It came down to one night. After months of a search to find the very best food and drink products, businesses and personalities that Yorkshire has to offer, the winners of the Taste Awards 2014 have been revealed.
The celebration of the region’s food and drinks industry, organised by The Yorkshire Post and Deliciouslyorkshire in association with Asda, culminated last night in an awards ceremony at the Pavilions of Harrogate.
Nigel Barden, the Radio 2 food journalist and a member of the Taste Awards judging panel, hosted proceedings at the black tie event which was attended by more than 300 nominees and supporters from all over the county.
At stake were awards across 20 categories. More than 80 shortlisted entries had been whittled down from many more, with individual food and drink categories decided by blind taste tests carried out by industry experts.
And it proved to be a particularly special night for Ryeburn of Helmsley. The North Yorkshire farming family turned ice cream makers scooped the top prize. Their mango yoghurt had tickled the judges’ taste buds and it stole the show by being named the Taste Awards 2014 Supreme Champion product.
It was a double win for the firm as the same product was also named best ice cream.
Addressing the audience from the stage, Ryeburn of Helmsley’s production manager David Otterburn said: “This has been 30 years in the making but I would like to acknowledge one family that’s not here anymore - the Moore family that started off all the ice cream making in the area. Instead of saying this is our business, stay out of it, they actively encouraged us to come into it. With the passing of Robert, the business is now up for sale. They have given a lot of help to the industry in the Yorkshire area and we have just carried on what they started. This award is dedicated to them.”
Among the other winners was Voakes Pies of Whixley Grange Farm, North Yorkshire, where the Voakes family led by brothers Andrew and James farm pigs for their range of pies. They run a purpose built production unit on the farm, employ 12 other staff and produce around 3,000 pies a day.
James Voakes said it felt “fantastic” after the piemakers were announced as winners of the best Yorkshire pork pie and best ready to eat product.
The title of Best New Business went to Dottie Biscuit, run by Philippa Atkin and her 23-year-old stepdaughter Sarah Williams from their home in Halifax. Having started selling their hand-iced biscuits at farmers markets in January, they have now secured a roll of retail contracts, including with another award winner on the night, Fodder, the cafe and shop at the Great Yorkshire Showground.
Philippa said: “We are stunned. We have a strong and cohesive business plan but we didn’t expect such success at this stage.”
Jo Satariano, membership, marketing and media manager for Deliciouslyorkshire, said the entries across all categories had been of a high standard.
“As the regional food group for Yorkshire and Humber we know just how varied and exciting the range of food and drink produced in Yorkshire is but never the less when it came to receiving this year’s awards entries we were astounded by the quality, innovation and creativity amongst our awards entrants.
“Whether it’s a great new product or an establishment that’s really committed to local produce, these awards aim to acknowledge celebrate Yorkshire’s food and drink stars.
“This year in particular our judges found it extremely hard to pick the winner of supreme product with members of the independent judging panel feeling very strongly about several of the category winners. However after much deliberation they chose Ryeburn of Helmsley’s Mango Yoghurt as this year’s most outstanding product and winner of the Taste Awards Supreme Champion.”
Alongside Nigel Barden to present the awards on the night was Judy Bell, chairman of Deliciouslyorkshire and chief executive of North Yorkshire based artisan cheese makers Shepherds Purse, which itself won best cheese with its Bluemin White.
She said: “We (Deliciouslyorkshire) are determined to make Yorkshire the food capital of the UK. We are here to help, take the pressure off you and have some fun as well so call us.”
Rick Banks, buying manager for England & Wales at the Awards’ headline sponsors Asda, told The Yorkshire Post that the door was always open to potential new suppliers, including those involved in this year’s Taste Awards.
“Supporting other Yorkshire businesses is important to all of us at Asda,” Mr Banks said.
“We have our roots and soul in this county and we’re very proud of that.
“As a business we’re committed to sourcing the very best that Yorkshire has to offer.”
For a full report of all the winners see a special pull-out in The Yorkshire Post this Saturday.