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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.


 

Pipers Farm serves up a sustainable Sunday roast to nourish those nearest

Amy Brice

Topside beef

As the nation continues to diversify its diet, discovering fresh world flavours and opting for more meat free meals throughout the week, Pipers Farm’s Grass Fed Beef Topside, a classic roasting joint laced with a fine-grained texture and flavour releasing bite, remains King of the Sunday lunch table. Slow grown and 100% grass fed, this wholesome and nutritious beef can be enjoyed by the whole family with assurance that it has been produced in harmony with nature.

Spending their entire lives outside, the native Red Ruby Cattle are perfectly suited to the Devon landscape and its natural resources. The calves build up their natural immunity free from antibiotics with a diet of mother’s milk, which is converted from rough native pasture and heather. Once this milk source dries up after nine months, the ruminant Red Ruby Cattle enjoy a natural diet of forage, herb-rich grass and hay. This 100% grass-fed diet ensures a healthy gut, feeding their own microbiome as well as helping the cattle play a vital role in the cyclical maintenance of the land, grazing the pasture while nurturing the soil and providing food and habitats for insects in the process.

Once the Red Ruby Cattle reach natural maturity around 31-36 months old, as opposed to the industrialised method where cereal, grains and chemicals are fed to the cattle to speed up the growing process, they are taken to a local family-run farmyard-based abattoir. The entire carcass is then hung on the bone for at least four weeks, a time-honoured technique, which develops an intense depth of flavour and mouth-watering texture.

Served alongside golden potatoes, roasted in Pipers Farm’s Free Range Goose Fat, fluffy Yorkshire Puddings and seasonal vegetables all drizzled in homemade gravy using Pipers Farms Pure Beef Stock, the Grass Fed Beef Topside can provide the centrepiece for a delicious, nourishing and truly traditional Sunday roast with minimal impact on the environment.

Pipers Farm’s Grass Fed Beef Topside is all available to order from www.pipersfarm.com, £21 per kg.

Golden Cross wins Best British Cheese at World Cheese Awards 2018

Amy Brice

Photo credit: Tim Johnston Photography.

Photo credit: Tim Johnston Photography.

Golden Cross from the Golden Cross Cheese Company has been named the Best British Cheese, sponsored by the Academy of Cheese, at the 31st edition of the World Cheese Awards in Bergen, Norway following a record breaking 3,472 entries being judged in a single day at the city’s iconic Grieg Hall.

Produced in East Sussex, this log shaped and lightly charcoaled goat’s cheese achieved a Super Gold rating and made the final 16 alongside this year’s top cheeses. Other honours around the UK went to Celtic Promise from Caws Teifi Cheese, which picked up the Best Welsh Cheese trophy, sponsored by The Abergavenny Creamery, and Arran Blue from the Island Cheese Company, which was named Best Scottish Cheese.

Visiting Norway for the first time this year to form part of the brand new food festival, Matnasjonen Norge, the World Cheese Awards judged entries from over 40 different countries on Friday 2 November. Nine hours of judging later, the Super Jury named Fanaost, made by Norwegian cheesemaker, Ostegården, World Champion Cheese 2018, after the aged gouda stood out at every stage of the blind tasting process.

With a total of 12 Super Gold, 53 Gold, 84 Silver and 93 Bronze awards going to entries from Britain this year, the World Cheese Awards has once again provided an internationally recognised seal of approval for many of the UK’s cheesemakers. Among the other winners bringing awards back the UK are a Super Gold winning Cornish Blue from the Cornish Cheese Co, a Gold winning Corra Linn from Errington Cheese and a Gold winning Abergavenny British Soft Goat’s Cheese from The Abergavenny Fine Foods Co.

Records were broken across the board this year, as more nations than ever before entered cheeses into the world’s biggest cheese-only event. Representing 41 different countries, entries made their way by boat, truck, train and plane via 12 consolidation points around the world, from places including Brazil, Kenya, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa and the USA. 235 judges from 30 countries then tasted, nosed and graded cheeses from six continents, giving Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold awards to worthy entries.

As 3,472 eventually became 16, the crowds then watched on as the International Super Jury debated the world’s top cheese. Made up of the finest palates from the international cheese community, this year’s panel featured cheese makers, cheesemongers, buyers, chefs, retailers and writers. Judges including José Pizarro, critically acclaimed Spanish chef, Cathy Strange, global executive coordinator for Whole Foods Market in the USA, Claus Meyer, co-founder of Noma in Denmark, and Nick Tsioros, owner of Olympic Cheese in Toronto, all put forward their chosen cheeses live on World Cheese TV, before crowning this year’s World Champion Cheese.

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

Quicke’s wins three World Cheese Awards in Norway

Amy Brice

Festive cheese

Distinguished Devon-based cheesemaker, Quicke’s has landed three honours at the World Cheese Awards in Norway, standing out from the crowd among a record-breaking field of 3,472 entries from 41 different countries that were judged in Bergen on Friday 2 November.

Continuing its impressive run of awards success, Quicke’s Goat's Milk Clothbound Cheese took a Gold following the blind-tasting judging process, joined by Mature Clothbound Cheddar which also achieved a Gold rating. New for 2018, Lady Prue impressed the panel too, with the youthful and delicate mixed milk cheese winning a Silver during its first appearance at the competition.

