Which foods scored stars at Great Taste Awards?
The world's premier food competition awarded its coveted stars to 16 products from 10 companies working in the UK Trade Partnerships programme.
A “divine” ginger. Dried mango with a “quite stunning” taste. And a “decadent-looking chocolate”.
These three foods earned two-star ratings at this year’s Great Taste Awards, a prestigious global competition where foods and drinks undergo the world’s most rigorous testing process.
All three were produced by companies in Africa and the Pacific, working with the UK Trade Partnerships (UKTP) programme.
Since 1994, The Guild of Fine Food in the United Kingdom has been tasting, testing, and awarding foods and drinks with its coveted stars. Achieving even a one of the possible three stars establishes a food as among the best in the world.
A total of 19 companies in the UKTP programme were invited to enter the 2022 competition.
Some 400 chefs, retailers, writers, restaurateurs, and critics spent 75 days tasting over 12,500 products from more than 100 countries. The judges are divided into teams and blind taste every product. Only 35 percent of products received a star award.
When the results were announced on 1 August, 16 products from 10 companies in the UKTP received awards. Many of these African, Caribbean and Pacific Island countries had only recently begun exporting to the UK and Europe.
‘Perfectly pitched’ products
Only 10 percent of the products entered received two stars.
Layaki Bio from Cote d’Ivoire was awarded two stars for their dried mango. One judge praised its “good rich colour, it has retained all its natural appeal. A hearty chew and that's a fact but there is still good moisture and the authenticity of the flavour is quite stunning. Clearly nothing unpleasant has been added and the level of sweetness is perfectly pitched.”
Eljap, a Netherlands-based importer of Fiji ginger cubes, was told: “This is delicious – a beautifully balanced ginger which is mild, spicy with a gentle heat. The flavour is outstanding – so warming and fragrant. The texture is soft and pillow like, but with just enough resistance. The finish is so long and lingering - it keeps on giving in just the most glorious way. Divine.”
The review of the organic 70 percent dark chocolate with nibs from Ghana’s Fairafric, was “a decadent looking chocolate with a good, well-tempered snap. A creamy mouthfeel releases rich fruity bitter notes of the quality chocolate and the cocoa nibs add an enjoyable crunch and a further dimension to the flavour profile. This is a delicious chocolate which keeps you wanting more.”
In addition to these three standouts, these companies received a one-star rating:
Fire Mountain (Cameroon): black Penja pepper
Foods & Co (Côte d’Ivoire): roasted cashew nuts
Definite Chocolate (Dominican Republic): 80 percent dark chocolate
Rizek (Dominican Republic): 100 percent dark chocolate and Chocodamia
Coldbush Organics (Jamaica): single origin 70 percent dark chocolate plain bar and 70 percent dark chocolate Blue Mountain coffee bar
Cacoa Sainte Lucie: 65 percent island spice dark chocolate and chocolate coated almonds
Eljap (Netherlands): Fijian ginger puree and crystallized ginger
Red Shoots (Fiji): organic ginger immunity shots
Fairafric (Ghana): 80 percent dark chocolate
Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers, retailers, and major food buyers, success in the Great Taste Awards can open exciting new opportunities for all of these companies.
How does the star system work?
To achieve one star, the product must deliver a fantastic flavour. Only 25 percent of entries receive this rating each year.
For two stars, the product must be above and beyond delicious. Less than 10 percent of entries will achieve this rating.
Finally, three stars go to products that are simply ‘exquisite’. Reserved for the very finest produce from around the world, only about 200 products achieve this highest honour.
The 2022 Great Taste Awards acknowledged the diversity, integrity, and uniqueness of the products from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands and to celebrate the success of companies in the UKTP programme.
About the programme
The UK Trade Partnerships (UKTP) programme works with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to increase exports from SME suppliers to the United Kingdom and the European Union. The UKTP programme is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is implemented by the International Trade Centre.