Whilst many events have enjoyed their return to normality this year, the Taste Awards, which are run by Deliciouslyorkshire, the Regional Food Group for Yorkshire and the Humber, went one better by receiving a record number of entries.
MORE: For more about Deliciouslyorkshire visit the official website at deliciouslyorkshire.co.uk.
The Awards, which are the biggest food and drink accolades in the North of England, attracted hundreds of entries from businesses of all shapes and sizes from throughout the region.
Led by head judges, artisan food champion Nigel Barden and hugely popular Yorkshire chef Steph Moon, the entries were judged across a week in September by a discerning panel which included producers, chefs, food critics, writers and retail buyers.
After carefully working their way through over 450 entries across a range of categories including Best Pork Pie, Bakery, New Business and Best Use of Local Produce on a Menu, the 2021 list of finalists was announced in early October and the winners revealed at a black-tie event at the Pavilions of Harrogate.
Head judge food expert and broadcaster Nigel Barden, who hosted the event with fellow Taste Awards stalwart chef Steph Moon, said: “Having been involved in these awards for a number of years now, it’s an absolute pleasure to see them continue to grow year on year and attract new and innovative products and businesses.
“Each year, without fail, we turn up something exciting that we haven’t seen before and products and businesses that blow our socks off.
"It’s a real testament to the resilience and passion of the industry here in Yorkshire that even after the events of the last 2 years, our food and drink producers are still innovating, collaborating and thriving to such a high standard.”
The Deliciouslyorkshire team welcomed 300 guests who enjoyed a bespoke menu, featuring many of the finalist’s products, as the 23 award winners were finally revealed.
And the winners are...
Best Bakery: Shutishuti Patisserie: Apple & Blackberry Caramel Tart
In a record-breaking year for entries, the Best Bakery category certainly didn’t disappoint.
This year’s winner comes courtesy of Shutishuti Patisserie based in York. Owned and run by Eszter Takacs, this beautiful tart was as stunning as it was delicious and knocked the judges socks off with its crisp pasty and sharp and fruity flavours.
“A product that screams quality and oozes skill, this could grace the counters of fine pâtissiers anywhere,” they said.
Best Beer: Pennine Brewing Co: Yorkshire Greens
In an ever-popular category covering both Yorkshire Beer and Cider, this year’s winner comes from the casks of North Yorkshire based micro-brewery Pennine Brewing Co.
Based in the village of Well, the family run brewery are fiercely independent and draw inspiration from their rural location for their range of flavours and names.
The judges loved Yorkshire Greens malty, biscuity flavour along with its smooth and slightly sweet hoppy finish. “A real session beer and completely gluggable! We loved it.” and stories behind our ales.
Best Beverage: Dark Woods Coffee: Common Grounds – Barrel Aged Coffee
“Complex and exciting” was how this year’s winning beverage was described by our discerning judging panel. West Yorkshire based Dark Woods Coffee are no stranger to winning Taste Awards and this year’s entry wowed the judges with its “Great complexity, balance of malic acidity and notes of plum andred apple along with its pleasant boozy flavours of cherry kirsch.
“A perfect after dinner coffee that would have us heading back for seconds!”
Best Fresh Meat: Mainsgill Farm Shop: Tomahawk Steak
Rarely does an entry cause such an intake of breath from our seasoned judging panel but this year’s Fresh Meat winner, Mainsgill Farm Shop’s Tomahawk Steak did just that! Reared on the family farm near Richmond in North Yorkshire, the Tomahawk Steak wasn’t just visually sensational, it packed a punch on flavour too.
“Quality from start to finish” they said “well butchered and obviously produced with care and skill. We love the beautiful flavours and juicy texture – a real melt in the mouth piece of meat. A+”
Best Fresh Produce: Cedarbarn Farm Shop: Strawberries
There are strawberries and then there are strawberries, and our winning Fresh Produce entry from the team at Cedarbarn Farm Shop showcased their homegrown variety off to a tee.
Nestled close to Pickering in the North York Moors, the team at the award-winning Farm Shop pride themselves on sourcing their ingredients locally or indeed growing their own. Our judges praised the fresh, bright berries which were bursting with flavour and a perfect example of well grown produce at its finest.
Best Ice Cream/Dairy: Yorvale: Yorkshire Lemon Curd Ice Cream
Famous for using traditional methods to make their range of award-winning ice creams, Yorvale sailed to victory in this year’s Ice Cream & Dairy category with their delicious Yorkshire Lemon Curd flavour.
The team use milk from their own herd on their farm at Acaster Malbis near York to create a range of delicious ice creams and more recently kefir. Our panel loved the fresh, zesty flavour and balanced creamy base of this product, praising its “natural flavour and balance of sweetness. A really well made and classy ice cream!”