Mary Quicke MBE and Tom Chatfield, head of sales and marketing at Quicke’s, joined a 235-strong team of judges from 30 different countries at the planet’s largest cheese-only event, which took place at Bergen’s iconic Grieg Hall in the heart of the city. Having flown the flag for Devon as the global curd community gathered in Norway for the 31st edition of the competition, Quicke’s has once again been recognised as one of the world’s top cheesemakers.

Mary Quicke explains:

“It’s a truly special experience to join the panel each year at the World Cheese Awards and although judging is a serious business, it’s incredibly fun and exciting to taste so many diverse cheeses from every corner of the planet. Judging serves as a great reminder of just how good cheese can be when we work in harmony with the land around us and let the cheese tell a story of the pastures, the animals, the climate and even the unique microflora that exists in every cheesemaker’s maturing rooms. To be among the winners at this global gathering of cheese is an honour and shows that we are doing something right with our little patch of Devon.”

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

Fanaost from Norway crowned World Champion Cheese 2018 in Bergen

Amy Brice

Photo credit: Tim Johnston Photography.

Photo credit: Tim Johnston Photography.

Fanaost, an aged gouda made by Norwegian cheesemaker, Ostegården, has been named World Champion Cheese at the 31st edition of the World Cheese Awards in Bergen, Norway. Produced from a herd of just 12 cows on a farm less than 20km from Bergen, Fanaost rose to the top among a record breaking 3,472 entries judged in a single day at the city’s iconic Grieg Hall.

This truly artisan cheese stood out at every stage of the blind tasting process on Friday 2 November, as the competition visited Norway for the first time to form part of the brand new food festival, Matnasjonen Norge, in partnership with HANEN. Beating finalists from countries including Italy, France, Israel and South Africa in the final 16, cheesemaker Jørn Hafslund was in attendance to claim his trophy and receive a rapturous reception from the home crowd.

Jørn Hafslund from Ostegården commented:

“I have no words. Our herd of 12 cows produces nice milk to make this Dutch-inspired Fanaost cheese, which we have been making for 12 years. Cheese makers here look out for each other and work together, so this is for Norway!”

Having taken this year’s top prize at the largest cheese-only competition on the planet, Ostegården now joins a select group of cheesemakers to have earned this prestigious accolade over the past three decades. Jason Hinds from Neal's Yard Dairy in the UK, who also received an Exceptional Contribution to Cheese award at this year’s World Cheese Awards, championed the cheese during the final round of judging, saying:

“This was a refreshing thing to taste with none of that confected sweetness that can be sometimes be prevalent in this style of cheese. I was looking for terroir and this cheese, which turned out to be from Norway, really delivers a sense of place with a great texture and wonderful marriage of sweet and savoury notes.”

The rest of the International Super Jury, representing nations including Brazil, Japan, Russia, Norway and Spain, concurred, awarding Fanaost the highest score of the final judging stage.

Fanaost was awarded 71 points out of a possible 80 by the Super Jury of 16 judges, ahead of two cheeses in joint-second place with 65 points; Agour Pur Brebis AOP Ossau Iraty from France, made by Fromagerie Agour and entered by QST International Limited; and Helfeit, Brun Geitost – Tinntradisjon, a traditional brown goat’s cheese from Norway, made by Stordalen Gardsbruk.

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

“The World Cheese Awards was set up to champion artisan cheesemakers, so it feels very fitting that this year’s winner should be a small family farm making cheese just a few miles south from here. Our hosts, including HANEN, Norway’s Minister of Agriculture and Food, Bård Hoksrud, and the Bergen city government, have understood the power of this global cheese gathering from the outset and besides the honour of having over 200 of the world’s top cheese people to hang out with for a few days, we know that the competition will leave a lasting legacy for food and drink in this part of the world. With just a dozen cows, I think it’s safe to say that Ostegården is our smallest ever champion and I hope as many people as possible get to taste this rare and special cheese. More importantly though, this result has shone a spotlight on just how good artisan cheese can be, so I’d encourage the world to revisit the cheese counter and take a closer look at what’s being produced on their doorsteps.”

Records were broken across the board this year, as more nations than ever before entered cheeses into the world’s biggest cheese-only event. Representing 41 different countries, entries made their way by boat, truck, train and plane via 12 consolidation points around the world, from places including Brazil, Kenya, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa and the USA. 235 judges from 30 countries then tasted, nosed and graded cheeses from six continents, giving Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold awards to worthy entries.

As 3,472 eventually became 16, the crowds then watched on as the International Super Jury debated the world’s top cheese. Made up of the finest palates from the international cheese community, this year’s panel featured cheese makers, cheesemongers, buyers, chefs, retailers and writers. Judges including José Pizarro, critically acclaimed Spanish chef, Cathy Strange, global executive coordinator for Whole Foods Market in the USA, Claus Meyer, co-founder of Noma in Denmark, and Carlos Yescas, author and cheesemonger from Mexico, all put forward their chosen cheeses live on World Cheese TV, before crowning this year’s World Champion Cheese.

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

Breaking bread with Gill Meller to celebrate autumnal abundance at Home Farm

Amy Brice

Soda bread

A quick loaf that’s packed full of texture and flavour, Gill Meller’s Cheddar and Whey Hazelnut Soda Bread recipe has been created with autumn’s bounty in mind. The latest in a series of seasonal recipes developed by Gill using Quicke’s award-winning clothbound cheese, the soda bread takes inspiration from all corners of this ancient Devon landscape, from the dairy and ancient woodlands to Mary Quicke’s own back garden.

