Pots win prizes for regional producers at Great Taste awards

The Great Taste Awards logo superimposed over Warwick Castle

The winners of this year’s Guild of Fine Food’s Great Taste Stars have been announced, with a large number of Midlands and South West businesses achieving recognition. From authentic Italian gelato to a farm shop which started out as an honesty box, we have picked a few of our favourites from the 500+ list to share with you.

Gloucestershire

Whittals

Tibberton-based Whittals make a range of fudges and triple chocolate brownie bombs. They offer 25 different flavours of fudge and a number of brownie bombs including Biscoff and Reece’s Peanut Butter flavour. Becoming the first fudge producer featured in the Great Taste Awards with 2017’s Salted Caramel Fudge, they return to this year’s list with their three-star rated Honey Fudge.

The Artisan Kitchen_Blaisdon Red Plum Jam_1201_1_50A9235

The Artisan Kitchen

Set up in Gloucester in 2011 by trained chef Sarah Churchill, The Artisan Kitchen hand-makes a wide range of preserves and marmalades from its Gloucestershire kitchen. Originally started to capitalise on a local plum tree, the brand utilises as many locally sourced ingredients as possible, often foraging in the local area. Their products are well-represented in this year’s awards, with the three-star rated Blaisdon Red Plum Jam, Tarocco Blood Orange Marmalade, Blood Orange Marmalade Vino De Naranja and Pink Grapefruit Vanilla Marmalade leading their 18-strong list.

Jess’s Ladies Organic Farm Milk

A family-owned business which has existed in Hardwicke since 1956, Jess’s Ladies is best known for its organic Kefir. Made onsite at the farm, their onsite dairy means they can have their product on the shelf within four hours, retaining total control of every stage of production. Having been previously awarded two stars for their Kefir, this year they return to Great Taste with a three-star award.

Oxfordshire

Team TeaTeam_Tea_Moroccan_Mint_Organic_410_7

Oxford-based Team Tea was launched in 2018 by tea sommelier Valerie Diederichs. Driven by core values of ethical sourcing, sustainability, quality and taste, they source a broad range of loose-leaf teas from around the world. They also offer a monthly subscription service for those looking to widen their scope. Of the seven products included in this year’s list, their Moroccan Mint Organic was given the highest rating of three stars, while their Rooibos Organic achieved two.

Sky Wave Distillery

Bicester-based Sky Wave Distillery’s Sky Wave Signature London Dry Gin boasts a vibrant ingredient list, with its 13 botanicals spanning the globe from Oxfordshire to Africa, including water from nearby Blenheim Palace. Sky Wave was founded by Rachel and Andy Parsons, who were dissatisfied with the gins available to them. Among the 39 awards won to date, it was named the World’s Best Contemporary Gin at the World Gin Awards 2020. Their signature London Dry Gin has been awarded two stars in this year’s Great Taste Awards, while their Sky Wave Orange and Madagascan Vanilla Gin has picked up a one-star rating.

Dorabella

South Oxfordshire’s Dorabella builds on rural traditions making a range of sourdough cakes and preserves for modern tastes.  Their three-star Sourdough Chocolate Orange Cake uses Wiltshire Dora’s Dairy raw milk to nurture a ‘culture’, better developing the individual flavours. Looking to move away from the current trend of overly sweet icing, this sourdough starter provides an ideal vehicle to bake with a traditional level of sweetness, highlighting the flavour of the ingredients. Developing recipes alone, backed by a small, local team, Dorabella hopes to introduce as many people as possible to the distinct flavour of Sourdough cakes, helping our food heritage live on.

South Gloucestershire & Bristol

Panunzio’s Kitchen Gelati Italiani Ltd_Bacio (Milky chocolate & Nutty Chocolate Sauce) Gelato_3006_16_50A9335Panunzio’s Kitchen Gelati Italian

Panunzio’s was started last year as a home-business by Daniele Panunzio, who lives with his family in Bristol. After spotting a gap in the market for authentic Italian gelato, Panunzio’s has already grown to the point of opening its first shop in Bristol’s Cotham Hill. Daniele’s 20 years’ experience includes participating in the prestigious Italian gelato maker championships at the age of 21. Of Panunzio’s 11 products included in this year’s Great Taste Awards, their ‘Bacio’ Milky Chocolate and Nutty Chocolate Sauce Gelato achieved the highest accolade, with three stars. Their Black Cherry Gelato and Alphonso Mango Sorbet were among their two-star rated products.

Beyond the Bean

Bristol-based coffee producers Beyond the Bean are a family company who create or source innovative ingredients such as syrups, hot chocolate and frappés, as well as blenders and barista gear. With sustainability in mind, they source as many ingredients as possible locally, including sugar grown in England, bottles from Wales and labels printed in Bristol. They also have accreditations from the Vegan and Vegetarian societies. Their Sweetbird Rose Syrup has been awarded three stars in this year’s Great Taste Awards.

