More than 400 Irish products have made it onto a Who’s Who list of the very finest food and drink items around, and three are included in Great Taste’s Top 50 Foods for 2016, a list whittled down from 10,000 entries from across the UK and Ireland.
Organised by the Guild of Great Food, the Great Taste awards are a stamp of excellence, with the award-winning foods finding space on the shelves of Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and Selfridges.
The blind-tasted foods are judged by 500 demanding palate. Judges include TV chef and author Valentine Warner; MasterChef judge and restaurant critic Charles Campion; and fifth-generation baker Tom Herbert from Hobbs House Bakery; as well as food buyers from Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.
All products are removed from packaging before being tasted. The judges savour, confer and re-taste to decide the 1-, 2- or 3-star winners.
They look for great texture/appearance, ingredient quality, and how well the maker has assembled the food/drink. But really great taste is paramount.
Out of 10,000 products judged, 3,539 got the Great Taste accolade. Of these, 430 are from companies based in Ireland, including 3-star award-winning Holycross Original Butterscotch Sauce from The Tipperary Kitchen, Nobó’s vegan and dairy-free Irish Salted Caramel ice cream, and Irish Handmade All-Butter Sticky Toffee Pudding from Dunnes Stores.
Meanwhile, 212 Northern Ireland products won the Great Taste accolade — including 3-star award-winning Clandeboye Estate’s Greek Style Yoghurt, and Kearney Cheese Company’s Blue Cheese.
Watch out for the Great Taste symbol. 3-star means ‘Exquisite, Wow! Taste that’; 2-star means ‘outstanding’; and 1-star means ‘simply delicious’.
Of 141 products awarded three stars, producers in the Republic of Ireland got 14 of these, and Northern Ireland 13; of 878 awarded 2-star, the Republic of Ireland got 102 and Northern Ireland 65.
Anticipation is high to see which Top 50 Foods scoop the top awards for their region, and who’ll be crowned Supreme Champion 2016.
These awards will be announced in London on Monday, September 5. Meanwhile, here are the 3-star and 2-star winners from the Republic of Ireland, sorted by county.
n Damson Port Jelly, Crossogue Preserves Ltd, Crossogue, Ballycahill, Thurles.
n Heritage Cure Rack of Bacon, James Whelan Butchers, 18 Staunton Row, Clonmel.
n Heritage Cure Ham, James Whelan Butchers, address as above.
n Holycross Original Butterscotch Sauce, The Tipperary Kitchen Ltd, Holycross Village, Thurles.
n SuperValu Signature Tastes Hereford Rib Eye Steak, Kepak, Condonstown, Watergrasshill, Co Cork.
n Durrus Óg, Durrus Cheese, Coomkeen, Durrus, Co Cork.
n Oh Naturelle Raspberry Sorbet with a hint of rose, Doodle & Do Ltd, Unit 2C, The Atrium, Blackpool, Cork.
n Simply Better Irish Handmade All Butter Sticky Toffee Pudding, Dunnes Stores, 46-50 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2.
n Nobó’s Irish Salted Caramel, Nobó Ltd, Hilton House, Ardee Road, Rathmines, Dublin 6.
n Gourmet Sodabread Toasts, Multiseed with Cumin, The Foods of Athenry, Oldcastle, Athenry, Co Galway.
n Aldi Clonbawn Sour Cream 200ml, Aldi Stores Ireland Ltd, Newbridge Road, Naas.
n Crème fraiche light, Green Pastures Donegal, Convoy, Lifford, Co Donegal.
n Caraway with Irish Seaweed, The Lismore Food Company, Main Street, Lismore, Co Waterford.
n Handmade Irish Blackcurrant Preserve, WEXFORD HOME PRESERVES, Unit 1B Block D, Waterford Road Business Park, New Ross.
n Crafty Brewing Company Irish Craft Pale Ale 4.5%, Lidl Ireland GmbH, Great Connell Road, Newbridge.
