Returning for their 19th year, the Deliciously Yorkshire Taste Awards celebrated the very best of Yorkshire’s thriving food and drink industry in style this week, with a glittering awards ceremony at Pavilions of Harrogate.
The annual celebration, which is now the biggest food and drink awards in the North of England, received hundreds of entries across its 23 categories from businesses of all shapes and sizes across the county.
Jointly headline sponsored by the University of York School for Business and Society, and FixOurFood, judging for the awards took place over the summer, led by head judges, broadcaster and artisan food and drink champion Nigel Barden and Yorkshire’s favourite chef consultant Steph Moon.
This year’s seasoned panel also included industry experts, chefs, supermarket buyers, writers, consultants, and food entrepreneurs, who carefully sampled each of the delicious entries, before whittling them down into this year’s coveted list of finalists which was announced in September.
The much-anticipated Taste Award champions, which included awards for Best Pork Pie, Bakery, New Business and Best Use of Local Produce on a Menu, as well as a new category for 2023, Best Sustainable Product, were finally revealed this week. The black-tie event saw guests dine on a delicious menu, featuring many of the shortlisted and winning products.
Head judge and host for the evening Nigel Barden said: “It’s always a pleasure to be involved in these awards which go from strength to strength each year. The Taste Awards always attract new, innovative, and collaborative products and businesses from throughout the region, which makes judging them each year so exciting.
“It’s a real testament to the resilience and passion of the industry here in God’s Own County that our food and drink producers are still innovating, collaborating and thriving, and producing products of such a high standard.”
As well as the product and business categories, the winner of the 2023 Judy Bell Yorkshire Food Hero Award was also revealed, along with the overall Supreme Product Champion, which is the judging panel’s stand out entry of the year.
And the 2023 winners are…
Best Bakery Product
Bondgate Bakery – Mixed Seed Bread
Our judging panel said: “This bread is stunning to look at with a great aroma, a nice balance of flavours and textures and a great crust. It screams care and quality throughout. We could eat a lot of this fantastic bread and still go back for more!”
In a record-breaking year for entries, the Best Bakery category certainly didn’t disappoint! This year’s winning product, Mixed Seed Bread, came from Otley-based Bondgate Bakery, run by Sally Hinchliffe and Steven Taylor and was simply delicious.
Best Beer and Cider
Pennine Brewing Co – Palinka Porter
In an ever-popular category covering both Yorkshire’s fantastic beers and ciders, this year’s very long shortlist was a testament to the quality of entries throughout.
Our 2023 winner Palinka Porter, from the Penning Brewing Co was described as extremely gluggable! This family-run and fiercely independent brewery is no stranger to Taste Award wins, and drawing inspiration from their rural location, our judges loved the light sweetness and interesting fruity notes throughout. “A really unusual beer, and a standout amongst some fantastic entries, we would happily drink this on repeat!”
Best Beverage (Cold)
Yorkshire Wolds Apple Juice Co – Cloudy Apple Juice
With a real diversity throughout the category, from tonics to juices, cordials to alcohol free spirits, it certainly proved tricky for our panel to pick out a winner.
Our triumphant product this year, Cloudy Apple Juice from Malton-based Yorkshire Wolds Apple Juice Co, really put a zing in our judges’ steps: they loved its delicious simplicity. “Sweet and tart, it tastes so authentic with a real flavour of English apples. A really versatile product that could be used in so many ways, it’s refreshing and fruity and we just loved it.”
Best Beverage (Hot)
Dark Woods Coffee – Colombia El Placer “Yellow Fruits”
“Exciting and unusual” was how our panel described this year’s winning hot beverage, which came courtesy of West Yorkshire-based Dark Woods Coffee.
With so many fantastic producers in the county, this was certainly a hard category to judge, however our panel said: “This has clearly been processed and roasted with great skill. Complex and with a velvety body and a huge fruity hit, this is an assault on all the senses not just the taste buds. Bravo!”
Shepherds Purse Cheeses – Mrs Bell’s Salad Cheese
You can imagine what a hard time the judges had wading through so many quality cheese entries! A category that many look forward to for this very reason, our 2023 entrants and eventual winner certainly didn’t disappoint!
Our winning cheese from Thirsk-based Shepherds Purse really hit the spot with our panel who loved the flavour journey, it took them on, “Sharp and creamy with the perfect balance of salt, its texture is dreamy. A cheese to be proud of and one to happily overindulge on!”
Mr Stanley’s – Fudge Ahoy, Creamy Caramel & Sea Salt Fudge
This year’s winning product was described by the judging panel as “buttery and delicious,” and came courtesy of the team at Mr Stanley’s. The brand has recently returned to its North Yorkshire roots and now produces a range of premium confectionery from their base in Harrogate, supplying prestigious shops including Selfridges & Co and Liberty of London with their fudge, chocolate, brittles, and caramel.
Our panel said: “It smells appealing and has a wonderful caramel flavour throughout which is balanced well by the salt. A really great product all round.”
