This year, Scotland received a constellation of stars at the Guild of Fine Foods’ Great Taste Awards 2021.
Out of the 5383 products worldwide to receive an accolade, 313 of them are created in this country.
Most notably, these included three spirits, each of which received the maximum 3 star accreditation from the 355 judges, who attended 86 days of socially-distanced judging in London and Dorset, and included food writer Xanthe Clay and Kavi Thakrar, founder of Dishoom.
They are Perth-based Chapter 7 Whisky, who won for their Chapter 7 Monologue Blended Scotch Whisky, which is aged for 26 years in a single sherry butt.
There’s also Tayport Distillery’s Scots Pine Gin, which was inspired by the Fife coastline, festive memories and Tentsmuir Forest. The judges said; “There's an almost menthol-freshness to the juniper and pine nose, nicely balanced by citrus and cinnamon softness”. Last year, Tayport Distillery also won the regional Golden Fork Trophy for their 1992 Raspberry Liqueur, which is made using local berries.
Another winner this year was Angus-based business the Gin Bothy, who was awarded 3 stars for their Rum Bothy Spiced Bothy Rum, which is handmade using a molasses distillation. Their bottle, which already features their logo of a blacksmith’s smiddy, will now have the Great Taste Awards black and gold stamp, with the trio of stars on it. Apparently, less than 2 per cent of all the products that are shortlisted for the awards get this accolade, which means they are “extraordinarily tasty”.
“It feels incredible to have your product, that really is a labour of love, recognised by such prestigious awards”, says Kim Cameron, founder of the Gin Bothy and Rum Bothy. “ As a small independent producer a 3 star Great Taste Award can be a game changer as it has such credibility in the food and drink sector, opening retailer listings that we wouldn’t have had before. We were also winners in 2016 for our Gunshot gin so to also have one for our Rum is fantastic. It makes us now the most award-winning Great Taste spirit producer in Scotland, with the majority of our range holding these awards.”
However, Scotland didn’t only do well on the booze front, there were also plenty of food businesses who were awarded 3 stars. These include J Lawrie & Sons and their Jaffy’s Mallaig Kippers, Kirkcaldy-based The Very Lovely Sauce Company’s Gingerbread Caramel Sauce, Piggery Smokery’s Dark Dubhloch bacon, which the judges said was “exquisite and intriguing”, The Shortbread House of Edinburgh Company’s Pea Green Boat Cheese Sables with Fennel and Chilli, and BoTree Red Salted Pepper Berries - red Kampot pepper berries that are marinated in fleur de sel.
All of the Great Taste 3 star award-winning products will now be re-judged to find this year’s regional Golden Fork Trophy winners and the Great Taste Supreme Champion 2021. The results will of this stage of the competition will be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Reception in Harrogate on Sunday 17 October.