Smoke & Pickle Strike Gold in Great Taste 2012

8th August 2012

The Smoke & Pickle Food Company of Shropshire, a Shrewsbury based company, has received the coveted Great Taste 2012 Gold Star Award for four of its products.

The company’s products which were awarded Gold are:

Fish Soup

Paneer & Pea Dhansak

Beef Bolognese

Potted Roquefort Pear & Walnut

The company supplies its range of fine food products to high quality delicatessens, farm shops, food halls, garden centres and other independent retailers throughout the UK, including the Central region, London, the South East, South West, North West, Wales and Scotland.

The company’s production facility is based at the Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre. This is a state of the art, purpose built facility for food manufacturers.

Great Taste is the largest and most trusted awards scheme for speciality and fine food & drink – a sort of "foodie Oscars". Great Taste 2012 saw over 8,800 products entered from 2,500 producers.

Each year every single entry is blind-tasted by panels of specialists over 45 days: a total of 350 top chefs, cookery writers, food critics, restaurateurs and fine food retailers. The awards provide recognition for those who make truly great-tasting food & drink and help small, artisan producers improve their recipes through feedback from the experts.

Judges this year included Masterchef winner and restaurateur Mat Follas, restaurant critic and Masterchef judge Charles Campion, food writers Lucas Hollweg and Xanthe Clay and over 300 food buyers from leading food halls, delicatessens and farm shops, including Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason.

The judges look for great texture and appearance. They judge the quality of ingredients and how well the maker has put the food or drink together. But above all, they are looking for truly great taste.

The Great Taste symbol is the consumer’s guarantee that a product has been through a rigorous tasting process. It’s not about smart packaging or clever marketing – it’s all about quality and taste.

Guild of Fine Food Chairman Bob Farrand said that each of the food and drink products entered into Great Taste undergoes the most rigorous scrutiny. "To achieve a Gold Award involves at least 25 experts unanimously agreeing that the product tastes divine," he said.

Sara Curtis, owner of Smoke & Pickle, said: "We are absolutely thrilled with these awards. To achieve one award in only our second year of production would be amazing, but to win four is unbelievable. Great Taste recognises the craft and dedication that goes into making superb food and drink".

Mrs. Curtis believes high quality natural ingredients, flavoursome recipes and proper production methods are the key to Smoke & Pickle’s success. "We think that eating good food is one of life’s greatest pleasures", Mrs Curtis said. "We’d been trying out our recipes on friends and family for the past 25 years and we had often toyed with the idea of making our food available to a wider audience. We suddenly decided it was about time we stopped dreaming and did something about it!"

Co-owner Will Curtis is very proud of the progress the company has made. "We didn’t expect to achieve this sort of success in just over a year. The feedback about our products has been amazing", he said. "It's been very hard work but extremely exciting and we’ve loved every minute of it. We aim to continue to expand our retail network, increase our product range and supply high quality retailers in all parts of the country."