So this week we were asked to go and judge at the prestigious Great Taste Awards 2015. So what are the Great Taste Awards I hear you ask?

Each year, fine food producers from around the world enter their products in the best respected awards in the country. This year 10,000 products were entered and we have been part of sifting out the finest food and drink products in the world.

Great Taste1Where does such an event take place? At the HQ of the Chiefs of Fine Food down in Gillingham, Dorset. So we arrived down in deepest Dorset (did you know there are no motorways in Dorset nor straight roads!!!) after a brisk three hours drive. We were greeted by the staff from the Guild of Fine Food (@guildoffinefood) and the rather lovely Positive PR (@rhubarb2rhubarb).

After a couple of very strong coffees, we were off into the judging rooms. The legendary Bob Farrand (@bobsblog) gave a very warm welcome and ran through the format of the day.

How on earth do you judge so many products? Judging takes place over the next two months over various sessions. We were split into teams of four. One of my team was Silvija Davidson (@SilvijaD) and also fellow World Cheese Awards judge Mike Cook, so we knew we were in good hands.

On each table we had around 20 products for each session to sample. Each product has all branding removed or covered. We had notes from the producer so we knew what we were tasting but not by whom. This made it a level playing field.

We sampled, discussed and then discussed, then sampled and discussed some more until we all agreed on the same score. If we all couldn’t agree then an arbitrator came over to settle the score. One of which was the no nonsense Brett Sutton (@TheWhitePost) who had the final say. Each product was given a zero star sticker or one with 1-3 stars. Then it went to other tables to get their opinion and a final score was awarded. Seems a really fair and consistent way of getting the correct number of stars.

Great Taste 2How are the Stars awarded?? (this is my quick way of remembering and not the official line!!)

0 = no stars. Was close or nowhere near. Either way no stars were awarded

1 = really great taste. Totally delicious

2 = almost perfect. keep going back for more and more

3 = mind blowingly amazing. Perfect in every way

So what delicious fare did we get to taste?

There was a whole host of incredible foods from Britain and around the world. Some were super good and some not so. Some were nearlys and we gave good feedback to get them to the next level for next year. Some were mind blowing and some I’d never seen before. Some really didn’t hit the spot.

There were some very interesting food and drinks including: British Poire, Bavarian Black Buns, Drambuie Bee, Ntolmadakia, Black Garlic, Greek Spoon Sweets, Piada, Bohemian Festive Cookies, Pumpkin Oil, Passion Fruit Mallows, Cantabrian White Tuna, Iberica Bellota Ham, Gias Cheese, Rosquillas, Peruvian Cacao, Pastourma.

We had the only 3 stars products on our table on Day 1. The judging was hard but fair. I would love to tell you what they were but then I’d have to kill you. But they were totally delicious and hope they go far in the competition.

Great Taste 3

We have done two days of non stop eating and drinking. Time for a rest until next month where we will be back down for more judging.

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Ross B