Catherine Ketch looks ahead to Monday’s announcement of the 2012 Great Taste supreme champion.
The number of Irish winners in the Great Taste Awards has shot up from 161 winners two years ago to 535 in 2012.
In what is described as the biggest independent benchmarking scheme for local, regional and speciality foods in Britain and Ireland, 8,807 entries were whittled down to 123 three-star winners.
Those winners are judged again, and whittled down to the 50 highest-scoring.
One of these will be the Great Taste supreme champion, to be announced on Sept 3 at a red carpet occasion in London.
There’s a 14% chance that champion will be Irish, because there are seven Irish food producers in the top 50.
There are 12 Irish three-star winners, 112 two-star winners, and 411 one-star winners.
Some are non-Irish products, winning awards for their Irish retailers.
The 535 winners can count their products among the best -tasting foods in these islands.
They include a huge range of products, from teas, coffees and chocolates to meats, prepared meals and dairy.
The Great Taste organisers say that sales of speciality food and drink have remained resilient.
“Consumers are eating out less, but are unwilling to compromise on the quality of food eaten in the home.”
Awareness of the positive impact on rural communities is also thought to be a driving force behind continued growth in artisan foods.
Irish winners in the Great Taste 2012 awards are as follows:
THREE STAR WINNERS
* G’s Gourmet Rhubarb & Ginger Jam, G’s Gourmet Jams (Abbey Farm Foods), Abbeyleix, Co Laois (Top 50).
* SuperValu Smoked Rack of Bacon, Oliver Carty, Athlone, Co Roscommon (Top 50).
* Yeats Country Spreadable Goats’ Cheese, Green Pastures (Donegal), Lifford, Co Donegal (Top 50).
* Moyallon Guanciale, Hannan Meats Ltd, Craigavon, Co Antrim (Top 50).
* Kettyle Dry Aged Marrow Butter, Kettyle Irish Foods, Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh (Top 50).
* Hand Made Corned Beef, McCartney’s of Moira Ltd, Craigavon, Co Down (Top 50).
* Hand Made Sweet Corned Pork, McCartney’s of Moira Ltd, Co Down (Top 50).
* Java Beans, Robert Roberts Ltd, Tallaght, Dublin.
* Thompson’s Titanic Tea Bags, Punjana Ltd, Belfast.
* Wild Hot-smoked Albacore Tuna, Woodcock Smokery, Skibbereen, Co Cork.
* Connacht Gold Softer Butter, Connacht Gold, Ballymote, Co Sligo.
* Rib Eye Steak, Cloughbane Farm Shop, Pomeroy, Co Tyrone.
TWO STAR WINNERS
Ó hArtagáin Pure Bread Ireland; Ancient Oatgrain, Ó hArtagáin Pure Bread Ireland, Dublin 6.
McCloskey’s Cottage Brown, McCloskey’s Bakery, Drogheda.
Larkin’s Kerry Porter Brack, Larkin’s Bakery, Milltown, Co Kerry.
Porter Cake, O’Connor’s Craft Bakery, Ennis, Co Clare.
Stafford Bakery Belgium Chocolate Ganashe, Stafford Bakery, Gorey, Co Wexford.
Village Bakery Organic Rye Toasting Muffins, produced by Sinnack (Germany), Aldi Ireland
Lime (filled chocolates), Cocoa Atelier, Dublin 2.
Guinness Bar (Chocolate bars) Lir Chocolates, Navan, Co Meath.
Irish Wheaten Bread, Yellow Door Ltd. Portadown, Co Armagh.
Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Co Couture, Belfast.
Scone, The Deli Bistro and Patisserie, Bangor, Co Down.
Custard Tart, Ann’s Pantry, Larne, Co Antrim.
Irish Cream Tiramisu, Slice of Heaven, Newtownards, Co Down
Glastry Farm Yellowman Honeycomb Ice-Cream, Glastry Farm Ice-Cream, Newtownards, Co Down.