n McGargles Francis’ Big Bangin’ IPA, Rye River Brewing Company, Veolia Building, Dublin Road, Celbridge, Kildare.
n Aldi Exquisite Collection Sauvignon Blanc, Aldi Stores Ireland Ltd, Newbridge Road, Naas.
n Aldi Reserve Tea Bags, Aldi Stores Ireland Ltd, Newbridge Road, Naas.
n Really Good Organic Coffee by Hancock & Abberton, HANCOCK & ABBERTON, Unit 29, Naas Road Business Park, Muirfield Drive, Naas Road, Kildare.
n Kilderg Canadian Maple Syrup, Lidl Ireland GmbH, Great Connell Road, Newbridge.
n Aldi Vintage Cheddar, Aldi Stores Ireland Ltd, Newbridge Road, Naas.
n Wasabi Sauce, Le Skinny Chef, Annamar’s Restaurant, Station Road, Kildare Town.
n Glensallagh Streaky Bacon Smoked, Lidl Ireland GmbH, Great Connell Road, Newbridge.
n Toasted Fennel & Chilli, Jane Russell’s Handmade Sausages, Link Business Park, Kilcullen.
n Aldi Specially Selected Lamb Rack with a Rosemary & Garlic Crumb, Aldi Stores Ireland Ltd, Newbridge Road, Naas.
n Irish Cherry & Pecan Topped Christmas Pudding with Orange, Lidl Ireland GmbH, Great Connell Road, Newbridge.
n Tesco Finest Fresh Orange Juice 750ml, Tesco Ireland, Gresham House, Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire.
n Dunnes Stores Cold Pressed Green Press Juice, Dunnes Stores, 46-50 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2.
n Bewley’s Fair Trade Special Blend Tea, Bewley’s, Northern Cross, Malahide Road, Dublin.
n Bewley’s Irish Breakfast Loose Tea, Bewley’s, address as above.
n Finest Tea Bags, Tesco Ireland, Gresham House, Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire.
n Bewley’s Dublin Morning Tea, Bewley’s, Northern Cross, Malahide Road, Dublin.
n Panem Almond Biscuits, Panem, 21 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin.
n Inishmaan Soda, Ó hArtagáin Pure Bread Ireland Ltd, 13 Moyville Lawn, Ballyboden, Rathfarnham, Dublin.
n Chocolate & Orange Meringue, Delish Melish, 12 Roselawn Walk, Castleknock, Dublin 15.
n Tesco Brie de Meaux, Tesco Ireland, Gresham House, Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire.
n Mixed Green Vegetables with Irish Herb Butter, Wonderfoods, IDA Business & Technology Park,Snugborough Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.
n Blenders Fish Bouillon, Blenders, Newmarket, Dublin 8.
n Dunlavin Soda, Ó hArtagáin Pure Bread Ireland Ltd, address as above.
n Tibradden Soda, Ó hArtagáin Pure Bread Ireland Ltd, address as above.
n Wrights of Howth Seafood Chowder, Simro Ltd T/A Wrights of Howth, 14 West Pier, Howth.
n Wrights of Howth Farmed Smoked Salmon, Simro Ltd T/A Wrights of Howth, 14 West Pier, Howth, Co Dublin.
n Nobó Fresh Lemon, Nobó Ltd, Hilton House, Ardee Road, Rathmines, Dublin.
n Matcha Orange – Raw Nutrition Balls, Cracked Nut, 18 Glenbourne Avenue, Leopardstown.
n Honey Mustard Dressing, The Artisan Food Factory, Building 7, Delta Business Park, Ballysimon Road, Limerick.
n Rigney’s Irish Granola, Rigney’s Farmhouse Foods Ltd, Curraghchase North, Kilcornan, (Pallaskenry), Co Limerick.
n Honey Nougat with Almonds and Pistachios, Pandora Bell Ireland, Pandora Bell, Killonan Ballysimon, Limerick.
n Mushroom Ketchup, Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms, Ballinalaken, Ballylanders.
