The Great Taste Awards put thousands of food and drink products to hundreds of judges, including retailers, chefs, journalists, restaurateurs, and buyers. But rather than us telling you about it, here’s the managing director, John Farrand, to tell you all about the amazing event himself.
The crux of it is, as their website says:
1 star = simply delicious
2 stars = outstanding
3 stars = exquisite and wow!
We caught up with some of our Great Taste Award winners to hear about their experiences and how it feels to display the badge of honour on their delicious products.
‘For us it’s a sense of achievement,’ The Real Pie Company‘s Brett shares, ‘it shows that our team work extremely hard to produce great tasting pies, so that when we win awards like this, it gives us a real buzz and motivates us to keep baking!’
This particular esteemed award must have given a bigger buzz than most! ‘I felt immensely proud,’ Brett remembers, ‘being a small team and winning such a prestigious award means so much to small producers like us.’
When it comes to why Brett thinks their pies are so successful, it’s simple: ‘Have you tried one of our pies?’
The public constantly reach out to them to praise their crammed fillings and perfect seasoning. ‘Also’ Brett adds, ‘I believe we are winners as we stay true to our values, by only using British ingredients, making pies by hand and baking to perfection.’
Having your unique selling point down is a must. By using unique flavour profiles, Joe & Seph‘s have found a way of shocking the popcorn world with never-before-seen flavours, such as gin and tonic.
Co-founder Joseph (pictured) shared some interesting insider info too: ‘ We also layer the ingredients, so that you taste them in a predefined sequence. For instance, our Caramel, Pepper & Chilli flavour starts with caramel, then goes to black pepper, and eight seconds after you started eating it, you get the kick of chilli.’
Well! We can see how they were dubbed ‘the Willie Wonka of popcorn’ by the press for that concoction!
Their creativity has not gone unnoticed, upon entering their initial range of six flavours back in 2011 (only three months after the brand launched), five came back with awards!
‘We were blown away’, Joseph remembers, ‘we knew people told us they tasted different and special but had no idea what a food expert would consider popcorn as gourmet. It sets us apart from other brands and is a great reward for the team and for all the work that goes into creating new flavours. It’s a quality mark we use to keep up the highest standards in everything we do.’
Co founder of Melefsis Honey, Adam Cosgrave (pictured here on the right with co founder Petros Iliadis), is with Brett and Joseph when it comes to the importance of the awards to their teams: ‘The awards prove to us that dedication and hard work pays off. It’s a great motivator to our team.
Beekeeping is a very hard business. We travel at night and move our beehives literally to the corners of Greece. High up in the mountains with lorries or on to the islands, using ships, we travel off the beaten track to the very middle of the mountainous forests.
It’s a demanding life to get the best quality and unique flavoured honey that we have.’
It’s clear Adam is immensely proud of their work, and after all of that travelling, we can see why! ‘Our honey is literally some of the best in the world.’ Adam tells us, ‘so yes… it’s worth an award! Our range is organic and 100% natural, plus we never cut corners or feed our bees sugar.’
This hard work has not gone unnoticed, winning their first award last year, 2015, for their Thyme Honey. It meant even more than you’d think to Adam, combining British and Greek cultures: ‘For a British beekeeper placed in Greece it meant a lot, but also for a Greek beekeeper crossing borders, this was a great deal too.’
Cottage Delight‘s marketing manager Chloe agrees the awards are the ultimate nod that you’re headed in the right direction. ‘These awards credit all the hard work, research, new product development, quality small batch production and hand finishing we put into every one of our products.’
‘From the conception of a product,’ Chloe tell us, ‘we work hard in order to source the best quality ingredients and use traditional small batch methods to give that homemade taste. Once we bring a product to market we don’t stop there, every month we hold a tasting panel with Nigel Cope (our founder) and a team of colleagues to ensure we stay at our best.’
Well, it’s clear that their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed, receiving a total of 160 awards since 1996. ‘Every year we are excited and our founder (Nigel Cope, pictured here with his wife Diana) is always keen to hear the results.’ Chloe shares, ‘We eagerly wait for the winners to be announced to see how successful we have been.’
And that’s the name of the game – for these brands hearing back from their entries, it’s not whether they have been successful. They produce delicious, gourmet food, and they know it (and we know it), but it’s just about getting their name out there to the experts.
As they say, the proof is in the taste!