Great Taste, the world’s most coveted blind-tasted food awards, which celebrates the very best in food and drink, has announced the Great Taste stars of 2018. Out of over 12,600 products to be judged, The Coconut Kitchen from North Wales was awarded a 1-star Great Taste award for its newly launched Thai Style Sweet and Sour Stirfry Sauce which means judges dubbed it a food that delivers fantastic flavour. The judges commented of the sauce,” Good initial smell of garlic, a good viscosity, strong colour, warmth of chilli not too excessive. Sweetness of pineapple noticeable and not overpowered by the saltiness of the soy. We like the aftertaste to this well balanced and natural product.”
Judged by over 500 of the most demanding palates, belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs and producers, as well as a whole host of food writers and journalists, Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers. As well as a badge of honour, the unmistakeable black and gold Great Taste label is a signpost to a wonderful tasting product, which has been discovered through hours and hours of blind-tasting by hundreds of judges.
Sales Director Paul Withington commented, “We had a break from any awards last year but were really pleased that our new stirfry sauce, which was born as a special in the restaurant, has won us another award. It also has the bonus of being Vegan friendly. We are slowly adding to our vegan range where we can, its sometimes tricky with Thai sauces but where we can replace any fish sauce or shrimp paste without losing the authentic Thai flavour, we do. Preechaya’s palate has again come to the fore and proved its possible!” He continued, “We will be out and about and lots of food festivals In North and South Wales over the rest of the year with the Menai Food Festival in Anglesey on Saturday 4th August being the next and we will be making this sauce the star of the show so please come down and taste for yourselves.”
Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste values taste above all else, with no regard for branding and packaging. Whether it is vinegar, granola, bacon or cheese being judged, all products are removed from their wrapper, jar, box or bottle before being tasted. The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1-, 2- or 3-star award.
There were 12,634 entries into Great Taste this year and of those products, 192 have been awarded a 3-star, 1,207 received a 2-star and 3,254 were awarded a 1-star accolade. The panel of judges this year included; MasterChef 2018 champion, Kenny Tutt, chef and food writer, Elly Curshen, eco chef and food writer, Tom Hunt, author and chef, Zoe Adjonyoh, baker Tom Herbert, author and blogger, Izy Hossack, and baker and recipe writer, Martha Collison, as well as food buyers from Harrods, Selfridges and Sourced Market. These esteemed palates have together tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners to finally agree on the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the Great Taste 2018 Supreme Champion.
Great Taste 2018 will reach its exciting finale on Sunday 2 September, when the world of fine food gathers at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel, London to find out the Great Taste Golden Fork trophy winners for each region, with the final applause reserved for the Great Taste Supreme Champion 2018.
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What is Great Taste?
Great Taste is the largest and most trusted accreditation scheme for fine food and drink. Established in 1994, it encourages and mentors artisan food producers, offering a unique benchmarking and product evaluation service leading to an independent accreditation that enables small food and drink businesses to compete against supermarket premium own label brands.
Since 1994 over 134,000 products have been assessed. This year 12,634 products were blind-tasted by panels of specialists: top chefs, food writers, influencers, food critics, restaurateurs and fine food retailers.
Great Taste ratings
3-star: Extraordinarily tasty foods – less than 3% of products are awarded a 3-star each year – don’t
leave the shop without buying it!
2-star: Above and beyond delicious – less than 10% of entries will achieve this rating
1-star: A food that delivers fantastic flavour. Approximately 25% of entries will achieve this rating each year.
What are Great Taste judges looking for?
They’re looking for great texture and appearance. They judge the quality of ingredients and how well the maker has put the food or drink together. But above all, they are looking for truly great taste.
How do they work?
Each team of three to four judges blind-tastes around 25 products per session, discussing each product as a coordinating food writer transcribes their comments directly onto the Great Taste website, which producers access after judging is completed. Over the years, numerous food businesses, start-ups and well-established producers have been advised how to modify their foods and have subsequently gone on to achieve Great Taste stars. Food or drink that is deemed worthy of Great Taste stars is also tasted by a team of arbitrators, who taste, confer and agree on the final award given. If judges feel that a product needs some adjustment, and is therefore not likely to receive an award, the food or drink gets a second chance on a referral table, where another team blind-tastes and deliberates. For a Great Taste 3-star award, the vast majority in the room – which can be as many as 30-40 experts – must agree that the food or drink delivers that indescribable ‘wow’ factor.
What should consumers look for?
The logo. The Great Taste symbol is their guarantee a product has been through a rigorous and independent judging process. It’s not about smart packaging or clever marketing – it’s all about taste.