Friday, March 16, 2012

Specialty Food Winners 2012

I've said it once and I'll say it again I feel blessed to live in an area with such amazing farmers and food makers. From bread to salsa to chocolate to jams and more there are so many great, local products out there. That's why I love finding out the winners of the CT Specialty Food Association's annual awards competition. I always see things I haven't tried and it gives me things to search for on my next market trip.

Well, it was little over a week ago that the CT Specialty Food Association held it’s eleventh Product Awards Competition in Plantsville. There were over two hundred specialty food items from Connecticut-based manufacturers entered into 36 categories. There was a panel of 21 judges consisting of local media personalities, food writers, chefs from the CT Department of Agriculture’s Farm-to-Chef Program, and wine specialists. Products were scored on overall taste/flavor, consistency/texture, appeal, and color.

Here are a few category highlights. You can get the full list of winners on Fairfield Green Food Guide.

2012 Product of the Year
Apple Pie Jam - Chaplin Farms, LLC, Chaplin, CT

Bread – Yeast
1st Place: Cinnamon Bread with Streusel Topping - Michele’s Pies, Norwalk, CT
2nd Place: The Flaxette - Fairfield Bread Company, Fairfield, CT

Certified Organic
1st Place: Gourganics Mild Salsa - Gourganics Salsa, LLC, Fairfield, CT
2nd Place: Wild Carrot Farm Salsa - Wild Carrot Farm, LLC, Canton, CT

Cheese – Aged
1st Place: Bridgid’s Abbey - Cato Corner Farm, LLC, Colchester, CT
2nd Place: Aged Bloomsday - Cato Corner Farm, LLC, Colchester, CT
3rd Place: Dairyere - Cato Corner Farm, LLC, Colchester, CT

Chocolate
1st Place: Caramel Truffle with Sea Salt - Bridgewater Chocolate, LLC, Brookfield, CT
2nd Place: Coconut Igloos - Bridgewater Chocolate, LLC, Brookfield, CT
3rd Place: Sea Salt Caramels - Bridgewater Chocolate, LLC, Brookfield, CT

Cooking Sauce
1st Place: Hot & Spicy Cooking Sauce - Giff’s Original, LLC, Cheshire, CT
2nd Place: Honey Soy & Garlic Simmer Sauce - Passage to China - Passage Foods, Collinsville, CT
3rd Place: Spiced Honey Tagine Simmer Sauce - Passage to Morocco - Passage Foods, Collinsville, CT

CT Grown
1st Place: Strawberry Jam - Killam & Bassette Farmstead, LLC, South Glastonbury, CT
2nd Place: Peach Jam - Winding Drive Corp., Woodbury, CT
3rd Place: Blueberry Jam - Killam & Bassette Farmstead, LLC, South Glastonbury, CT

Dessert – Pie
1st Place: Chocolate Raspberry Pie - Michele’s Pies, Norwalk, CT
2nd Place: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie - Dondero Orchards, LLC, South Glastonbury, CT
3rd Place: Mixed Berry Crumb Pie - Michele’s Pies, Norwalk, CT

Gluten Free
1st Place: Classic Kettlekorn - Lesser Evil, LLC, Wilton, CT
2nd Place: Medleys Cheddar Snack Mix - El’s Kitchen, Weston, CT
3rd Place: Medleys Original Snack Mix - El’s Kitchen, Weston, CT

Herb, Spice or Seasoning
1st Place: Honey Soy & Garlic – Passage to China - Passage Foods, Collinsville, CT
2nd Place: Spiced Honey Tagine – Passage to Morocco - Passage Foods, Collinsville, CT

Honey
1st Place: Tutti Amici Acacia Honey - Tiezzi Imports, LLC, Chester, CT
2nd Place: Tutti Amici Castagno Honey - Tiezzi Imports, LLC, Chester, CT
3rd Place: Tutti Amici Millefiore Honey - Tiezzi Imports, LLC, Chester, CT

Syrup
1st Place: Shagbark Syrup - Turkeywoods Farm, Mystic, CT
2nd Place: Hickory Nut Syrup - Turkeywoods Farm, Mystic, CT
3rd Place: Hickory Ginger Syrup - Turkeywoods Farm, Mystic, CT

Jam
1st Place: Apple Pie Jam - Chaplin Farms, LLC, Chaplin, CT
2nd Place: *TIE* Raspberry Jam & Raspberry Chocolate Jam - Winding Drive Corp., Woodbury, CT
3rd Place: Habanero Jam - Norm’s Best, Putnam, CT

Salsa
1st Place: Mama Manju’s Black Bean & Corn Salsa - Mama Manju’s Salsa, Chester, CT
2nd Place: Mama Manju’s Hot & Zesty Salsa - Mama Manju’s Salsa, Chester, CT
3rd Place: Louie’s Original Salsa Hot - Warren’s Foods, West Hartford, CT

Savory Condiment
1st Place: Rhubarb Mustard - White Silo Winery, Sherman, CT
2nd Place: Harissa Ketsup - Les Oliviers, LLC, Newtown, CT
3rd Place: Quince Mustard - White Silo Winery, Sherman, CT

Savory Topping
1st Place: Arugula Pesto - Dondero Orchards, South Glastonbury, CT
2nd Place: Spiced Sour Cherry Spread - The Gracious Gourmet, Bridgewater, CT
3rd Place: Roasted Garlic & Onion - Winding Drive Corp., Woodbury, CT

I am not as familiar with as many winners this year as I have been the past couple of years. Guess that means it's time to get out there and sample! It's tough job but somebody has to do it. Anything on the winner list peak your interest?
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