KIGALI; September 29, 2020 – Great Taste, the world’s most trusted food and drink awards, has announced its stars of 2020. Out of 12,777 products sent in from 106 different countries, The Apiary Hillside Honey from Rwanda was awarded a 3-star Great Taste for its Forest honey and 1-star Great Taste for its Eucalyptus honey. A 3-star Great Taste means the product was described by judges as extraordinarily tasty and a 1-star is a product that delivers fantastic flavour. Around 1.5% of products are awarded a 3-star and 30% receive a 1-star rating each year.
Judged by 144 of the most discerning palates, belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs, buyers, retailers and producers, as well as food writers and journalists, Great Taste, organised by the UK’s Guild of Fine Food, is the most coveted of all food and drink awards. As well as a badge of honour, the unmistakeable black and gold Great Taste label is a signpost to an outstanding product, which has been discovered through hours and hours of blind tasting.
Esther Su, director, The Apiary, said, “We are honoured our honey has once again been awarded Great Taste stars – it is a significant endorsement of the unique taste, natural goodness and quality of our product. This recognition is a celebration of the hard-working Rwandan beekeepers we work with and an encouragement for The Apiary team as we are a social enterprise committed to breaking the poverty cycle of Rwanda’s beekeepers and their communities”.
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 cake, coffee, diary, honey, kippers, kombucha or meats 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 12,777 entries into Great Taste this year and of those products, 205 have been awarded a 3-star, 1,294 received a 2-star and 3,818 were awarded a 1-star accolade. The panel of judges this year included; cook, writer and champion of sustainable food, Melissa Hemsley, cook, writer, stylist and voice of modern vegetarian cooking, Anna Jones, celebrated Spanish chef, José Pizarro, Kavi Thakrar from Dishoom, food writer and cook, Xanthe Clay, and baker and author, Martha Collison, as well as food buyers from Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and Waitrose.
The judges’ tasting comments of The Apiary’s honey include:
Forest “taste is extraordinary”; “has an absolute wow factor, and great authenticity”; “wonderful natural sweetness”; “there are caramel notes, clean fruity notes, and a long, long finish that’s almost boozy—sherry-like”; “the finish is complex, with overlapping herbal and floral tastes”; “aromatic, herbal flavours, suggesting the rich forests in which the bees forage”; “it is deeply caramelly, but also refreshing, and you feel it is doing you good”.
Eucalyptus “rich and buttery”; “silky smooth with an elegance of ripe apricot and white pepper evolving into a rich butterscotch finish with high notes of eucalyptus freshness and umami”; “velvety and deep”; “woody honey with rich toffee-like notes”; “a natural caramel substitute and will be versatile across a number of culinary applications”.
This year’s winners have been found through a combination of remote judging and socially distanced judging sessions, after the COVID-19 lockdown began just one week into the schedule. This necessitated a swift and comprehensive reinvention of the Great Taste process to ensure that robust judging standards were maintained and the quality of feedback was not compromised, all in time to provide a much-needed boost for food and drink producers during the all-important Christmas period.