Product Reviews, Restaurant Reviews and Recipes: All GLUTEN FREE!
As regular followers will know, I judge the new innovative and exciting products entered for the FreeFrom Food Awards as well as judging the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards. These awards are the UK’s only industry awards for FreeFrom foods by FoodsMatter set up to encourage innovation and celebrate excellence in the FreeFrom food industry. The awards are entirely independent, supported by sponsorship and entry fees only. As a blogger, with a focus upon Chocolate (Chocolate Bars, Chocolate Bags and Chocolate Boxes), as well as enjoying travelling and eating out, it was great to be part of the team tasting a wide variety of entries for the 10th Anniversary competition. I am also looking forward to the Free From Eating Out Award ceremony later in the year.
DESSERTS & PUDDINGS: So with a sweet tooth and my passion for Chocolate, it was only natural that I should judge Desserts and Puddings as many include an element of Chocolate! The group of judges (around 8 or 9 of us) are provided with briefing sheets (which outlines details about the product). These are numbered and heated/ served as per the instructions of the manufacturer. We are not told of the named product or producers and at this assessment stage, do not discuss our feelings, perception and taste of the products but mark it out of 10. A maximum 10 marks for the best of the best and our top few marked products are consolidated by Michelle. She does a grand job in facilitating a discussion as it isn’t necessarily the top-marked product that wins the category as other factors such as innovation, difficulty in producing and groundbreaking-ness also add weight to the discussion but this scoring and our views come together to form Commended Products and Highly Commended Products.
Of course there is always a lot of debate and discussion. Some products are favoured some judges whilst others pull a face in disgust and perhaps suggest an alternative to put forwards but that’s the beauty and marvel of the wider panel. Some discussions around availability and nutritional information also can change favour with fellow judges as can some convincing arguments made but we do settle on a group decision, whether you individually agree and support the individual product.
So how did the “Desserts and Puddings” class go?
The winners and awards will be presented at the Royal College of Physicians at the end of March 2017 so I can not share with you the winners, Highly Commended and Commended entries but be reassured that after much deliberation, discussion and debate, the FreeFrom Awards will recognise some delightful and rather tasty Desserts and Puddings for 2017. The Shortlist includes:
Desserts and Puddings – Sponsored by Morrisons
CONFECTIONERY: Of course, this class I judged last year as my blog seems to focus upon Chocolates and Sweet Treats (including Valentines Sweets for 2017) so I was very excited to be invited back this year. It is always a joy to be offered plate after plate of Chocolate bars, Chocolate Truffles and Chocolate Easter Eggs (!) and Chocolate Christmas Treats (!).
Quite often, I would go back for seconds which clearly was for research purposes to validate my opinion and check my own view of the products. So how was this tough session…
Interesting that the main entries were with Chocolate Bars /Chocolate Products rather than traditional sweets, although this may reflect how many sweets and candies are already Gluten Free and so it is premium Chocolate which attracts the manufacturers, But a great afternoon of eating confectionery including…
So lots of chocolate and sweet treats to taste, try and of course, judge whether they are to be Commended, Highly Commended and /or the overall Winner. I can confirm we did select a sweet and a chocolate winner which I found to be really tasty, very exceptional and rather innovative. These are to be announced at the event later in March 2017 and the shortlisted entries include:
Confectionery and Chocolate – Sponsored by Goodness Direct
And at the Awards Ceremony, in celebration of 10 years of the FreeFrom Food Awards, a new publication will be released to mark the occasion and share the history of the awards. I am sure this will also provide some useful insights into how the winners are decided and the story of some of the winners which are truly inspirational.