Great Taste Awards 2014: 3 Stars for Gourmandises Passion Fruit Tart

Great Taste is not about smart packaging or clever marketing it’s about taste. My customers’ loyalty has been built on taste.

Great Taste is extremely important for a small business like mine as it is an industry accreditation.

So, in May 2014, I sent  a few samples of my cakes to the Great Taste Awards team in Dorset. At the time, I don’t think I fully understood or even realised the impact of winning even 1 star.

Why entering the passion fruit tart?

My culinary heritage is key in the making of Gourmandises. It is what fires and inspires my baking and my cooking every day of the week.

My passion for cooking as some of you already know, comes from my childhood. I was born in the Island of Réunion, a small French colony off the coast of Madagascar.

Although Réunion is French, the culture and the food is very different,  being a tropical island the food is extremely spicy.

My pâtisseries and desserts, although very French are therefore strongly influenced by my Creole culture with flavours such as passion fruit, mango, coconut, vanilla and rhum.

Although I am very comfortable with my life in the UK, I do miss the sunshine, so when I created my passion fruit tart I wanted to bring back the lovely memories of my childhood and above all the sunshine of Reunion Island to the British plates.

I am self taught in pâtisserie, the recipe from start to finish is my own. So for me winning 3 stars was unimaginable, but it’s also a tremendous pleasure to be able to bring the flavours of Reunion to the UK.

This year, 10 000 products entered the competition and only 153 food producers got the three stars!

So, what is Great Taste?

Great Taste is the largest and most trusted accreditation scheme for speciality and fine food & drink. Established in 1994, it encourages and mentors artisan food producers, offering a unique benchmarking and product evaluation service leading to an independent accreditation that enables small food and drink businesses to compete against supermarket premium own label brands.

 Since 1994 over 90,000 products have been evaluated. This year 10,000 products were blind-tasted by panels of specialists: top chefs, cookery writers, food critics, restaurateurs and fine food retailers.

What are Great Taste judges looking for?

They’re looking for great texture and appearance. They judge the quality of ingredients and how well the maker has put the food or drink together. But above all, they are looking for truly great taste.

How do they work?

Working in small teams, experts taste 25 foods in each sitting, discussing each product as a coordinating food writer transcribes their comments directly onto the Great Taste website which producers access after judging is completed. Over the years, numerous food businesses, start-ups and well established producers have been advised how to modify their foods and have subsequently gone on to achieve Great Taste stars.

Any food that a judging team believes is worthy of Great Taste stars is judged by at least two further teams. Only when there is a consensus will an award be given – that means at least 16 judges will have tasted every accredited product. For Great Taste 3-star, every single judge attending the session, which can be as many as 40 experts must unanimously agree the food delivers that indescribable ‘wow’ factor.

What should consumers look for?

The logo. The Great Taste symbol is their guarantee a product has been through a rigorous and independent judging process. It’s not about smart packaging or clever marketing – it’s all about taste.

If you wish to buy them, you can do it here online, they are also on sale at Balzano’s and the Linton kitchen and Impington and Shelford farmers markets.

Bon appêtit

Corinne Payet