2015 CT Specialty Food Product Award Winners Announced

The CT Specialty Food Association (CSFA) held its fourteenth Product Awards Competition on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville and I was honored to serve as a judge for the fourth straight year. Each year CT specialty food and beverage makers and importers are invited to submit their foods for judging. This year one hundred seventy-nine items were entered into 33 categories where they were judged on appearance, aroma, texture, and taste. A complete list of category award winners appears below. Only exceptional products, one food and one wine, receive the prestigious honor of CSFA Product Award Winner 2015.

Twenty-four judges consisting of local media personalities, food writers, Connecticut chefs, and wine specialists  were assigned to judge approximately thirty different products in specific categories. Products judged included breads (including gluten-free), cheese, chocolate, CT Grown, cookies, pies, ice cream, jams and jellies, sauces, relishes, pasta sauce, salad dressing, savory condiments, snack food, syrup, oils, vinegars, wines containing 100% CT grown fruit, teas, sauces, and more.

The competition was very close this year and several products were in the running for top honors. It is always valuable to attend and appreciate the variety of foods made locally and discover new ones that meet my high bar for quality. Matthew’s 1812 House, Inc. in Cornwall Bridge, CT makes a Chocolate Dipped Hazelnut Cookie that was really outstanding, and I’m not surprised that it won product of the year. The surprise is that they’re gluten free. The hazelnut flour is of very high quality so the flavor is very rich and satisfying. I like how the dark chocolate  covers the entire underside of the cookie and one edge thanks to careful and elegant hand dipping.  The crunch is wonderful and so is the flavor. Congratulation to Matthew’s 1812 House! A blush wine from Sunset Meadow Vineyards, a winery we’ve been telling you about for years, won wine product of the year. Congratulations to Sunset Meadow Vineyards and the Motel family!

Each year I judge the CT Grown category and love when it comes time to taste the jams and jellies. Killam & Bassette Farmstead, LLC, South Glastonbury, CT makes a Strawberry Jam that won first place this year and is well worth the trouble to seek out. Buy some for serving at home and some for your hostess gift reserve. It’s that special. Actually, buying it is complicated because it’s a true farmstead jam that’s grown and made in the farm kitchen, which isn’t certified, so you have to buy it directly from the farmer (no retail sales). Fortunately Chris Bassette, the crackerjack jam and jelly maker who picks and puts up a fresh batch of whatever’s ripe each afternoon, let me know about their Fresh From the Farm Tastings. You’re officially invited to Killam & Bassette’s tastings of their products (their pickles won top awards this year too) at the farm and to enjoy live music, hayrides, wine tastings, and locally roasted coffee on April 12, May 17, and June 14 from 1:00-4:00.

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Purchasing products from Connecticut companies helps to fuel our local economy and create jobs here in our state, which is very important given today’s economy. The CT Specialty Food Association Product Awards Competition is a win for everyone. It helps Connecticut companies stay strong by showcasing the high quality foods produced here to consumers.

Consumers looking for CT specialty food products can visit www.ctspecialtyfood.org or ask for them at local markets and grocers.

CSFA is a subdivision of the CT Food Association and is a non-profit organization that represents small food businesses based in the state. To learn more, visit www.ctfoodassociation.org or email ctfood@ctfoodassociation.org.

