibrant and buttery 6-month matured hard cheese made using locally sourced goat’s milk, and Lady Prue, Quicke’s first ever mixed milk cheese, named after Mary Quicke’s mother, who first established the dairy at Home Farm. Completing the line-up, Quicke’s Slightly Salted Cow’s Whey Butter also achieved a 1-star award, as judges enjoyed the time-honoured recipe of grass-fed cows’ milk and whey cream leftover from the cheesemaking process, recognised by the Slow Food UK movement as one of the UK’s great ‘forgotten foods’.

Mary Quicke MBE (pictured above) commented:

“It’s always an honour to receive recognition for your craft, but when you know how robust the judging process is first hand, it’s even more gratifying. Great Taste plays such an important role in helping speciality food producers compete in a marketplace driven by economies of scale and big brands, and each year the list of winners highlights how it’s the smaller scale artisan producers that still set the benchmark for quality. For us cheddar makers, Great Taste stars remind people that cheddar should not just be seen as the commodity option. Cheddar is a broad church and the finest truckles are among the world’s best, so we’d like to see more and more people experiment with their cheese choices and discover that there’s a cheddar for every occasion.”

For more information about Quicke's, visit www.quickes.co.uk.

Great Taste results announced, with 50 countries winning stars

Amy Brice

Photo credit: Sam Pelly Photography.

Photo credit: Sam Pelly Photography.

Following 75 days of judging and a record breaking 12,772 entries, the results of the world’s most coveted food and drink awards, Great Taste, have been released, with producers from 50 different countries now celebrating. Having received entries from 104 nations this year, including 27 member countries of the EU, this global recognition of the Great Taste accreditation highlights Britain’s leading position in speciality food and drink worldwide, as uncertainty surrounding the UK’s future trade relationships continues.

With international entries increasing year-on-year, all blind-tasted alongside products from the UK, the consistent success of British producers pays testament to the exceptional quality of the nation’s food and drink. Every corner of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is represented among this year’s stars, as artisan makers continue to shine through.

Great Taste 3-star winners from the UK include; St Andrews Farmhouse Cheddar, a buttery 9-12 month matured unpasteurised cows’ milk cheese by St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company in Fife; a “smooth, perfectly balanced and umami rich” Black Garlic Miso, which is produced by Craic Foods Limited in Armagh; the “clean, sophisticated and easy drinking” 4.5% ABV Keeved Bottle-Conditioned Cider, produced by Seidr y Mynydd in Cardiff; and a handmade single variety Blaisdon Red Plum Jam produced by Gloucester-based Artisan Kitchen, which uses rare, heritage, Gloucester-sourced Blaisdon Red Plums from ancient, private orchards to create a “dark and velvety” jam, which “wraps around the tongue like a blanket” and is “like eating a plum right off the tree”.

Great Taste 3-star winners from around the world feature; a “light, clean and complex” Organic Thyme Honey produced by THE FAMILY BEEZ from Serifos Island, Greece, reminiscent of “parched Greek countryside with hints of drying thyme and warmth”; Matsesta Tea Factory’s “wonderfully complex” Premium Black Organic Matsesta Tea, which is grown and hand-harvested in Sochi, delivering a “natural sweetness with hints of malt and chocolate”; and the super-satiating, nutrient and mineral rich, Mount Mayon Premium Pili Nuts Kerala Coconut Curry from Hong Kong-based The Passionate Food Company, using a “well-balanced blend of flavours” to achieve a product that is “rich, creamy and aromatic with an original flavour”.

While these producers revel in their success and begin displaying the unmistakable gold and black Great Taste logo, with 1-, 2- or 3- stars, on their award-winning products, they will wait with much anticipation to see if they also scoop the top awards for their region. These final honours, including the Great Taste 2019 Supreme Champion, will be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner on Sunday 1 September, to be held at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel, London.

Recognised as a stamp of excellence 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 honey, kombucha, coffee or bread being judged, all products are removed from their packaging 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.