n Cep Oil, Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms, Ballinalaken, Ballylanders.
n Smoked Dry Cured Streaky Bacon, TCF Foods Limited T/A Lisduggan Farm, Christendom, Ferrybank, Co Kilkenny.
n The Little Mill Stoneground Plain Wholemeal Flour, The Little Mill, Bennettsbridge, Kilkenny.
n The Little Mill Stoneground Plain White Flour, Bennettsbridge.
n Graham’s Horseradish Sauce, Kearns Food Limited, Glebe House, Stackallen, Slane.
n Simply Scones – Plain Scones, Simply Scones, Bellinter, Navan.
nCamelina “Wild Flax” Oil, Newgrange Gold Ltd, Crewbane, Slane, Meath.
n G’s Gourmet Preserves Rhubarb & Ginger Jam, G’s Gourmet Jams, Ballypickas, Abbeyleix.
n Nubie’s Sicilian Rapeseed Oil, Nubie Foods Ltd, Ballykilcavan, Stradbally, Laois.
n Cashel Blue, Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers, J&L Grubb Ltd, Beechmount, Co Tipperary.
n Glean Oir, Cooleeney Cheese, Cooleeney, Moyne, Thurles.
n Holycross Marvellous Meringue Earthy Beetroot & Ginger, The Tipperary Kitchen Ltd, Holycross Village, Thurles.
n Boulabáin Farm Honeycomb Ice Cream, Boulabáin Farm, Boulabane, Roscrea.
n Emerald Oils – original cold pressed rapeseed oil, Emerald Oils, Ballygerald, New Inn, Cashel.
n Oakpark Smoked Medallions, Honeyvale Foods Ltd, Clogheen Road, Cahir.
n Brannans Smoked Maple Thick Cut, Honeyvale Foods Ltd, address as above. n Free Range Rack of Pork, James Whelan Butchers, 18 Staunton Row, Clonmel.
n Silver Hill Duck Fat, Silver Hill Farm, Silver Hill Foods, Emyvale.
n Honeysuckle Shrub, The Wild Irish Foragers, Millhouse Farm, Clonlisk, Shinrone, Birr.
n McCarren Sweet Cure Bacon French Rack, McCarren Meats & Co, Farnham Road, Cavan.
n Flahavan’s Irish Organic Porridge Oats, E Flahavan & Sons Ltd, Kilnagrange Mills, Kilmacthomas.
n Flahavan’s Irish Porridge Oats, E Flahavan & Sons Ltd, address as above.
n Flahavan’s Irish Organic Jumbo Oats, E Flahavan & Sons Ltd, address as above. n Lemon Polenta, The Lismore Food Company, Main Street, Lismore.
n Lamb Tagine, Avoca Handweavers Ltd, Head Office, Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow.
n Beef, barley and stout, The Butlers Pantry, Unit 16/17 Block D, Southerncross Business Park, Bray.
n Multi-seeded sourdough, Firehouse Bakery, Old Delgany Inn, Delgany, Co Wicklow.
n Malthouse Granary Baguette, Firehouse Bakery, address as above.
n Antigua, McCabe’s Coffee, Unit 1, Newtown Business Park, Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow.
n Wicklow Organic, McCabe’s Coffee, address as above.
n Oat and Seed Bars, Avoca Handweavers Ltd, Head Office, Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow.
n SuperValu Signature Tastes Fresh Irish Pork Rack with Bramley Apple and Sage Butter.
n SuperValu Seafood Chowder, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, Tramore Road, Cork.
n Healys Organic Honey, Healys Honey, Maglin, Ballincollig, Co Cork.
n SuperValu Signature Tastes Tomato Ketchup, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, Tramore Road, Cork.
n Horgan’s Irish Angus Silverside Spiced Beef, Horgans Delicatessen Supplies, Knockamuck, Mitchelstown.
n Double Cheese Pasty, West Cork Pies, Pieland, Ardmanagh Road, Schull.
