Local producers among Great Taste stars

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Local producers are among this year’s recently announced Great Taste stars.

The 10,000 products blind-tasted by judges in the 2016 Great Taste Awards included offerings from Dromara’s Abernethy Butter and Dromore’s M A Quail Ltd.

Some 141 products picked up a three-star award, among them Smoked Abernethy Butter.

The awards are judged by more than 500 food critics, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs and producers, as well as a host of food writers and journalists,

According to a spokesperson, the judging panel gave Abernethy’s smoked butter “a big thumbs-up” for a good balance of smoke, underpinned by salt, and described it as a “fine and well-made artisan product”.

The husband and wife team now await an announcement, due at the Great Taste Golden Fork Awards Dinner in London’s Royal Garden Hotel on September 5, as to whether they will receive the top award for the region.

Dromore butcher M A Quail, meanwhile, was one of 878 two-star award-winners, for its Dry Cured Streaky Bacon, and one of 2,520 to pick up a one-star award, for its Garnished Ham.

Judges praised the bacon for its “very good pork taste and lovely thickness, well balanced cure with a long lingering finish” and applauded what they called a well-marbled and overall very traditional ham, with creamy fat and a soft texture, as “a well-cooked ham with a good level of salt and good meatiness”.

Four of M A Quail’s products now carry the Great Taste Awards stars.

“We are absolutely delighted,” said shop manager Philip Walker, “to be presented with another two Great Taste awards.

“Our dry cured streaky bacon is a relatively new product which we have been perfecting over the past number ofmonths.

“We are thrilled that it has been recognised as a top-class bacon by some top-class judges.

“The garnished ham has been a favourite of our customers for many years; prepared on site by our kitchen staff then sliced to the customer’s preferred size.

“We are glad that it can now carry the Great Taste stamp of approval.

“A lot of effort goes into sourcing good quality local produce.

“It is then our job to ensure that what each customer buys is enhanced by our cooking, ageing or manufacturing methods.”

Great Taste is a widely acknowledged food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers.

It is promoted as valuing taste above all else, with no regard for branding and packaging, from which all products are removed before judging.