2018 Taste Awards

And the 2018 winners were….

A celebration of Yorkshire’s thriving food and drink industry was how the 16th annual Deliciouslyorkshire Taste Awards were billed this week.

Returning for another record breaking year, the awards which are run by the Regional Food Group for Yorkshire and the Humber were held at the Pavilions of Harrogate and welcomed some 300 guests who enjoyed a specially designed, locally sourced menu using many of the products from this year’s shortlist.

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 24 trophies handed out, including the coveted Yorkshire Food Hero, and Supreme Overall Champion, was hosted by Yorkshire food enthusiast and BBC Radio 2’s Nigel Barden who was also both part of this year’s judging panel.

This year’s shortlist was announced at the end of September after a host of top chefs, food writers, buyers and critics came together to whittle down hundreds of entries into this year’s shortlist.  The standard of entries across the board was as high as ever and the judging panel had their work cut out across the 3 days.

Judy Bell, Chairman of Deliciouslyorkshire and founder of Thirsk based Shepherds Purse Cheeses said: “Yet again Yorkshire’s food and drink industry has proven itself to be in fine fettle.  The volume and standard of entries we receive each year is astounding and our judges really do have the best and worst jobs, whittling the huge number down to our eventual shortlist.”

“This year has turned up some interesting new businesses and products which is always the joy of the Taste Awards as we always discover something new and innovative alongside our established and much loved Yorkshire brands.”

“A huge thank you must go to our sponsors this year for the massive part they play in allowing this event to go ahead and to all our entrants without which the Taste Awards wouldn’t happen!

Finally huge congratulations to all our shortlisted businesses and in particular our 2018 winners.  It really is a fantastic achievement!”

Best Bakery

Winner: Haxby Bakehouse – Olive, Pumpkin and Polenta Sourdough

There’s bread, and then there’s real bread.  That’s the motto of our winning bakery business this year and the judges certainly agreed when they tasted this year’s winning product.

In a tough category with some fantastic entries, Haxby Bakehouse’s Olive, Pumpkin and Polenta Sourdough sang out in the way that only a truly exceptional product can.  Based in York the team bake all their bread using traditional methods and local ingredients meaning that their products are bursting with quality and full of flavour.  “Looks great, tastes even greater” commented the judges.  “Springy, full of flavour with a perfect chewy crust – what more could you want!”

Best Fresh Meat

Winner: Warrendale Wagyu – Wagyu Short Rib

Sponsored by JELF

Warrendale Wagyu was established in July 2017 after taking on one of the largest full blood and cross wagyu herds in the UK.

From day old to 28 months the intricate process of rearing is ensured by their small team of staff who are now able to offer this premium range of Japanese beef, reared in the Yorkshire Wolds to the discerning British consumer.  To say the judging panel were blow away by their short rib entry is an understatement: “Perfect taste, perfect cut and a fantastic depth of flavour.  A real piece of theatre and an outstanding piece of meat.”

Best Prepared Meat

Winner – Yorkshire Lean Meat – Pork and Caramelised Onion Chutney

Sponsored by Kolina

Passionate about sourcing their meat and poultry from quality local suppliers, Yorkshire Lean Meat pride themselves on having the highest animal welfare standards and complete traceability from the field to your fork.

This year’s winner in the prepared meat category came in the form of their Pork and Caramelised Onion Chutney Sausages which the judges said “delivered on taste!  This is a banger to be proud of, sweet and tangy with a rich, meat flavour.  It screams quality from start to finish”.

Best Yorkshire Pork Pie

Winner: J A Mounfield & Son Ltd

The Taste Awards Pork Pie category really is one of the most coveted each year with huge entries from some of Yorkshire top butchers and this year’s winner beat some seriously stiff competition to be crown our 2018 champion.

A family run butchers from Bubwith near Selby for several generations, Mounfield’s are no strangers winning awards having collecting may prestigious accolades throughout their long history.  Butchering all their meat on site, the team pride themselves on 100% traceability from field to plate. The winning pie was described as “Well baked and rustic.  Filled with well-seasoned chunky meat and a deliciously crisp and fresh pastry.  A pie to be celebrated!”

Best Fish and Seafood

Winner: Staal Smokehouse – Oak Roast Mackerel

In a mixed category with a variety of entries, Staal Smokehouse’s Oak Roasted Mackerel stood out amongst the crowd!