The panel of judges this year included; cook, writer and champion of sustainable food, Melissa Hemsley, Kenny Tutt, MasterChef 2018 champion, author, Olia Hercules, chef and food writer, Gill Meller, Kavi Thakar from Dishoom, food writer and stylist, Georgina Hayden and author and chef, Zoe Adjonyoh, as well as food buyers from Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Sourced Market and Partridges. These esteemed palates have together tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners to finally agree on the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the Great Taste 2019 Supreme Champion.

Details of this year’s winners can be found at www.greattasteawards.co.uk and a wide range of award winning products are available to buy in delis, farm shops and independent retail outlets across the country.

The new essential for home cooks, spreadable butter strikes gold in the kitchen

Amy Brice

Cooking

Whether roasting potatoes, frying eggs or making sauces, A Blend of Butter with Hillfarm Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil is set to be a game changer for curious cooks and butter lovers alike. Combining butter with cold pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil for the very first time, this pioneering spreadable butter from The Butterworks is both convenient and versatile, bringing a gloriously golden tubful of culinary possibilities to fridges across the UK.

With a mild nutty flavour, vibrant colour and silky-smooth texture, A Blend of Butter with Hillfarm Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil adds a delightful taste of the British summertime to both sweet and savoury dishes. Working with only four ingredients, including The Butterworks’ Sweet Cream Butter, Hillfarm’s totally unrefined Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil, salt and water, The Butter Boffins use cold mix technology to retain all the natural characteristics and nutritional benefits of Hillfarm’s finest.

Ready to spread, grease and stir-in straight from the fridge, this spreadable butter also has a higher burn point than normal butters thanks to the addition of cold pressed rapeseed oil, making it perfect for flawless frying and remarkable roast potatoes. The rich, creamy butter brings bags of flavour, while also preventing sticking, meaning that A Blend of Butter with Hillfarm Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil is a one-tub solution for speedy suppers, comforting bakes, velvety sauces and zingy salad dressings.

Boasting cholesterol blocking plant sterols and the correct balance of brain enhancing Omegas 3, 6 and 9, as well as promoting healthy eyes and skin from natural Vitamin E and K, this spreadable butter brings a wide variety of health benefits to the table. Nourishing, vibrant and versatile, this brand new butter is a tasty and convenient option for those looking to feed themselves and their families a balanced diet.

A Blend of Butter with Hillfarm Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil is available from Waitrose stores around the UK, RRP £2.00 (250g). The Butterworks’ Cornish Butter, which is hand-salted with Cornish sea salt crystals, is also available from Waitrose, RRP £2.00 (250g), and The Butterworks’ Softer Butter block is available from Morrisons, RRP £2.00 (250g).

For more information on The Butterworks, visit www.thebutterworks.co.uk.

World Cheese Awards open for entry dates announced

Amy Brice

Carlos Yescas

The World Cheese Awards will open for entry from Monday 22 July, with organisers, the Guild of Fine Food calling for cheesemakers across the globe to submit their products into the largest cheese-only competition on the planet. Dedicated only to cheese, with no other dairy products judged, the World Cheese Awards will take place in Italy for the very first time on Friday 18 October, forming part of the FORME cheese festival in Bergamo.

Following another record-breaking number of entries in 2018, more than 3,500 entries are expected in Lombardy this year, making their way from over 40 different countries in six continents. The global cheese community will gather to judge all entries in a single day, bringing together cheesemakers, retailers, buyers, consumers and food commentators in a truly international celebration of all things cheese.

Providing a global platform for cheesemaking excellence, from multi award-winners to tiny artisans, the World Cheese Awards will give Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold awards, as its 230-strong judging panel directs buyers everywhere to the world’s top cheese. An international Super Jury will then debate the best of the best live on WCA TV, before crowning this year’s World Champion Cheese.

As the fourth edition of FORME plays host to an epic gathering of cheese and cheese people, over 40,000 visitors will be given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the World Cheese Awards action, with a free exhibition of previous World Champion Cheeses and tickets available to witness the judging unfold live and to join tasting tours over the weekend. Taking place in the medieval heart of Bergamo and beyond, FORME will also feature a bustling consumer cheese festival and the brand new international dairy trade show, B2Cheese, providing the perfect setting for the cheese community to network, taste and debate, as connections are made and business gets done.

