Artisan cheese makers, Shepherds Purse of Thirsk, North Yorkshire, has swept the board at this year’s Great Taste Awards with 6 Golds for its traditionally handcrafted cheeses, with the dairy’s Bluemin White cheese scooping the coveted 3 STAR rating. The Great Taste Awards, organised by The Guild of Fine Food, is the UK’s most renowned food awards employing the country’s most rigorous judging system to ensure the fairest, accurate and trusted results.

It’s latest innovation, Harrogate Blue, which has just been shortlisted for a grocery new product of the year award, picked up 2 stars alongside its salad style ewe’s milk cheese, Yorkshire Fettle. A cheese inspired by Middle Age monks – Monk’s Folly – a traditional mould rinded soft cow’s milk cheese and Olde York, a ewe’s milk cheese were awarded 1 star ratings. Mrs Bells Blue also picked up a 1 star rating.

The Shepherds Purse dairy is run by the Bell family and produces an award-winning, traditionally handcrafted range of premium artisan cheeses using cow’s, ewe’s and water buffalo milk for supermarkets, delis, independent cheese shops, farm shops and wholesalers.

Commenting on the awards, Katie Matten, director, Shepherds Purse Cheeses said: “To win one Great Taste Award is fantastic, but to achieve 6 Gold star ratings for our cheeses and a top gong for our Bluemin White is like winning a fine food Oscar and is true testament to the hard work of the entire team in producing first class cheeses. I’m so proud of our team, they are absolutely passionate about every cheese we produce and it shows in the end result.
“This is an acknowledged benchmark for speciality food and drink and displaying the Great Taste Awards logo is the sign that customers are buying food they can trust and helps us to differentiate our cheeses from the norm,” continued Katie Matten.

The 2013 Great Taste Awards attracted a record number of entries. In total 9,738 food and drink products were blind-tasted, tested and discussed during two months of intense judging by more than 300 judges, comprising fine food retailers, food writers, chefs, restaurant critics and industry experts. Of the 9,738 products entered, only 33.8 per cent were awarded a star.

The Guild of Fine Food recognises that the standards of food and drink in the British Isles are going from strength to strength, year after year, proving that for those who enjoy great food – it’s there to be discovered. The Guild has worked hard to ensure the judging process is as robust as possible. Judging teams are balanced in terms of experience, background and even gender and every Gold Award winning entry has been independently proven to be of the highest standard.