Ir­ish tops again in the most re­spectedar­ti­san and spe­cial­ity food awards

Irish Examiner - Farming - - NEWS - Stephen Cado­gan

A Co Meath butcher can claim to have this year’s best food a n d d r i n k p ro d u c t i n t h e world, after be­ing named the 2017 Great Taste Supreme Cham­pion.

On Mon­day night in Lon­don, judg­ing of 12,366 prod­ucts en­tered in the Great Taste 2017 con­cluded with the top award g o i n g t o f i r s t g e n e r at i o n butcher, Hugh Maguire, of Ash­bourne, Co Meath, for his Smoked Black Pud­ding. It’s a ground­break­ing food prod­uct, with Great Taste judges ask­ing, “Why has no o n e e ve r s m o k e d b l a c k pud­ding be­fore?”.

Made from fresh pig’s blood and con­tain­ing no ar­ti­fi­cial preser­va­tives, this tra­di­tional black pud­ding is smoked over beech­wood chip­pings for 45 min­utes, and Great Taste judges said it has a “gen­tle pep­per warmth, saliva-in­duc­ing aroma and care­ful use of smoke, which whooshes across the tongue and works in per­fect har­mony”. Hugh Maguire, who started his busi­ness in 1991, was in­spired by his trav­els around Europe to in­stall a smoke­house at his craft butcher shop.

He also won the Great Taste Golden Fork from Ire­land, spon­sored by Bord Bia. The Golden Fork from North­ern Ire­land, spon­sored by In­vest North­ern Ire­land, went to Han­nan Meats of Moira, Co Ar­magh, for their Sweet Cured Ba­con Rack.

G r e a t Ta s t e is widely ac­knowl­edged as the most re­spected food ac­cred­i­ta­tion scheme for artisan and spe­cial­ity food pro­duc­ers, and suc­cess after suc­cess for Ir­ish en­trants in re­cent years has con­firmed the qual­ity of food from Ire­land north and south. Last year, the Gle­n­arm Shorthorn 4 Rib Roast from Han­nan M e a t s wa s the Supreme Cham­pion prod­uct. In 2015, the top prize went to the tra­di­tional beef drip­ping m a d e by J a m e s Wh e l a n Butch­ers in Co Tip­per­ary. That was the first Great Taste Supreme Cham­pi­onship for the Repub­lic of Ire­land since Wood­cock Smok­ery’s wild smoked salmon brought the top prize to Castle­town­shend in West Cork in 2006. Han­nan Meats was also the win­ner in 2012, for their Guanc i a l e ( I t a l i a n - s t y l e c u re d pork), and their neigh­bours, McCart­ney’s of Moira, won the Supreme Cham­pi­onship in 2011 for their corned beef. For Great Taste 2017, a record break­ing 12,366 prod­ucts were judged by over 500 of the m o s t d e m a n d i n g p a l at e s , of food crit­ics, chefs, restau­ra­teurs, cooks, pro­duc­ers, and food writ­ers and jour­nal­ists. They deemed 3,171 as 1-star, 1,011 as 2- star, and 165 as 3star. Th is prom­ises con­sumers that prod­ucts car­ry­ing the black and gold Great Taste logo are ex­quis­ite ( 3star), out­stand­ing (2-star), or de­li­cious (1-star) prod­ucts. Other Ir­ish foods to make Great Taste’s shortlist of “the best 50 foods in the world” in 2017 are the Artisan Beech Smoked Salmon from Bal­ly­hack Smoke­house, Ar thurs t o w n , C o We x f o r d ; T h e Dunnes Stores Sim­ply Bet­ter French Epoisse Cheese AOC; the Han­nan Meats Gle­n­arm Salt Aged Lamb Rump; and the Elder­flower Cider from Tempted Ir­ish Craft Cider, Lis­burn, Co Antrim.

John Far­rand from the Guild of Fine Food; Ann-Marie Maguire; Steve Munk­ley, ex­ec­u­tive chef at The Royal Gar­den Ho­tel; Caroline Maguire; and Hugh Maguire, cel­e­brat­ing his 2017 Supreme Cham­pi­onship win, at the Great Taste Golden Fork Awards Din­ner last Mon­day in the In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Lon­don Park Lane Ho­tel.

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