Wonderful food and drink gains top recognition 

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FINE cider, unusual pies and beautifully crisp apple juice have shone a light on to Hampshire’s food and drink businesses by picking up prestigious Great Taste awards. 

The Great Taste scheme has awarded its stamp of quality to 63 Hampshire products this year.

Hill Farm's Will Dobson

Hill Farm's Will Dobson

More than 12,000 products were entered this year, which saw 500 judges award one, two or three stars to the top items. 

Coming out with top marks was Hill Farm, in Swanmore, which entered its English Ashmead’s Kernel Apple Juice – gaining a two-star rating – and its English Cox & Bramley Apple Juice, gaining a one-star rating. 

Will Dobson, who runs the farm, said: ‘It is lovely to get some recognition. We only enter two products every year and it is nice that they pick up awards. 

‘It is as much a reward for our team and their hard work, than it is for us.’ 

It is the third year that the Swanmore orchards has won Great Taste awards, meaning they can now promote themselves as a Great Taste producer. 

Will said: ‘We are so proud. That’s more of an honour than anything else.’ 

Also among the winners were; Sprinkles Gelato, which has stores in Portsmouth, with its brownie gelato, Jake’s Artisan Foods in Petersfield with its Jake’s hand-cut pork pie, FNK Pies in North Street Havant with its cauliflower, fennel and pea tagine pie, and Chalkdown cider from Hampshire Downs Fine Cider Company. 

Food group Hampshire Fare works closely with many of the county’s winners to promote their businesses.

Commercial manager Tracy Nash said: ‘It is great to see so many of Hampshire’s great producers being recognised in these awards, they really do make a difference to their businesses.

‘From cheeses, pies, meats, ice-cream, chocolates to juices and oils Hampshire Fare members have really shone bright in this year’s Taste awards that is for sure,’ she added.