Taking just 45 minutes to prepare, this is a recipe designed for the busiest of seasons, a time of harvesting, gathering and preparation for the months ahead. Beneath a golden cheesy crown, made using Quicke’s Buttery Clothbound Cheddar, the bread is crammed with sweet roast red onions and rosemary from the garden, along with bashed hazelnuts and jumbo oats to give the most satisfying of bites. All brought together using whey left over from the cheesemaking process, this loaf sets out to make the most of what the pastures provide.

Following the publication of Gill’s latest book, Time, which moves through the seasons with recipes created for morning, daytime and night, this new soda bread recipe is firmly rooted in autumn at Home Farm. Just as the milk shifts with the changing seasons, giving new complexities to truckles entering the cheese stores for anything from three up to 24 months, minds turn to feasting, comfort and shelter as the colours change across Home Farm. Created to tell help tell the story of the land as autumn brings about shorter days and thicker jumpers, Gill’s recipe is a warm invitation to gather with friends and hunker down with a good hunk of bread.

The recipe for Gill Meller’s Cheddar and Whey Hazelnut Soda Bread can be found at www.quickes.co.uk/blogs/recipes.

Butcher becomes baker as Pipers Farm launches new range of pies

Amy Brice

Pies

Devon-based online butcher, Pipers Farm has launched a new range of Handmade Pies this week, bringing wholesome lunches, hearty snacks and simple suppers for the whole family to enjoy. With crisp buttery pastry and the finest natural ingredients, including generous chunks of moreish slow-grown and grass fed meat, which has been traditionally farmed in harmony with nature, these rustic pies are now available for home delivery nationwide.

Taking inspiration from classic recipes, Pipers Farm has created four regular fillings, including a Steak and Otter Ale Pie crammed with its nutritious and award-winning Red Ruby beef and root vegetables, immersed in local ale gravy. Slow grown and grass fed for their entire lives, the native Red Ruby cattle build up a natural immunity from their mothers’ milk without the need for antibiotics, before playing a vital role in the cyclical maintenance of the land, grazing the pasture while nurturing the soil and providing food and habitats for insects in the process.

Other recipes make use of hand-picked cuts from across the farm, including the Chicken and Ham Pie which combines two of Pipers Farm’s most celebrated meats. The Butter Chicken Pie puts poultry centre stage, championing the Properly Free Range Chicken that provided the cornerstone for Pipers Farm when it was founded over 30 years ago, while the Pumpkin, Goat’s Cheese and Spinach Pie delivers a hearty vegetarian option that makes the most of autumnal abundance.

Suitable for home freezing, the Handmade Pies are best cooked from frozen and take a total of 40 minutes to cook. Served warm with seasonal vegetables or cooled overnight for the next day’s lunchbox, the new pies from Pipers Farm are designed with modern family life in mind.

Pipers Farm’s entire range of Handmade Pies are all available to order from www.pipersfarm.com, RRP £3.95.

Take a gander at goose for a time-honoured festive feast

Amy Brice

Goose

Golden, plump and juicy, a Pipers Farm Properly Free Range Goose, which is slow reared especially for Christmas and New Year, can be the crowning glory of any festive dinner table. A Christmas favourite for centuries gone by and a popular alternative to turkey, the Devon-based online butcher’s free range goose makes for truly traditional fare and can feed the whole family and more, with succulent, seasonal and nutritious meat, which has been reared in harmony with nature.

Hatched in April and slow grown on a two-generation-run farm tucked into a steep Devon hillside, the properly free range geese enjoy a natural diet and plenty of space to flap, fly, scratch and honk. Once the birds reach natural maturity in late November they are slaughtered, dry plucked by hand and hung for 12 days, time-honoured methods honed to perfect that unmistakable texture and rich lingering flavour.

Stuffed with roughly chopped prunes, Bramley apples and onions, then served with seasonal vegetables and gravy made from the giblets, alongside wonderfully fluffy roast potatoes cooked under the goose to catch the delicious fat, this Properly Free Range Goose will make a grand centrepiece this Christmas or New Year. For smaller gatherings or last minute get-togethers, the Free Range Goose Breast and Free Range Confit Goose Leg deliver those same comforting and indulgent flavours, leaving more time to take on the nibbles, dessert and wine.

Pipers Farm’s Properly Free Range Goose, which includes the giblets for making stocks and gravy, the Free Range Goose Breast and the Free Range Confit Goose Leg, are all available to order from www.pipersfarm.com for delivery after Monday 10 December.

A truckle with a tale to tell, Oak Smoked Cheddar delivers Home Farm charm this Christmas

Amy Brice

Smoked cheddar

A cheese shaped by every corner of the Quicke’s estate, the award-winning Oak Smoked Clothbound Cheddar can bring a true taste of Devon to this year’s Christmas festivities. Combining a subtle smoke with the cheesemaker’s distinctive buttery cheddar, this is a wedge ready to shake up the Christmas cheeseboard, pair up with the drinks cabinet and bring homely flavours and aromas to a range of recipes.

