Awards haul ‘just amazing’ says Helen

Saturday 6th August 2022 6:00 am
Black Mountains Preserves
Helen in the Royal Welsh Show food hall (Black Mountains Preserves )

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A preserves business that handmakes products in the heart of the Black Mountains has picked up six international and globally-recognised awards.

Six entries from Black Mountains Preserves have all won awards this summer. The company is celebrating four International Cheese Board Awards and Two Great Taste 2022 Awards.

Winning the prestigious International Cheese Board Awards gold medal was Black Mountains Preserves Proper Piccalilli, tangy and piquant. The piccalilli certainly has a wow factor and the judges thought so too.

Also recognised was Black Mountains Preserves Red Onion & Fresh Thyme Jamalade winning silver, with BBNP Dark Sky Reserve Chutney and Spiced Pear Chutney both winning the bronze medal accolade from the International Cheese Board Awards this July.

Living within the national park herself, owner and founder of Black Mountains Preserves Helen Dunne created her Dark Sky Reserve Chutney to celebrate the BBNP dark sky reserve status.

Just announced this week on August 1, Helen has also been named among the top food and drink producers, picking up two highly prized Great Taste awards for her Asian Butternut Achar and Damson & Orange Extra Jam this year.

More than 14,000 products were put through the competition’s rigorous blind judging process.

Black Mountains Preserves Butternut Asian Achar was dubbed “A lovely bright and vibrant Achar with good crunch and texture” with judges adding they “really enjoyed this crisp and fresh product” at this year’s most coveted food and drink awards.

Helen’s luxury Damson & Orange Extra Jam was a big hit with the Great Taste judges feedback including: “A rich, great looking jam with an orange aroma. This vibrancy is retained in the flavour which offers sharpness along with a well-judged level of sugar. The balance of sharp and sweet is just right.”

Made using local Damsons, and lovingly stoned by hand, Black Mountains Preserves Damson & Orange Extra Jam was one of 5,556 products to receive a globally-recognised Great Taste award in 2022 (just 39.1 per cent of the total products entered).

Great Taste, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, values taste above all else.

All products in the line-up for judging are blind-tasted: every product is removed from its packaging so it cannot be identified, before entering a robust, layered judging process.

This year, the judging took place over 90 days across Dorset and London with a panel of more than 500 judges. This year’s line-up saw food and drink products submitted from a staggering 110 different countries from across the world.

Established in 1994, Great Taste is organised by the Guild of Fine Food and is the world’s largest, longest standing and most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers.

Helen Dunne from Black Mountains Preserves said: “I can’t quite believe that we have won six awards in just over a month this summer and eight so far this year.

“To receive international and global recognition for my unique recipe creations is just amazing. I will proudly be displaying all my awards and adding the iconic black and gold Great Taste logo to our portfolio descriptions.

“Being recognised means so much to independent producers such as myself, as it makes all the hard work and long days so worth it!

“A Great Taste Award is the most recognised accolade for taste and quality in the food and drink world, so to win two awards across both my entries is a really big win!”

Helen has had a busy summer and was delighted to offer visitors the opportunity to sample her award-winning preserves at this year’s Royal Welsh Show. Helen was also interviewed live on BBC Radio Wales by Caroline Evans and BBC Wales’ Environment and Rural Affairs Correspondent, Steffan Messenger of Country Focus as part of the Royal Welsh Coverage.

Black Mountains Preserves 2
Black Mountains Preserves tasting session with BBC Radio Wales at the Royal Welsh Showground (Black Mountains Preserves )

As a small artisan producer, Black Mountains Preserves was delighted to be invited to be part of the Cywain stand in the Food Hall at the Royal Welsh. Cywain works with Artisan producers that are focused on future growth to maintain and strengthen Wales’ reputation for producing high quality food and drink. Helen was also live on BBC Radio Wales Country Focus as part of the Royal Welsh Coverage.

If you didn’t make it to the Royal Welsh and would like to try Helen’s award-winning preserves, order online or visit Helen at her local Artisan markets either in Hay-on-Wye or Bronllys.

Helen will be in Hay every first Saturday of the month, including this Saturday, August 6 and Bronllys’ fortnightly market on Saturday, August 13.

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