When Great Taste, the world’s most coveted food awards, reached the 2018 grand finale in London last month, there was exciting news for Cork.
Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland won the Golden Fork for the best tasting product in the Republic of Ireland, with their Signature Tastes Smoked Rack of Bacon. Expertly butchered, cut, cured and traditionally smoked with beechwood, this French trimmed rack of Hampshire bacon bowled the Great Taste judges over with its “delicious melt-in-the-mouth fat, well-balanced sweetness, salt and smokiness”.
Out of a record-breaking 12,634 products entered into Great Taste 2018, 4,653 got the Great Taste accolade and 392 of these are based in Ireland, with a further 210 Northern Ireland products also making the grade. Less than 3% of products are awarded three stars each year. Half of the Irish 3-star winners – out of a total of 10 – hail from Munster, with three from Limerick, and the bacon product from Musgraves of Cork going on to greater things.
Northern Ireland bagged 15 three-star awards, with the region’s Golden Fork won by Natural Umber from Dungannon for its Natural Umber Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, a hit with Great Taste judges, who described it as “smooth and easy to drink with water”. They commented on its “sweet apple character and sharpness”, saying it made a “grown-up and refreshing soft drink”.
Eighty two products from Ireland and 64 from Northern Ireland made the 2-star list – less than 10% of entries achieve this rating. About 25% of entries get the 1-star accolade each year – in 2018, 300 products from Ireland and 131 from Northern Ireland made the grade.
Great Taste, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, has judged over 134,000 products since its beginnings in 1994. Products are blind-tasted by a team of judges dedicated to finding the most exquisite tasting food and drink regardless of branding or packaging. This year’s panel of judges included MasterChef 2018 champion Kenny Tutt, chef and food writer Elly Curshen, eco-chef and food writer Tom Hunt, author and chef Zoe Adjonyoh, baker Tom Herbert, author and blogger Izy Hossack, and baker and recipe writer Martha Collison, as well as food buyers from Harrods, Selfridges and Sourced Market.
The Great Taste logo on a product guarantees it has been through a rigorous, independent judging process. Great Taste is recognised as a reliable stamp of excellence among consumers, retailers and major food buyers – an award can be the gateway to exciting opportunities for food and drink producers. As well as seeing uplift in sales and revenue, award-winning producers enjoy raised awareness by appearing in the Great Taste book, a unique directory used by many food retailers, supplying samples for high profile events and exhibiting as part of Great Taste Markets at events including RHS Hampton Court Flower Show.
The Golden Fork in Ireland was sponsored by Bord Bia.
Irish food and drink companies score high in three-star and two-star winners
Below are lists of the 2018 Irish 3-star and 2-star winners by county, naming the product, company and location.
Signature Tastes Smoked Rack Of Bacon, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, Tramore Road.
Dunnes Stores Simply Better Handmade Irish Smoked Trout Pâté, Dunnes Stores, 46-50 South Great George’s Street.
Crafty Brewing Company Irish Lager, Lidl Ireland GmbH, Main Road, Tallaght.
Mushroom Salt, Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms, Ballinalaken, Ballylanders.
Apple Chai Shrubs, Ballyhoura Apple Farm, Applewood Farm Produce Limited, Ballyhoura Artisan Food Park, Kilfinane.
BEEACTIV Raw Ivy Honey, BeeActiv, Hartnett Centre, Limerick Institute of Technology, Moylish.
Carlingford Oysters, Carlingford Oyster Co Ltd, Mulattee, Carlingford.
Sweet dry cured smoked collar bacon, The Smokin’ Butcher Ltd, Unit 3 & 4 High Street, Ashbourne.
Boyne Valley Bán, Boyne Valley Farmhouse Cheese, Mullagha Farm, Slane.
West of Ireland 50-Day Dry-aged French trimmed bone-in Rib (4H/Highly Marbled/Aged with Cap on/Long Ribs), Dawn Meats, Grannagh Business Park.
Scotts Irish Elderflower Cider, Big Hand Brewing Company Ltd., Unit F1 Cavan Enterprise Centre, Dublin Road.
SuperValu Free range whole chicken, Manor Farm, Shercock.