Beginning with the grass out on the pastures of Home Farm, an unadulterated Devon diet for Quicke’s world-famous hybrid cows, this lush resource provides milk like no other for the dairy. A true taste of the land from which it came, this milk is then combined with natural rennet, heritage starters and Cornish Sea Salt to create the cheese’s unique flavour profile. Wrapped in cloth and moved onto the maturing rooms for 9-12 months, the farm’s unique microflora impacts upon its taste, texture and appearance as the cheese slowly comes of age.

Venturing around the farm more than most, the Oak Smoked Clothbound Cheddar is finally cold smoked using oak chips from trees grown in the ancient woodlands of the Quicke’s estate, which have been dried for many months in an old barn nestled in the farm’s winding lanes. Making the most of every gift that the landscape has provided, this is a smoked cheddar that’s worth the wait, pairing well with Devon tipples ranging from Sandford Orchards’ Devon Red Cider to Lyme Bay Winery’s Damson Liqueur.

Quicke’s Oak Smoked Clothbound Cheddar is available to buy at selected Marks & Spencer and Whole Foods Market stores, as well as from many independent retailers across the UK. The cheese can also be purchased from www.quickes.co.uk; 200g £4.75, 500g £11.10, 1.5kg £30.00.

Saddleback Pork Steak a cut above the rest, as Great Taste crowns the best in the South West

Amy Brice

Saddleback

Slow-grown with plenty of space to roam, Pipers Farm’s Saddleback Pork Steaks have been awarded the Great Taste Golden Fork for the best food or drink from the South West, coming out on top among thousands of other entries from the region. Founders, Peter and Henri Greig, collected the trophy at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner in London earlier this month, where it was also revealed that the Devon-based online butcher’s pork steaks had made it all the way to the final panel, as one of Great Taste 2018’s Top 18 products from over 12,600 entries.

Packed full of rich buttery fat, cutting through the sweet Saddleback meat, this pork was applauded by the Great Taste judges for its “full frontal flavour”, with one judge describing it as “deliciously juicy, beautifully soft and fabulously piggy”. Boasting a “porky complexity” that set this product apart from the crowd, the Great Taste 3-star steaks are a testament to what can be achieved by farming in harmony with nature, while allowing the native Wessex Saddlebacks to enjoy a natural life without stress.

Properly farrow and living outside for the duration of their lives, these old-fashioned pigs stay on their mother for eight weeks, to get the full benefit of their mother's milk. Rooting outside from only a few days old, Pipers Farm’s piglets build up a strong natural immunity, helping them to reach maturity without the need for antibiotics. Fed on a simple cereal diet, while also foraging on herb-rich grass, acorns, apples and fodder beet, all grown on the farm they call home, these family groups provide the most sustainable way of managing a mixed farm, ploughing and fertilising the ground in the most natural way and minimising the need for machinery and inorganic fertilisers.

Peter Greig, founder of Pipers Farm, explains:

“This is a special day for Pipers Farm, but it was all the sweeter for Henri and I to share the stage with the young farmers who reared these wonderful pigs for us. The Snells epitomise what Pipers Farm is all about, partnering with family-run farms to provide a sustainable alternative to the industrialised farming methods that consumers have been told to accept as the only way to feed the masses. We believe strongly that small-scale family farming is the future and feel honoured to be providing an outlet for the work of these great young people, which is ultimately benefiting the community, the pastures and the animals themselves, while giving us some superb meat along the way. Having judged with Great Taste for the first time this year, I now know what a rigorous blind-tasting process it is, so I’m incredibly proud to be bringing this trophy back down to Devon with us. Our Golden Fork shows just what can be achieved when you farm with respect for mother nature, who rewards us with some sensational and sustainable meat that we can feed to our families with confidence.”

Pipers Farm’s Saddleback Pork Steak is available to order from www.pipersfarm.com.

Shop of the Year 2018 winners announced

Amy Brice

Photo credit: Tim Johnston Photography.

Photo credit: Tim Johnston Photography.

On Thursday 20 September, the Guild of Fine Food crowned the UK’s best independent retailers, as Shop of the Year 2018 reached its exciting finale in London. Established to recognise and promote excellence in the industry, the accreditation scheme was newly expanded this year to offer even more opportunities for small independent retailers.

Delifonseca Dockside in Liverpool was awarded Best Delicatessen, Bradford-based Keelham Farm Shop won Best Farm Shop with Food Hall and Cheshire’s specialist grocer, Godfrey C. Williams & Son, claimed Best Grocer, Village or Community Shop. With this trio of top honours going to retailers from the North, The Cheese Society in Lincoln completed the line-up, taking home Best Specialist Cheese Shop.

All the trophies were presented at No. 42 Southwark Street, the Guild of Fine Food’s London base, where the world of fine food gathered to find out the winners of each category, selected following two rounds of judging over the summer, which included an announced visit from one of the industry expert judges and a mystery shop by customer experience experts, Insight6.

With a “spacious, well stocked and laid out food hall”, Delifonseca Dockside, which has a “good atmosphere and low staff turnover”, was applauded for its “wide range of local, national and international produce, from local honey and bread to global beers and 120 cheeses from all over the world”. Packed with all the “farm shop classics, such as meat, fruits and vegetables,” Keelham Farm Shop also impressed the judges with its more novel offerings, from a range of pulses and a juice bar to its new product development, which now includes a curry range.

