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Product Reviews, Restaurant Reviews and Recipes: All GLUTEN FREE!

Judging FreeFrom Food Awards 2017: Dessert & Puddings and Confectionery…(including Shortlisted Entries)…

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?

Crunchy Lemon Meringues which had a good light flavour and chewy texture.

Crunchy Lemon Meringues which had a good light flavour and chewy texture.

An individual Chocolate tart which had both a rich chocolate filling as well as chocolate pastry.

An individual Chocolate tart which had both a rich chocolate filling as well as chocolate pastry.

Individual Italian soft Tiramisu puddings with deep rich coffee flavour

Individual Italian soft Tiramisu puddings with deep rich coffee flavour

Couldn't have a Pudding competition without a Christmas Pudding: light and very fruity.

Couldn’t have a Pudding competition without a Christmas Pudding: light and very fruity.

A hot Chocolate Sponge Pudding with a thick shiny Chocolate sauce.

A hot Chocolate Sponge Pudding with a thick shiny Chocolate sauce.

A delicate Syrup Sponge Pudding with a sticky rich sauce.

A delicate Syrup Sponge Pudding with a sticky rich sauce.

Another Dairy Free pudding: Rice Pudding made with Coconut milk and a strawberry compote.

Another Dairy Free pudding: Rice Pudding made with Coconut milk and a strawberry compote.

A Very Berry-filled Cheesecake with a lovely crunchy biscuit base.

A Very Berry-filled Cheesecake with a lovely crunchy biscuit base.

Lush Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream which was Dairy Free.

Lush Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream which was Dairy Free.

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

  1. Asda Free From Cream Filled Chocolate Profiteroles

  2. Booja Booja Raspberry Ripple Dairy Free Ice Cream

  3. Christine’s Puddings Apricot & Ginger Bread Pudding

  4. Flower & White Lemon Merangz

  5. Jollyum Summer Strawberry Dairy-Free Ice Cream

  6. Jollyum Maple & Pecan Dairy-Free Ice Cream

  7. Lillypuds Gluten Free Christmas Puddings

  8. Matthew Walker Gluten Free Syrup Sponge

  9. Matthew Walker Gluten Free Chocolate Sponge

  10. MiiRO Salted Caramel

  11. Naturally Coconuts Raw Chocolate

  12. Naturally Coconuts Mint Choc Chip

  13. Tesco Free From Choco Mousse Dessert

  14. Tesco Free From Mixed Berry Cheesecake

  15. Tesco Free From Strawberry Rice Pudding

 

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…

One of the Sweets we had to try which had natural flavourings and colours.

One of the Sweets we had to try which had natural flavourings and colours.

One of the Easter Eggs we had to try (and the Chocolates that come with it).

One of the Easter Eggs we had to try (and the Chocolates that come with it).

A plate of Chocolate Truffles to try and enjoy: shall I have a whole one?

A plate of Chocolate Truffles to try and enjoy: shall I have a whole one?

A Chocolate Bar broken up into tiny bite-sized portions for tasting

A Chocolate Bar broken up into tiny bite-sized portions for tasting

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Marshmallows which were deliciously Moorish.

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Marshmallows which were deliciously Moorish.

Mint Chocolate Leaves (wrapped in festive Silver and Green foil!)

Mint Chocolate Leaves (wrapped in festive Silver and Green foil!)

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

  1. Asda Extra Special Freefrom Easter Egg

  2. Biona Organic Mini Fruit Bears

  3. Booja Booja Almond & Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Truffles

  4. Candy Kittens Sweet Pineapple

  5. D&D Dairy-Free Mint Chocolate Holly Leaves

  6. Freedom Confectionery Gelatine Free Marshmallows Mini Pink & White Vanilla Bites

  7. Functional Foods Nono Permissible Indulgent

  8. Goupie Date & Walnut Goupie

  9. Kinnerton Just Chocolate with Florida Orange

  10. Nakd Posh Bits Cocoa Raspberry

  11. Rawchokladfabriken Raw Chocolate Maca Guarana

  12. Rawchokladfabriken Raw Chocolate Mint Nibs

  13. Sweet Virtues Chia Seeds & Lime Chocolate Truffles

  14. Tesco Free From Chocolate Egg with Coins

  15. Tesco finest* Free From Caramel Flavoured Egg with Fondant Truffles

  16. The Raw Chocolate Company Raw Chocolate Goji Berries

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.

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One comment on “Judging FreeFrom Food Awards 2017: Dessert & Puddings and Confectionery…(including Shortlisted Entries)…

  1. Pingback: FreeFrom Food Awards 2017: Winners announced and celebrated (Part 1: Individual Category GOLD Winners)… | GlutenFreePSD

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