Food and drink from the island of Ireland came up trumps as judges gathered in late April in Dublin to taste almost 1000 different food and drink products – from artisan made soda bread to hand made truffles, goats’ cheese to exceptional smoked meats and fish. All in all, the 100 expert food judges who blind tasted each product awarded a significant number of Great Taste stars – including the much coveted 3-star Great Taste award to five products, plus 35, 2-star awards and over 150, 1-star awards.
The success of this year’s Great Taste in Dublin – the very first time that Great Taste has been held in Ireland – has resulted in the scheme making a commitment to be back next year for judging in both Dublin and Belfast. This means that most producers across Ireland – from North to South – will be able to have their products judged on home soil.
Robert Bell from S D Bell & Co, the tea and coffee company founded in Northern Ireland in 1887 commented; “To judge at these awards is rewarding because we all continue to learn, in part due to all the judges’ diverse specialities and backgrounds. But the high quality and sheer diversity of entrants from Southern Ireland certainly gives credence to the view that this country punches well above its weight! There was a massive variety of cheeses, and a good number of worthy star winners among the dairy entries. But my lasting impression is one of innovation – it was lovely to see the artisan’s imagination at work to such great effect, particularly in the smoked fish and meats. The bar has been raised yet again.”
Julie Morrissey, Chairperson of the Irish Foodservice Suppliers Alliance (IFSA), which also sponsored a drinks reception at the RDS during the week of judging, commented; “The board and members of IFSA were delighted to have the opportunity to support the staging of the judging process of the Irish entries into this year’s Great Taste Awards. We do hope that this initiative will encourage even more entries next year and we wish all of this year’s entries the very best of luck.”
Since 1994, Great Taste has been organised by The Guild of Fine Food and over the last 19 years more than 70,000 products have been blind-tasted by judges including top restaurateurs, chefs, food critics, fine food retailers, buyers and cookery writers. The announcement of the Supreme Champion 2013 sponsored by Harrods, will be made on the 9th September.
3-stars: Exquisite. Wow! Taste that. 2-stars: Outstanding 1-star: A virtually faultless food