A west Wales honey farm is celebrating after winning a top regional accolade at this year’s Great Taste Golden Fork awards.
From the ten Welsh products that received the top honour of 3 gold stars in the Great Taste awards 2019, the Golden Fork from Wales was awarded to Afon Mêl, New Quay Honey Farm for their Welsh Heather Mead.
Afon Mêl is a traditional family-run honey farm based in New Quay, Ceredigion, which was established in 1995 and was inspired by the family’s love and passion for beekeeping. This year, Afon Mêl is also celebrating 20 years of making mead. The honey farm is home to over 500 beehives and produces a selection of 100% natural and raw honeys and boasts a range of distinctive characters of mead, each with their own unique flavours.
Afon Mêl’s Heather Mead is fermented using heather honey and has a rich, luxurious almost smoky taste of heather. It’s very distinctive flavour is much sought after; it’s certainly the mead with the most characteristic flavour of honey.
Described by Great Taste judges as “really impressive”, has a “clean appearance and lovely rich smoky aroma”. “Smooth and easy to drink with lovely honey tones”, this mead is “crisp, balanced and rounded with an almost sherry-like dryness on the finish” making it the ideal partner with cheese.
Commenting on their achievements owner Sam Cooper said,
“We decided to enter this year as we’re celebrating 20 years of mead making. We’re over the moon to win two Great Taste awards, a 3-star for our Heather Mead and a 1-star for our Medium Honey Mead. This has added such value to our business.”
Congratulating Afon Mêl Honey Farm on their achievements, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said,
“I’d like to congratulate Afon Mêl Honey Farm on their achievements in the Great Taste Awards. It is wonderful to see Welsh businesses recognised for the outstanding quality of the food they produce. They should be very proud and I wish them all the very best as they continue to progress.”
Great Taste, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers, and is described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world.
An exceptional 174 Welsh products ranging from small independent artisan producers to large scale distributors have been deemed worthy of this prestigious award, with 128 products achieving 1-star, 36 receiving 2-stars and 10 earning the gold stamp of approval with 3-stars.
Overall, the number of Welsh companies receiving a 2019 Great Taste awards is greater in comparison to last year proving that the food and drink industry is thriving in Wales.
Every year a panel of distinguished judges made up of top chefs, cookery writers, food critics, restaurateurs and fine food retailers gather to sample the nation’s best food and drink and this year Welsh producers did not disappoint. The process involves judges blind tasting in teams of three or four, ensuring they “get a balance of expertise, age and gender” before finalising their decisions.