Thetford and Watton get gold stars for food products

THE tastiest East Anglian food products have received a seal of approval at national awards.

THE tastiest East Anglian food products have received a seal of approval at national awards.

Ice-cream from Norwich, a soft drink from Watton and pork pies from north Norfolk have all received gold stars at the Great Taste Awards - the “Oscars” of the find food world. All the products are blind tasted by three teams of judges before they can win a gold star.

Lakenham Creamery, based in Norwich, managed to win a gold star for three of its Norfolk County range of ice-creams - double strawberry, Cointreau and mandarin, and butterscotch.

Chris Coughlin, who runs the creamery, said: “We have now won 16 golds since we started entering the competition in 2001. We are particularly proud that all our winning products are flavours that we produce regularly, not special one-offs. We have been making Cointreau and mandarin and double strawberry for more than 30 years.”

Claire Martinsen, who started the Breckland Orchard soft drinks company in Watton earlier this year, won a gold star for her ginger beer with chilli. She also makes cloudy lemonade, blackcurrant and raspberry, and cranberry and rosehip, but only entered the ginger beer in the awards.

She said: “I was jumping up and down when I found out. This is my first year, so it was great to win an award. It has already led to inquiries from all over the country. I will definitely enter the other drinks next year.

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“Norfolk is such a great county for food. There are some truly outstanding products being produced within the region.”

The Booja-Booja Chocolate Company, based in Brooke, near Norwich, won a coveted three stars for its Hunky Punky Chocolate Ice Cream.

Other local winners were Bray's Cottage Pork Pies, based in north Norfolk, for their rare breed pork pie with a touch of onion marmalade, and Elveden estate, near Thetford, for its raspberry jam with single malt whisky.

Nearly 5,000 products from across the country were entered in the award, and 1,030 were awarded stars, of which just 83 won gold stars.

The Great Taste Awards, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, are in their 16th year. Bob Farrand, of the Guild of Fine Food, said: “Lovers of fine food and drink only pay for the best if they're certain what they're buying is the best. Every food with a Great Taste Award gold has been independently proven to be just that - and it tastes great too.”