Nutmeg State-made breads, cheeses, oils, sauces, pastries and wine took home honors at the 2015 Connecticut Specialty Food Product Awards Competition, held March 24 at the Aqua Turf Club. Twenty-four judges scored products in several categories on overall taste/flavor, texture, aroma and appearance, according to a press release from the Connecticut Food Association.
The chocolate-dipped hazelnut cookie by Matthew's 1812 House of Cornwall Bridge was named 2014 Food Product of the Year, and the Blustery Blend from Sunset Meadow Vineyard of Goshen was named 2014 Wine of the Year. Matthew's also took home first place in the Gluten-Free category.
Cato Corner Farm of Colchester swept the Aged Cheese category with its Dairyere, Aged Bloomsday and Brigid's Abbey. Other category sweeps include Rachel's Cookies & Treats of Plainville (all three places in the Cookie category); Ariston Specialties of Bloomfield in the Oil category for its select extra virgin, oregano and pesto oils; Killam & Bassette Farmstead of South Glastonbury for its bread and butter, sweet and dill pickle varieties and The Gracious Gourmet of Bridgewater in the Tapenade category for its black olive, chili red pepper, artichoke parmesan and roasted eggplant varieties. Ariston also swept the vinegar category for its blueberry, pear-cinnamon, pomegranate and fig-infused balsamic flavors. The Gracious Gourmet's Hatch chile pesto also won Best Pasta Sauce.
Other food product winners include Tasty Good Eats, LLC of Bridgeport (Bread, Frozen Food); Bridgewater Chocolate of Brookfield (Chocolate); Whole Harmony of Higganum (Coffee & Tea); Heavenly Bites of Wilton (Confection/Dessert, for Lemon Drop Cake Bites); Killam & Bassette of South Glastonbury (CT Grown and Relish); Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm of Moosup (Ice Cream); Winding Drive of Woodbury (Jam, Savory Condiment); Kathie's Kitchen of North Haven (Packaging); Kerry Wood Healthy Foods of Westport (Salad Dressing); Gourganics Organic Salsa & Simmer, Fairfield (Salsa); Bishops Orchards Farm Market, Guilford (Snack Food); and Turkeywoods Farm of Mystic (Spice/Seasoning; Sweet Topping/Syrup.)
Wine winners include Hopkins Vineyard of New Preston for its 2013 ice wine and Gold Label sparkling wine; Jones Winery of Shelton for its 2012 Cabernet Franc and Bishops Orchards for its Celebration and Rubus Nightfall. Sunset Meadow also received first place awards for its 2013 Sunset Blush, Rose and Cayuga White. All wines were required to contain 100 percent Connecticut-grown fruit.
Learn more about the CT Specialty Food Association at ctspecialtyfood.org.