Suffolk/Essex: Local producers Alder Tree Ltd and Handmade by Hadleys celebrate as they pick up top Great Taste awards

Stephany Hardingham. Stephany Hardingham.

Thursday, August 14, 2014
1:11 PM

Some of Suffolk and Essex’s top producers have been awarded ‘Oscars’ of the food world.

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Among the winners of The Great Taste Awards, run by the Guild of Fine Food, was Alder Tree Ltd, an artisan fruit ice-cream company based at Alder Carr Farm in Needham Market.

It won a three star award for its Gooseberry and (Adnams) Limoncello ice-cream - the third consecutive year that the company has won the highest accolade. It won in 2013 for its damson ice-cream and in 2012 for its raspberry flavour.

The awards involve more than 400 judges blind testing products, and this year more than 10,000 products entered the Great Taste with 153 being awarded three stars.

Stephany Hardingham, owner of Alder Tree Ltd, said: “It’s a local as well as national success story, celebrating the world class calibre of two of Suffolk’s home grown brands, ourselves and Southwold-based brewer, Adnams.

“What the awards show is that not only is Alder Tree fruit ice-cream one of the best tasting products of its kind in the country but that our brand is something that consumers can rely on, producing consistently excellent results.”

Alder Tree Ltd also won awards for every one of the six other fruit ice-cream flavours entered, including a two star award for its Stem Ginger and Rhubarb flavour.

The other three star winner in Suffolk and Essex was Handmade by Hadleys, based on Colne Engaine, near Colchester, for its two ice-cream flavours of Elderflower and Lime and Salted Caramel.

Jane Hadley, who has been making ice cream for more than 10 years, said: “To win two Three Star Golds is an amazing achievement and a credit to my staff who have supported me through a very difficult year.

“The elderflower and lime ice cream received some amazing comments from the judges – one described it ‘to die for’ and the remarks from each of the tables of four judges were wonderful to read.”

She added: “The other Three Star Award went to the Salted Caramel ice cream. This flavour is made with Maldon Sea Salt and came about because customers of Willow Farm Shop in Glemsford kept asking Debbie Russell who runs the shop if she could source this as an ice cream. This flavour has been popular all summer and we generally have to make every fortnight to keep up with the demand.”

Handmade by Hadleys also received four two star awards and seven one star awards.

Several companies based in the region were awarded two stars, including Scarlett and Mustard Ltd in Earl Soham for its Luscious Passionfruit and Lemon Curd, B Chocolates LLP in Sudbourne for its Dark Honey Truffle and The Artisan Smokehouse Ltd in Trimley St Martin for its Smoked British Beef Fillet.

The judges are given a spoonful of jam, a pie, a slice of salami, or cup of espresso, and taste, confer and re-taste before making the decision on whether a product should receive one, two or three stars.

The successful producers are now waiting to hear if they are in with a chance of the top awards which will be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Awards dinner in London on September 8.

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