Best Free From
Ollie Morris Artisan Chocolates – Ollie’s Dairy Free Collection
An award that covers a variety of areas from gluten free to vegan and everything in between. This year’s winning product from Ollie Morris Artisan Chocolates, who only started creating their range of delicious confectionery during lockdown, caused a real stir amongst our panel.
“Visually spectacular, and with a great shine and temper. This special product has a great texture and flavour combinations and if you didn’t know it was dairy free, you certainly wouldn’t be able to tell, which is a great skill. What a treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds!”
Best Fresh Meat
Warrendale Wagyu – Wagyu Flat Iron Steak
A much-anticipated category for our panel year-on-year, our Fresh Meat entries always scream quality across the board, and this year’s winning product, from East Yorkshire-based Warrendale Wagyu was certainly no exception!
As previous winners, it’s no surprise that our winning product was described by our judges as ‘exceptional’. “Believe the hype! Beautiful in texture and full of flavour, it’s absolutely delicious, and melts in the mouth. You can tell this has been reared and butchered with serious care and attention. It’s a joy to eat.”
Best Ice Cream and Dairy
Ryeburn of Helmsley – Roasted Pistachio
With nearly 40 entries into this category alone, our judging panel had their work cut out to determine this year’s finalists and eventual winner.
Family-run Ryeburn of Helmsley, who produce a range of award-winning ice creams and chocolates, stopped the judges in their tracks with this standout product, due to its fantastic texture and delicious, natural flavour. The judges said: “We love the dry, roasted flavour, which tastes incredibly natural and almost savoury. Creamy and delicious, it feels very grown up and unusual and we absolutely love it.”
Farmer Copleys – Copleys Kitchen Pure Yorkshire Honey
The Best Pantry category certainly throws up some fantastically innovative and interesting products, from sauces to spices and everything in between.
However, this year’s champion product, Copleys Kitchen Pure Yorkshire Honey from Farmer Copleys in Pontefract, was a clear winner in the eyes of our judges, who praised its quality and flavour. “This product has clearly been made with love and care. Mellow and delicate, its subtly flowery and natural flavour is wonderful, and we love the silky, smoothness and lingering finish – perfection and quality all round!”
Best Pork Pie
J A Mounfield & Son Ltd – 1lb Pork Pie
No strangers to winning Taste Awards, having won this category several times before, Selby-based butchers J A Mounfield & Son certainly know a thing or two about creating the perfect pork pie.
Our judges described this year’s winning product as, “a pie to be proud of”, saying “What an entry! We love its delicious jelly, lovely coarse meat filling and really appealing artisan appearance. With a perfect balance of flavours and beautiful bake, it really is a standout in its field.”
Best Prepared Meat (Cold)
Lishman’s of Ilkley – Black Pepper & Garlic Salami
A category where the standard of products is always high and the innovation year-on-year is a pleasure to judge, our Best Prepared Meat category winner had to fend off some serious competition to take home this year’s award.
Our eventual winner Black Pepper & Garlic Salami, came from Lishman’s of Ilkley and was described as having the perfect balance of sweet and savoury flavours. “This is a seriously great product. With a perfect amount of salt, a great cure, and lovely garlic notes. It’s about as good as charcuterie gets and has clearly been made with considerable skill. Hats off to them!”
Best Prepared Meat (Hot)
Appleton’s Butchers – Old Style Bacon
“Perfection!” This was how the judges described this year’s winning Prepared Hot Meat product, Old Style Bacon from traditional family run butchers Appleton’s.
Founded in 1867, Appleton’s now runs four successful shops around North Yorkshire. Our panel said: “This entry is second to none. Meaty and with a perfect level of delicious, crispy fat, its salt levels and cure are well-balanced, and it looks as good as it tastes. This would grace the finest breakfast tables anywhere. We just love it!”
Best Ready to Eat
Kendall’s Farm Butchers – Chicken, Ham Hock, Leek & White Wine Pie
In a category that always throws up some serious curve balls for the judges, our Ready to Eat product winner this year came from Pateley Bridge-based Kendall’s Farm Butchers, in the form of their Chicken, Ham Hock, Leek & White Wine Pie and was a real standout for our judges.
This year’s panel described our champion as: “Seriously delicious! This product looks great and tastes great too. A really appealing, well balanced product that has been finished to perfection. Its well-filled, perfectly seasoned and has beautifully baked pastry – it’s completely delicious and a credit to their team!”
Best Savoury Condiment
Yorkshire Sea Salt Co. – Yorkshire Sea Salt
Our 2023 Best Savoury Condiment winning product really gave the judges something to talk about!
A different take on our previous savoury condiment champions, Yorkshire Sea Salt Co’s winning product, Yorkshire Sea Salt, was praised by the panel for its beautiful appearance and exceptional texture. “It’s incredible,” they said, “the mineral content comes across as a whole extra flavour on its own, whilst the salinity is nicely in control. This would be the perfect salt to enrich any dish and its uses are endless. A very versatile and innovative product which we all loved.”
Best Sustainable Product
Acorn Dairy – Whole Milk
A new category for our 2023 Taste Awards, our Best Sustainable Product winner stood out amongst so many quality entries with an impressive commitment to sustainability and of course fantastic flavour!
