Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland meat producers flavour of the year at Great Taste Awards

By John Mulgrew

Northern Ireland's top meat producers have walked away with the most important gongs at the Great Taste Awards in London.

They include Co Down producer Hannan Meats, which won the Northern Ireland Golden Fork Award 2017 for its sweet-cured bacon rack.

And start-up business Ispini, a farm-based enterprise outside Dungannon, took the overall UK award for the best charcuterie, or cured meat, in the UK and Ireland. It won the award for its rosemary and thyme bresaola, a cured beef.

Ispini was launched in 2016 by pig farmer Jonny Cuddy and sister Janice to develop another revenue stream for the farm.

The company has only been in business for around eight months.

Mr Cuddy said: "I think it's about using fresh ingredients where you can get them.

"Sourcing the best beef, herbs and spices, and taking your time."

Meanwhile, Hannan Meats has twice won the Supreme Champion title in the awards.

That marks the success of its salt-aged rib-of-beef and its guanciale - a cured pork made from the pig's cheek.

The business, which is run by Peter Hannan, also won three-star awards for its sweet-cured bacon rack and salt-aged lamb.

Mr Hannan said yet another win "feels good for the whole team. (When the awards) shine on you, it's a very lovely thing. We are hugely honoured to have been the recipient of many awards," he said.

"But every one is special in its own right, and it feels good for the whole team."

Meanwhile, Abernethy Butter, based in Dromara, Co Down took the Woman and Home Great Taste VIP Award for its hand-churned butter.

Ispini's bresaola was included in the Top 50 Foods by the Guild of Fine Food following the award of three stars in the Great Taste Awards.

Around 180 products from these shores were honoured at the Great Taste Awards. Across the UK, 12,336 products were judged, with 4,347 awarded a Great Taste accolade.

The overall winner, taking the award for Supreme Champion, was a black pudding maker from Meath.

Belfast Telegraph

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