Following 14 weeks of judging, the results of the world’s most trusted food and drink awards, Great Taste, have been released, providing a vital boost for the industry during the all-important run-up to Christmas. Building upon the recent increase in trade for both regional food producers and retailers, one of the few good news stories during lockdown, the Great Taste results will help to stimulate much-needed consumer support for independent retail and hospitality over the coming months, as the nation moves towards the most important Christmas period in a generation.
Coming later than usual, due to the lockdown delaying the judging of a record-breaking 12,777 entries from 106 different countries, this year’s stars are more significant than ever before. Among the 1-, 2- and 3-star winners are hundreds of products that will make perfect additions to the most traditional or innovative Christmas celebrations, all revealed in time to inspire festive gifting, new listings and plenty of feasting come the big day.
For those looking to add something truly special to this year’s Christmas lunch, the Great Taste 2020 3-star winners include; the “truly classy” Cranberry Gin Christmas Pudding from Bee & Bear Bakery in Battle, East Sussex, praised for its “indulgently moist texture” and “plump and boozy fruit”; the plant-based Moving Mountains Sausage Burger from Moving Mountains Foods in London, a “moreishly fatty and well-spiced” vegan option that “delivers a wealth of salty, savoury deliciousness”; Norfolk Black Free Range Turkey from Morton’s Traditional Taste in Skeyton, “a first class piece of poultry” with a “generous amount of fat under the skin on the breasts, indicating a happy, healthy life”; and the “sensationally pretty” Luxury Mince Pie from Thomas the Baker in Helmsley, North Yorkshire, with its “filling that leaves most mincemeats back in the dark ages.”
This year’s Great Taste 3-star line-up also features original gift ideas for any fan of food and drink, including; Orkney Akvavit from the Orkney Gin Company, a traditional Scandinavian caraway-based spirit described as “pure, clear and smooth as satin” and “intense, explosively flavoursome and bright in the mouth”; Pink Gin Marmalade from The Artisan Kitchen in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, which “delivers on so many levels” and left the judges “feeling sorry for every other marmalade maker in the world”; and the “delicious”, “divine” and “glamorous” Droitwich Salted Caramel from #nom in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, a “perfectly pitched” sweet treat, made using a brine salt extracted from beneath Droitwich town and double cream from a nearby dairy, that brought a smile to all the judges’ faces.
While these producers enjoy their success and begin displaying the unmistakable gold and black Great Taste logo, with 1-, 2- or 3- stars, on their award-winning products, they will wait with much anticipation to see if they also scoop the top awards for their region. These final honours, including the Great Taste 2020 Supreme Champion, will be announced at the virtual Great Taste Golden Fork awards event, set to take place in October.
Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, values taste above all else, with no regard for branding or packaging. Whether it is cake, coffee, kippers or kombucha being judged, all products are removed from their packaging before being tasted. The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1-, 2- or 3-star award.
This year’s winners have been found through a combination of remote judging and socially distanced judging sessions, after the lockdown began just one week into the schedule. This necessitated a swift and comprehensive reinvention of the Great Taste process to ensure that robust judging standards were maintained and the quality of feedback was not compromised, all in time to provide a much-needed boost for food and drink producers during the all-important Christmas period.
The panel of judges included; cook, writer and champion of sustainable food, Melissa Hemsley, cook, writer, stylist and voice of modern vegetarian cooking, Anna Jones, celebrated Spanish chef, José Pizarro, Kavi Thakrar from Dishoom, food writer and cook, Xanthe Clay, and baker and author, Martha Collison, as well as food buyers from Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and Waitrose. These esteemed palates have together tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners to finally agree on the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the Great Taste 2020 Supreme Champion.