By SAM BUTLER
Craic Foods in Craigavon has won the 2020 Regional Golden Fork for Northern Ireland at the finals of the UK Great Taste Awards.
The small company lifted the award for its Black Garlic & Porcini Sea Salt.
An expertly balanced combination of slow aged black garlic, sea salt and wild porcini mushroom, created as a finishing seasoning or to add a boost of flavour to a wide range of meals, this product was a hit with the Great Taste judges.
Noting its “sparkling rock appearance and rich earthy aroma,” the panel described Black Garlic & Porcini Sea Salt as “an umami flavour bomb” as they enjoyed its “bold mushroom flavour, sweetness from the black garlic and a slight acidic lift toward the end to keep the overall experience clean”.
The Golden Fork from Northern Ireland was sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland and also nominated this year were the Great Taste three-star winning Abernethy Lemon Curd from The Little Bakehouse in Dromore, County Down, and Wild Sika Venison French Rack from Baronscourt Estate in Newtownstewart, County Tyrone.
Having impressed at every stage of the blind-tasted judging process, as a record-breaking 12,777 entries were assessed over 14 weeks of remote judging and socially distanced judging sessions, the “intense, but balanced” Black Garlic & Porcini Sea Salt was celebrated as the best tasting product in Northern Ireland during the virtual Great Taste Golden Fork award ceremony on Thursday, October 22.
Craic Foods is run by chef Paul Clarke in association with Peter Hannan of Hannan Meats in Moira.
Paul said: “We are thrilled to win the prestigious award and by the endorsement of such a distinguished panel of judges. It’s a tremendous boost for our business.”
This year’s panel of judges included cook, writer and champion of sustainable food Melissa Hemsley; cook, writer, stylist and voice of modern vegetarian cooking Anna Jones; celebrated Spanish chef José Pizarro; Kavi Thakrar from Dishoom; food writer and cook Xanthe Clay; and baker and author Martha Collison; as well as food buyers from Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and Waitrose.