Best Pantry: Yockenthwaite Farm: Nutty Spelt Not So Sweet Granola
Located high up in the Yorkshire Dales, the Hird’s have been farming at Yockenthwaite since 1842.
Starting out by making their own granola recipe over a decade ago, the business has since grown and now produces an award-winning range of oats, muesli and granolas.
Our Best Pantry category is new to this year’s awards and covers a broad range of products, however Yockenthwaite’s Nutty Spelt Not So Sweet Granola was a clear winner and the judging panel adored the interesting mix and balance of flavours and the generous amount of ingredients.
“A breakfast that you would be reaching for throughout the day again and again – we love it.
Best Spirit: Fairfax Distillery: Special Edition Fairfax Distillery Rum
With an ever-expanding spirit industry in Yorkshire, this category is consistently packed with fantastic quality and quirky flavour combinations.
This year’s winning spirit comes in the form of Fairfax Distillery’s Special Edition Fairfax Distillery Rum and was a real stand out amongst our entries. Based in Colton, North Yorkshire and part of the Ye Old Sun Inn, our judges adored the “rich and balanced flavours and finish alongside the soft spices. A really delicious spirit and a very worthy winner. Something to be sipped and savoured – we absolutely love it!”
Best Sweet Preserve: Harewood Food & Drink Project: Harewood Honey
“Quintessentially British and perfectly executed” was how our panel described this year’s winning preserve. Created by the talented team at the Harewood Food and Drink Project based on the historic Yorkshire Estate, this beautiful honey “encompasses everything you’d want from a really fantastic preserve.
Deliciously natural but not too sweet, it looks lovely, has a great texture and is clearly made with love. A seriously good honey and a very worthy winner. A product to be rightly proud of.”
Best Independent Retailer Mainsgill Farm Shop
Our entries into this year’s Best Independent Retailer category were packed with of stories of resilience, ingenuity and positivity.
Our winner Mainsgill Farm Shop opened in 2001 and has undergone huge expansion.
Our judge visited on a sunny day with helpful staff on hand and a great atmosphere throughout. “Easy to get to and well signposted, Mainsgill is a very professional set- up and really a destination in itself. The staff were friendly and helpful, and there was a real Yorkshire focus throughout with a huge range of locally sourced products. A real retail gem.”
Best New Business: The Yorkshire Pasta Company
“Outstanding branding supported by a comprehensive launch involving James Martin.” Our judges were impressed with the Yorkshire Pasta Company’s ethos, after spotting a clear gap in the market and focusing on sustainability across all elements of their business, combined with superb packaging and a high quality product.
"Launched in the summer of 2019, the family run, Malton based company now produce a range of quality artisan products which are stocked in over 250 independent stores across the UK and have a strong future ahead."
Best Cheese: Yorkshire Pecorino Cheese Ltd: Yorkshire Pecorino Fiore
With so many fantastic cheese producers in Yorkshire you can image what a hard time the judges had wading through so many quality entries! Our winner, Yorkshire Pecorino Fiore cheese from the talented team at Yorkshire Pecorino Cheese Ltd really hit the spot with our panel who loved the flavor journey from “its nutty crust through to its creamy middle. This cheese has a beautiful acidity and finishes on the palette so well. A cheese that keeps on giving!”
Best Confectionery: Ryeburn of Helmsley: Chocolate Box
Taking a slight departure from their award-winning ice cream flavours, this box of beautifully presented chocolates from the team at Ryeburn of Helmsley proved that they are more than capable of creating chocolates to die for.
Our panel loved the entry’s eye catching and visually spectacular variety along with their mix of classic and slightly more quirky flavour combinations. “A box of chocolates that you would be so excited to receive as a gift and clearly made by highly skilled artisans – very well done.”
Best Fish & Seafood: The Yorkshire Smokehouse at Mackenzies: Smoked Mackerel
Collecting one award at the Taste Awards is quite an achievement, but to collect two is seriously good going and team at The Yorkshire Smokehouse at Mackenzies have done just that! Owned and run by husband and wife team Paul and Gabby Palmer who bought the business in 2019, they have since gone on to build a successful farm shop alongside the now award-winning smokehouse. The panel loved the balance of smoke and salt commenting:"this is a great example of balance when smoking fish. It looks appealing, it tastes fantastic and we could eat it everyday – a triumph.”
Best Free From: Charlie & Ivy’s: Charlie & Ivy’s Plant Based Mayonnaise
In a category that covers a number of areas, this year’s winning product came in the form of Charlie & Ivy’s Plant Based Mayonnaise and caused a real stir amongst our panel. Producing a range of different products from their family farm high in the Yorkshire Wolds, this newly released mayonnaise wowed the judges who said: “If you didn’t know this product was plant based you really couldn’t tell. A great texture and consistency with a real appealing colour and a pleasant kick at the end. We’d happily smother our chips in it!”