THE CT SPECIALTY FOOD ASSOCIATION’S

2015 PRODUCT AWARDS COMPETITION WINNERS:

2014 Food Product of the Year

Matthew’s 1812 House, Inc., Cornwall Bridge, CT

Chocolate Dipped Hazelnut Cookie

2014 Wine Product of the Year

Sunset Meadow Vineyard, Goshen, CT

Blustery Blend, 2014

Aged Cheese

1st Place           Cato Corner Farm, LLC, Colchester, CT

Dairyere

2nd Place          Cato Corner Farm, LLC, Colchester, CT

Aged Bloomsday

3rd Place           Cato Corner Farm, LLC, Colchester, CT

Bridgid’s Abbey

Bread

1st Place           Tasty Good Eats, LLC, Bridgeport, CT

Gluten Free Onion Rye Bread

2nd Place          Tasty Good Eats, LLC, Bridgeport, CT

Gluten Free Pumpernickel Rye Bread

3rd Place           Bread Empire, Bridgeport, CT

Gluten Free Buddha Bread

Chocolate

1st Place           Bridgewater Chocolate, LLC, Brookfield, CT

Chocolate Chewy Peanut Bar

2nd Place          Bridgewater Chocolate, LLC, Brookfield, CT

Chocolate Creamy Caramels

3rd Place           Plum Brook Chocolate, Woodbury, CT

Sugar Shed Maple

Coffee/Tea

1st Place           Whole Harmony, Higganum, CT

Goj Berry Raspberry Iced Tea

2nd Place          TIE

Namttip, LLC, Georgetown, CT

Green Leaf Tea

Simpson & Vail, Inc., Brookfield, CT

Coconut Macaroon Green Rooibos Tea

3rd Place           Simpson & Vail, Inc., Brookfield, CT

Pomegranate Detox Tea

Confection/Dessert

1st Place           Heavenly Bites, Wilton, CT

Lemon Drop Cake Bites

2nd Place          Matthew’s 1812 House, Inc., Cornwall Bridge, CT

Marzipan Cookies

3rd Place           Tasty Good Eats, LLC, Bridgeport, CT

Gluten Free Decadent Chocolate Tart

Cookie

1st Place           Rachel’s Cookies & Treats, Plainville, CT

Molasses Cookie

2nd Place          TIE

Rachel’s Cookies & Treats, Plainville, CT

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Rachel’s Cookies & Treats, Plainville, CT

Ginger Snap Cookie

3rd Place           Rachel’s Cookies & Treats, Plainville, CT

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

CT Grown

1st Place           Killam & Bassette Farmstead, LLC, South Glastonbury, CT

Strawberry Jam

2nd Place          Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market, Guilford, CT

Apple Cider

3rd Place           Gourganics Organic Salsa & Simmer, Fairfield, CT

Gourganics Mild Salsa

Frozen Food

1st Place           Tasty Good Eats, LLC, Bridgeport, CT

Gluten Free Scallion Cheese Rolls

2nd Place          Tasty Good Eats, LLC, Bridgeport, CT

Gluten Free Jalapeno Cheese Rolls

3rd Place           Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm, LLC, Moosup CT

Turkey Pie

Gluten Free

1st Place           Matthew’s 1812 House, Inc., Cornwall Bridge, CT

Chocolate Dipped Hazelnut Cookie

2nd Place          Matthew’s 1812 House, Inc., Cornwall Bridge, CT

Cranapple Cookie

3rd Place           Farm 2 Jars, LLC, Ridgefield, CT

Berry Peachy No-Grain-Ola

Ice Cream

1st Place           Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm, LLC, Moosup CT

Black Currant Ice Cream

2nd Place          Tea-rrific! Ice Cream, LLC, Bridgeport, CT

London Mist Ice Cream

3rd Place           TIE

Tea-rrific! Ice Cream, LLC, Bridgeport, CT

Ginger Matcha Ice Cream

Tea-rrific! Ice Cream, LLC, Bridgeport, CT

Masala Chai Ice Cream

Jam

1st Place           Winding Drive, Inc., Woodbury, CT

Black Raspberry Jam

2nd Place          Killam & Bassette Farmstead, LLC, South Glastonbury, CT

Apple Pie Jam

3rd Place           Roses Berry Farm, LLC, South Glastonbury, CT

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Oil

1st Place           Ariston Specialties, LLC, Bloomfield, CT

Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2nd Place          Ariston Specialties, LLC, Bloomfield, CT

Oregano Infused Olive Oil

3rd Place           Ariston Specialties, LLC, Bloomfield, CT

Pesto Infused Olive Oil

Packaging

1st Place           Kathie’s Kitchen, LLC, North Haven, CT

SuperSeedz Product Line – Six 1oz. Bags

2nd Place          Kathie’s Kitchen, LLC, North Haven, CT

SuperSeedz Maple Sugar & Sea Salt Pumpkin Seeds

3rd Place           Simpson & Vail, Inc., Brookfield, CT

Winter Wonderland Tea

Pasta Sauce

1st Place           The Gracious Gourmet, Bridgewater, CT

Hatch Chile Pesto

2nd Place          Chef Silvio’s of Wooster Street, Guilford, CT

Chef Silvio’s Capricciosa Sauce

3rd Place           Chef Silvio’s of Wooster Street, Guilford, CT

Chef Silvio’s Sunday Sauce

Pickle

1st Place           Killam & Bassette Farmstead, LLC, South Glastonbury, CT

Bread & Butter Pickles

2nd Place          Killam & Bassette Farmstead, LLC, South Glastonbury, CT

Sweet Pickle Spears

3rd Place           Killam & Bassette Farmstead, LLC, South Glastonbury, CT

Dill Pickles

Relish

1st Place           Killam & Bassette Farmstead, LLC, South Glastonbury, CT

Zucchini Relish

2nd Place          The Gracious Gourmet, Bridgewater, CT

Sweet Caramelized Onions

3rd Place           Victoria Amory & Co., Greenwich, CT

Red Chili Piri Piri

Salad Dressing

1st Place           Kerry Wood Healthy Foods, Westport, CT

Ginger Carrot Dressing

2nd Place          Harry’s Bishops Corner, West Hartford, CT

Caesar Dressing

3rd Place           TIE

Harry’s Bishops Corner, West Hartford, CT

Sundried Tomato Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Kerry Wood Healthy Foods, Westport, CT