Luxury Christmas Pudding, The Cloudberry Bakery, Castlemaine, Co Kerry.
Bramley Apple Pie, Deliciously Different Cake Co Ltd, Dublin 9.
Rose Scented Berry Tart, Elizabeth Ann Desserts Collection, Colloooney, Co Sligo
Harvest Malt Fudge, Blackthorn Foods, Belfast.
Gookies Natural Cookie Dough, Gookies, Midleton, Co Cork
Kilcree Gold Active Manuka Honey 10+, produced by Healy’s Honey, Ballincollig, Co Cork, Aldi Ireland.
Sarah’s Zesty Honey with Ginger, Mileeven Fine Foods, Piltown, Co Kilkenny.
Abbey Farm Strawberry Jam (G’s Gourmet Jams).
Abbey Farm Raspberry Jam, (G’s Gourmet Jams).
SuperValu Apricot Jam, produced by Materne Confilux, Belgium: Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland.
Caramel & Butter Paste, Cocoa Atelier, Dublin 2.
Folláin Extra Fruit Seville Orange Thin Cut Marmalade, Folláin Teoranta, Macroom, Co Cork.
Rhubarb & Elderflower Jam, En-Place Foods UK Ltd, Cookstown, Co Tyrone.
Blackcurrant & Orange Jam, En-Place Foods UK Ltd.
Finest Irish Canadian Maple Rashers, produced by Hilton Foods, Tesco Ireland.
Finest Irish Hickory Smoked Back Rashers, produced by Hilton Foods, Tesco Ireland.
Smoked Rasher, Connolly Meats, Scotstown, Co Monaghan.
Premium Irish Smoked Maple Cure, 250g, produced by Honeyvale Foods, Lidl Northern Ireland.
Honey and Mustard Bacon Joint, Connolly Meats, Scotstown, Co Monaghan.
Horgan’s Honey Baked Ham on the Bone, Horgan’s Delicatessen Supplies, Mitchelstown, Co Cork.
Horgan’s Honey Baked Half Ham, Horgan’s Delicatessen Supplies.
Horgan’s Lightly Smoked Ham on the Bone, Horgan’s Delicatessen Supplies.
SuperValu Wiltshire Ham on the Bone, produced by Brady’s, Naas, Co Kildare; Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland.
Horgan’s Certified Irish Angus Spiced Beef, Horgan’s Delicatessen Supplies.
Horgan’s Certified Irish Angus Roast Beef, Horgan’s Delicatessen Supplies.
Irish Angus Sirloin (Rump) Steaks, produced by Hilton Foods, Tesco Ireland.
Silver Hill Foods Pekin Duck, Monaghan
Dexter Rib-Eye Steak, Bruce’s Hill Farm Shop, Ballymena, Co Antrim.
Fillet Steak, Cloughbane Farm Shop, Pomeroy, Co Tyrone.
Glenarm Shorthorn Sirloin, Hannan Meats Ltd, Craigavon, Co Antrim.
Glenarm Shorthorn Fillet, Hannan Meats Ltd.
Glenarm Shorthorn Rib-eye, Hannan Meats Ltd.
Hereford Fillet Steak, Hannan Meats Ltd.
Dry Aged Wing Rib Steak with Traditional Bone Marrow, Kettyle Irish Foods.
Fresh Whole Irish Duckling — produced by Silver Hill Foods, Lidl Northern Ireland GmbH.
Coolanowle Farm Organic Black Pudding, Coolanowle Organics, Carlow.
Chicken Liver Paté, Bramley Lodge, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork.
Beef Sausages, Alfie Murray Family Butchers, Downpatrick, Co Down.
6oz Steak Burger, Alfie Murray Family Butchers.
Steak & Kidney Pie, McCartney’s of Moira Ltd, Craigavon, Co Down.
Home Made Chicken Liver & Shallot Parfait, Quails Fine Foods, Banbridge, Co Down.
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