Five local producers have won highly-respected Great Taste Awards highlighting the area’s artisan food industry. Country Puddings, Dalemain Marmalades, Claire’s Handmade, Mr Vikkis and Cranstons Quality Butchers all picked up gold awards for their produce.
The Great Taste Awards are spearheaded by the Guild of Fine Food and are recognised as the standard for speciality food and drink. As the name suggests, the awards are judged on taste alone. All items are presented to the judges unpackaged so the only influence to their decision is the taste of the produce.
Eden heralded the most winners from the county, with four producers bringing home multiple awards for their products. Mr Vikki’s won awards for six of their spice-infused products. A 2 star gold went to the Mr Vikkis Hot Brinjal while 1 star golds went to the Tamarind Chipotle, East India Chilli Pickle, Hot Coriander sauce, Chilli Jam and Banana Habanero. Adam Marks makes his spiced chutneys and pickles from his small production unit in High Hesket and is earning a national reputation for excellence. Dan Hunt of Mr Vikki’s said ‘The latest 6 great taste golds we have won brings the total number won by Mr Vikki’s over the years to over 90! The Great Taste Awards have been an important part of Mr Vikki’s success.’’
Country Puddings, set up 13 years ago by Lynne Mallinson in her farmhouse kitchen near Penrith, was awarded three 1 star gold Great Taste Awards for her Jam Sponge Pudding, Syrup Sponge Pudding and the Summer Pudding. Lynne said ‘’The Great Taste Awards are great for small producers as the ‘great taste gold’ badge is instantly recognised by British food lovers as a mark of quality. It is wonderful as a relatively small producer to have your product excellence recognised nationally.’’
Dalemain, famous for hosting the World’s Original Marmalade Awards, has been presented with a gold 1 star for their Bishop’s Marmalade from the Dalemain Marmalade Collection. Jane Hasell-McCosh has been producing marmalades and hosting the annual awards for a number of years. She remarked: ‘’ We are delighted that we have been awarded a star for The Bishops Marmalade. The Marmalade Awards were founded at Dalemain on our recipes from the 1600’s so it is interesting that 400 years later this quince marmalade is still considered to be a prize winner.’’
Claire Kent, supplies her Claires Handmade jams and chutneys to independent retailers throughout the North West from a small production unit in Wigton and won 1 star golds for her Country Farmhouse Pickle, Sweet Piccalilli and Pink Grapefruit and Ginger Marmalade. Claire said ‘I am really thrilled to have picked up 3 Great Taste Awards this year. The artisan jam and chutney market is very competitive with lots of small producers in the market place so having the Great Taste Award logo on your jars really sets you apart.’’
Cranstons Quality Butchers won a 2 star gold award for their Thick Cumberland Sausage and 1 star gold awards for the Dry Cured Back Bacon and Rare Roast Beef. Speaking at the company’s flagship foodhall in Penrith, a delighted Philip Cranston said: “It’s great to see Eden’s independent food scene has been nationally recognised by the Guild of Fine Food, with a number of Great Taste Awards. Cranstons work with great taste winning Mr Vikkis, Claires Handmade, Dalemain and Country Puddings, we are very lucky to have so many passionate companies in our immediate area. The Cranstons team were really excited to win 3 awards for our own produce too, the Great Taste golds are difficult to win with very discerning judges!’’