Almost 50 food and drink products waited to tempt the the five-strong judging panel for our Taste Yorkshire Awards, run in association with the York Food and Drink Festival.
This followed a doubling of the number of entries for the awards which have now been running for six years. The producers who had made it onto the shortlist had to be brought down further to 18 to give a winner and two highly-commended for each of the six award categories.
During two-and-half hours of endeavour (ice cream tasting followed by pork pies, meringue followed by steak, beer by cooking oil – a food judge needs a versatile palate) each product was assessed under three headings – look, taste
There was discussion and debate as each set of marks was awarded and finally the panel had their result.
The winners will be announced on Friday, September 24 at the awards dinner at the climax of the York Food and Drink Festival. It's a wonderful three-course meal using the finest Yorkshire produce as the centre-piece for each course enjoyed in the magical evening setting of the historic Guildhall, starting at 7.30pm.
This year Michael Hjort, the chairman of the award's judges, director of the York Food Festival and owner of Melton's and Melton's Too in York will create a dinner around produce from the southern Yorkshire Dales. This means beef raised on the limestone pavements around Malham as well as pork from the neighbouring Blue Pig farm. The ticket price is 45 and includes aperitif and wine.
The festival runs from September 17-26 and highlights Yorkshire's wealth of top quality food and drink. Starting in 1997, it is now run by an independent (not for profit) company dedicated to the promotion of regional produce.
The festival's breadth makes it unique – taking in the whole of the city and surrounding area with shops and restaurants offering special menus, deals and events.
There will be demonstrations from Michelin-starred Yorkshire chefs Andrew Pern (Star Inn, Harome) and James Mackenzie (Pipe and Glass, South Dalton).
Local producers will be involved in "slow food" tastings, there's a festival marketplace, and over 200 food-related events.
This year's theme "Meet the Yorkshire Food Heroes", promotes sustainable producers, especially those who maintain traditional landscapes.
The focal point for free events is Parliament Street, where a huge marquee over the city's fountain becomes a lively evening venue, along with markets, the demonstration area, a beer tent and a "Grazing Caf" new for this year. This allows you to graze on a plate of delicatessen or farm-shop produce, while learning more about the producer.
The early evening programme of activities in the Fountain Caf will have a different theme every evening.
Ticketed events include dinners and tastings in York's historic buildings. Shops and restaurants will offer special menus and fringe events.
A full programme of events is at http://www. yorkfoodfestival.com
The finalists for the 2010 competition
Finalists for the Yorkshire Post Taste Yorkshire Awards 2010 in alphabetical order.
EP&J Robertshaw – Goats' Milk.
Shepherds Purse Cheeses – Bell's Bluemin White.
Ian Taylor Free Range Eggs – Eggs.
Local Brew category
Glendale Ginger – Non-alcoholic ginger drink.
Side Oven Bakery – Organic Elderflower Cordial.
Wold Top Brewery – Golden Summer Light Beer.
Newfields Organic Produce – Organic vegetables.
Nigel Parker – chillies.
J Stringer & Sons – Home Grown Cereals.
Curry Cuisine – Yorkshire Rhubarb Chilli Jam.
Lottie Shaw's – Yorkshire Parkin.
Yorkshire Dales Real Food – Yorkshire Dales Granola.
E&EG Bullivant and Daughters – Gluten-free beef pie.
Cannon Hill Farm – Pork
pie with blue cheese
and red onion
Ye Olde Pie and Sausage Shop – The Shambles Traditional Pork Pie.
Keelham Hall Farm Shop – Pork Sausage with Rhubarb and Mango.
Rare Breed Larder – Pancetta Italian Style
Taste Tradition –Yorkshire Free Range Rose Veal Loin Steak.