n Hot-smoked Atlantic Mackerel, Woodcock Smokery, Gortbrack, Castletownshend, Skibbereen.
n Bradley Hickory Smoked Rindless Back Rashers, Irish Bacon Slicers, Ballincollig, Cork.
n Irish Yogurts Half Fat Crème Fraiche 250g, Irish Yogurts, Scartagh, Clonakilty.
n Durrus Mini, Durrus Cheese, Coomkeen, Durrus, Bantry.
n Confit of Duck Leg, Skeaghanore Duck, 6 Skeaghanore, Ballydehob, Skibbereen.
n Smoked Irish Organic Salmon cured with Irish Atlantic sea salt infused with dill pollen, Quinlans Kerry Fish, Renard, Cahersiveen.
n Smoked Irish Organic Salmon, Quinlans Kerry Fish, address as above.
n Irish Wild Smoked Salmon, Quinlans Kerry Fish, address as above.
n Boyne Brewhouse, Na Cuana, Boyne Brewhouse, Lagavooren, Platin Road, Drogheda.
n Carlingford Oysters, Carlingford Oyster Co Ltd, Mulattee, Carlingford, Co Louth.
n Derrycamma Farm Rapeseed Oil, Derrycamma Farm Foods Ltd, Derrycamma Farm, Castlebellingham.
n Cuinneog Natural Buttermilk, Cuinneog Ltd, Shraheens, Balla, Castlebar.
n Cuinneog Fermented Double Cream, Cuinneog Ltd, Shraheens, Balla, Castlebar.
n The Rye One With The Fresh Cranberries, MMM Family Bakery Ltd T/A The Breadski Brothers, Unit 14,Breaffy Business Park, Castlebar.
n Connacht Gold Butter with Sea Salt 250g, Aurivo Consumer Foods Ltd, Finisklin Business Park, Finisklin, Sligo.
n Buttermilk, Green Pastures Donegal, Convoy, Lifford, Co Donegal.
n Smoked Honey and Mustard Mackerel, Island Seafoods, Carricknamohill, Killybegs.
n Hot Smoked Herring with Orange & Rosemary Butter, Island Seafoods, address as above.
n Raspberry Chilli Chutney, Wild About, Tus Nua Farm, Craan, Wells, Gorey.
n Naturally Cordial Lemon & Raspberry Cordial, Naturally Cordial Ltd, Lothlorien, Ballinavary, Enniscorthy.
n Mr Jeffares Blackcurrants, Irish Blackcurrant Cordial with No Added Sugar, Mr Jeffares Blackcurrants, Ballykelly House, Drinagh, Wexford.
n Breakfast Bread, Staffords Bakery, IDA Industrial Estate, Clonhattin Road, Gorey.
n Dry Cured Back Rashers, O’Neills Dry Cure Bacon Co, Bolinadrum, Ferns, Enniscorthy.
n Forest Mix Mushrooms, Fancy Fungi Mushrooms, Galbally, Ballyhogue, Enniscorthy.
n Shiitake Mushrooms, Fancy Fungi Mushrooms, Enniscorthy.
n Gourmet Sodabread Toasts. Multiseed, The Foods of Athenry, Oldcastle, Athenry, Co Galway.
n Kelly’s Pork, Black Pudding & Apple Sausage, Kelly’s Meat Store, Henry Street, Kilrush, Co Clare.
n Black Beat Witbier, Western Herd Brewing Company Ltd, 1A Elmwood, Tulla Road, Ennis.
n Burren Hot Smoked Irish Organic Salmon with Highbank Orchard Apple Syrup & Dill, Burren Smokehouse, Kincora Road, Lisdoonvarna.
n Lounge Coffee Blend, Café Lounge, Unit 3, Mercantile Plaza, Carrick-on-Shannon.
In coming weeks, you can read here about the 314 one-star winners, and the 13 three-star winners in Northern Ireland, and see www.greattasteawards.co.uk.