A family business since 1875, Godfrey C. Williams & Son received high praise for its “excellent customer service values”, vast range of certain brands and merchandising. While further off the beaten track, innovative ideas, such as a Cheese Lucky Dip, “very cool’ branded cool bags and a cheese café scooped The Cheese Society its gong, with the panel commenting on its excellent layout and “perfect balance of cheese, accompaniments and tools”.

Shop of the Year 2018 winners

Best Delicatessen sponsored by Le Gruyere AOP

Delifonseca Dockside, Liverpool

Best Farm Shop or Garden Centre with Food Hall sponsored by Petty Wood

Keelham Farm Shop, Bradford

Best Grocer, Village or Community Shop sponsored by Le Gruyere AOP

Godfrey C. Williams & Son, Cheshire

Best Specialist Cheese Shop sponsored by Le Gruyere AOP

The Cheese Society, Lincoln

Special Shop of the Year Awards

Newcomer Award sponsored by Le Gruyere AOP

Fillet & Bone, Gloucestershire

Retail Hero sponsored by Le Gruyere AOP

Clare Jones from Delifonseca Dockside, Liverpool

From overall shopping experience and financial performance to staff training opportunities and environmental initiatives in place, the panel of judges, which includes Edward Berry of The Flying Fork, Stuart Gates, who has worked for both Harrods and Fortnum & Mason, food journalist Patrick McGuigan, award-winning retailer Tracey Colley and food industry advisor, Sam Rosen-Nash, rated, scored and fed back on every aspect of the shops before agreeing on an overall category winner.

As of Friday 21 September, entry will open for Shop of the Year 2019 at gff.co.uk/awards/shop-of-the-year, with independent retailers now invited to submit a written submission for Best Delicatessen & Grocer; Specialist Cheese Shop; Farm Shop (farmer owned); Food Hall; Specialist Food or Drink Shop; and Newcomer. Judging will begin in November before the winners are announced at Fine Food Show North, Harrogate, which takes place on Sunday 10 and Monday 11 March 2019.

Unwrap the charms of cheddar this Christmas with a tasting box from Quicke’s

Amy Brice

cheddar box

Packed with five Devon-sent wedges, ready to take cheese lovers on a journey in cheddar, the Cheddar Tasting Box from Quicke’s is the perfect gift for curd nerds this Christmas. Celebrating the diversity and complexities of Quicke’s award-winning range of clothbound cheddars, the box also contains a flavour profile wheel to help festive folk identify the unique tasting notes and aromas within.

A chance to indulge and geek out on Britain’s undisputed cheeseboard champ, the Cheddar Tasting Box includes the full suite of Quicke’s cheddars. From the smooth and rich 3-month matured Buttery, through to Mature, Extra Mature and the 2-year matured Vintage Cheddar, the UK’s longest aged clothbound cheddar, every wedge brings its own unique characteristics to the table.

Accompanied by Oak Smoked Clothbound Cheddar, cold smoked using oak chips from trees grown on the Quicke’s estate, the tasting box is a true expression of the landscape around Home Farm. Whether nestled on a cheeseboard, grated onto gratin or paired with cider, sloe gin, whisky or wine, these cheddars will be well at home once the presents are unwrapped and the season of greeting and eating gets underway.

The Quicke’s Cheddar Tasting Box is available to buy from www.quickes.co.uk, priced at £25, and contains a flavour wheel, cheddar tasting notes, a ‘What’s in a Wedge’ guide and five 200g wedges; Buttery Clothbound Cheddar, Mature Clothbound Cheddar, Extra Mature Clothbound Cheddar, Vintage Clothbound Cheddar and Oak Smoked Cheddar.

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.

New range of pickled quail eggs launch, as flavour infusions pack a punch for Picklies

Amy Brice

Picklies

Following months of preparation at The Pickling Shed in North Cadbury, Somerset, this weekend saw the launch of Picklies, a new range of products from Dan and Briony Wood, owners of The Traditional Free Range Egg Company. Unveiling the new brand at Speciality & Fine Food Fair between Sunday 2 and Tuesday 4 September, the industry got a first opportunity to sample six new flavours of pickled quail eggs, which have been designed and packaged to feel at home on the shelves of farm shops, delis and independent retailers nationwide.

Made with The Traditional Free Range Egg Company’s multi award-winning Foraging Free free range quail eggs, whose huge aviaries go above and beyond the industry standard of ‘free to fly’, these little eggs punch way above their weight, with flavours ranging from the distinctive ‘Persiana’, containing cardamom, coriander seeds and rose, to the classic ‘Down the Pub’, packed with spring onion to make a perfect pairing for a pint of ale. Developed in the heart of the West Country, Picklies also makes use of ingredients from local producers, including From Dorset with Love’s award-winning Dorsetshire Sauce.

Dan Wood, co-founder of Picklies, comments:

“After so much time pickling, testing and packing, it was great to get onto the stand at Speciality & Fine Food Fair, talking to potential buyers who are looking to be inspired by new ingredients and trends. The quail egg is small but always feels like a treat, making it the perfect egg for entertaining, which I think has a lot to do with its enduring popularity. Ready to eat, and requiring no preparation, Picklies will help broaden this little egg’s horizons, and we look forward to seeing our colourful jars gracing many shelves across the country very soon.”