John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, organisers of the World Cheese Awards, explains:

“We’re enormously excited to be visiting Italy for the first time this October, joining forces with FORME to stage the biggest event in this year’s global cheese calendar. The World Cheese Awards grows in scale and reach year-on-year, but we never lose sight of what it’s all about – celebrating the work of small artisan cheesemakers – so we’re hoping for more entries from more countries than ever before in 2019. The Lombardy region has undoubted cheesemaking credentials and I can’t think of a better setting for the cheese world to gather once again, as we applaud cheesemaking excellence and shine a spotlight on the region’s Cheese Valleys during Bergamo’s time as a UNESCO Creative Cities candidate.”

The World Cheese Awards will be open for entry from Monday 22 July until Monday 9 September, unless the entry cap is reached before this date – early entry is recommended. Producers can enter online at www.gff.co.uk/wca.

The World Cheese Awards will take place on Friday 18 October, forming part of the FORME festival in Bergamo, which will run from Thursday 17 to Sunday 20 October.

Cheese Industry Award presented to Mary Quicke at British Cheese Awards 2019

Amy Brice

Mary Quicke with cows

Mary Quicke MBE from Devon-based Clothbound Cheddar producer, Quicke’s, has been honoured with the prestigious Cheese Industry Award at the British Cheese Awards 2019. Announced at the British Cheese Awards Dinner during the Royal Bath & West Show on Wednesday 29 May, the trophy presentation was followed by news of five further awards landed by Quicke’s during this year’s competition.

Recognising individuals who have provided an invaluable contribution to cheese, the annual Cheese Industry Award was presented to Mary for her impact on the industry, particularly the recent development of the Academy of Cheese, with its promise to transform how cheese is sold across the globe with its training programmes.

Mary took over the reins of the family farm in 1987. The following years have seen huge steps forward at Home Farm, from the switch to specially bred cows and the introduction of the kiwi grazing system to the development of an eco-friendly cheese mite management system, while collaborations, educational initiatives and experiments have kept Quicke’s at the forefront of the British cheese movement.

Always ready to immerse herself into new projects within the wider cheese community, Mary received an MBE for her contribution to farming and cheesemaking in 2005, became a member of the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers in 2016 and was instrumental in the establishment of the Academy of Cheese in 2017. Mary has contributed her palate to cheese competitions throughout the world, including the British Cheese Awards, World Cheese Awards and American Cheese Society Awards, and also sits on the board at both the FSA (Food Standards Agency) and AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) Dairy Sector.

Among the other awards picked up by Quicke’s during this year’s British Cheese Awards, the rich and rounded 18-month matured Extra Mature Clothbound Cheddar won Gold, as did Oak Smoked Clothbound Cheddar, which is cold smoked using oak chips from trees grown on the Quicke’s estate. Vintage Clothbound Cheddar and Goat’s Milk Clothbound Cheese landed Silver accolades, while Elderflower Clothbound Cheese was awarded a Bronze.

Mary Quicke MBE commented:

“Following a day tasting some of the best cheese in the land at the British Cheese Awards, I’m absolutely blown away to have received this trophy. British cheese has boomed, so to be singled out as someone who has made a contribution to this movement is truly an honour. For me, great cheesemaking starts in the soft boundary between admiration and partnership with the land, and I’m delighted to see more and more artisan cheesemakers making wonderful cheeses from the ground up. It was great also to judge for the Young Cheesemonger Award, to see the passionate and knowledgeable young people coming on. The future is bright for British cheese and at Quicke’s, we’ll continue to be driven by the pursuit of great cheesemaking, farming like we’re going to live forever.”

Julius Longman, chairman of the British Cheese Awards, added:

“Mary is a pioneer in cheddar and cheesemaking, so we’re absolutely delighted to be honouring her with this year’s Cheese Industry Award. A driving force in all things cheese, Mary has contributed so much to the industry, including her role in recent formation of the Academy of Cheese. Mary’s passion shines through in everything she does, whether on the farm, judging at the British Cheese Awards or flying the flag for British cheese overseas, so we couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of this year’s trophy.”

