Oh What a Night! Taste Awards 2017

All that’s great about the thriving Yorkshire food and drink industry was celebrated at the Pavilions of Harrogate on Wednesday night as the much anticipated 2017 Deliciouslyorkshire Taste Awards got underway.

Now the largest and most respected Food and Drink awards in the region, the Taste Awards are held in high regard throughout the industry and are a huge showcase of the counties innovative and diverse businesses.

The black tie event, which saw 22 trophies handed out, including the coveted Yorkshire Food Hero, and Supreme Overall Champion award, was hosted by BBC Radio 2’s resident foodie Nigel Barden and local chef extraordinaire, Steph Moon who were also both part of this year’s judging panel.

The 2017 shortlist was announced at the end of September after a host of top chefs, food writers, buyers and critics came together to whittle down the 350 plus entries into a shortlist of 4 for each category as well as this year’s overall winners.

The glittering ceremony itself, included a specially designed and locally sourced four course meal, using many of the shortlisted products, and was enjoyed by the 300 guests in attendance who had a nail-biting wait to see who would be crowned this year’s champions.

Judy Bell, Chairman of Deliciouslyorkshire and founder of Thirsk based Shepherds Purse Cheeses who also sponsored a category at the event said: “Once again the Taste Awards have been a great success with more entries from across the county than ever before.  The Awards are a fantastic showcase of Yorkshire’s thriving food and drink scene and it’s great to see that year on year they continue to grow.

“This year’s shortlisted businesses had a huge amount of competition, so to be featured is a huge achievement in itself.  Our judging panel certainly had their work cut out, but the products and businesses that have been crowned this year’s champions are incredibly well deserving.

“These awards are now the biggest food and drink accolades in the region and we’ve already had feedback from some of the businesses that were shortlisted to say that their products have been in high demand since the shortlist was announced and in some cases have sold out altogether, which goes to show what high regard the awards are now held in and the huge impact it can have on their businesses.”

View a digital copy of our Taste Awards Souvenir Supplement HERE

Supreme Product 2017

Winner: T Soanes & Son Poultry – Grain Fed Chicken Fillet

Put simply, the Supreme Product Award is the champion of champions.  Each year the winners of each category are pitted against each other to determine which product will be crowned overall champion.

This year’s Supreme Product came in the form of a Grain Fed Chicken Fillet from East Yorkshire based T Soanes and Son Poultry, which delivered so much flavour and quality that our team of judges were unanimous in its placement at the top spot.

A family run farming business which has been rearing poultry for over 70 years using their own home grown wheat, Soanes’ rear their high welfare and free range chickens slowly for maximum taste and nutrition at their farms across the Wolds.

Proud of their traditional values, the company pride themselves on producing the highest quality and tastiest chickens with a real emphasis on the phrase Farm to Fork.

From humble beginnings delivering their products in wicker baskets to local markets in Yorkshire, the firm now delivers five days a week throughout the county and to many other regions beyond.

Our judging panel were blown away by this “superior” product saying, “This is such a pleasure to eat.  It screams quality and whoever reared it should be very proud.  In a competition that has received in excess of 350 product entries, this year’s Supreme Champion stood head and shoulders above its competitors and was a pleasure to judge.  A quality product on every level.”

Soanes Poultry is available throughout the region at farm shops, butchers and independent retailers.

Yorkshire Food Hero

Winner: Stephanie Moon

The Yorkshire Food Hero award is voted for by food and drink businesses throughout the County who each year nominate one person who they think has made an outstanding impact on the industry.

This year’s winner, Chef Consultant, Stephanie Moon was born and raised in Yorkshire and trained at Craven College before winning a work experience placement at The Dorchester in London.

Throughout her illustrious career, farmer’s daughter Stephanie has worked at some of the world’s finest restaurants in Switzerland, Germany, Australia and North America and even cooked for a Royal State banquet attended by the Queen.

In 2000 Stephanie was offered the position of Head Chef at The Clocktower Restaurant at Rudding Park, Harrogate, before being appointed Executive Head Chef, a position she held for eight years until 2009, leading some 28 chefs across four kitchens.

Since starting her Consultancy business, All Things Food, Stephanie has worked with businesses of all sizes and also taken up a position with Leeds City College as a chef tutor, helping her students to Roux Scholarship finals, Michelin-Starred first jobs, competition success and employment in some of the UK’s best restaurants.

