Hannan Meats Moira ](http://www.hannanmeats.com/)developed its bacon-style guanciale -a spicier but softer-textured alternative to pancetta - following requests from Italian restaurant owners and chefs. The delicacy is an authentic ingredient in many pasta dishes from Umbria and Lazio but is becoming scarce in Italy.
Hannan, which is believed to be the only UK producer of moyallon guanciale, dry-cures its unsmoked pig's jowl or cheek with herbs such as fennel and thyme, sugar, peppers, spices, garlic and red wine.
"This is simply an exquisite example of a product that has its roots in Italy but has been made brilliantly in Great Britain," said Bob Farrand, chairman of the Guild of Fine Food, which runs the Great Taste accreditation scheme.
"Our judges were unanimous in their appreciation of the guanciale which uses traditional skills to turn what is essentially a humble pig's cheek into a sublime dry-cured bacon - almost a case of making a silk purse out of a sow's ear."
Great Taste 2012 - viewed as an epicurean Booker Prize - was judged over 45 days of blind tasting by a panel that comprised Masterchef winner and restaurateur Mat Follas, restaurant critic and Masterchef judge Charles Campion, food writers Lucas Hollweg and Xanthe Clay, and more than 300 food buyers from leading food halls such as Harrods, Selfridges, and Fortnum & Mason.
Of the 8,807 entries, 123 won three gold stars while 2,670 were awarded one or two gold stars.
By Angela Frewin
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