Balsamic Parmesan Dressing

Salsa

1st Place           Gourganics Organic Salsa & Simmer, Fairfield, CT

Gourganics Spicy Salsa

2nd Place          Holmberg Orchards & Winery, Gales Ferry, CT

Salsa

3rd Place           Holmberg Orchards & Winery, Gales Ferry, CT

Peach Salsa

Savory Condiment

1st Place           Winding Drive, Inc., Woodbury, CT

Peach Mango Barbecue Sauce

2nd Place          Winding Drive, Inc., Woodbury, CT

Habanero Gold Jelly

3rd Place           Ariston Specialties, LLC, Bloomfield, CT

Strawberry Balsamic Glaze

Snack Food

1st Place           Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market, Guilford, CT

Maple Kettlecorn

2nd Place          Kathie’s Kitchen, LLC, North Haven, CT

SuperSeedz Maple Sugar & Sea Salt Pumpkin Seeds

3rd Place           TIE

Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market, Guilford, CT

Apple Sauce

Tasty Good Eats, LLC, Bridgeport, CT

Gluten Free Zucchini Carrot Coconut Bread

Spice/Seasoning

1st Place           Turkeywoods Farm, LLC, Mystic, CT

Garlic Ghost Sea Salt

2nd Place          Simpson & Vail, Inc., Brookfield, CT

Mulling Spice

3rd Place           Little’s Specialty Foods, Inc., New Canaan, CT

Chili Pepper Chili Seasoning Mix – Original

Sweet Topping/Syrup

1st Place           Turkeywoods Farm, LLC, Mystic, CT

Woodland Honey

2nd Place          TIE

Kathie’s Kitchen, LLC, North Haven, CT

SuperSeedz Maple Sugar & Sea Salt Pumpkin Seeds

Turkeywoods Farm, LLC, Mystic, CT

Hickory Syrup

3rd Place           Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market, Guilford, CT

Apple Butter

Tapenade

1st Place           The Gracious Gourmet, Bridgewater, CT

Black Olive Tapenade

2nd Place          The Gracious Gourmet, Bridgewater, CT

Chili Red Pepper Tapenade

3rd Place           TIE

The Gracious Gourmet, Bridgewater, CT

Artichoke Parmesan Tapenade

The Gracious Gourmet, Bridgewater, CT

Roasted Eggplant Tapenade

Vinegar

1st Place           Ariston Specialties, LLC, Bloomfield, CT

Blueberry Infused Balsamic Vinegar

2nd Place                      TIE

Ariston Specialties, LLC, Bloomfield, CT

Pear Cinnamon Infused Balsamic Vinegar

Ariston Specialties, LLC, Bloomfield, CT

Pomegranate Infused Balsamic Vinegar

3rd Place           Ariston Specialties, LLC, Bloomfield, CT

Fig Infused Balsamic Vinegar

Wine – Blush

1st Place           Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT

Sunset Blush, 2013

Wine – Dessert

1st Place           Hopkins Vineyard, New Preston, CT

Ice Wine, 2013

*This wine received high enough marks from all of the judges to be placed in the Exceptional category, the highest category in which a wine could place.

2nd Place          Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT

Midnight Ice, 2013

3rd Place           Jones Winery, Shelton, CT

Seven Generations, NV

Wine – Dry Red

1st Place           Jones Winery, Shelton, CT

Cabernet Franc, 2012

2nd Place          Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT

New Dawn, 2012

3rd Place           Hopkins Vineyard, New Preston, CT

Lemberger, 2012

Wine – Dry White

1st Place           Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT

Cayuga White, 2013

2nd Place          Preston Ridge Vineyard, Preston, CT

Estate Vidal Blanc, 2013

3rd Place           Hopkins Vineyard, New Preston, CT

Vineyard Reserve, 2013

Wine – Fruit

1st Place           Bishop’s Orchards Winery, Guilford, CT

Celebration, NV

2nd Place          Jones Winery, Shelton, CT

Harvest Time, NV

3rd Place           TIE

Bishop’s Orchards Winery, Guilford, CT

Apple Raspberry Blush, NV

Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT

Enchanted Apple, 2013

Wine – Fruit/Sparkling

1st Place           Bishop’s Orchards Winery, Guilford, CT

Rubus Nightfall, NV

*This wine received high enough marks from all of the judges to be placed in the Exceptional category, the highest category in which a wine could place.

2nd Place          Holmberg Orchards &Winery, Gales Ferry, CT

Macintosh Hard Cider, 2013

Wine – Other White

1st Place           Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT

Blustery Blend, 2014

*This wine received high enough marks from all of the judges to be placed in the Exceptional category, the highest category in which a wine could place.

2nd Place          Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT

Vidal Blanc, 2013

3rd Place           Hopkins Vineyard, New Preston, CT

Westwind, 2013

Wine – Rosé

1st Place           Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT

Rosé, 2013

Wine – Sparkling

1st Place           Hopkins Vineyard, New Preston, CT

Gold Label Sparkling Wine, NV

2nd Place          Holmberg Orchards &Winery, Gales Ferry, CT

Bubbly Blanc, 2013

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