Butcher Charles Macleod struck gold at the British Charcuterie Live Awards 2020/21, winning the top prize for their Stornoway black pudding.
Last year’s entries were carried over and British Charcuterie Live was delighted to receive more than 300 products from around 100 producers – a testament to the growth and health of this sector of food production.
And the judge was certainly impressed with the offering from Charles Macleod, commenting: “Superb product, well presented smooth texture lovely flavour.
“This is best black pudding I have had in a long while which hurts coming from the north of England. A very, very good slice of black pudding with perfect seasoning and great after-taste.”
Revered throughout the world, Stornoway black pudding is arguably the best available, so it is not a shock that Charles Macleod was crowned champion.
Big competition in black pudding world
But director at Charles Macleod, Rona Macdonald, said they entered the competition not anticipating success, due to the stiff competition from black pudding makers south of the border.
“The awards only started in 2018 and we hadn’t entered before, but we decided this year to enter. We do enter various awards, but the big one we normally do is the Great Taste Awards,” she revealed.
“We decided to enter, but really weren’t expecting to hear anything back as it was the first time we had entered.
“There is a lot of competition in the world of black pudding so we were absolutely delighted to get the gold award.”
With the awards covering the whole of the UK, the black pudding heartland of northern England, naturally, supplied a huge number of entries which made the triumph by Charles Macleod all the more impressive.
“There were a lot of English puddings entered. I am not sure about the Scottish entry but obviously in the north of England black pudding is a big deal so there was a great deal of competition from down there,” continued Rona.
“There is a huge difference between the English and the Scottish black puddings. It is quite a different product, so I don’t know if that helped us in a way just to differentiate ours from the others.
“We always use Scottish oatmeal in our puddings and the fat is a finer grind than you would find in the English ones, you don’t see the lumps of fat in the Scottish puddings as you do in the English ones.”
More awards for Stornoway black pudding
The success follows on from the company earning a number of Great Taste Awards in recent years, receiving seven in total from the Guild of Fine Foods for their Stornoway black pudding.
And the company, which was established in 1947, has a healthy order book from buyers throughout the UK, as well as from restaurants whose chefs are keen to use the versatile product in their dishes.
Rona revealed: “We don’t do any international trade, we have a healthy market here in the UK. It is a hard product to transport because of size and weight, so we are really focused on the UK market which has been pretty good even in the face of Covid.
“We have managed to trade throughout the whole pandemic and we are really grateful that we have been able to do that.
“It has been a tough year for everyone, but we are happy that we are still here and our wholesale trade has picked up again now that hospitality has opened up again.
“Black pudding really took off in a big way in the early 90s, that was when it started being promoted more as a restaurant-type ingredient and food writers picked up on the fact that it was really versatile and you could use it on a lot of different restaurant dishes, it was more than just a breakfast item.
“It works well with lots of things like seafood, and because it is so versatile and the quality is so good it is really popular with chefs and we do send a lot of around the country to different restaurants.”