For more information about Quicke's, visit www.quickes.co.uk.

New butters on the block… The Butterworks has scones, croissants and crumpets covered

Amy Brice

Butter

Churned, blended and crafted with serious butter lovers in mind, Softer Butter and Cornish Butter with Cornish Sea Salt crystals from The Butterworks bring both convenience and dairy indulgence to the kitchen. Following years of development, working with just two ingredients, the Butter Boffins have created a rich and creamy celebration of Cornwall and an award-winning slightly salted butter that spreads straight from the fridge.

Research undertaken by Campden BRI has shown that this Softer Butter is at least fifty percent softer than all other butter brands when spread straight from the fridge, reflecting The Butterworks’ imagination, innovation and determination to produce a better bit of butter. Using only butter and salt, the Butter Boffins have used their extensive expertise and know-how to develop a churning technique that creates a naturally softer butter, with no artificial colours or flavours added. Rich and well-balanced, Softer Butter is perfect for baking, lunch boxes and speedy sandwiches before heading out.

Inspired by the dramatic Cornish coast and countryside, The Butterworks’ Cornish Butter with Cornish Sea Salt crystals is the ultimate traditional table butter, creamy and delicious however it is enjoyed. Carefully churned in Cornwall, the cream is then hand-salted with Cornish Sea Salt Company sea salt crystals, delivering a mouth-watering crunch and enhancing the butter’s velvety texture.

The Butterworks’ Softer Butter block is available from Morrisons, RRP £2.00 (250g), and Cornish Butter with Cornish Sea Salt crystals is available from Waitrose, RRP £2.00 (250g). Completing The Butterworks’ range, A Blend of Butter with Hillfarm Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil is available from Waitrose, RRP £2.00 (250g).

For more information on The Butterworks, visit www.thebutterworks.co.uk.

Academy of Cheese dates announced at Quicke’s, as the farm becomes the classroom

Amy Brice

Academy of Cheese

Devon-based Clothbound Cheddar producer, Quicke’s is set to become the first cheesemaker to hold Academy of Cheese training courses on a working farm, with a series of dates due to get underway later this year. The Academy’s latest training partner, Quicke’s will run the Level 1: Associate one-day course, offering cheese lovers and cheesemongers the chance to improve their knowledge, take a tour of Home Farm and gain a recognised certification.

Delivered by cheese-broadcaster, cheesemonger and Academy-certified trainer, Sam Wilkin, the Level 1 course will cover cheesemaking, provenance, terminology and more. The day will begin with a guided tour, witnessing cheesemaking in action, visiting the ‘cathedral of cheese’ and meeting the specially-bred Quicke’s cows, before the notebooks come out for a lesson in everything from ingredients and production to maturing, affinage and grading.

Open to everyone, with no previous experience required, the course will introduce a structured approach to tasting as the group makes its way through 25 classic cheeses. Learning Le Gruyère from Gorgonzola in the home of Clothbound Cheddar, the session will be supported by home study and further tasting, before delegates undertake a multiple choice exam paper.

Instrumental in the formation of the Academy of Cheese in 2017, which was established to promote cheese knowledge and support career development, Mary Quicke MBE will now bring the certification to Devon for the first time. Giving curd nerds an opportunity to immerse themselves in both cheese theory and the practical cheesemaking process, this course can be the first step on a journey to become a fully-certified Master of Cheese.

The first Academy of Cheese Level 1: Associate training courses to be hosted by Quicke’s will take place on 24 September 2019, 26 November 2019 and 25 February 2020, running from 9am to 4:30pm.

Tickets can be purchased from Eventbrite and cost £195 per person, which includes access to the Academy of Cheese Level 1 online knowledge base, study materials and Cheese Library.

For more information about Quicke's, visit www.quickes.co.uk.

World Cheese Awards to be hosted by FORME festival in Bergamo, Italy

Amy Brice

FORME

Visiting Italy for the very first time, the World Cheese Awards will be held in Bergamo on Friday 18 October, forming part of the city’s annual cheese festival, FORME. A four day celebration of cheese set in the Medieval heart of Bergamo and beyond, this year’s FORME will play host to over 3,500 entries from six continents, as the international cheese community gathers for the 32nd edition of the competition.