A regular on the demo scene throughout the country Stephanie can often be seen doing cookery demonstrations at food festivals and events including The Great Yorkshire Show, as well as appearing on radio and television programmes such as BBC2’s Great British Menu.

No stranger to winning awards, having received accolades for Yorkshire Life’s Chef of the Year and a Bronze medal in the National 2010 British Culinary Federation Chef of the Year Competition, Stephanie was a popular choice for this year’s Deliciouslyorkshire Food Hero title and a worthy winner all round.

Best New Business

Winner: Minskip Farm Shop

Sponsor: Garbutt + Elliott

Having only taken over the business in January of this year, Ben and Emma Mosey have made it their mission to maintain the shops ethos of excellent produce of the very best standard at reasonable prices.

A third generation pig and sheep farmer from North Yorkshire and a novelist by trade, the Mosey’s travelled the world together before returning home to run Minskip Farm Shop.

This year’s judges were blown away by their obvious passion and vision for the business which “shone though at every stage,” adding “we loved the ethos of the business and the idea of breaking down the barriers between the farm and consumer. A very worthy winner”

 Best Use of Local Produce on the Menu

Winner: Low Mill Guest House

Nestled in the pretty Dales village of Bainbridge in Wensleydale, Low Mill is a beautifully restored mill backing onto the river Bain.

Run by husband and wife team Neil and Jane McNair the Guest House also provides dining for guests with the team priding themselves on sourcing fresh, local ingredients and changing their menus regularly to take advantage of the fantastic local fayre available on their doorstep.

This year’s judging panel were impressed with their superb list of suppliers, saying that Low Mill, “show a real understanding of local produce and true love and understanding of the provenance.”

Best Independent Retailer

Winner: Farmer Copleys

Sponsored by:  The Guild of Fine Food

Family run Farmer Copleys based at Ravensknowle Farm near Pontefract has gone through many changes since the family first arrived there 140 years ago.

Opening the farm shop, café, restaurant and events on farm has enabled it to stay in the family, and the development of the business has created a platform to showcase British Agriculture to the community.

Our mystery shopper was blown away by the farm shop and said: “I absolutely loved my visit and could happily spend a small fortune on fresh items every single day – I wished I passed daily as I would definitely be a firm supporter. Simply fantastic.”

Best Yorkshire Breakfast

Winner: Cambridge House

Returning for a second successful year at the Taste Awards having scooped the Best Yorkshire Breakfast accolade in 2016, Robert and Shelia Mitchell certainly seem to have created a winning breakfast formula.

This year’s judge said, “The breakfast that I had was outstanding, both because of the quality of the ingredients and the standard of service. I found all items in my breakfast exactly as I would want them cooked, and happily enjoyed working my way through all of the different jams and preserves. Robert and Sheila seemed to make conversation easily, putting guests at their ease and offering assistance at all times. I really enjoyed this visit and would recommend to anybody to make a visit.”  Recommendation indeed!

Best Yorkshire Afternoon tea

Winner: The Devonshire Arms

“A wonderful Yorkshire experience of natural and effortless enjoyment in a beautiful environment,” was how our judge described their visit. The Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, part of the Bolton Abbey Estate, came into the ownership of the 4th Duke of Devonshire in 1753 and has undergone further development over the centuries, playing host to many illustrious visitors including the Royal Family who have stayed on the estate during the grouse season.

The judge continued, “We felt entirely privileged to have been able to enjoy this perfect visit, which is something that we’ll remember as an outstanding family experience. We were treated with grace and efficiency throughout our impeccable visit.”

Best Wholesaler/Distributor

Winner: Class One Fresh Produce

“Happy Customer, Happy Class One” is the company mission that sums up this successful Skipton based business well said our judges.

Having started out life as a market stall on Skipton High Street in 1990, Class One has certainly grown over the last 25 years but kept their ethos of quality at the right price at the heart of what they do.

Having run the stall and wholesale business simultaneously for a number of years, owner Diane decided to concentrate on the wholesale side of the business with husband Chris and later son Ben, both joining the team.

The judges were “impressed with the company’s clear USP and their extensive local knowledge of growers and producers.  They are exactly what a quality local wholesaler should be.”

Best Fresh Meat

Winner: T Soanes & Son Poultry – Grain Fed Chicken Fillet

Sponsor: The Yorkshire Agricultural Society

Family run Soanes Poultry rear all their chickens on farms in the Yorkshire Wolds.

