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Great Taste Awards 2018 announced
The winners of this year’s Great Taste Awards have been released. From a record-breaking 12,634 products, 4,653 were awarded a Great Taste accolade, 451 of which were from producers based in the South West.
Great Taste 3-star winners from the South West include; Ivy House Farm in Frome for its “full bodied” unhomogenised Organic Jersey Whole Milk, which “tastes just like milk used to and should taste”, with a layer of cream settled on the top; Devon-based Quicke’s for its Goat’s Milk Clothbound Cheese, a traditionally made hard goat’s cheese, typically matured for six months, which begins with a “promising aroma, almost horseradish” followed with a “brightly acidic paste giving it a distinct flavour”; and a “glossy, viscose and silky smooth” Double Cream from Jess’s Ladies Organic Farm in Gloucestershire, an unhomogenised double cream made by hand within hours of the cows being milked.
These producers and the other award winners will now see if they can scoop the top awards for their region and go on to be the Great Taste 2018 Supreme Champion, which will be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner on Sunday 2 September, to be held at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel, London.
Organised by the Guild of Fine Food, all the entries are blind tasted before being awarded a 1-, 2- or 3-star award. Judges this year included: MasterChef 2018 champion, Kenny Tutt, chef and food writer, Elly Curshen, eco-chef and food writer, Tom Hunt, author and chef, Zoe Adjonyoh, baker Tom Herbert, author and blogger, Izy Hossack, and baker and recipe writer, Martha Collison, as well as food buyers from Harrods, Selfridges and Sourced Market.
A full list of this year’s winners can be found at www.greattasteawards.co.uk.
Fruit prices rise, sugar drops
The price of fruit has risen consistently in 2018 and made a significant jump in July “due to high demand and adverse weather pushing prices.” according to the Foodservice Price Index from CGA Prestige.
Contrastingly, sugar prices have seen “another dramatic drop to put the category at an all-time low, further illustrating the growing oversupply issue.”
The 5.2% rise in fruit prices can be attributed to dry weather hindering growth which combined with migrant labour shortages. The intense heat caused fruit to ripen quickly while pickers were in short supply meaning fruit rotting in the fields.
Sugar’s 8.4% fall was caused by overproduction with bumper crops in India more than offsetting adverse growing conditions in Europe. Sugar producing countries are also being pressured by the Global Sugar Alliance to remove subsidies, particularly from India and Pakistan, the main drivers for the overproduction.
Prestige Purchasing also points to the effects of tensions between the US, EU and China as the Trump administration continues to support tariffs and the implementation of yet more measures which could impact on commodity prices.
For more information, go to www.prestige-purchasing.com
Kaleidoscope Collection adds Homewood Park
Homewood Park Hotel & Spa outside Bath has been acquired by Ian and Christa Taylor, owners of the Kaleidoscope Collection.
The four silver-AA-star, 21 bedroom hotel was previously owned by the Longleat Group. It joins No.15 Great Pulteney and County hotel, both in Bath city centre. The couple sold the Abbey hotel in Bath earlier this year to fund new projects.
The Taylors plan to refresh the hotel and turn it into a “laid-back country hideaway”, working with local artists and introducing shepherd’s huts in the gardens.
They announced the appointment of the group’s executive chef Marc Hardiman in June, who will be overseeing the kitchen. The new restaurant concept will focus on local and home-grown produce with a nature-themed afternoon tea offering.
St Austell sign up Jack Stein
Cornish brewer and pub company, St Austell Brewery, have announced Cornish chef Jack Stein will be the ambassador of its Proper Job IPA beer.
Chef director at the Rick Stein Group, Jack has developed a collection of recipes and food pairings to complement the beer’s flavour profile.
Jack Stein, who has recently released his debut cookbook, said: “Having grown up in Cornwall it’s really exciting to be working with one of the most successful and well-known Cornish brewers in the country – especially one that shares my passion for sourcing its ingredients locally, wherever possible.”
Jeremy Mitchell, St Austell Brewery’s director of marketing and communications, said: “We’re delighted to announce Jack as our Proper Job ambassador – a Cornish chef on the rise who shares our values and passion for quality local produce and great tasting recipes.
“Proper Job is one of our most popular beers and has passionate ambassadors throughout the UK. We’re delighted to be collaborating with Jack to celebrate its growing reputation and look forward to exciting times ahead.”
Rick Stein has leased St Austell Brewery’s pub The Cornish Arms, in the village of St Merryn near Padstow, since 2009.