The Jolly Hog

Starting out as a hobby to kill time while injured in 2008, the brothers behind The Jolly Hog now boast two restaurants on top of their extensive product range. They are also regulars at Glastonbury and a number of other festivals around the country, selling from their ‘Miss Piggy’ air-steamer. Among their nine products included in this year’s awards are the two-star rated Proper Porker, Pigs in Blankets and Black Treacle Ham.

Read more – Free membership for Gloucestershire Food and drink producers with new initiative ‘Made in Gloucestershire’

Warwickshire

Vinegar TipsVinegar_Tips_Sweet_Plum_Vinegar_1902_48

Henley in Arden-based Vinegar Tips is an independent company specialising in sweet English vinegars and Italian extra virgin olive oils. All of their vinegars are hand made in their Warwickshire kitchen and stored in white flint Italian glass bottles. Their ‘Sweet Plum Vinegar’ achieved a three-star rating, while their Sweet Raspberry and Sweet Damson vinegars both achieved two-star ratings in the Great Taste Awards for this year.

Prices Spices

Prices Spices are a small, family-owned business based in Leamington Spa. They make a range of preserves, sauces and chutneys utilising chillies grown locally at Warwickshire Chilli Farm. They also grow a large number of their ingredients and those they don’t are sourced locally. Most of their products are also vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free. Prices Spices achieved a three-star rating for their India Joywala, and two-stars for their Chipotle Coppa.

Oakes Farm Shop

Oakes Farm Shop are Warwickshire born and bred, with a local heritage dating back over 90 years. The farm shop itself started off in 2000 selling eggs from an honesty box on the corner of the farm. In 2013 they opened a full shop which has since grown to include a café, butchery and deli. Oakes were awarded a two star rating for their Homemade Hand-raised Pork Pie, and one star for their Homemade Plain Sausage Roll and their Free Range Thick Pork Breakfast Sausage.

Wiltshire

The Old Cheese Room Ltd_Lypiatt_2705_135_50A9299The Old Cheese Room

The Old Cheese Room is run by husband and wife team Julianna and Karim from Wiltshire’s Neston Park. Since 2010, they have used Organic Jersey cow milk from cattle reared at Neston Park to produce a range of 6-7 types of artisan cheese. Their ‘Lypiatt’ cheese is the only product from Wiltshire to achieve a three star rating in this year’s awards.

Marshfield Farm Ice Cream

Marshfield produce ice cream from their eleven hundred acres of farmland, with every drop of milk in their ice cream originating from their farm. Having started out from 35 cows in 1971, their business has grown under the stewardship of Will, the son of the original farmers, to 250 cows who roam freely across their farm. They produce more than 30 different flavours, three of which have been recognised in this year’s Great Taste Awards, with their Very Cherry Ice Cream picking up a two-star rating.

Helen Browning’s

Descended from a family which has run Eastbrook Farm in Wiltshire for more than 67 years, Helen Browning’s also now runs the Royal Oak boutique hotel and dining pub from their base in Bishopstone, Wiltshire. Passionate about organic, Helen is also the Chief Executive of the Soil Association. Boasting four products in this year’s awards, their Organic Smoked Streaky Bacon and Organic Hot Dogs both received two-star ratings.

Worcestershire

Ross & Ross GiftsRoss_&_Ross_Gifts_Lemon_Drop_&_Chipotle_Chilli_Salt_1811_12

Founded in 2011 by two friends, Worcestershire’s Ross & Ross Gifts produce a range of food-based gifts. Since 2014 they have also been producing home curing kits, allowing people to produce their own cured meats and fish, as well as a range of BBQs. Since rebranding in 2019 to focus on gifts, they have maintained their use of local suppliers while taking the business to new heights. They have two products in this year’s Great Taste Awards, with their Lemon Drop & Chipotle Chilli Salt and their Lemon Drop Chilli, Garlic & Thyme Salt both receiving three-star ratings.

Macneil’s Smokehouse

Macneil’s Smokehouse are a small scale artisan producer, making small batches of smoked products using their imported vintage Norwegian smoking kiln. Of their four products included in this year’s award, their highest rating, of three stars, went to their Beechwood Hot Kiln Smoked Salmon, while their Beech Wood Smoked Salmon and Herefordshire Cider & Apple Cured Salmon both received two stars.

Commonwood Farm

Hailing from a family who have resided at Commonwood Farm since 1887, owners Sarah and Bruce are the sixth generation of the family to run the farm. They make a range of drinks using the orchards and fields on the farm, and open them up to picnickers at blossom time and during cherry season. Named for the orchard their grown in, their Bannut Orchard Vintage Pear Spirit picked up three stars in this years’ Great Taste Awards, while their Bannut Orchard Sparkling Perry 2020 picked up one star.

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