High welfare, slow grown and grain-fed for maximum taste and nutrition, the team know a thing or two about rearing delicious birds having spent the last 70 years perfecting it.

The judges were frankly blown away by the standard of this chicken breast which fought off some very stiff competition.  They said: “This is a superior piece of meat and a pleasure to eat.  It screams quality and whoever reared it should be very proud.”

Best Prepared Meat

Winner: Three Little Pigs – Spreadable Chorizo

Sponsor: Cranswick PLC

It all started with a herd of Berkshire pigs which Charlotte and Jonathan Clarkson received as a wedding present! Since then the tenacious duo have built a charcuterie empire from their East Yorkshire base, rearing high welfare pigs and producing multi award winning products which are now sold nationwide.

Their Spreadable Chorizo stood out in this category with its controlled heat and delicious smokey after taste which the judges described as, “smooth and beautifully spreadable, this lovely meaty product has a delicious heat that carries on… such a treat to eat.”

Best Yorkshire Pork Pie

Winner: Lishman’s of Ilkley

Sponsor: Celsius Projects

Nestled in the busting market town of Ilkley, Lishman’s is a multi-award winning butchers of wide renowned.

Sourcing the majority of its meat from established Yorkshire farms to ensure the highest standards of welfare and quality, the family firm which was established over 30 years ago is famed for their pork products.

The Taste Award Pork Pie category is always one of the most hotly contested and for many established butchers in the county it’s the one to win.  This year’s pie from Lishman’s romped to victory thanks to its delicious flakey pastry and succulent flavoursome filling.  “A pie to be proud of,” commented the judges, “we want seconds.”

Best Ready to Eat Product

Winner: The Peppered Pig – Scotch Egg

As ever the Ready to Eat category attracted a myriad of entries but this year’s winner, curtesy of the team from The Peppered Pig near Goole, stood head and shoulders above the rest.

Focussing on great homemade food using locally sourced ingredients, the care and skills that had gone into producing their now award winning scotch egg was evident throughout.  “Well made, light and tasty, this scotch egg had all the elements to make it a show stopper and with a runny yolk to boot!  We’d be proud if we’d made this,” commented the panel.

Best Yorkshire Cheese

Winner: Yorkshire Dama Cheese – Oaked Smoked Yorkshire Squeaky Cheese

Sponsor: Verner Wheelock

Returning for a second year at the top spot, Yorkshire Dama’s new Oak Smoked Cheese certainly knocked the judges socks off.

Produced in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire by Razan Alsous and her family, the firm, which is just three years old has already picked up a raft of awards both nationally and internationally as well as a legion of loyal fans.

The judges said of this year’s winning cheese, “subtle flavours and a delicious squeak.  We love the balance of saltiness against the creaminess of the cheese.  A stand out product all round.”

Best Ice Cream / Yoghurt

Winner: Yummy Yorkshire Ltd – Blackcurrant Panna cotta Ice Cream

Sponsor: Just Desserts

A farming family for several generations, the Holmes’ have produced artisan ice cream using milk from their own herd in West Yorkshire for the last decade.

No stranger to winning competitions, having won this category in 2016 as well as a host of other accolades over the last 10 years, Yummy Yorkshire’s winning Blackcurrant Panna Cotta ice cream was a treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds.

The judges loved the marbling and intense flavours which were balanced to perfection. “Very artisan and very appealing, we couldn’t wait to dive in!  What a treat and what a fantastically made ice cream.  A well-deserved winner.”

Best Bakery Product

Winner: Cannon Hall Farm Shop – Three Cheese Sourdough Loaf

Sponsor: Ulrick and Short

In our biggest category to date, the winner of this year’s Best Bakery product had to beat some stiff competition to be crowned this year’s winner, but Cannon Halls Three Cheese Sourdough did just that!

Opened to the public for the first time in 1989, Cannon Hall, based in Cawthorne near Barnsley now boasts two restaurants as well as a farm shop, gift shop and an awarding winning butchery and bakery.

Of their now award winning loaf, the judges said, “Love love love this! Great cheesy flavours and chewy crunchy crust. We could happily demolish the lot!”

