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Irish Black Butter lifts three gold stars at Great Taste

Alastair Bell.

Irish Black Butter, an innovative savoury/sweet spread with Armagh Bramley apples, has won the coveted three gold stars in this year’s Great Taste awards, the international competition organised by the UK Guild of Fine Food.

The award puts Irish Black Butter, a Portrush-based artisan food business formed in 2017 by entrepreneur Alastair Bell, in the frame to win the Supreme Champion Title and/or Golden Fork for Northern Ireland.

Irish Black Butter was among fewer than 250 food and drink products from the UK, Ireland and other parts of Europe to gain the top award of three gold stars chosen by an expert panel of judges from 12,800 products entered by companies in this year’s competition.

“I am thrilled to have gained such an important endorsement for the outstanding taste and quality of Irish Black Butter from such an influential organisation as the Guild of Fine Food in the Great Taste awards,” said Bell.

“The award is hugely important to a small artisan business like Irish Black Butter with limited marketing resources because of the recognition it provides particularly in Britain, now developing into an immensely significant market for us. It will strengthen awareness of our original product there and support our marketing activities.

“We are gaining business outside Northern Ireland for the product, which I market as a New Taste of Ireland, but our marketing budget is tight and so any support from the likes of the Guild of Fine Foods is very encouraging. The award for three stars will figure prominently in everything we do in all our markets.”

Bell came up with the idea to harness the business potential of Armagh Bramley Apples, which have EU protected status and approached leading chef Paul Clarke, who also runs En-Place Foods in Cookstown, a company producing a range of culinary products for chefs, for advice and guidance in developing the recipe.

In addition to Bramley apples, Irish Black Butter includes treacle, cider, a touch of brandy and spices for a cross between sweet and savoury.

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