The team at Acorn Dairy, based near Darlington came out on top, with the judging panel noting: “It’s clear there is a lot of ground-breaking work going in the sector to reduce chemical inputs, increase the use of renewable energy, promote biodiversity, water quality and soil health as well as reducing emissions. Acorn Dairy and their Whole Milk entry are an exemplar of this, not only is it good for human and planetary health but it tastes delicious too!”
Best Sweet Preserve
Rosebud Preserves – Cherry and Amaretto Jam
In a diverse category, simple and well-made products always shine through, and this year’s winner, Cherry and Amaretto Jam from Masham-based Rosebud Preserves, was no exception.
This beautiful product encompasses everything you’d want from a really fantastic preserve. “Bright and fresh and with a lovely aroma, it looks and tastes artisan, with a perfect texture, a delicious hit of pleasantly sharp fruit and the perfect balance of booze! A seriously good product and a very worthy winner.” so said our panel.
Best Wine or Spirit
Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery – Filey Bay Flagship, Yorkshire Single Malt Whisky
With an ever-expanding spirit industry in Yorkshire, this category is consistently packed with fantastic quality and sometimes quirky flavour combinations.
This year’s winning drink, from field to bottle enterprise Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery, was universally loved by our panel who said: “It was clear from the first sip that whilst light, this product had some real complexity and depth of flavour. Beautifully balanced, with a malty, freshly made popcorn nose and a pleasing gentle heat, this product really just has it all in perfect harmony. World class!”
Best Independent Retailer
With a myriad of fantastic farm shops and independent retailers throughout the country, this category is hotly contested year-on-year.
Our 2023 winning business, Fodder, which is run by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and based at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate impressed the judges with their efficient, helpful, friendly service. “The staff were clearly both knowledgeable and passionate about the provenance of their extensive range of quality, local produce and products on offer.
“Fodder’s commitment to supporting local farmers and other Yorkshire businesses and producers shone through at every stage. All-in-all, a retail experience to be proud of.”
Best New Business
Yorkshire Sea Salt Co.
In the current climate, starting out in business is not without challenges and this year’s impressive entrants all displayed a drive and tenacity. Our 2023 winner, Yorkshire Sea Salt Co. had an extra something that caught the judge’s imagination, thanks to their clear vision and defined values.
“This was an exceptionally well-articulated submission from a very interesting business. With a defined brand strategy and a holistic approach throughout, the product is firmly rooted in and of the place it’s from, and literally is a taste of Yorkshire. With its unique proposition, this new business is going places!”
Best Use of Local Produce on a Menu
Cedarbarn Farm Shop and Cafe
With an abundance of fantastic products grown, reared, and made throughout the county, demonstrating provenance and using it to its best advantage is the key to standing out in this popular category.
Our 2023 winning business, Pickering-based Cedarbarn Farm Shop and Cafe showed that it had stayed true to its Yorkshire roots with top-quality, healthy, fresh food, all with impeccable provenance. “Whether it’s home-grown or reared, made in-house or sourced from local artisan food and drink producers, the field to fork ethos is proudly communicated throughout by this passionate team. We can see how this family-run business has continued to grow and thrive.”
Cryer & Stott Cheesemongers
“Clearly knowledgeable and committed to developing long-term relationships with both customers and suppliers” was at the heart of this year’s winning Best Wholesale entry from West Yorkshire- based Cryer & Stott Cheesemongers.
The judges were impressed with the clarity and quality of their sourcing of local products, both within their core category and their wider offering, along with their impressive and far-reaching commitment to supporting new producers and flying the flag for fellow Yorkshire food and drink businesses too.
Judy Bell Yorkshire Food Hero
Gareth Batty MBE – FareShare Yorkshire
FareShare Yorkshire have worked tirelessly over the last 25 years, growing to become Yorkshire’s largest food charity and helping to feed up to 36,000 people across the county each week.
400 frontline charities and community groups rely on FareShare Yorkshire each year – four times the number from 2013 when Gareth started his role. His team’s work to enable food and drink companies to redistribute their surplus stock to feed people in need and eliminate waste, has seen over 20 million meals shared in that 10-year period, including over 4 million in the last year alone.
Throughout the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis, their work for Yorkshire’s food and drinks industry and frontline charities has been invaluable, making a sustained difference to people’s lives and the role played by charities they turn to for a lifeline.
Supreme Product Champion 2023
Shepherds Purse Cheeses – Mrs Bell’s Salad Cheese
Our champion of champions! At the end of our judging week, each of the winners from our product categories are put into the mix for the Supreme Product Champion Award, and our panel have the extremely unenviable task of selecting their standout entry of the year.
Amongst a sea of very worthy winners, and after much deliberation, this year’s Supreme Product Champion was named as Mrs Bell’s Salad Cheese from Shepherds Purse Cheeses.
“A cheese so delicious and versatile, it really is an everyday essential!” said our panel, “yet is so special in flavour and texture, we would savour every bite.
“This exceptional cheese takes you on a flavour journey, enticing and fresh with a perfect balance of salt and creaminess that make it stand out from the crowd.
“Quality, skill and passion throughout – bravo!”