As 250 experts nose, taste and deliberate entries from more than 40 different countries, FORME’s 40,000 visitors will be given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the World Cheese Awards action. Festivalgoers will be able to buy tickets to witness the judging unfold live, as all entries are assessed in a single day to find this year’s World Champion Cheese, with tasting tours then held in the judging hall over the weekend.

For the first time ever, an exhibition of previous World Champion Cheeses will be staged showcasing the rich heritage of the competition, held at the Palazzo della Ragione in the centre of Bergamo’s Città Alta. Downstairs under the loggia, which opens out into the square, a bustling market will honour the region’s Cheese Valleys, while FORME’s conference programme, training sessions and tastings led by ONAF (The Italian National Organization of Cheese Tasters) experts get underway in many of the other historic buildings set within the iconic Venetian walls of the upper town.

Taking its place at the centre of the cheese world this October, Bergamo will open its doors to cheese lovers, cheesemakers, cheesemongers and cheese people from across the globe, as the largest cheese-only competition on the planet comes to town.

The World Cheese Awards, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, will take place on Friday 18 October, forming part of the FORME festival in Bergamo, which will run from Thursday 17 to Sunday 20 October.

Tickets to attend selected FORME events, including those associated with the World Cheese Awards, will be available to purchase online from www.progettoforme.eu by summer 2019, while many other events within the FORME schedule will be free of charge.

For more information about the World Cheese Awards, visit www.gff.co.uk/wca.

The Butterworks launches first Spreadable Butter made with Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil

Amy Brice

A+Blend+of+Butter

Bringing a tubful of health benefits to fridges across the UK, The Butterworks has created the nation’s first ever spread using a blend of butter and Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil. Teaming up with Hillfarm Oils, one of the first UK farms to grow, press and bottle its own cold pressed rapeseed oil, the freshest butter brand on the block has produced A Blend of Butter with Hillfarm Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil, a gloriously golden spread with cholesterol reducing and immune system boosting credentials.

Beginning a new wave in Spreadable Butter, the Butter Boffins from Caerphilly have partnered with Suffolk-based Hillfarm, a family-run farm established in 1967. Beautifully golden with a mild nutty taste, Hillfarm’s Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil is totally unrefined to retain its vibrant colour, nutritional benefits and natural flavour, and has also been carefully selected by The Butterworks team for its traceability and versatility.

Containing a lower level of saturated fat than many other commonly available oils that are often used in tubs of Spreadable Butter, Hillfarm’s finest boasts a whole host of nutritional properties, preserved from the crop through a natural process of cold pressing the seeds. These include cholesterol blocking plant sterols and the correct balance of brain enhancing Omegas 3, 6 and 9, while the oil is also a rich source of Vitamin E and K, which promote healthy eyes and skin.

Carefully blended with The Butterworks’ specially selected Sweet Cream Butter, a little salt and water, the cold pressed rapeseed oil is one of only four ingredients that are poured into this deliciously light spreadable butter, which has no artificial colours or flavours. To retain the nutritional benefits of the cold pressed rapeseed oil, The Butterworks uses cold mix technology to bring all of the ingredients together without adding any heat to the process.

Easy to spread straight from the fridge into sandwiches and perfect for roasting and frying due to its high burn point, A Blend of Butter with Hillfarm is a convenient and tasty option for those looking to feed themselves and their families a delicious, balanced and healthy diet.

A Blend of Butter with Hillfarm Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil is available from Waitrose stores around the UK, RRP £2.00 (250g). The Butterworks’ Cornish Butter, which is hand-salted with Cornish sea salt crystals, is also available from Waitrose, RRP £2.00 (250g), and The Butterworks Softer Butter block is available from Morrisons, RRP £2.00 (250g).

For more information on The Butterworks, visit www.thebutterworks.co.uk.

