The largest food awards in the world are from Gillingham


The wait is over for the producers who entered the ‘Oscars’ of the food industry, the Great Taste Awards; they finally know if they have been awarded one or more of the coveted stars.

martha collison great taste awards judge
Writer and baker Martha Collison was a Great Taste Awards judge in 2021

Back in April the judging process started with over 12,000 products blind tested, judged to be one, two, or three star or no stars. The three * products were then judged at a later session to find the overall Champion. The Great Taste Awards were set up by Bob Farrand of The Guild of Fine Food, based in Gillingham, Dorset, in 1994 along with The World Cheese Awards. The baton has now passed to his son, John Farrand, with Bob still assisting, and are now the largest food awards in the world with all categories of food and drink assessed.

No, one, two or three stars?

The judging process is simple but rigorous and fair. The products are blind-tasted
(to reduce recognition) by members of the food industry, for instance, producers, buyers, and journalists, initially each item is assessed by a table of three or four with positive comments to feedback to the producer, a grading is then applied of no, one, two or three stars.
The products awarded stars will be passed around other tables of judges to get a balanced view from a greater number of palettes, this increases the fairness of the system.

The golden fork

The three-star products are assessed again to select the regional winners, “The Golden Forks” and the Supreme Champion. This entire process takes four months with the results announced during the latter half of September each year.

The awards have become the premier indicator of quality – a product having one of the GTA star labels on the packaging is a sure sign that it will be worth trying.

by Simon Vernon,

Food Consultant & Great Taste Awards Judge

Three local companies won a coveted Three Star award:

Capreolus Fine Foods in Rampisham have won TWO 3 star awards (and three two stars too):

Venison and Pork Chorizo
‘Medium heat fermented Dorset chorizo handmade with wild venison and free range pork and authentic Spanish purple garlic, smoked Pimenton de la Vera flake and powder, sweet ancho chilli. Filled into a natural hog casing’

Dorset Soft Salami
‘A handmade Dorset fermented salami but soft & spreadable ambient pate style. Scoop out of casing spread on hot toast. Rounded flavour sweet hint of orange zest and paprika with notes of rosemary and juniper.

The Wasabi Company in Owermoigne have won for their Organic White Sesame Oil :

‘A supreme delicately textured, bright, clear colour and wonderfully enticing flavour this is the epitome of fine organic sesame oil. Roasted and pressed by 4th generation experts.

The Hollis Mead Organic Dairy in Corscombe won the cherished three stars for their Hollis Mead Organic Salted Butter (find it in a vending machine near you)

‘Pure and naturally sweet organic butter made from cows milked just once a day. Fed 100% on grass grown on our farm, using zero herbicides, pesticides, insecticides or artificial fertilisers. Churned on-site and hand-rolled, lightly salted.

Who judges?

The judges are made up of top chefs and restaurateurs who know their onions. People who run delis and farm shops, top food hall and retail buyers, acclaimed cooks, food writers and journalists, jam and cake experts from the WI, cheese makers and farmers. This diverse mix of judges ensures that every product is judged fairly and that nothing can slip through the net.

Local Two Star Awards:

  • Wan Ling Tea House for Mei Zhan Oolong Tea
    (plus a one star award)
  • Solkiki Chocolatemaker for Sakura Cherryleaf 65% Dark Milk Chocolate with Gran Palo cacao (plus four ‘one star’ awards)
  • Semley Honey for Semley honey
  • Ajar Of for Spicy Tomato Kasundi Chutney (plus a ‘one star’ award)
  • The Dorset Dairy Co. – no less than FOUR two star awards: Dorset Strained Yoghurt – Whole Milk, Dorset Dairy Cultured Cream, Dorset Cultured Butter – 2% salt and Dorset Cultured Butter – Chilli Edition (plus two one star awards)
  • The Real Cure Ltd won two stars for both Dorset Nduja and Fennel and White Pepper Salami
  • Woodlands Dairy Ltd for Woodlands Dairy Melbury Cheese
    (plus a ‘one star’ award)
  • Madjeston milk station for their Double Cream
    (plus a ‘one star’ award)
  • Lyons Hill Farm for Prime Aurox Beef Mince
    (plus two ‘one star’ awards)


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