Milleens, Milleens Cheese, Milleens, Eyeries, Beara.
Milleens Smoked, Milleens Cheese, address as above.
Signature Tastes Tuscan Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, Tramore Road.
Supervalu Sicilian Noccellara Del Belice Whole Olives 150Grm, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, address as above.
Signature Tastes Hampshire Smoked Silverside Ham Fillet 1.2Kg, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, address as above.
Signature Tastes Striploin Steak 450Grm, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, address as above.
Signature Tastes Hereford Striploin Roast, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, address as above.
Signature Tastes Premium Easy Carve Hampshire Gammon, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, address as above.
Signature Tastes Premium Hampshire Butcher Style Ham Fillet, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, address as above.
Supervalu Creme Fraiche, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, address above.
Signature Tastes 6 Mth Matured Xmas Pudding 908G, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, address as above.
Signature Tastes Sea Salt And White Wine Vinegar Crisps 125G, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, address as above.
Supervalu Wheaten Soda Loaf, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, address as above.
Supervalu Sean Brown Soda, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, address as above.
Irish Yogurts Clonakilty Greek Style Natural Yogurt 500g, Irish Yogurts, Scartagh, Clonakilty.
Three Fools Coffee - Guatemala - Volcan De Oro, Three Fools Coffee, Grand Parade, Cork.
Hot-smoked Irish Mackerel Fillet (Scomber scombrus), Woodcock Smokery, Gortbrack, Castletownshend, Skibbereen.
St Tola 500g Ash Log, Inagh Farmhouse Cheese Ltd, Ennistymon.
Rack of Local Lamb, B. Molloy Master Butchers, 27 Abbey Street, Ennis.
Flaggy Shore Oysters, Redbank Food Co, New Quay, Burren.
Achill Oysters, Achill Oysters, Quin Road Industrial Estate, Quin Road, Ennis.
Llewellyn’s Apple Syrup, Llewellyns Orchard, Quickpenny Road, Lusk.
Llewellyn’s Balsamic Cider Vinegar, Llewellyns Orchard, address as above.
Finest Irish Angus Fillet Steak, Tesco Ireland, Gresham House, Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire.
Finest Hand-Cut Centre Loin Irish Lamb Chops, Tesco Ireland, address as above. Dublin Mountains Heather Honey, Olly’s Farm, Allagour, Glenasmole.
Summer Blossom Honey, Olly’s Farm, the Glenasmole address is as above.
Bewley’s Fairtrade Special Blend Teabags, Bewley’s, Northern Cross, Malahide Road.
Bewley’s Irish Breakfast Teabags, Bewley’s, Northern Cross, address as above.
Bewley’s Rooibos & Blood Orange Loose Leaf Tea, Bewley’s, address as above.
Tropical Red - Khanya Craft Coffee Limited, Suite 19, The Mall, Beacon Court, Sandyford.
Rwandan Single origin espresso
Khanya Craft Coffee Limited, address as above.
Raspberry and toasted almond roulade, Fusco Foods, 56 Spruce Avenue, Stillorgan Business Park, Blackrock.
Belgian chocolate and black cherry roulade, Fusco Foods, address as above.
Sicilian Lime curd roulade, Fusco Foods, address as above.
Poachers Premium Citrus Tonic Water, Poachers Premium Beverages, 4 Castle Street, Dublin 2.
Fir Honeydew Honey, Mia’s Honey, 228 Premiere Square, Finglas Road, Finglas.
Dunnes Stores Simply Better West Cork Irish Smoked Duck Breast, Dunnes Stores, 46-50 South Great George’s Street.
Dunnes Stores Simply Better West Cork Confit Duck Legs, Dunnes Stores, address as above.
Dunnes Stores Simply Better Limited Edition Irish Gin Christmas Pudding, Dunnes Stores, address as above.
Dunnes Stores Simply Better Irish Handmade Almond & Fig Nougat, Dunnes Stores, address as above.
Dunnes Stores Full Bodied 15 Fields Mature Cheddar, Dunnes Stores, Dunnes Stores Product Development, 46-50 South Great George’s Street.
Grafters IPA, Dunnes Stores, Dunnes Stores Product Development, address as above.
