Shropshire food producers have Great Taste

From cheese to real ale, chocolate to sausages, speciality food producers from across Shropshire have been crowned winners in the Oscars of the food world. Thirteen businesses from the county have been awarded coveted gold stars - ranging from one to three - in the prestigious Great Taste 2014 awards.

Great Taste is organised by the Guild of Fine Food and sets the benchmark for those producing speciality food and drink across the UK. Ten thousand products were entered into the awards in a bid to win the Great Taste seal of approval - and 153 of those were awarded the highest accolade of three gold stars. Those three gold star winners now have a chance to secure a place in the Top 50 Products, with the winners announced ahead of the Speciality and Fine Food Fair at Olympia, London, from September 7th - 9th.

Among the Shropshire winners was Maynard's Farm, artisan curer and producer of specialist pork products. They scooped one gold star for three of their speciality products. Rob Cunningham, for Maynard's Farm, said: "Great Taste are the ultimate accolade in quality and taste for speciality food and drink producers. And they are a guarantee of great taste to the public, which is hugely important. We are very proud to have won three, one gold stars."

Another county business Bread Du Jour, which produces artisan-style bread with ambient shelf life of up to 14 days, also took gold stars for five of its speciality artisan-style breads. Kevin Bennett, for Bread Du Jour, said: "The Great Taste awards are the most respected food awards for speciality producers like us, because they mean exactly that  - great taste. So we are delighted to have that stamp of approval on not one, but five of our very special products here at Bread Du Jour."

Merangz, based in Shrewsbury, took a gold star for their Pistachio meringue bite. Husband and wife team, Brian and Leanne Crowther are behind Merangz - showstopping giant Swiss slow baked Merangz. Leanne said: "This is our first gold star from Great Taste and it is very important to us. We can't wait to shout about it! There is no better county than Shropshire for the production of fine foods and we are proud to be part of that success."

Other winners include Middletown Hill, the UK distributor for Marou Vietnamese artisan chocolate, which scooped two gold stars and one gold star. Jonathan Tailyour, for Middletown Hill, said: "I am privileged to be able to bring Marou to the UK market where it continues to achieve such success."
Brock Hall Farm Dairy at Chelmarsh, near Bridgnorth, scooped a hat-trick of three gold stars for three of its cheeses. Sarah Hampton, for Brock Hall Farm Dairy, said: "I don't think any other cheese producer in the UK managed a hat-trick of three gold stars for three cheeses - we're stunned! We're only a small team of local people, so it's wonderful to have achieved results like these, even when pitched against the big players."

Speciality producers from across the food and drink spectrum enter the Great Taste awards as it differentiates their products from the all the rest, and customers have a reliable stamp of approval. More than 400 judges, including food critics, chefs and food writers, were involved in selecting the gold star winners over 50 judging days, which included a visit to Ireland.

Tortie Farrand, for the Guild of Fine Food, said: "Great Taste, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, is the acknowledged benchmark for speciality food and drink. Quite simply the Great Taste logo is the sign that you can trust when buying food and drink in your local, quality retailer."

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Pete White Pete White

Love Shrewsbury editor and chief developer at The Web Orchard, find out more on petejwhite.com

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