Fourteen artisan meat products have been recognised among Britain’s greatest local, regional and speciality foods, after making it into the prestigious Great Taste Award Top 50.
The Great Taste Awards accreditation scheme, run by the Guild of Fine Food, celebrates the best-quality foods currently being produced in the UK. This year 8,807 products were blind-tasted and judged by 350 professional food writers and buyers from food halls, such as Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason, and 2,793 products won a one-, two- or 3-star gold. The top 50 products were chosen from the 123 entries that had gained a coveted 3-star gold.
Guild of Fine Food chairman Bob Farrand said: "To achieve Gold in Great Taste is a significant achievement but for a product to merit a three-star grading, at least 25 experts must unanimously agree a product to merit a 3-star grading, at least 25 experts must unanimously agree a product tastes divine."
Meat products that made the list included a French-style saucisson from the Cotswold Curer in Gloucestershire; potted wild boar with sherry & thyme from The Potted Game Company, Gloucestershire; English Wagyu sirloin steak from C Lidgate, London; an organic pork shoulder of pork from Slade Farm Organics in the Vale of Glamorgan; Welsh organic shoulder of lamb from Rhug Organic in Denbighshire; lamb carpacchio from Trealy Farm Charcuterie in Monmouth; Gloucester Old Spot smoked middle back bacon from Ludlow Food Centre, Shropshire; a four-bone rack of heather-ed lamb from Albert Matthews Butchers in Lancashire; a rack of wild northumberland roe deer from Ridley’s Fish & Game in Northumberland; a marinated free-range springbok portioned fillet from Kezie Foods in the Borders; and a reduced-salt smoked rack of bacon from Oliver Carty in Co Roscommon.
Northern Ireland had a particularly strong showing in the meat category, with all four products in the Top 50 coming from well-known butchers'. These included the dry aged marrow butter from Kettyle Irish Foods, Co Fermanagh, and moyallon guanciale from Hannan Meats, Co Antrim. Two products from McCartney’s of Moira in Co Antrim made the cut, including last year's winner, the handmade corned beef and a handmade sweet corned pork.
There was also one imported product, a Jamon Iberico de Bellota from Jamones Juan Pedro Domecq SL, in Spain.
All 50 products will be entered into next month's 'Golden Fork' Awards in London, where the Great Taste Supreme Champion will be revealed. Last year, the title went to traditional Northern Ireland butcher McCartney's of Moira, for its gourmet corned beef.