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IRELAND This classic sticky toffee pudding made with Irish ingredients proves that retailer-producer partnerships don’t have to result in compromise

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ou don’t have to be an artisan producer using time-honoured techniques (although many entrants are) to enter Great Taste. Indeed, the product named this year’s Golden Fork from Ireland is a sticky toffee pudding sold under Dunnes department store’s Simply Better own label. Don’t be fooled. This traditional date sponge, baked with a layer of salted caramel sauce, is far from a mass-market product. “The luscious caramel sauce, made The luscious with Irish Atlantic sea caramel sauce, salt, sits on the base made with Irish and slowly absorbs up through the sponge as Atlantic sea it bakes to create a truly salt, sits on indulgent pudding with the base and an exceptional flavour,” slowly absorbs says Diarmuid Murphy, up through the Simply Better brand sponge as it bakes manager at Dunnes Stores. The heroes behind the award-winning Simply Better Irish Handmade All Butter Sticky Toffee Pudding are mother-and-son team Catriona and Rory Flaherty, of Royal County Puddings in Co Meath. Asked what the secret is to making a great tasting sticky toffee pudding, Catriona says: “We believe great ingredients, such as Irish butter, Irish cream and Irish free range eggs are the key.” She says it also helps that the sticky toffee is hand-made in batches of 45. “This ensures each pudding is perfectly baked and consistent every time.” Even a retailer the size of Dunnes, which has 152 stores across Ireland, the UK and Spain, and was this year crowned Irish Quality Food Retailer of the Year, acknowledges that Great Taste has made a difference to its business. “Great Taste is known as the Oscars of

the food world,” says Diarmuid. “Although we were confident that this was a fantastic product, achieving three stars was amazing and winning a Golden Fork was outstanding. There has been an amazing reaction to this award and sales have increased ten-fold since.” And at Royal County Puddings, Catriona and Rory are preparing to ramp up production to keep pace with this demand. “We’ve taken on a second member of

GREAT TASTE 2016-17

staff, so we’ve now got two really good people working for us, and I’m confident that the demand is there for three full-time jobs,” says Catriona. Even with an enlarged team, there is still a limit to how much toffee pudding can be produced without compromising on the quality. “The maximum number of puddings we can make in a day is 270, and that is starting at 7am and with all the prep done the night before,” she says. www.dunnesstores.com

How to use: serve warm with Madagascan vanilla bean custard www.greattasteawards.co.uk

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Great Taste Book 2016-17  
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