For more information on The Traditional Free Range Egg Company, please visit www.thetraditionalfreerangeeggcompany.co.uk.

Slow and steady wins the race, as pork steak snaffles Golden Fork

Amy Brice

Pipers Farm

Celebrating the very best in food and drink, Great Taste, the world’s most coveted food awards, has reached its grand finale for 2018. The Great Taste Golden Fork for the best food or drink from the South West was presented to Pipers Farm from Cullompton, Devon for its “deliciously juicy, beautifully soft and fabulously piggy” Saddleback Neck Steak. Slow-grown and hung on the bone for three weeks, this “immense” Saddleback Neck Steak made the Great Taste judges very happy, describing it as a “really delicious thing” with a “fantastic depth of flavour”.

Out of a record breaking 12,634 products entered into Great Taste 2018, the Saddleback Neck Steak, which is produced in harmony with nature to allow the native west country Saddleback pigs to enjoy a natural life, was celebrated as the best tasting product in its region at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner held on Sunday 2 September at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel, London, where over 350 guests from the world of fine food gathered to hear the results of many months of rigorous judging.

The Golden Fork from the South West was sponsored by Fresh Montgomery and also nominated this year was a Great Taste 3-star Seville Orange Marmalade & Vino del Naranja from Gloucester-based The Artisan Kitchen and Todenham Manor Farm’s 3-star winning 28-Day Dry Aged Rib of Beef on the Bone, which is produced in Moreton-in-Marsh.

For more information on Great Taste, visit greattasteawards.co.uk.

Contribution to Fine Food award presented to Charles Campion

Amy Brice

Charles Campion

Esteemed food writer and restaurant critic, Charles Campion was presented with a Contribution to Fine Food award last night at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner, a special trophy introduced this year to recognise a knowledgeable individual who promotes small food producers with integrity.

With more than two decades of World Cheese Awards and Great Taste judging experience, Charles Campion has blind-tasted thousands of products for the world’s most coveted food awards, believing strongly in the value of constructive feedback to help producers refine their food and drink offerings. Having had a hand in awarding so many Golden Forks in years gone by, Charles was presented with his own award by the Guild of Fine Food, at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner held on Sunday 2 September at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel, London, where over 350 guests from the world of fine food gathered to celebrate the grand finale of Great Taste 2018.

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

“There is an increasing emphasis on celebrity in food and, I’m afraid, that’s combined with naivety as to where it comes from, what seasons mean and how varieties and breeds make a difference. Experts like Charles are a rare thing, as he does understand how our food and drink should be made, and his veracity needs to be celebrated. As this emphasis on celebrity rises in food and drink, there is a risk that such genuine knowledge amongst critics, food writers and journalists will fade, resulting in an ignorance about food and where it comes from, so sources of food knowledge like Charles need to be recognised, revered and rewarded for their contribution. We’re absolutely delighted to present this award to Charles and hope that it inspires our industry to preserve the authenticity that lies at the heart of fine food.”

For more information on Great Taste, visit greattasteawards.co.uk.

Dorset Sea Salt Co. lands The Seed Fund 2018 prize

Amy Brice

sea salt

From the crashing waves of the Jurassic Coast to the bright spotlight of the London stage, Dorset Sea Salt Co. has been named The Seed Fund 2018 champion, supported by The Collaborators and Great Taste. 25-year-old founder, Jethro Tennant will now embark on a year-long journey of business development and mentoring with the philanthropic project’s hand-picked industry experts, as he aims to transform his big idea into big business.

Coming just one year after Jethro made the leap from humble hobby to fledgling producer, with the help of mentorship and a small loan from The Prince's Trust, the prize completes a remarkable 12 months for this ambitious south west start-up. Beginning when Jethro discovered the historic and cultural significance of salt production in Dorset, followed shortly after by the first buckets of water being lugged up the beach by hand, Dorset Sea Salt Co. has restored an ancient tradition in the county, hand-harvesting exceptional sea salt on the Jurassic Coast. There are now eight flavours available, including Celery, Chilli and Beetroot & Apple.

Jethro collected his trophy on Sunday 2 September at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner, held at the InterContinental London Park Lane Hotel, coming out on top among a shortlist including Green Lady sparkling tea from London, Made for Drink bar snacks from Berkshire, Bristol-based Norty Puds and Cornwall’s Rathlee Distilling Company. Applauded for his progress and commitment throughout The Seed Fund Academy’s summer programme of sessions on funding, finance, law, distribution, branding, PR, marketing and more, Jethro was named The Seed Fund’s sixth champion in front of the great and good of the food and drink industry.

Jethro explains:

“It’s been an incredible journey from day one with The Seed Fund and I’m truly honoured to have taken the top prize among such a great group of start-ups. Alongside the support and guidance of The Seed Fund’s mentors, the ideas, challenges and experiences of other Academy members has been both invaluable and inspiring. I can’t quite believe how far I’ve come with my geeky hobby over the past 12 months, but it just goes to show what can be achieved with a good idea and the right people around you. I’ve got big plans for Dorset Sea Salt Co., from expanding distribution in the short-term to building an education centre further down the line, and I know that this prize will bring all of those ambitions that bit closer. I’d like to say a big thanks to The Seed Fund, The Collaborators, Great Taste and all the mentors for their support. Year two is set to be another big one!”

