This year’s Great Taste Awards were once again the showcase for a record-breaking performance by the Manx food and drink industry.
The awards – known as the ‘Oscars’ of the industry – saw the highest ever number of the Island’s products recognised for their quality, with 73 products winning awards in 2018, up from 56 last year.
Only four years ago the total number of Manx products recognised with awards stood at just ten.
A total of 18 producers were recognised in the Awards: Berries Luxury Pudding Makers and Confectioners, Close Leece Farm, Ballakelly Farm, Isle of Man Meats, Cooil Brothers Limited, Leela's kitchen, Staarvey Farm, Aalin Dairy, Taste Africa, Dave's Delicious Dogs, Isle of Man Creamery, Time 4 Tea, The Dairy Shed, Laxey Glen Mills Limited, Andreas Meat Co Limited, The Hooded Ram Brewing Company Limited, The Donut Factory Limited and Paula's Kitchen.
Two Manx producers - Berries Luxury Pudding Makers and Confectioners (whey butter fruit cake for cheese) and Close Leece Farm (Manx Chorizo) – won the highest accolade, the three-star award, signifying a product the judges described as ‘exquisite’.
The Great Taste Awards, running since 1994, are described as the largest and most trusted accreditation scheme for fine food and drink, and are judged in a series of blind-taste tests by a panel of leading food critics, writers, chefs, restaurateurs and fine food retailers.
Throughout the British Isles, 12,634 products were submitted – the highest number ever.
For the third year, as part of its Food Matters strategy, the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) held a free workshop to encourage Isle of Man food and drink producers to negotiate the process of entering the awards.
Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, was delighted at the Isle of Man’s performance at the Awards. He said:
‘At the Great Taste Awards all products are judged on taste alone by some of the most knowledgeable and respected individuals in the food and drink industry. Gaining an award is a superb accomplishment and an accolade of which all the winners should be extremely proud.
‘That the Isle of Man has achieved so many awards for such a diverse range of products is testament to the quality and constant innovation of our food and drink producers. And it is evidence of the continuing investment the Man Government makes in our food and drink industry.’
All winning producers can now display the Great Taste logo, with 1-, 2- or 3- stars, on their award-winning products and in their marketing and promotions.
The top regional awards are yet to be announced. The winners of those, and the Great Taste 2018 Supreme Champion, will be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner on Sunday 2 September, at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel, London.