‘Ohmigod! This is the best thing I have tasted in years!!!’ So said not one, but all five dairy-free judges after they had tasted the Vegusto Mild Aromatic Dairy-free cheese, winner of this year’s FreeFrom Food Awards, which were presented last night by Antony Worrall Thompson at the Museum of London in Docklands.
‘For years dairy free and vegan manufacturers have struggled to make a really tasty ‘cheese’ substitute,’ said Michelle Berriedale-Johnson, chair of the judges for the FreeFrom Food Awards, ‘but they have never been able to crack it.
Which makes Vegusto’s achievement so exciting.
We are not talking vintage cheddar here, but we are talking a very pleasant, tasty ‘cheese’ that you could serve to anyone on a cracker or in a sandwich and they would not even notice that it was dairy free.
Our dairy-intolerant judges were beside themselves with delight!’
Not that Vegusto had it all their own way. They faced very strong competition from the winners of five of the other categories:
The Gluten Free Kitchen’s Ovencrust Chicken & Bacon Pie (Winner of the Pies, flans and ready meals category)
‘A lovely golden pie’ said the judges, ‘Great, crisp pastry with a succulent, tasty chicken filling – you would never know it was gluten, wheat and dairy free and could even be egg free. There is a real need for savoury freefrom pies and this ticks all the boxes.’
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour (Joint winner of the Ingredients category)
The judges were very impressed with this unusual flour combination from Oregon that includes chickpeas and fava beans along with potato, tapioca and sorghum flours.
‘Extremely versatile’, they said ‘while being protein and fibre rich. A really excellent mix.’
Anila’s Sauces Goan Green Sauce (Joint winner of the Ingredients category)
‘Anila’s sauces are always so wonderful’ said one judge, expressing the views of all, ‘as she uses such fresh and pure ingredients in such a perfect balance. Deep green flavour and fantastic ingredients.’
Daas – Ambre Beer (Winner of the Gluten-free Beer category)
‘So good that gluten-free beer can really hold its head up in the pub these days’ was the verdict of several of our beer judges.
‘Daas’ Ambre beer was a deep amber colour,’ they went on, ‘with a yellow head, fruity aroma, fruity flavour. An excellent, well-balanced beer.’
inSpiral’s Raw Dehydrated Kale Chips: Cheesie Purple Corn (Winner of the Raw food category)
‘What a lovely innovative product – puts a whole new complexion on ‘raw’ food’.
The judges loved the inSpiral’s kale chips and the fact that they were so totally freefrom and so cheese-ily tasty without any cheese!
For winners of the other categories – below – see further below for full details and judges comments.
For further information click here to visit the website.
Bessant & Drury Fine Ice Cream Co. – Lemon
Dairy-free animal milk, butter, yogurt – sponsored by Swedish Glace
Woodlands Dairy Gooseberry & Elderflower with Natural Sheep Milk Yoghurt
Plant ‘milk’, spread & cheese – sponsored by Pure Dairy Free
CoYo Natural yoghurt
Vegusto Mild Aromatic Dairy-Free Cheese
FreeFrom Breakfast Cereals – sponsored by Fria Gluten Free
Sainsbury’s – FreeFrom Oaty Granola
Gluten-free breads and bread mixes – sponsored by Genius Gluten Free
Fria Grova Dark Seeded Sliced Loaf
Gluten-free pasta and pizza bases/mixes – sponsored by Tesco
Farabella Acini di Pepe/Pasta Grains
Freefrom foods manufactured for food service – sponsored by Livwell
Red House Foods Gluten Free Chicken Bites
Sauces for Kids Tikka Sauce
Freefrom Ingredients – sponsored by Juvela
Anila’s Sauces Goan Green Sauce
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
Raw foods and superfoods – sponsored by Asda
inSpiral Raw Dehydrated Kale Chips: Cheesie Purple Corn
Savoury pies, sausages & ready meals – sponsored by Delamere Dairy
Meat-based meal centres: Co-operative Truly Irresistible Minted Lamb Burgers
Pies, flans & pizzas: Gluten Free Kitchen Ovencrust Chicken & Bacon Pie
Gluten-free savoury biscuits and snacks – sponsored by Genon Laboratories
Darling Spuds Tomato, Olive & Oregano
Juvela Crostini Bites
Gluten-free scones, sweet tarts, Bakewells, muffins etc – sponsored by Tesco
Sugargrain Almond, Apricot and Tahini Flapjack
Gluten-free cakes and mixes – sponsored by Mrs Crimbles
Sweetcheeks Maple & Pecan Cupcakes
The Cake Crusader Gluten, Wheat and Dairy Free Carrot Cake
Gluten-free puddings, desserts & cheesecakes – sponsored by Hale & Hearty
Food Heaven Sicilian Lemon Cheesecake
Dairy/gluten-free chocolate and snack bars – sponsored by Tesco
Booja Booja Rum Sozzled Sultana Chocolate Truffles
Dairy/gluten-free Christmas foods – sponsored by Produced in Italy
Foodamentalists Frangipane mince pies
Gluten-free beer – sponsored by Asda
Daas Ambre Beer
The FreeFrom Food Awards are now in the fifth very successful year.
They are run by the Foods Matter team who also run a large family websites supporting those with allergies and intolerances (www.foodsmatter.com) and promoting freefrom food (www.freefromfoodsmatter.com)
Awards judges include food professionals, health professionals, coeliacs and allergy sufferers.
The Freefrom Food Awards and this year’s winners will be showcased at the Allergy+FreeFrom Show at Olympia in May where the inaugural Freefrom Skincare Awards, also run by the Foodsmatter team, will be presented.