I was persuaded to enter the prestigious Great Taste Awards (GTA) in 2012 and as a ‘GTA virgin’ I wasn’t really sure what to expect. In January you send off your application and then a couple of months later you send in samples of the products you’ve entered (we sent in our 3 most popular products, the two flavours of pork pie and also our chocolate tiffin). These go through a rigorous blind tasting process and to get an award it will have been approved by at least 12 different judges, all of who would have had to have gone ‘wow, what is this product, I love it’. This ensures the awards are based on ‘great taste’ and not great marketing.
There were 45 days of blind-tasting by a panel that included Masterchef winner and restaurateur Mat Follas, restaurant critic and Masterchef judge Charles Campion, food writers Lucas Hollweg and Xanthe Clay and more than 300 food buyers from leading food halls, such as Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason, as well as delicatessens and farm shops across the country.
Over 8,800 products were entered from across the country and only 2,800 won an award ie. less than a third.
Had I known all of this before I may never have entered thinking we didn’t stand a chance but luckily I had no idea what a stringent process awaited our pork pies and tiffin so blithely sent off our samples and crossed my fingers. The results were announced at the beginning of August and you can imagine how delighted we were to discover that we had won gold stars for all three products !
You may have noticed the blue circle award logo on the bottom left of the website pages. This was for the award we won from the RSPCA in 2006 for our commitment to animal welfare. The RSPCA Good Business Awards recognise the British businesses that put animal welfare at the heart of what they do. It’s an award that means a lot to us, after all we started this business because of concerns we had about animal welfare issues in the food industry.
Well it had been a while since we won the award and our business had changed quite a bit in the past few years so last year we decided to enter again. An email at the beginning of September informed us we had been selected as a finalist in our category. Wow !
Our fellow finalists are Abel & Cole, the organic box scheme, Edge & Son, traditional butchers on the Wirral and The Bath Pig, producers of British chorizo. Esteemed company indeed.
We didn't win the category but frankly just to get to the finals was enough for us.