SPECIALITY FOOD | 1 NOVEMBER 2023 | “It’s been the best year yet,” say organisers of the Great British Food Awards, which attracted more than 1,000 entries in 2023, handing out 122 Gold Awards, and naming one Grand Champion.
The awards, launched in 2014, celebrate the very best artisanal products in the UK fine food and drink industry – from cheese and confectionery, to spirits, snacks, beers and baked goods – and are presided over by roster of high-profile judges, including wine expert Olly Smith, and chefs Michel Roux Jr and Raymond Blanc OBE.
“This year we were amazed not just by the quantity, but by the quality of every product that came to us,” said head of the Great British Food Awards, Jenny O’Neill.
“A change in the judging process has resulted in more winners in 2023, and the response has truly blown us away. British food has proven once again that it is amongst the best there is, and we can’t wait to see what 2024 has in store.”
Entries went through a stringent three-step judging process, firstly being taste-tested and scored, with the best shortlisted, and others deserving recognition taking Bronze awards.
Judges then tasted shortlisted products, awarding Silver and Gold accolades.
And, finally, gold winners were sent to the judging panel at Harvey Nichols, who selected their Grand Champion.
This year, Suffolk’s Alder Tree Brilliant Blackcurrant Fruit Cream Ice shone through, with one of the judges saying, “This ice cream instantly reminded me of a childhood memory of picking blackcurrants and berries from my grandmother’s garden. Rich and tangy with fruit, without being overly sweet, this is the ultimate expression of blackcurrant.”
Harvey Nichols food buying manager, Shirley Aubrey, said: “We were thrilled to be asked to select the Grand Champion for the Great British Food Awards 2023. What an absolute privilege and informative experience.
“We loved the opportunity to sample so many star products, made with such care and attention by committed producers. With produce ranging from traditional British specialities like smoked salmon pate and thick rashers of air-dried bacon, through to artisan kimchi, pillowy focaccia and light-as-air passion fruit marshmallow, the breadth of products was a literal feast for the senses.
“The product that made us smile most, with its distinctive and intense British flavour, simple ingredients list, local sourcing, and all-round, feel-good vibrancy, was the Brilliant Blackcurrant Fruit Cream Ice from Alder Tree. The determination of the producer to create the highest quality flavour and texture using just three ingredients, resulted in us selecting it to be this years’ Grand Champion. Congratulations to their team for creating a wonderful product, truly worthy of its title.”
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