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

“Hats off to Jethro for his sterling work throughout The Seed Fund Academy this year. Our Class of 2018 was outstanding, so our finalists did extremely well to reach this stage, but Dorset Sea Salt Co. stood out and made some great progress over the summer, really encapsulating what The Seed Fund is all about. Jethro has done so much in his first year of business, creating a superb product, establishing a strong brand and putting the foundations in place to build the business, and I know our mentors see huge potential in this start-up, which they will do all they can to help it realise. I hope Jethro enjoyed his moment on the Great Taste stage tonight alongside some of the UK and Ireland’s most respected producers – straight back to work tomorrow!”

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

Volcanic pili nuts erupt onto UK food scene, as next level nuts named Great Taste Supreme Champion

Amy Brice

pili nuts

Out of a record breaking 12,634 products entered into Great Taste 2018, the top honour of Great Taste Supreme Champion has been awarded to Premium Pili Nuts with Ecuadorian Cacao from Mount Mayon Brand, based in Olongapo City in the Philippines, a product that also received the Golden Fork for Best Imported Food. The Great Taste judges were “nuts about these nuts”, which “explode in the mouth with a fun mouthfeel and warm nut flavour”.

Wild harvested from the volcanic soil surrounding Mount Mayon, using a sustainable and environmentally friendly process that goes back thousands of years, these Vitamin E and Omega-rich pili nuts are pre-sprouted in purified mountain water before undergoing a 17-step SloDry process to retain all the flavour and nutrients. Super-satiating and naturally high in fibre, protein and magnesium, these Ecuadorian cocoa dusted pili nuts have an “ethereal texture”, “toasty cereal flavour” and “incredible creaminess” making them a “stunning” and “moreish” healthy snack.

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

“Great Taste celebrates everything from good old-fashioned fodder to the fun and funky from far flung corners of the world, but it’s always so exciting when a new product bursts onto the scene and demands our judges’ attention. These pili nuts are a great example of the scope and diversity of food and drink available in the UK and Ireland today, demonstrating how fine food producers are evolving and experimenting to meet the changing tastes and dietary needs of consumers. Pili nuts are already very popular across Asia and Mount Mayon Brand clearly sees the UK as a vibrant and growing market to enter, even with the uncertainties of Brexit, which is positive news for us all in food. We wish them every success in cracking the UK market and are certain that the Great Taste Supreme Champion gong will help grab the attention of retailers, buyers and distributors alike”.  

Celebrating the very best in food and drink, Great Taste, the world’s most coveted food awards, reached its grand finale at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner held on Sunday 2 September at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel London, where over 350 guests from the world of fine food gathered to hear the results of many months of rigorous judging.

The full list of Golden Fork trophies for 2018:

Charcuterie Product of the Year sponsored by Fine Food Digest Charcuterie Campaign

Carnicas Ibericas Mozarbez for Iberian Bellota Ham

Golden Fork for Best Imported Food sponsored by ABP Cahir

Mount Mayon Brand for Premium Pili Nuts with Ecuadorian Cacao

Nigel Barden Heritage Award sponsored by Dawn Meats

Southport Potted Shrimps for Southport Potted Shrimps by James Peet

Ambient Product of the Year sponsored by Petty Wood

The Quirky Cook for Honeyed Fig Relish with Black Garlic

Golden Fork from Ireland sponsored by Bord Bia

Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland for Signature Tastes Smoked Rack of Bacon

Golden Fork from Northern Ireland sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland

Natural Umber for Natural Umber Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Golden Fork from the Midlands

Macneil's Smokehouse for Macneil’s Beech Wood Smoked Salmon

Golden Fork from the South West sponsored by Fresh Montgomery

Pipers Farm for Saddleback Neck Steak

Golden Fork from Wales sponsored by Food and Drink Wales

Caws Teifi Cheese for Celtic Promise

Golden Fork from Scotland sponsored by Scotland Food & Drink

The Argyll Smokery for Kiln Roasted Salmon

Golden Fork from East Anglia sponsored by Shire Foods of Norfolk

Capsicana for Brazilian Chilli and Coconut Sauce

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

Rogue Artisan Ice Cream for Sicilian Bronte Pistachio Ice Cream

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

Terra Rossa for Terra Rossa Baba's Rashi & Dibis with Sesame Seeds

Small Artisan Producer of the Year sponsored by Selfridges

Tea Shirt Tailored Refreshments

Great Taste Producer of the Year sponsored by Partridges

Wessex Mill

Contribution to Fine Food

Charles Campion

For more information on Great Taste, visit greattasteawards.co.uk.

Fifth generation flour mill rises to the top - Wessex Mill named Great Taste Producer of the Year

Amy Brice

Great Taste Producer of the Year

Celebrating the very best in food and drink, Great Taste, the world’s most coveted food awards, has reached its grand finale for 2018. Great Taste Producer of the Year was presented to Wessex Mill from Wantage, Oxfordshire and fourth generation flour miller, Paul Munsey collected the trophy on Sunday 2 September at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner where over 350 guests from the world of fine food gathered to hear the results of many months of rigorous judging.

The Munsey family of Wessex Mill has been milling for over 100 years, and this year alone scooped Great Taste accolades for 11 products, including its Great Taste 3-star winning Six Seed Bread Flour, 2-star Wholemeal Spelt Flour and 1-star Pasta and Pizza Flour. Sourcing their wheat locally and using a traditional roller milling process, Paul and his daughter Emily, who is studying to become the fifth-generation flour miller at Wessex Mill, produce exceptional quality flour, waving the flag for the wheat farmers that surround the Oxfordshire-based mill.