Riverford land 5-star organic food rating
The veg box pioneer Riverford has secured five stars in the Soil Association’s Organic Served Here scheme for its restaurant – the Riverford Field Kitchen in Devon. This means its menu boasts more than 95% organic ingredients.
Farmer Guy Watson, who founded the company in 1987, said: “Organic food is food as it should be. We don’t see organic as unusual or a ‘nice to have’ – it’s at the heart of what we do at Riverford.
“Being able to display the Organic Served Here logo means that consumers on the hunt for tasty organic food know we are a name they can trust.”
Glyn Morgan Riverford Field Kitchen Manager, said: “Organic is a way of life for us. The people who eat here really value being able to look out over the farm as they tuck into a meal made from the produce grown in those fields.
“We believe that field to fork is a model that is both sustainable and very much in demand. In the kitchen, we get to work with the best seasonal produce – while in the dining room customers get to enjoy something new every day.”
Clare McDermott, business development director for the Soil Association said: “It is a pleasure to work with Riverford, who have been a great advocate of organic food for decades. As organic food sales are increasing, consumers are becoming more engaged in the origins of their food. Organic Served Here offers clarity and assurance for today’s more ethically-minded consumers.
“There are many reasons why organic is the way forward. Organic always means fewer pesticides, no artificial additives and preservatives, free-range, no routine use of antibiotics, and no GM ingredients. Further, the rigour of the organic certification process means organic food and drink is always fully traceable and trustworthy. Simply put, organic is food as it should be.
“The award is easy for restaurant and café owners to achieve, by switching basic things like milk and eggs they can achieve accreditation. Plus the process is simple and straightforward.”
Artisan producer sings Amazon’s praises
Cornwall’s Artisan Malt Vinegar Company has launched national distribution of its award-winning Artisan Malt Vinegar through Amazon.
Owner Mark Nattrass said: “Being right at the very end of Cornwall, distribution has always been an issue. Our distributors in Devon and Cornwall do a good job for us – but over the years I’ve lost count of the number of customers who’ve contacted us from further up the line because they’re struggling to get hold of a case of our vinegar.
Amazon gives us a really good way of getting the product out there. It’s easy for the customer, and because Amazon are so efficient we can now get a case or a jerrycan delivered – to shops, restaurants, pubs, hotels or whatever – anywhere in the country, delivered to the door, at a keen wholesale price.”
The business, based in a recommissioned cold war nuclear bunker near Coverack in Cornwall, recently picked up a third Gold award in a row at Taste of the West 2018.
Eco-refrigeration launch from Hoshizaki
Refrigeration specialists Hoshizaki are expanding its Snowflake GII range by introducing environmentally friendly Hydrocarbon (HC) units across the portfolio.
The appliances in the range use the naturally occurring R290 refrigerant, to achieve “significantly better performance and lower running costs than the existing Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) models”, which will be phased out.
The new models have a Climate Class 5 rating due to Hoshizaki’s Tropical Cooling System. They also feature an LED display and lighting and lockable doors.
Simon Frost, director of sales & chain accounts at Hoshizaki UK comments: “Energy saving and sustainable equipment is the key to generating a greener, environmentally friendly future for the foodservice industry. As the global leader in commercial refrigeration and ice making equipment Hoshizaki is widely recognised as being a high-quality manufacturer across Europe.”
For more information, go to www.hoshizaki-snowflake.com or call 01322 616 900.
Two four-star hotels sold from Richardson portfolio
Following Richardson Hotels Limited and Fowey Hotel Limited entering administration, two of their four-star hotels in Cornwall have been sold by Colliers International.
Harbour Hotels acquired The Metropole Hotel in Padstow and the Fowey Hotel in Fowey for an undisclosed sum in excess of the guide price. The Metropole was marketed with a guide price of £10,000,000 and the Fowey Hotel was marketed at £5,500,000.
Ed Jefferson, from the Hotels team at Colliers International, said: “The Metropole Hotel and the Fowey Hotel are unique landmark venues in premium locations, which have excellent development potential. They are a perfect addition to the Harbour Hotels group, which is renowned for its collection of prestigious hotels in prime sites in coastal, country and city locations around the south of England.
Mike Warren, managing director of Harbour Hotels, commented: “We are very excited to be taking the Harbour brand further into Cornwall. Both Fowey and Padstow are popular, well-known locations making the hotels great acquisitions for us. We are really excited to have the group expand across the West Country.”
The two other hotels from the Richardson Hotels Limited and Fowey Hotel Limited portfolio are the Falmouth Hotel, and the Grand Hotel, Torquay, which both continue to trade on a business as usual basis.