Suffolk and Essex food strike gold

A HOST of tasty delights from Suffolk and Essex have struck gold at a national celebration of food and drink.A total of 19 products from Suffolk and 11 from Essex, from pate to pesto, have won a gold one star or two star accolade at The Guild of Fine Food's annual Great Taste Awards, regarded as the industry oscars.

A HOST of tasty delights from Suffolk and Essex have struck gold at a national celebration of food and drink.

A total of 19 products from Suffolk and 11 from Essex, from pate to pesto, have won a gold one star or two star accolade at The Guild of Fine Food's annual Great Taste Awards, regarded as the industry oscars.

Each year, almost 4,500 foods are blind-tasted by up to three teams of experts before the awards are made.

Since May, there have been nearly two weeks of tasting by more than 400 independent judges, and 530 Great Taste Awards have been given out for excellence in taste, texture and flavour.


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The panel of judges included Sophie Michell of Channel 4 cookery show Cook Yourself Thin, radio presenter Nigel Barden, the Great Taste Awards supreme panel of judges chairman and Charles Campion of The Evening Standard and Independent.

Bob Farrand of the Guild of Fine Food said the awards, which had been running for 14 years, were a recognised mark of excellence trusted by consumers.

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“The winning products have been through a thorough judging process and we are able to assure consumers that the Great Taste logo, which all award-winners can use, signifies genuine fine food,” he said.

“It's not just a supermarket premium marketing slogan that bears almost no relation to the quality of the food in the packet.

“The Great Taste Awards reflect what is happening in the fine food halls, delicatessens and farm shops throughout the UK and during judging we tasted some fantastic gourmet delicacies from all over the world.”

Among the winners were seafood products from Pinney's of Orford, a range of ice creams from Criterion Ices, and two of Stark Naked Foods' pestos.

Fairfield Farm Crisps of Colchester, which was awarded a prize for its sea salt and Aspall Cyder Vinegar crisps said they were delighted at the accolade.

“We only launched the crisps back in October 2006 so to win a Great Taste Award so soon is just wonderful, especially as we were up against other well-established crisp companies,” said farmer Laura Strathern of Fairfields Farm.

“Fairfields Farm Crisps are made from the potatoes we grow on our farm in Wormingford just outside Colchester. The potatoes are hand-selected and then pan fried. We have linked up with other quality East Anglian producers such as Aspall's from Suffolk to ensure flavours are unique and 100% natural.”

Pure Preserves of Polstead in Suffolk, started four years ago by Suzie Rudkin, scooped a gold star for its Seville Orange Marmalade.

Martyn Rudkin, Suzie's husband, said: “Winning another Great Taste Award recognises the craft and dedication that goes into making superb food and drink.”

Leeora's Vegetarian Foods, from Fiveways Fruit Farm in Colchester, won for its Lebanese-style humous dip.

Leeora Beeri, its managing director, expressed her delight.

“Winning a Great Taste Award recognises the craft, love and dedication that goes into making our superb food,” she said.

Suffolk gold winners were: James White Drinks' Big Tom Spicy Tomato; Essfoods' Stokes Herb Mayonnaise, Suffolk Mud Red Onion Marmalade, Suffolk Mud Strawberry and Raspberry Jam and Staverton Ewe Greek Fir Honey (which won a double gold award); Jules & Sharpie's Hot Redcurrant Jelly, Hot Pear Chutney and Hot Marmalade; Stark Naked Foods' Fresh Basil Pesto and Fresh Coriander and Chilli Pesto; Pure Preserves' Seville Orange Marmalade; Vanilla Patisserie/By Vanilla's Luxurious Chocolate Fondue Organic Milk Chocolate and Luxurious Chocolate Fondue Sao Thome Dark with Guajillo Chilli desserts; Criterion Ices' Belgian Chocolate, Stem Ginger and Blackberry Yoghurt ice creams; Alder Tree's Christmas ice cream; Pinney's of Orford's Smoke Fish Pate and Hot Smoked Salmon.

Essex gold winners were: Leeora's Gourmet Kitchen's Lebanese Style Humous Dip; Daizylake's Chocolate Heaven Brownies and Butter Shortbread, which won a double gold; Fairfield Farm Sea Salt & Aspall Cyder Vinegar Crisps; The Wicked Fruit Chocolate Company's Wicked Lavender Chocs; Winning Ways Fine Foods' Dairy Free Natural Flavoured Coconut Ice; Hadley's Dairy Products' Farmer Bill's Vanilla ice cream, Hadley's Caramel and Pecan ice cream, Hadley's Crushed Stem Ginger and Hadley's Seriously Rich Chocolate ice cream; Byfords Food Hall's Dry Cured Smoked Back Bacon

Elveden Estate Shop, Norfolk, also won a gold for its Elveden Clear Honey.

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