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

“Wessex Mill is a great example of a family business that is going from strength to strength, while staying true to tradition and heritage. We’re absolutely delighted to present Wessex Mill with this award and hope that this outstanding Great Taste achievement helps to cement its reputation as a leading speciality producer in the UK.”

The Great Taste Producer of the Year award was sponsored by Partridges.

For more information on Great Taste, visit greattasteawards.co.uk.

Food and drink start-ups raise a glass, as The Seed Fund reveals Final Five

Amy Brice

The Seed Fund Final 5

The Seed Fund has announced its Final Five today, with just a handful of food and drink start-ups now left in the running to win the philanthropic project’s annual prize. Fresh from a packed summer of learning with The Seed Fund Academy, supported by The Collaborators and Great Taste, these ambitious entrepreneurs will now go head-to-head as they pitch to the mentors one last time, for their chance to win a full year of tailored business support, estimated to be worth over £100,000.

From bubbles to bar snacks, this year’s Final Five are all producers of distinctly grown-up treats. The shortlist includes Rathlee Distilling Company, makers of Latin American rum blended with pure Cornish water, Green Lady from London, the UK’s first ever sparkling tea, and Dorset Sea Salt, hand harvested from the Jurassic Coast. Made for Drink, based in Berkshire, brings its premium bar snacks to the fold, all designed to pair perfectly with alcoholic drinks, while Norty Puds from Bristol completes the line-up, with its indulgent single-serve pudding pots that are free from gluten, dairy, soya and refined-sugar.

These fledgling food and drink start-ups will now prepare one final pitch to take this year’s trophy, before The Seed Fund Academy Champion is announced on Sunday 2 September at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner, held at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel, London. Pulling together everything they have learned during the Academy sessions, from approaching retail and raising investment to marketing, PR and social media, each producer will explain how they will turn their big ideas into big business as they make their case for the top prize.

Jayne Noblet, founder of The Seed Fund and owner of The Collaborators, comments:

“With over 200 entries into The Seed Fund Academy 2018, the bar has definitely been raised this year, so our Final Five have stood out against some serious competition to get this far. It’s been such a joy to watch them develop throughout the Academy sessions, both through the guidance of our mentors and by sharing ideas and challenges throughout the process, and I’m confident that they now have the tools, knowledge and network required to make the leap from start-up to serious player. We’re now just five pitches away from finding our 2018 champion and I can’t wait for The Seed Fund to take its place at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner once again. It’s a big night for everyone and our winner will take the stage alongside some of the UK and Ireland’s most respected producers, catapulting them into the spotlight as they embark on the next leg of their journey.”

This year’s Seed Fund Academy Champion will be announced on Sunday 2 September at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner, held at the InterContinental London Park Lane Hotel.

The Seed Fund will also be hosting a series of ‘Start-Up Spotlight’ sessions at Speciality & Fine Food Fair this year, taking place on the Food for Thought Stage from 3:30pm-4:15pm on each day of the show, which runs from Sunday 2 to Tuesday 4 September. Featuring ‘Dragon’s Den’ style presentations from nine start-ups, the winner will receive a free stand at next year’s show, as well as a range of business support tools. Visitors can meet The Seed Fund team and Academy members on Stands 2880-2887, as ‘Seed Street’ makes its first appearance at the exhibition.

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

World Cheese Awards 2018 opens for entry

Amy Brice

Carlos Yescas World Cheese Awards judging.jpg

The World Cheese Awards will open for entry on Wednesday 5 September, with organisers, the Guild of Fine Food, expecting a record-breaking 3,500 cheeses to be judged in Bergen, Norway on Friday 2 November.

Dedicated only to cheese, with no other dairy products judged, the World Cheese Awards is the largest cheese-only competition on the planet and will this year form part of a brand new festival, Matnasjonen Norge. Taking place at Bergen’s iconic Grieg Hall, the 31st edition of the awards will be set against the backdrop of Norway’s finest food and drink, including highlights such as Kraftkar from Tingvollost, which took the World Cheese Awards’ top prize in 2016.

As the international cheese community gathers, entrants from over 30 different countries will be looking to showcase their cheese on a world stage, hoping to land a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Super Gold award. An epic celebration of all things cheese, the World Cheese Awards will bring together over 230 buyers, retailers, writers and makers from every corner of the globe, to judge every entry in a single day and ultimately crown this year’s World Champion Cheese.

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

“With 30 years now under our belt, we’re very excited to be visiting Norway for the first time, in partnership with HANEN, to stage the largest cheese-only event that the world has ever seen. This global celebration of cheese leaves a lasting legacy each and every year, for its hosts as well as its winners, and we feel incredibly proud to be taking a headline slot at Matnasjonen Norge, as the country salutes its farmers, producers, chefs and retailers. With cheeses from six continents on their way to Bergen this year, we’ll be bringing a truly international edge to the festival, but I feel confident that Norway’s fantastic cheesemakers will be grabbing a few gongs along the way.”

For more information on World Cheese Awards, please visit: www.gff.co.uk/awards/world-cheese-awards.