Irish tops again in the most respectedartisan and speciality food awards
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.