The Great Taste Awards has revealed its Supreme Champion for 2016 is County Down's Hannan Meats, which scooped the award thanks to its Glenarm Shorthorn four-rib roast beef.
Hannan Meats dry-ages all its beef in a Himalayan salt chamber over a period of 28 to 45 days, resulting in a winning product that was described by judges as having a "sweet, juicy and oozy flavour that travels through the meat and fat", reports the Irish Times.
Speaking about the accolade, company founder Peter Hannan said: "We hadn’t contemplated for a moment that a piece of beef would go and win the Great Taste awards, we were well taken by surprise. Out of a possible 80 points, the 16 judges, who had five marks apiece, gave it 79 out of 80. They said it was the highest scoring supreme champion in all of their time, [getting] 15 fives and a four."
A number of Irish products had previously achieved three-star status, such as Nobó Irish salted caramel ice cream, Durrus cheese and James Whelan Butchers heritage cured ham, however the regional winner of a 'Golden Fork' for the Republic of Ireland was the Dunnes Stores product 'Simply Better Irish Handmade Sticky Toffee Pudding', made by 'What’s For Pudding' in County Meath.
Hannan added: "When we started with the Glennarm Shorthorn, it was in a pretty low place. Our partners, the Glenarm Estate, have invested heavily in the best bulls and the best husbandry. We are getting the correct finish on our beef now, the right amount of marbling, the right amount of fat. It's a model for the future of beef production on the island of Ireland."