Best Pork Pie: J A Mounfield & Son: 1lb Pork Pie
Our Best Pork Pie award is always one to watch and the category that takes the longest to judge as the standard is always so high across the board. Our 2021 winner comes in the form of a 1lb Pork Pie from Selby butchers J A Mounfield & Son who are no stranger to winning Taste Awards for their fantastic products having triumphed.
In this category on two previous occasions. Our judges loved its “well glazed and perfectly baked appearance as well as its well-balanced flavour and delicious flavorsome jelly throughout – a pie to be proud of!”
Best Prepared Meat: The Yorkshire Smokehouse at Mackenzies: Oak Smoked & Airdried Venison
Amongst a huge number of entries in this year’s Prepared Meat category, The Yorkshire Smokehouse at Mackenzies Oak Smoked & Airdried Venison really got the judges taste buds twitching!
A second Taste Award for this family run company, this year’s winning product wowed our panel. “This product is everything you’d want from a cured meat. Unctuous and exotic, it melts in the mouth and is just so delicious. If you ate this in any top restaurant it would be noteworthy – a real stand out product and a pleasure to eat all round. Full marks.”
Best Ready to Eat: Cedarbarn: Scotch Egg with Yorkshire Black
Our Ready to Eat category covers a huge range of products from pies to pasties and beyond, but this year’s winning Scotch Egg from the team at Cedarbarn Farm Shop near Pickering was a real stand out for our judges.
Passionate about using locally sourced products and ingredients throughout their business, the judges applauded the “crispy light casing and deliciously well- seasoned center with the addition of sumptuous black pudding and a perfectly cooked egg. A really great product which would be your go-to lunch if you lived close by.”
Best Savoury Condiment: Geo. Middlemiss & Son: Yorkshire Pork Dripping
Amongst a category of fantastic chutneys and sauces, this Yorkshire Pork Dripping from the team at Otley based butchers Geo. Middlemiss & Son was a standout moment in the entire judging week!
Previous winners at the Taste Awards over recent years, our 2021 category winner really did impress the judges who said: “This product looks great, smells great and tastes fantastic!
Honest, flavoursome and delicate, it’s so light it almost tastes whipped! Perfectly balanced levels of sweetness and salt, it’s so versatile. A real taste of nostalgia!”
Best Use of Local Produce on a Menu: Cedarbarn Farm Shop
Hospitality has faced challenges, but our entries into the Best Use of Local Produce on a Menu category shared stories of triumph over adversity and our winning business, Cedarbarn Farm Shop were no exception. “The menus are a homage to all things Yorkshire with each dish proudly heralding its provenance and the majority of ingredients and produce either lovingly home grown or reared with the remainder sourced as locally as possible. Traditional, wholesome home prepared food cooked with love and pride that everyone wants to eat. Truly Yorkshire on a plate!”
Best Wholesaler: Class One Fresh Produce
Yorkshire is lucky to be home to many fantastic wholesale businesses championing our local produce and producers both throughout the region and beyond. Our 2021 winning business, Skipton based family run firm Class One Fresh Produce impressed our judges with their “traditional values and excellent customer service.
“Continuing to deliver their service to the highest standard throughout the toughest times over the last 18 months, Class One’s team showed flexibility and agility throughout the pandemic and proved themselves to be a progressive and forward- thinking Yorkshire firm. A fantastic entry and a business to be proud of.”
Local Food Hero: Karl & Mandy Avison: Cedarbarn Farm Shop
Our Local Food Hero award is slightly different to the rest in that nominations are invited from fellow Taste Award entrants and the winner decided by an online public vote. Our 2021 Food Heroes come as a pair – Karl and Mandy Avison of Cedarbarn Farm Shop. The couple who run the business near Pickering were applauded for their food and hospitality as well as their passion for farming and supporting their community.
Their shop and café sell and serve an array of home grown or locally sourced goods, aiming to promote impeccable provenance and be as eco- friendly as possible.
Supreme Product Champion: Yorkshire Pecorino Cheese Ltd: Yorkshire Pecorino Fiore
Put simply, our Supreme Product Champion is the best of the best. This year’s Champion, Yorkshire Pecorino Fiore from the talented team at Yorkshire Pecorino Cheese Ltd run by Mario Olianas delighted our panel who reveled in its quality and clear provenance. The small artisan cheese makers based in Otley near Leeds, use sheep milk from a farm just 12 miles away to create their award- winning cheeses and their Taste Award winning Yorkshire Pecorino Fiore wowed our panel with it delicious flavour and sumptuous creamy texture.
“A product made with clear skill and care and with impeccable provenance. A true Yorkshire champion to be rightly proud of. We absolutely loved it!”