Jane Hogan prepares to head to the stars for an out of this world judging experience

PUBLISHED: 00:00 14 June 2013



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My five year old daughter Phoebe has told her teachers at school I am a judge. By the deference and slight confusion with which they greet me I think I can safely assume that they think I am a member of the Durham judiciary service.

In fact to this point I have only been engaged in a judging capacity at the World Parmo Championships. This not-to-be-missed grudge match takes place during Stockton’s Summer Show at Preston Park every August Bank Holiday – see www.tasteclubhq.com/whats-on for more details.

But this month I am off to London along with over 350 others to join the judging panels for the Guild of Fine Foods’ Great Taste Awards. The Great Taste Awards is the most trusted and recognised food and drink awards. The coveted black and gold-star ‘Great Taste’ labels adorn thousands of speciality foods stocked on shelves and counters in stores throughout the UK.

The Guild says that Great Taste is to speciality food and drink what Michelin stars are to fine dining. I would simply say that I have never tasted a product which has received an award and been disappointed.

From Susan Green of Proof of the Pudding’s wonderful nostalgic puddings to Gilchesters Organics’ stone-ground spelt biscuits, you can be confident you are going to have a great taste experience when you choose an award winning product. You can find award winners from the North East and Cumbria to enlighten and impress your friends in our online gift store at www.tasteclubhq.com/awardwinners.

This year’s award winners will be announced in August so keep watching for new additions to the collection, and look out for award winners at Eat! Festival’s Food Heroes Market and The Proper Food Festival at the end of August (check out Taste Club’s what’s on guide for where and when).

Gilchesters Organics

Deep in the heart of Northumberland is the North East’s only organic flour mill. Gilchesters’ mill gently stone-grinds Andrew and Billie Wilkinson’s rare breed grains into some of the finest flour on the market. Gilchesters Organics flour is highly prized by serious bakers throughout the country. From seed to soil to stone grinding the team works with nature milling only the grains they grow themselves. This year the Wilkinsons are launching two new flours – a seeded flour and a special flour for making pasta, you heard it here first!

As well as being millers and bakers the Wilkinsons have a herd of white Galloway cattle, one of the world’s longest established breeds of cattle. This traditional and yet still thoroughly modern business is a truly deserving recipient of a Great Taste Award for its original and thyme spelt biscuits which are a must-have item in any hamper or gift set.

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