Deluxe Mature Tipperary Cheese, Lidl Ireland GmbH, Main Road, Tallaght.
Deluxe Confit Duck Legs, Lidl Ireland GmbH, address as above.
Deluxe Irish Cream Liqueur, Lidl Ireland GmbH, address as above.
Quinlans Superior Smoked Salmon, Quinlans Kerry Fish, Renard, Cahersiveen.
Quinlans Organic Smoked Salmon, Quinlans Kerry Fish, address as above.
Solas Session IPA, Rye River Brewing Company, Dublin Road, Celbridge.
Aldi Specially Selected Irish Rapeseed oil, Aldi Stores Ireland Ltd, Newbridge Road, Naas.
Aldi Specially Selected Irish Buffalo Mozzarella, Aldi Stores Ireland Ltd, address as above.
Passion Fruit Curd, A Slice of Heaven, Ballygown, Piltown.
Dry Cured Back Rashers, TCF Foods Limited T/A Lisduggan Farm Foods, Christendom, Ferrybank.
Glenstal Irish Creamery Salted Butter 227g, Glenstal Foods, Abington Rectory, Murroe.
Glenstal Irish Creamery Unsalted Butter 227g, Glenstal Foods, address as above. Pandora Bell, Honey Nougat with Almonds and Pistachios, Pandora Bell Ireland, Pandora Bell, Killonan, Ballysimon.
Attyflin Estate Sparkling Apple & Blackcurrant Juice, Attyflin Estate, Attyflin, Patrickswell.
Sweet Sorrento, Greenbean Coffee Roasters, Coe’s Road, Dundalk.
Sweet cured smoked loin of bacon on the bone, The Smokin’ Butcher Ltd, Unit 3 & 4 High Street, Ashbourne.
SuperValu Alabama Rack of Pork, Oliver Carty, Monksland Industrial Estate, Monksland, Athlone.
Oliver Carty Irish Beechwood Smoked Salt Infused Butter Roll, Oliver Carty, address as above.
Platinum Prime Certified Dexter Fillet Steak, ABP Cahir, Kilcommon, Cahir.
Tipperary Gold Dry Aged Certified Angus Striploin Joint, ABP Cahir.
Certified Irish Angus Rib On The Bone, ABP Cahir, address as above.
Pork Lard, James Whelan Butchers, 18 Staunton Row, Clonmel.
Heritage Cure Rack of Bacon, James Whelan Butchers, address as above.
Cashel Blue Organic, Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers, J&L Grubb Ltd, Beechmount, Fethard.
Crozier Blue, Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers, address as above.
Ruby, Cooleeney Cheese, Cooleeney, Moyne, Thurles.
The Lismore Food Company - An Irish Digestive with Wild Atlantic Sea Salt, The Lismore Food Company, Main Street, Lismore.
Flahavan’s Irish Porridge Oats, E. Flahavan & Sons Ltd, Kilnagrange Mills, Kilmacthomas.
Flahavan’s Irish Organic Porridge Oats, E. Flahavan & Sons Ltd, address as above.
West of Ireland Rack of Lamb with an Atlantic Sea Salt rub, Dawn Meats, Grannagh Business Park, Waterford.
Wexford Home Preserves Wexford Blackcurrant Jam, Wexford Home Preserves, Unit 1B Block D, Waterford Road Business Park, New Ross.
Wild About Hairy Hot Chilli Oil, Wild About, Tus Nua Farm, Craan, Wells, Gorey.
Killowen Farm Greek Style Yogurt with Lemon Curd, Greenvalley Farms Ltd, The Beeches, Courtnacuddy, Enniscorthy.
O’Neill’s Dry Cured Back Bacon Joint, O’Neill’s Dry Cure Bacon Co, Bolinadrum, Ferns, Enniscorthy.
Breakfast Bread, Staffords Bakery, IDA Industrial Estate, Clonhattin Road, Gorey.
Nossa Senhora de Fatima, McCabe’s Coffee, Unit 1, Newtown Business Park, NewtownMountKennedy.
Janet’s Country Fayre Really Good Brown Sauce! Janet’s Country Fayre Ltd, 13b Bullford Business Campus, Kilcoole.