‘Great Taste’ accolades for Norfolk’s finest artisan food and drink

Sally Francis of Norfolk Saffron. Pic by Keiron Tovell Sally Francis of Norfolk Saffron. Pic by Keiron Tovell

Friday, August 15, 2014
11:08 AM

From sloe gin to black puddings, poultry to caramel and saffron to truffles, the most succulent tastes of Norfolk have been celebrated among the nation’s finest in an awards scheme dubbed the “Oscars” of the food world.

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Great Taste two-star awards

As well as the three-star awards, the two-star winners in our region included:

Fruit Pig Fresh Blood Black Pudding, from The Fruit Pig Company in Wisbech

Cherry and Amaretto Truffle, from The Norfolk Truffle Company in Brooke

Cherry Cognac Chocolate Truffles, from Booja-Booja in Brooke

Norfolk Crier Onion Marmalade, from Candi’s Chutney in Foulsham

250ml Oak Smoked Rapeseed Oil, from Yare Valley Oils in Surlingham

Norfolk Black Free Range Turkey, from W R Garner & Son in Tittleshall

Masia El Altet High Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, from Verita Vita Ltd in Gorleston

Soft Coffee Caramel, from The Chocolate Deli in Little Walsingham

Salted Caramel, from The Chocolate Deli in Little Walsingham

In addition, more than 20 Norfolk producers achieved one star.

Great Taste, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, is a benchmark for speciality food and drink which this year saw 10,000 artisan products blind-tasted by panels of top chefs, cookery writers, critics, restaurateurs and retailers.

Of those, only 153 achieved the highest “three gold stars” rating – including three in Norfolk:

– “Black Shuck” sloe gin, made by the Norfolk Sloe Company in Fakenham.

– “King Harry” orange and saffron liqueur, made by Norfolk Saffron in Burnham Norton.

– “Masia El Altet” white truffle extra virgin olive oil, from Verita Vita in Gorleston.

Dr Sally Francis of Norfolk Saffron, who launched her liqueur at last year’s North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival, said: “King Harry orange and saffron liqueur is roughly based on a historical recipe I discovered, and named the Norfolk dialect for a goldfinch, because of its wonderful golden colour.

“When a product wears a Great Taste label it carries a badge of honour but more importantly, the Great Taste logo is a signpost to a wonderful tasting product.

“Years of research, hard work and attention to detail have gone into Norfolk Saffron. We pride ourselves on growing Category I saffron that can rival the best from anywhere in the world, and making innovative products with it that you won’t find anywhere else. We’re completely bowled over by the three-star Great Taste award, and really pleased.”

Patrick Saunders, co-founder of the family-owned Norfolk Sloe Company, said: “We entered the Great Taste competition because we recognised it as being the most prestigious scheme for speciality fine food and drink. Entries are judged simply on taste, not clever branding or smart packaging and we had great confidence in the quality of our product. To have our Black Shuck sloe gin recognised as one of the best quality liqueurs in the UK is just fantastic.”

Verita Vita in Gorleston is an importer of premium extra virgin olive oils, wines and delicatessen items, but the firm has also recently launched its own range of artisan vegetable appetizers, fruit preserves and organic argan oil.

Company founder Mimi Sanders said her team was “ecstatic” with the Great Taste award.

“It is a great reward for the effort we have put in,” she said. “When we look at new products we always hope people will enjoy them and the award shows they have. It will make us work even harder to bring more interesting products to the UK.”

This year’s Great Taste Awards judges included restaurant critic Charles Campion, BBC Food Programme presenter Sheila Dillon, Great British Bake Off winner Frances Quinn, MasterChef 2013’s Natalie Coleman, food buyers from Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Whole Food Markets, and chefs including Michelin Star chef Russell Brown.

The Adnams Norfolk Food and Drink Festival, in association with the EDP, will celebrate its 10th birthday this year with hundreds of fantastic foodie events to celebrate the county’s finest produce, from August 30 to October 12. For more information, see www.norfolkfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk.

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