By Miranda Robertson
Several Blackmore Vale producers have triumphed in the Great Taste Awards – including a prized three stars for a Somerton chocolatier. Craft House Chocolate scooped the top accolade for its Nicaragua O’Payo 69% dark chocolate with passion fruit and pineapple flavour notes. The bar only has three ingredients: cacao beans, cacao butter and unrefined sugar. Netty and Tammy Oakley-Prior moved to Somerton and opened their shop just two years ago, after Netty went from patisserie to chocolate-making in a mid-life change of direction. Netty sources beans direct from farmers in South America to make her sumptuous bars, hot chocolates and cakes and even offers chocolate making courses and workshops, along with talks to local groups. Her micro-batches of chocolate are all sold to the public, as the process is too time consuming for wholesale. Tammy designs the artwork and packaging.
Semley Honey, a tiny producer of local pure raw honey, scooped two stars for its £6 pots of gold produced at Barkers Hill. Woodlands Dairy in Higher Shaftesbury Road, Blandford Forum, won two stars for its Melbury Cheese – a semi hard cheese made from organic yoghurt made with sheep milk from the organic sheep farm. The Dorset Dairy Co in Stalbridge won two stars for its Dorset Strained Yoghurt, its Dorset Dairy Cultured Cream, its Dorset Cultured Butter and Dorset Cultured Butter – Seaweed Edition and one star for its Dorset Cultured Butter – Chilli Edition and its double cream. The award-winners were announced on September 21. Out of the 5,383 products worldwide to receive a Great Taste 1-, 2- or 3-star accolade from the largest and most trusted food and drink awards on the planet, 497 are based in the South West. The awards follow 86 socially-distanced judging days in London and Dorset. Regardless of branding or packaging, each product is judged on a level playing field, according to its texture, appearance, composition and of course taste. Food critics, chefs, restaurateurs, retail buyers, cooks, producers and a host of food writers, journalists and social media influencers are among the 355 esteemed palates to have rigorously blind tasted and judged the 14,113 entries from 108 countries, while providing detailed written feedback for the producer. Every Great Taste award-winning product will now be able to display the unmistakable black and gold logo, a stamp of excellence recognised by retailers and consumers alike. All Great Taste 3-star award-winning products will be re-judged to find this year’s regional Golden Fork Trophy winners and the Great Taste Supreme Champion 2021. These final results will be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Reception on Sunday, October 17, at the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate following the first day of Fine Food Show North, a trade-only exhibition organised by the Guild of Fine Food. Established in 1994, Great Taste is organised by the Guild of Fine Food and is the world’s largest, longest standing and most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers.