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New England has another strong showing in annual specialty food awards

One of the winners of this year's sofi awards.Handout

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the sofi Awards, which celebrate specialty food makers throughout the country. The competition is sponsored by the Specialty Food Association, based in New York, and is judged by a jury of specialty food experts. This year’s winners were recently announced, and 17 foods from 13 New England producers, many of them veteran winners, picked up awards.

The winners were selected from among 2,000 entries across 47 categories — with a focus on a product’s flavor, appearance, quality of ingredients, and also creativity.

Here are the New England winners:

From Massachusetts, the sole honor went to biscuit maker (and repeat winner) Effie’s Homemade from Hyde Park, which gained a new product award for Walnut Biscuit with Cranberry & Fennel.


From New Hampshire, condiment and sauce maker Wozz! Kitchen Creations in Bethlehem (with a shelf full of past accolades) captured three prestigious golds for Vietnamese Green Tea & Mint Dipping Sauce, Korean Raspberry Gochujan, and North African Chermoula.

From Vermont, Vermont Creamery of Websterville, also with multiple awards, won the gold for Sea Salt Cultured Butter. A new product honor went to the allergen-free Chocolate Brownie Pie Crust created by Hillside Lane Farm in Randolph, which makes Vermont specialty foods.

Connecticut’s two winners are Preferred Brands of Stamford, which earned the gold for Tasty Bite Organic Turmeric Rice. Nuovo Pasta Productions in Stratford secured a new product award for its innovative Ancient Grain Roasted Sweet Potato & Cauliflower Vegan Ravioli. Rhode Island’s Chi Kitchen in Pawtucket, specializing in kimchi, took home the coveted gold for Fermented Sesame Slaw.

And from Maine, five producers won accolades. Four won golds: Ocean’s Balance from Biddeford, a company that uses seaweed from the Gulf of Maine, for Chili Lime Seaweed Seasoning; Hancock’s Gourmet Lobster Co. from Topsham for Lobster Mushroom Ravioli Kit; a pecorino cheese aged in walnut leaves called Salcis MonnaLisa Foglie di Noce from the importer Rogers Collection in Yarmouth; and the chocolate company Bixby & Co. of Rockland for Creme Brulee Bar.


Bixby also took home two more honors: a new product award for the Crème Brulee Bar and Allagash White Beer Brittle. Thai Culinary Arts Studio from Yarmouth received a new product award in the sauce category for Watcharee’s Thai Peanut Sauce — Traditional & Authentic.

For the complete list of winners, go to specialtyfood.com/awards/sofi.


Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at anntrieger@gmail.com.