A Taste of the Best with Taste of the West
PUBLISHED: 17:25 10 October 2012 | UPDATED: 22:02 20 February 2013
Somerset food producers are combining remarkable innovation with their passion for quality to satisfy our increasingly demanding and varied taste buds. The Taste of the West Awards has uncovered some real 'taste champions' this year...
A Taste of the Best with Taste of the West
Somerset food producers are combining remarkable innovation with their passion for quality to satisfy our increasingly demanding and varied taste buds. The Taste of the West Awards has uncovered some real taste champions this year...
From Perrys Pilton Vintage Cider to Yumbles Le Crumble, Somerset has some of the greatest food and drink products in the UK ranging from the traditional to the new and surprising and the Taste of the West Awards annually unveil the best in class for everyone to celebrate and enjoy.
Set up in 1991, Taste of the West is the leading food and drink supply chain co-operative for the South West, with a vision to boost market demand for regionally sourced food and drink, build and develop innovative and effective routes to market to help small and medium-sized food and drink businesses to grow and flourish.
Somerset is renowned for its creative juices and is now home to some true gems, such as Radfords Fine Fudge Ltd, West Country Water Buffalo and Yumble Ltd, which are all celebrating great success in the 2012 Taste of the West Awards. Putting each product through its paces with a rigorous judging process, professional chefs analyse every part of the entries to find the best in the classes.
During the judging process, one of the Taste of the West judges said, I love judging for the Taste of the West Awards, it is so exciting. I work with food every day of my life, so its great to actually see what people perceive to be the best of the best. Its always interesting to benchmark and we often have specific breeds or specific cuts, which gives the process such a great variety. The West Country truly has an event to be proud of in the Taste of the West Awards.
With the Food and Drink industry valued at 508 million, Somerset is at the forefront of development with high quality ingredients on its doorstep, adaptable agricultural land and a dynamic and evolving local food culture
Individually, products are pushed to their limits, being analysed before and after preparation for texture, appearance, aroma, taste... even the product packaging is analysed for its role in delivering the best product quality. The process is rigorous and intense with each product being assessed by several judges to ensure a fair result. This year, nearly 1000 products were put through their paces before the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards were finally awarded.
Despite the current economic gloom, the standard of product entries this year has excelled and Somerset has proven its prominence yet again, receiving more than 80 Bronze, Silver and Gold medals. In fact, Somerset products featured in nearly all 24 food and drink categories, highlighting the true variety and quality in the county.
John Sheaves has been the Taste of the West Chief Executive since 2005 and is amazed at the sheer determination and pride the Somerset producers maintain. John said, This year the contestants have excelled themselves yet again. They have been working hard in a period of tough economic pressures and have responded to the challenge by concentrating on increasing quality and innovation, when they could have easily compromised on both. They are continuing to produce excellent products and it makes me so proud to be a part of something which is obviously important to so many people.
With the Food and Drink industry valued at 508 million, Somerset is at the forefront of development with high quality ingredients on its doorstep, adaptable agricultural land and a dynamic and evolving local food culture. Employing more than 15,000 people in the sector, 8,500 of which are farmers and food producers, Somerset has become the home of many famously successful businesses such as Mendip Moments, Jon Thorners Ltd, Perrys Cider, Thatchers Cider and Yeo Valley.
Mendip Moments has been making its award-winning, handmade ice cream in Somerset, overlooking Glastonbury Tor and the Somerset Levels, since 2006 and has scooped three medals in the Taste of the West Awards this year, making it Mendip Moments seventh year winning medals in the Awards. Jayne Lunnon, Director of Mendip Moments, said, We are delighted to have won a Gold and two Silver Awards this year. Our Lemon Curd has now won three Gold Awards since its creation and is increasingly popular with consumers. Judges said the Lemon Curd ice cream was, zesty, creamy and delicious.
Gold Award winner, Yumble Ltd, based in the heart of Frome, produces sweet and savoury crumbles, using local produce and its own original recipes. Le Crumble is the first product Brian and Isobel Eaton the joint owners have entered for an award since starting the business in August 2011 and they are both thrilled with their success. Isobel said, The Awards are respected by consumers and retailers alike and it gives our products a genuine mark of quality and taste, recognised by a lot of people. We are lucky to be based in the heart of a fantastic food producing area here in Somerset and we make sure we use the best local meat, butter, cheese and fruit in our crumbles.
We have a lot to be proud about, said John Sheaves. Not only do we have many thriving businesses and products within our fabulous county, but in times when businesses are giving in to economic pressures we are coming out fighting, with bigger and better products. The food and drink industry is booming and with growing demand for products that satisfy lovers of food from virtually every continent, as well as a wider diversity of quality convenient foods, our regional food producers need to step up to the mark and from this years entries it is quite clear that they are with passion and pride.
For more information visit:tasteofthewest.co.uk