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Northern Irish Butcher is Supreme Champion in UK Great Taste Awards 2011

A humble corned beef from a Northern Ireland family butcher has beaten over 7,000 entrants to be named Supreme Champion in this year’s Great Taste Awards and in doing so, has redefined our perception of a hitherto ordinary mainstream food.

McCartney’s of Moira has been in business in County Down for around 140 years but only started producing corned beef four years ago. It makes the product by hand using dry-aged local beef and a traditional meat press. The Supreme Champion title, presented last night at the Great Taste Awards finals at London’s Royal Garden Hotel, instantly places McCartney’s corned beef among the elite of UK speciality foods.

George McCartney, of McCartney’s of Moira said
“I’m stunned. I have such a fantastic team with my longest members having been with me for 27 years. I want to pay tribute to the Guild of Fine Food for the amount of effort they put into each producer. As we all know, there is a recession still on and this will really give Northern Ireland the boost it needs and deserves”

George McCartney in his Butcher Shop in Moira, C. Down.
Now in its 18th year, the Great Taste Awards scheme recognises the best-tasting food and drink
available in UK delis, farm shops, upmarket food halls and, increasingly, supermarkets.

They whittled an initial 7,482 entries down to around 2,400 Great Taste Awards winners who
can now add the familiar black-and-gold one-star, two-star or three-star labels to their jars and
packs. Just 114 of these were awarded the top three-star gold awards.

Awards organiser Bob Farrand, national director of the Guild of Fine Foods, said: “Often the
best food is all about doing the simple things really well, and you can’t find a better example
than McCartney’s corned beef. Our judges were blown away by it." A world away from cheap ‘bully beef’ sold in cans, McCartney’s version is made for slicing on deli counters and is now on sale in Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason.

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