An award-winning, family run business, Staal’s is based close to Beverley in the East Riding and produce a range of smoked meat and fish as well as teaming up with other local producers to collaborate on a range of smoked oils and mayonnaises.

The judges loved the winning entry, commenting “this is a quality product which hasn’t been messed around with!  A great balance of salt and smoke, it looks appealing and tastes rich and unctuous.  A skilfully made product with substance!”

Best Ready to Eat

Winner: Lishman’s of Ilkley – Yorkshire Pork and Fennel Salami

Sponsored by Grow Yorkshire

2017 was certainly a winning year for the team at Lishman’s Butcher based in Ilkley.  After scooping the Taste Awards crown for best Pork Pie they then went onto claim awards for both the Best Butcher’s Shop in the North and the Best Butcher’s Shop in the UK at the Butcher’s Shop of The Year Awards in London.

Their winning entry this year came in the shape of their Yorkshire Pork and Fennel Salami, something the Lishman’s team have been developing in-house over recent times.

Our judging panel said: “This product brings a lot to the party!  A great balance of seasoning and packed full of flavour.  We could eat a lot of this!”

Best Cheese

Winner: Yorkshire Dama Cheese – Squeaky Cheese with Rosemary

Sponsored by The Yorkshire Agricultural Society

Returning for another year at the top spot, Yorkshire Dama’s Squeaky Cheese with Rosemary certainly impressed this year’s judging panel.

Produced in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire by Razan Alsous and her family, the firm which is just four 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: “A great balance of salt and rosemary.  This cheese colours up nicely and looks really appealing.  Would be fantastic used in so many ways – absolutely delicious!”

 Best Ice Cream / Yoghurt

Winner: Stamfrey Farm – YORG Original

Sponsored by Just Desserts

A true farm diversification success story, family run Stamfrey Farm Organics began by producing clotted cream using the milk of their 110 strong organic herd.

Based in West Rounton, North Yorkshire, their recent move into pouring yoghurt has proven extremely popular and their winning entry into this year’s Ice Cream and Yoghurt category was no exception.

The judges loved the innovative product commenting: “Everything a great yoghurt should be.  Really creamy with a nice balance of sourness and a well-rounded flavour.  An all round dreamy product.”

Best Beer

Winner: Isaac Poad Brewing – Piccadilly Porter

Sponsored by Packaging for Retail

One of the oldest independent barley merchants in the country, York based Isaac Poad have been in business for over 150 years, supplying barley to brewers before starting to brew their own.

In our most popular category, thanks to the counties abundance of breweries, the Best Yorkshire Beer Award is probably the hardest to come by but the Piccadilly Porter certainly did it for our panel this year.

“A beer that delivers on every level”, commented our thoroughly impressed judges.  “Complex and quaffable, we love the vanilla, nutty and mashmallowy flavours.  Quality throughout.”

Best Beverage

Winner: Ampleforth Abbey – Ampleforth Abbey Apple Juice 

Sponsored by Squire Patton Boggs

For more than 200 years the Benedictine monks of Ampleforth Abbey have been growing apples in their orchards, initially to feed the community and the school, and more recently turning them into a range of award winning drinks.

Sitting on the foothills of the North Yorkshire Moors, the business now boasts over 50 different varieties of heritage apples, populating over 2,000 trees which span over seven acres.

Their now award winning Apple Juice is produced on site using these apples and blew the judges socks off.  “Fresh and tangy and how apple juice should taste.  We love the intense fresh flavour and kick of acidity.  A drink with a real bite and a true show stopper.

Best Spirit – Flavoured Gin

Winner: Sloemotion – Hedgerow Gin with Rhubarb and Raspberry

Sponsored by Crombie Wilkinson solicitors

A family run business based in the village of Barton-le-Willows near Malton, Sloemotion produce a range of award-winning flavoured gins and liqueurs, and have recently celebrated their 10th anniversary.

Following on from the huge success of their Hedgerow Gin launched in 2017, the team released their Hedgerow Gin with Rhubarb and Raspberry earlier this year.

