Great Taste, the world’s most coveted blind-tasted food awards, which celebrates the very best in food and drink, has announced the Great Taste stars of 2016.
Out of 10,000 products to be judged, Sloane Home from The Vale of Glamorgan was awarded a 1 Star Great Taste award for its boutique artisan liquor. Lone Stag Zesty, a handmade clementine, lemon & lime vodka based spirit that has a cheeky cocktail recipe card, which adds a bit of humour to the brand. The judges thought it “sparkly & lively, an intoxicating mix of aromas”.
Judged by over 500 of the most demanding palates, belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs and producers as well as a whole host of food writers and journalists, Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers. As well as a badge of honour, the unmistakeable black and gold Great Taste label is a signpost to a wonderful tasting product, which has been discovered through hours and hours of blind-tasting by hundreds of judges.
Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste values taste above all else, with no regard for branding and packaging. Whether it is bread, honey, salami or cereal being judged, all products are removed from their wrapper, jar, box or bottle before being tasted. The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1-, 2- or 3-star award.
There were 10,000 Great Taste entries this year and of those products, 141 have been awarded a 3-star, 878 received a 2-star and 2,520 were awarded a 1-star accolade. The panel of judges included; TV chef and author, Valentine Warner, MasterChef judge and restaurant critic, Charles Campion, fifth generation baker, Tom Herbert from Hobbs House Bakery, and Great British Bake Off winner, Frances Quinn; food buyers from Harrods, Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols and Waitrose and chefs including, James Golding, chef director of THE PIG Hotels, and Kevin Gratton, chef director of HIX Restaurants. These esteemed palates have together tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners to finally agree on the 2016 Top 50 Foods, the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the 2016 Supreme Champion.
What is Great Taste?
Great Taste is the largest and most trusted accreditation scheme for fine food and drink. Established in 1994, it encourages and mentors artisan food producers, offering a unique benchmarking and product evaluation service leading to an independent accreditation that enables small food and drink businesses to compete against supermarket premium own label brands.
Since 1994 over 110,000 products have been assessed. This year 10,000 products were blind-tasted by panels of specialists: top chefs, cookery writers, food critics, restaurateurs and fine food retailers.
What are Great Taste judges looking for?
They’re looking for great texture and appearance. They judge the quality of ingredients and how well the maker has put the food or drink together. But above all, they are looking for truly great taste.
How do they work?
Each team of four judges blind-tastes around 25 products per session, discussing each product as a coordinating food writer transcribes their comments directly onto the Great Taste website which producers access after judging is completed. Over the years, numerous food businesses, start-ups and well established producers have been advised how to modify their foods and have subsequently gone on to achieve Great Taste stars. Food or drink that is deemed worthy of Great Taste stars is also tasted by a team of arbitrators, who taste, confer and agree on the final award given. If judges feel that a product needs some adjustment, and therefore not likely to receive an award, the food or drink gets a second chance on a referral table, where another team, blind-tastes and deliberates. For a Great Taste 3-star award, the vast majority in the room – which can be as many as 30-40 experts – must agree that the food or drink delivers that indescribable ‘wow’ factor.
What should consumers look for?
The logo. The Great Taste symbol is their guarantee a product has been through a rigorous and independent judging process. It’s not about smart packaging or clever marketing – it’s all about taste.
Great Taste Press Enquiries:
Amy Brice at Freshly Ground PR; email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 7717 893123.