The First Round Results are in!

Just under two weeks ago now, we held the first round of judging for this year’s British Cured Meat Awards at The Guild of Fine Food, in Southwark St.

With hundreds of entries to sort through, sample and taste – as you can imagine, it was extremely hard work. But thankfully the team at the Guild, with their exceptional organisational skills, made everything run as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. So much so, we’d advise them to perhaps consider running more of these sort of events in future. Yes, they were that good!

Saying that, the sessions divided up over a two day period were quite intense. With plenty of furrowing of brows, lively gesticulation and furious scribbling. At one point, as the afternoon began to slow and stretch, there were calls for a ‘time-out’ from one particular judge. Along with maybe some green tea and an ice pack. Thankfully, we had our PR manager, Hannah Norris, overseeing things and she soon slapped the Urchin back into shape.

The other judges – namely Monica Linton, Jenny Linford, Bernadette Lalonde, Mick Whitworth, Ruth Holbrook from Paxton and Whitfield, and Richard H. Turner – all took things fairly in their stride. With the Hawksmoor executive chef declaring – ‘I was in, tasted twenty, and back out. Like an elite unit…’

As for the entries themselves, the showing really was excellent. The judges were amazed by the high level of quality on show and competition was fierce. In fact, it never ceases to amaze us how the British charcuterie scene continually has the capacity to surprise and innovate when it comes to cured meat. There is some truly groundbreaking stuff going on out there. Not forgetting to mention improvement on what already are great, stand alone products. We are talking about the salamis, chorizos and hams here. They all tasted great last year. But you know what? This year, they tasted even better.

So a flourish of golds and silvers were issued on Friday, when the Guild handed over the results and we would just like to say congratulations to everyone who took part.

The real tricky business of course comes on June 1st, at King’s Cross, when the judges have to whittle down the winners and elevate to champions in their individual categories.

We also have to work out who will win the title of GRANDMASTER CHARCUTIER OF GREAT BRITAIN 2019.

At the moment, there are four producers in the running. Cobble Lane Cured, London. Hay Charcuterie, Hay-on-Wye. Tempus Foods, Surrey. And Wenlock Edge Farm, Shropshire.

All four will be visited by the judging team and assessed for their sustainability, innovation, sourcing and range; with the winner being announced live at the festival.

Like we said – this is hard work.