Battisford: Golden Fork honour for Hill Top Smokehouse

A SMOKERY from Suffolk has won an exclusive “Golden Fork” accolade in the 2011 finals of the Great Taste Awards, which recognise the best in British food and drink.

Hill Top Smokehouse, at Battisford, near Needham Market, picked up the regional award for the Midlands and East Anglia for its smoked gammon, beating off competition from three other finalists.

The smokehouse is part of the Reedland Meat group which owns two long-established butchers shops, R J Smiths of Needham Market and Byfords Traditional Fresh Foods of Rayleigh, Essex.

Director Richard Smith was presented with the “Golden Fork” trophy during ceremony at London’s Royal Garden Hotel.

The firm’s smoked gammon, which is home cured and smoked, using locally-sourced free-range pork, was described by the judges as “moreish in the extreme”.

It was among four winners of coveted three-star awards in Suffolk and north Essex when the Great Taste Awards – which were introduced 18 years ago as an equivalent to the Michelin star rating system for restaurants – were announced in July, but the only one locally to be shortlisted for the regional award.

More than 70 other products from Suffolk and north Essex picked up two-star or one-star awards this year out of a total entry nationally of nearly 7,500, out of which around 2,400 were selected for a star rating.