Food and drink start-ups are good to grow, as The Seed Fund announces Class of 2019

Amy Brice

The Seed Fund 2019

With a line-up intent on shaking up the shopping basket, The Seed Fund has announced its Class of 2019, revealing the 14 food and drink start-ups that have been invited to join its summer Academy. Now in its seventh year, the philanthropic organisation will unite these ambitious entrepreneurs with top mentors from across the industry, during an intensive programme designed to transform big ideas into big business.

Reflecting the nation’s shifting tastes, this year’s Academy is brimming with innovative combinations, new creations and fresh takes on kitchen classics. Featuring dairy-free cheese, fermented foods, switchels and cold-pressed juices made with wonky fruit and vegatables, many in the group are responding to the changing face of food and drink, while makers of tomato ketchup, peanut butter, spritzers and vinegars plan to take traditional favourites to a new level. Bone broth and beef-based snack bars bring some meat into the mix, with avocado oils, tahini butters, frozen meals for infants and biscuits for beverages completing the list.

The Seed Fund Academy’s Class of 2019 includes:

  • Borough Broth Co., London – organic bone broths

  • Bottlebrush Ferments, London – raw fermented foods

  • Dr Wills, London – all natural condiments

  • Flawsome!, Cardiff – cold-pressed juices made from imperfect fruit and vegetables

  • Hunter & Gather, London – avocado oil mayonnaise and cold pressed avocado oil

  • Kinda Co., London – dairy-free cheese

  • Mamamade, London – nutritious frozen meals for babies

  • Manilife, London – peanut butter

  • Prime Bar, West Yorkshire – snack bars made with grass-fed beef, fruits, herbs and spices

  • Sead Foods, Newcastle-under-Lyme – sesame seed spreads

  • SilverSwift, Bath – gin and vodka spritzers

  • The Drinks Bakery, Edinburgh – savoury snacks flavour-profiled to complement drinks

  • Vinegar Shed, London – vinegars, olive oils, herbs, spices, peppers, salts and more

  • Zingibear, Lake District – apple cider vinegar and ginger switchels

These budding businesses will now embark on a game-changing series of workshops, seminars, industry visits and one-on-one sessions with mentors including Renée Elliott, founder of Planet Organic, the Guild of Fine Food’s John Farrand, Camilla Barnard from Rude Health and Emma Murphy of Sourced Market. Run in partnership with Great Taste, the world’s most coveted food awards, the Academy will cover branding, funding, finance, PR, social media, law and more, during a comprehensive accelerator programme designed to help these products find space on the crowded shelves.

Following a summer of learning and development, a brand new investment Pitch Day will be held at Piper Private Equity in Notting Hill, where the business owners will have an opportunity to secure funding for their brands. One eventual Academy winner will also be announced at the Great Taste Golden Forks Dinner in London this autumn, awarded a further year of business support and brand development, estimated to be worth over £100,000.

For more information about The Seed Fund, visit www.theseedfund.co.uk.

A wedge from the hedge, Elderflower Cheese captures summer’s botanical bounty

Amy Brice

Elderflower cheese

Hand-crafted during the first burst of summer, Elderflower Clothbound Cheese from Devon-based cheesemaker, Quicke’s is a seasonal cheese like no other. Combining early summer’s grass-fed cow’s milk with the elder tree’s botanical bloom, this 6-month matured cheese is a joyous celebration of the land at this special time of year, from the lush pastures to the hedgerows that weave their way around Home Farm.

A truly unique cheese, born from a desire to make the most of nature’s larder, Elderflower Clothbound Cheese owes much to the ageless hedgerows that the Quicke family has maintained since the sixteenth century. Working with local foragers to greedily gather the spoils from this ancient plant, Quicke’s then blends the elderflower into the cheesemaking process to achieve a fresh, buttery cheese with delicate floral notes.

Steeped in tradition while breaking the mould, Quicke’s Elderflower Clothbound Cheese can bring a taste of the British summer to the table, whatever the time of year. Rich and aromatic, the cheese finds a perfect pair in a cool glass of Prosecco, better still enjoyed during a hazy sun-drenched picnic along with charcuterie and pickles.

Quicke’s Elderflower Clothbound Cheese is available to purchase from www.quickes.co.uk (200g £5.30, 500g £12.00), as well as from many independent retailers across the UK.