Best Yorkshire Beer / Cider

Winner: Bad Company Brewery – Wild Gravity

Sponsor: Shepherds Purse Cheeses

Head Brewer, Paul Holden-Ridgway perfected his knowledge on what makes a great craft brew during numerous trips to the great breweries of the USA before bringing his skills back to North Yorkshire and creating a microbrewery with business partner Paul Brown in Dishforth.  Now a fully operational brewery the business has the capacity to bottle 2,800 bottles every hour.

In an ever strong category of Yorkshire beers, Bad Company’s winning beer shone through as this year’s winner.  “This beer delivers on all levels,” said the judges, “rich, intense and creamy, with delicious mocha and charcoal notes, the taste is a refreshing surprise and certainly lives up to its name.”

Best Yorkshire Spirit

Winner: The Little Red Berry Co – Damson Gin Liqueur

Sponsor: Kolina

North Yorkshire based The Little Red Berry Company were set up by founder Rachel in 2011 and already hold a whole host of awards for their quirky products.

Producing a range of much loved alcoholic liqueurs and flavoured gins using locally sourced fruits from farmers throughout the county, The Little Red Berry Co aim to put a modern twist on a traditional product.

The judging panel loved the great balance and richness of flavours as well as the kick of the gin.  “A mellow drink to be savoured on a cold winter’s day, warming and delicious!”

Best Yorkshire Beverage

Winner: Coffee Care – Three Peaks Blend

Family run Coffee Care was founded in 1983 by hoteliers Rennick and Christine Hodgson whose ethos was always to supply and blend the finest coffees to their broad range of customers.  Their collection of products has since been carefully tasted and tweaked to create a variety of satisfying blends.

Their winning Three Peaks Blend stood out to this year’s judges with its punchy, intense and seriously full bodied flavours.  “Rich and dark, this is a coffee drinkers coffee and whacks you round the face with its fantastic taste!”

Best Savoury Condiment

Winner: Rosebud Preserves – Damson Fruit Cheese

Sponsor: The Farm Shop & Deli Show

No stranger to winning awards, Masham based Rosebud preserves have certainly picked up an impressive collection since the company was founded by Elspeth Biltoft in 1989.

The business has continued to grow and now supply a range of delicatessens, stately homes, cheesemongers, hotels and farm shops throughout the UK and well as exporting to countries including Ireland, Germany, France, Japan and the USA.

Their now award winning Damson Fruit Cheese delighted the judges with it innovation and flavours.  “This product looks great and is a fantastic colour.  The strong damson taste isn’t too sweet and has a nice balance of acidity.  We could polish off a lot of this!”

Best Sweet Preserve

Winner: Bracken Hill Fine Foods – Berrylicious Jam

Run by the Maycock family from their East Yorkshire base, Bracken Hill Fine Foods are one of Yorkshire’s best known preserve makers and boast a huge much loved range.

Since launching in 2004, their products have won awards across the range each year, with many of them made using their own home grown fruit from their Sutton-upon-Derwent orchard.

The judges commented that this year’s winning Berrylicious Jam was, “so fresh and appealing to look at with am intense strawberry flavour and a lovely acidity at the end.  A really grown up jam!”

Best Confectionery

Winner: Ruthy’s Tablet – Vanilla Tablet

sponsored: OSLO

Created after much nagging from friends and family saying that the recipe, which was passed down from Granny Mary, was so delicious and the best they’d eaten, Harrogate based Ruth Dunn created Ruthy’s Tablet and set about creating a business around the famous Scottish treat.

Now producing a range of flavours and selling locally at farmers markets and independent retailers, Ruth is broadening the range to include to include different varieties.

“What an amazing creamy butterscotch flavour”, commented the judges, “looks and tastes delectable.  We could stand to eat a lot of this delicious treat!”

Best “Free From” Product

Winner: Jervaulx Abbey Tearooms – Gluten Free Raspberry & Almond Cake

Sponsor: Ulrick and Short

Having swept to victory in last year’s Afternoon Tea category, the team at Jervaulx return for a second successful year with this Gluten Free Almond Slice which wowed the judges with its delectable taste and delicious texture.

Owners of the largest privately owned abbey in the country, the Burdon family opened their award-winning tearoom to cater for the throngs of visitors to their historical Yorkshire Dales site.

Now a thriving family run business, their gluten free entry wowed the judges who noted its “spring and bounce along with its perfect balance of sweetness and flavours,”  also commenting that they would be happy to eat even as a non-gluten intolerant person – the sign of a great GF pud.