Damson Tree Vodka is among the Great Taste winners of 2019. Out of 12,772 products sent in from over 100 different countries, Damson Tree, Herefordshire was awarded a 2-star Great Taste award, which means judges dubbed it above and beyond delicious for its Damson Vodka. Find out more here.
The Judges comments included ‘full of damson colour and aroma this vodka has been well made and really packs the very specific flavour of damson. The flavour itself is really full of jammy plums, a gentle sweetness and an almost amaretto syrup like flavour. This is smooth, easy to drink and exactly how one would expect damson vodka to taste.’ Judged by over 500 of the most demanding palates, belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs, buyers, retailers and producers, as well as a whole host of food writers and journalists, Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers. As well as a badge of honour, the unmistakeable black and gold Great Taste label is a signpost to a wonderful tasting product, which has been discovered through hours and hours of blind tasting by hundreds of judges.
Gemma Standeven, Founder of Damson Tree, explains: ‘as a multi-Great Taste winner, winning five years in a row, the Great Taste logo has added value to my business in terms of credibility, opening doors to new retailers, and ultimately increasing sales. We will be celebrating this weekend at the Ludlow Food Festival, where you can come and have a taste but also buy lots of other delicious artisan food and drink products and meet their producers.'
Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste values taste above all else, with no regard for branding and packaging. Whether it is vinegar, granola, bacon or cheese being judged, all products are removed from their wrapper, jar, box or bottle before being tasted. The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1-, 2- or 3-star award. There were 12,772 entries into Great Taste this year and of those products, 208 have been awarded a 3-star, 1,326 received a 2-star and 3,409 were awarded a 1-star accolade. The panel of judges this year included; cook, writer and champion of sustainable food, Melissa Hemsley, Kenny Tutt, MasterChef 2018 champion, author, Olia Hercules, chef and food writer, Gill Meller, Kavi Thakar from Dishoom, food writer and stylist, Georgina Hayden and author and chef, Zoe Adjonyoh, as well as food buyers from Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Sourced Market and Partridges. These esteemed palates have together tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners to finally agree on the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the Great Taste 2019 Supreme Champion.
Established in 1994, it encourages and mentors artisan food producers, offering a unique benchmarking and product evaluation service leading to an independent accreditation that enables small food and drink businesses to compete against supermarket premium own label brands.Since 1994 over 146,000 products have been assessed. This year 12,772 products were blind tasted by panels of specialists: top chefs, food writers, influencers, food critics, restaurateurs and fine food retailers.
Great Taste ratings:
- 3-star: Extraordinarily tasty foods – less than 3% of products are awarded a 3-star each year – don’tleave the shop without buying it!
- 2-star: Above and beyond delicious – less than 10% of entries will achieve this rating
- 1-star: A food that delivers fantastic flavour.Approximately 25% of entries will achieve this rating each year.
What are Great Taste judges looking for? They’re looking 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.
How do they work? Each team of three to four judges blind tastes around 25 products per session, discussing each product as a coordinating food writer transcribes their comments directly onto the Great Taste website, which producers access after judging is completed. Over the years, numerous food businesses, start-ups and well-established producers have been advised how to modify their foods and have subsequently gone on to achieve Great Taste stars. Any product that is deemed worthy of a 1-, 2- or 3-star Great Taste award is moved around multiple judging tables by a team of arbitrators before the final award is given.If judges feel that a product needs some adjustment, and is therefore not likely to receive an award, the food or drink gets a second chance on a referral table, where another team blind tastes and deliberates. For a Great Taste 3-star award, the vast majority in the room - which can be as many as 30-40 experts - must agree that the food or drink delivers that indescribable ‘wow’ factor.
What should consumers look for? The logo. The Great Taste symbol is their guarantee a product has been through a rigorous and independent judging process. It’s not about smart packaging or clever marketing – it’s all about taste.