Great Taste will judge Welsh food and drink product entries on home soil this year, at St David’s Hotel, Cardiff Bay on Tuesday 2 – Thursday 4 June 2015. With the Welsh Government’s plans to sustainably grow this sector by 30% over the next five years and a bounty of Welsh products awarded Great Taste stars in 2014, Rebecca Evans, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, invited the Guild of Fine Food to host the judging process in Cardiff for the first time.
With a whole host of experts lined up to blind taste the Welsh entries, including food and cookery features writer for the Telegraph Weekend, Xanthe Clay, esteemed food critic, Charles Campion, and many other chefs, buyers, restaurateurs and writers, the Great Taste roadshow will put the spotlight firmly on Wales’ diverse and innovative food and drink producers. This year’s competition has already witnessed a significant upsurge in Welsh entries, rising from 99 companies entering 374 products in 2014 to 143 companies putting 491 products forward for consideration in 2015.
An impressive 120 coveted Great Taste awards went to products from Wales last year, with 83 entries achieving 1-star, 34 getting 2-stars and three being deemed worthy of the 3-star accolade. Among this elite selection of food and drink products to be awarded the unmistakable gold and black Great Taste logo, were The Patchwork Traditional Food Company’s Red Pesto Pâté, The Mushroom Garden’s Mushroom Caviar and Purple Moose Brewery’s Cwrw Ysgawen Elderflower Ale.
John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, explains;
"The Great Taste roadshow held a week's judging in Belfast last year, raising the profile of Great Taste and the winning producers but more than that, waving the flag for Northern Ireland as a serious food destination. The increase in Welsh entries this year has been a real pleasure to see, with a wealth of beer, yoghurt and ice cream brands in particular set to be put before our judges. I’d like to encourage more food and drink producers in Wales to enter Great Taste in 2016 and beyond, helping to build the profile of Welsh produce to a worldwide audience which we know is eager to source from the list of Great Taste stars."
Rebecca Evans, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food said;
“Wales is looking forward to hosting the judging of Welsh food and drink entries for the Great Taste awards 2015. We have such a wide range of products and businesses here in Wales and it is wonderful to see that they have gained recognition by Great Taste over the years. I would like to wish all Welsh entries the very best of luck and look forward to celebrating their success.”
TV chef, presenter and Great Taste judge, Dudley Newbery, gave his thoughts;
“As someone who has been involved in the Welsh food industry for 24 years, it’s been fantastic to see so many Welsh producers coming out of the woodwork in more recent times. They’re now more than holding their own among their counterparts in the rest of the UK and Great Taste provides the perfect platform to showcase the fruits of their labours.”
Rufus Carter, commercial director of Great Taste award-winning The Patchwork Traditional Food Company, adds;
“The Great Taste Awards is the most credible and transparent food awards in the UK. It's an opportunity for us all to benchmark our products against the best in the UK and abroad. A Great Taste 1-, 2- or 3-star award reassures consumers and buyers that they are buying the best. Each year Great Taste challenges us to get better and to be recognised is still a genuine buzz.”
The judging process draws to a close in July and the award-winning products will be announced in August.
For more information visit www.greattasteawards.co.uk.