In an ever strong category of fantastic Yorkshire spirits this year’s flavoured gin winner stood out to the judging panel who said: “this feels like a quality drink.  The gin hasn’t been lost under the flavours and it’s perfectly balanced.  It screams quality and is a pleasure to drink.  It makes our mouths water!”

Best Spirit

Winner: The Little Red Berry Co – Military Spirit Gin

Sponsored by Crombie Wilkinson solicitors

Having taken over the businesses only a year ago, the new owners of the Little Red Berry Co, Claire and Pete, have certainly had a busy year!

The newly launched Military Spirit Gin was produced in homage to the couple’s combined total of over 50 years of military service, having both enlisting as teenagers.

For the first time in the Taste Awards history, the Yorkshire Spirit category has been split to accommodate both flavoured and plain gins simply because of the volume and quality of entries.  The Little Red Berry Co’s entry stood out with the judges commenting: “This gin is fresh and citrusy.  The flavours are well layered and harmonious and we love the warmth afterwards – a worthy winner!”

Best Savoury Condiment

Winner: Three Little Pigs – Rare Breed Chorizo Jam

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.

Having swept to victory with their Spreadable Chorizo in 2017, Three Little Pigs made a winning return to the taste Awards this year with their Rare Breed Chorizo Jam stood out in this category with its “perfectly balanced flavours and lovely meaty texture.  A really versatile and delicious product” said the judges, and we are inclined to agree!

Best Sweet Preserve

Winner: Fearne and Rosie – Blackcurrant Jam

Simply stunning… is how this jam was described by our impressed judging panel.  Following on from the huge success of family run Raydale Preserves, Fearne and Rosie is the brain child of Drew and Rachel who wanted to create healthier options for their two children.

Their newly launched range now includes reduced sugar jams and cooking sauces, all aimed at children without compromising on flavour.

Their now award winning Blackcurrant Jam wowed the judges with its lovely sweet and sour notes and fresh fruity appearance.  “This feels like a well-made product and could be used in a variety of ways as well as being slathered on toast!” 

Best Confectionery

Winner: Tiers of Joy Patisserie – Chocolate Bonbons

Based in York, Tiers of Joy Patisserie is an artisan patisserie company with an exquisite range of hand crafted, professional quality sweet treats.

Alongside their impressive range of cakes and macaroons, the company’s now award winning range of handcrafted chocolates are all made by hand using the finest Belgian chocolate.

Their winning chocolate bonbons certainly impressed the panel who loved the smoothness of the chocolate and nice balance of fillings throughout.  “An exquisite and beautifully presented selection to be proud of.”

Best Free From Product

Geo Middlemiss & Son – Yorkshire Bratwurst

Sponsored by Ulrick and Short

Based in the centre of Otley, Geo Middlemiss have been selling their range of award winning products for well over 100 years having been first established in 1881 by John Middlemiss as a market stall in the adjoining square.

Five generations of the family have now been providing the town with quality meats and their award winning streak continued this year with their impressive Yorkshire Bratwurst.

In a category which is often extremely varied, our panel of judges praised this impressive product saying: “Not overly processed and with a nice balance of salt and fat.  This is an impressive product and a great example of a Bratwurst.”

Best Yorkshire Breakfast

Winner: Farmer Copleys

Sponsored by Cranswick

Owned and run by Robert and Heather, the farm has been in the Copley family for over 140 years.

Farmer Copleys as it is now known started as a small farm shop with just one butcher and has in recent times grown to include an extensive butchery, deli with in-house bakery, as well as producing a range of jams, chutneys, fudge and more recently ice cream.

Our mystery shoppers were incredibly impressed with the range and quality of the products on offer and the fact that they were all sourced from the farm noting, “My waitress enthusiastically told me that everything they sold was sourced from the farm, including the fantastic sausages and bacon in my breakfast.  Everything tasted as good as it looked and my visit a pleasure all round.”

Best Use of Local Produce on a menu

Winner: Harewood Food and Drink Project

Nestled between Leeds and Harrogate, the Harewood Estate has been home to the Lascelles family since 1738.

​The family have always been keen foodies, and the Harewood Food and Drink Project, which was established in 2016 aims to put a modern spin on the traditional produce grown and foraged from the estate, through a range of collaborations with local artisan producers and their popular pop-up seasonal dinners.

