By Regina Connell.
Given a choice, I’d rather stock my pantry with artisanal food: high quality, carefully and lovingly prepared by the hands of independent entrepreneurs, distinctive, with the best ingredients. This is, to me, the kind of luxury and pleasure I can indulge in every day.
Easier said than done, however. I’ve tasted a lot of very earnest local, hand-crafted but incredibly so-so stuff out there. How do I know which food or drink is tasty, authentic, and responsible and not (frankly) a waste of time, money, and calories?
With the number of indie producers out there, it’s impossible to stay on top of it all, not to mention just one category that’s blowing up, like craft beer. Enter the Good Food Awards, the closest guarantee of quality you have in artisanal foods. (And yes, that doyenne of the American good/slow/organic food movement, Alice Waters, is involved.) Over on Handful of Salt, we wrote about the importance of the Good Food Awards a couple of years ago, and now in its fourth year, it’s been great to see them growing in size, importance and impact.
The GFA gives awards for the best in beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, confections, oils, pickles, preserves and spirits (what else does one need in life?) And there’s a lengthy and intensive judging process, with stringent entry requirements and dozens of judges in each category (experts all).
The Seedling Projects, which runs the Good Food Awards, also runs the Good Food Merchants Guild, which is open to all craft food producers.
Here’s a list of the Good Food Award winners for 2014, judged in January 2014. Keep the list with you, or look for the Good Food Award Winner label on the packaging.
From previous experience, I can tell you that those judges know what they’re doing. Living well just got easier, and a helluva lot tastier.