When I read that Cainrnsmhor had won four 2-star gold awards and three 1-star gold awards at the Great Taste Awards for products including their Haggis Flavour Oatcakes, Lemon Shorties and Wholegrain Mustard Crackers, there was no great surprise for me. Its the judges who also displayed "Great Taste"
The Great Taste Awards are considered the most important food award scheme in the UK. Rigorous and completely independent, Great Taste is to speciality food and drink what Michelin is to fine dining. In total 6021 food and drink products were blind-tasted, tested and discussed during two months of intense judging by 350 judges, comprising food writers, chefs, deli and farm shop owners, food producers and buyers. To achieve a two star gold award up to 20 judges must agree that a product is ‘faultless’.
Cairnsmhor is a luxury food range that takes classic products and gives them an indulgent injection of flavour. With a Scottish feel but broad appeal, all Cairnsmhor products are hand baked in Scotland, using Scotland’s finest ingredients.
We were sent the seven award winners and it was with great excitement we opened the parcel.
The biscuits are elegantly boxed and now proudly display the Great Taste Award Gold 2010 badge of honour.
Now I knew there was going to be trouble with a few of the biscuits and outright war over the Raspberry Shortcake as these are family favourites.
I decided to serve the Raspberry Shortcake with whipped cream and fresh raspberries from our local farm (saving a sneaky biscuit for my cuppa when they all went out later!!!) and this helped bring peace to the day and no fighting ensued. The raspberry flavour is as if you are actually eating the fresh fruit and we had both the Cairnsmhor and the raspberry to compare. My verdict....Heavenly, the best tasting raspberry biscuit I have ever tried.
The Lemon Shorties are exactly that, short crisp biscuits with a zesty tang of lemon, perfect with a good cup of tea for me. The children loved these the most and Conor wanting to make a suggestion said these would also make a great dessert with lemon cream and a drizzle of good lemon curd.
The Crushed Black Pepper Crackers are crunchy and awaken your taste buds with a lovely spicy peppery taste. I love these with Port Salut, I think the mellow and the fire play off each other well. Paige and Conor just like them as a cracker to eat alone.
Haggis Flavour Oatcakes Chris was the total fan of these, murmurs of pleasure was the most I could extract from him for a few moments, then he said "They are so so good, its as if I was eating haggis yet they are just the seasoning used in haggis! Perfectly Scottish!" I must admit I need to find an accompaniment to eat them as I was not overly keen, but then I have not eaten haggis more than once or twice.
Traditional Scottish Oatcakes The judges at the awards said "Good oaty texture strong flavour. Good balance sweet/savoury. You can taste full flavour of oats rather than sugar or salt as is often the case with oatcakes. Good flavour including salt; worthy of a gold." We concur totally, I love the fresh taste, very natural , perfect with cheese, or my personal favourite mackerel pate.
I never have tried the Wholegrain Mustard Crackers as its a new product, they are very good, the mustard is very mild and its easily picked up as a taste on the cracker, but with cheese blends into the background and adds oomph!
A new favourite for last the Parmesan & Pepper Oatcakes the judges said The size and texture and thickness is great. The pepper does come through well and is pleasant. With a little more tweaking of flavours this could warrant 3 stars. It has my three stars I loved the peppery taste, the parmesan was obvious and flavoursome. I loved these with cream cheese and extra pepper.
The thing I love about Cairnsmhor is when you open a packet and take your first bite, they taste as if they had just been baked that day, fresh from your own oven. The seasoning or ingredient added comes straight through, no guesswork needed to work out what the flavour is. If it says lemon on the packet you get lemon fragrance and taste.
My only suggestion would be to make the sweet biscuits in a multiple of 10 to stop the bickering in a family of four, but as I got the ninth one in both its not a suggestion I mind being ignored.
Cairnsmhor products are available in delis and independent retailers across the UK or direct from http://www.thistleproducts.co.uk/ .