Our judges were impressed with their “real and obvious passion for provenance and the inventive and stylish way that classic ingredients were given a modern spin – a very exciting business!” 

Best Afternoon Tea

Winner: Ampleforth Abbey Tea Room

Sponsored by Parkers Branded Product Solutions

The Tea Room, furnished with the famous Robert ‘Mousey’ Thompson tables, is at the centre of the Ampleforth campus and provides an array of locally sourced treats.

In a bumper year for Ampleforth, having already picked up the Best Beverage gong for their Apple Juice, this year’s winning Afternoon Tea was praised by our judges for beautiful setting and friendly staff as well as it locally sourced and delicious products.  “Most impressive was Ampleforth apple pie which was made using apples from their own orchard – absolutely stunning and well worth a return visit!”

Best Independent Retailer

Winner: Bert’s Barrow

Sponsored by Yorkshire Bank

Based on a small family-run farm in the village of Hillam near Selby, Bert’s Barrow started out life as a cart selling fresh produce at the side of the road with an honesty box to raise money for the village defibrillator fund.

Fast forward several years and the thriving farm shop, run by Bert’s son Jason and wife Charlotte is now a multi-award winning business with an undeniable passion for locally sourced produce.

Bert’s Barrow swept to victory in this category for the second time in their history by impressing the judges with their vast array of locally sourced products – many of which were grown on the farm – and the staff member’s knowledge and passion for the produce.  “The lady that served me was friendly and knowledgeable and the choice on offer throughout the shop was impressive.  If I lived close by I would certainly be a loyal customer.”

Best Wholesaler/Distributor

Winner: Cryer & Stott Cheesemongers Ltd

“A company with an obvious and infectious passion for what they do” is how the judges described this year’s winners of the Best Wholesale / Distributor award, Cryer and Stott.

Based in Castleford, West Yorkshire the family run firm stock some 700 different cheeses across their 3 retail outlets and provide a wholesale element across the country and beyond.

Our judging panel said: “Cryer and Stott’s entry was very clear, very proud and spot on.  Their local awareness and how they work with their partners selling to wide variety of different businesses was impressive.  Their track record speaks for itself. A worthy winner.”

Best New Business

Winner: Monk Fryston Barn

Sponsored by Garbutt and Elliott

The Barn Guest Accommodation is situated in the historic village of Monk Fryston close to the Village Stores in Monk Fryston which are both run by husband and wife team Faye and Kevin Coles.

The Barn, which is newly renovated and of medieval origins has been fully modernised and recently received a Four Star Gold from Visit England as well as a Visit England Breakfast Award.

Our judges said: “This businesses is clearly run with a passion to celebrate what the local environment and community have to offer.  We were so impressed with the couples pace of innovation and their commitment to excellence.  A great entry and a fantastic business.”

2018 Yorkshire Food Hero

Winner: Charlotte Wells-Thompson

Sponsored by Booths

Charlotte’s passion for Yorkshire produce is vast and since taking over Bert’s Barrow, the farm shop on the family farm in Hillam, her knowledge, enthusiasm and support for local producers has exploded.

Growing the business, along with her husband Jason, from its humble beginnings into a successful enterprise, the team now offer seasonal pick-your-own events and an expanding events venue.  Charlotte has supported, stocked and championed my local producers of all shapes and sizes throughout, organising a now annual Meet the Buyer festival to showcase local producers and joining a delegation of Yorkshire producers at the Houses of Parliament, to name but a few.

A very worthy and extremely popular winner, you can see her passion for local throughout the shop where everything is proudly labelled with its provenance and at the forefront of everything they do.  A true Yorkshire Food Hero.

2018 Supreme Product Champion

Winner: Warrendale Wagyu – Wagyu Short Rib

Put simply, the Supreme Product Award is the best of the best.  The winners of each category are put forward to the final day of judging and the stand out product is chosen as our Supreme.

This year that came in the form of Warrendale Wagyu’s Short Rib, which won this year’s Fresh Meat category and which frankly bowled over our judges.  “Perfect taste, perfect cut and a fantastic depth of flavour.  A real piece of theatre and an outstanding piece of meat.  This is a product to be proud of and an outstanding entry into this year Taste Awards.  A product to be extremely proud of.

Congratulations to the team at Warrendale Wagyu – an outstanding achievement!