Food & dining

These awards are like Oscars, but for artisan food

Ripe Mango Sorbetto by Gelato Fiasco.
Ripe Mango Sorbetto by Gelato Fiasco.

Five New England companies recently won sofi Awards (“specialty outstanding food innovation”), a prestigious honor akin to an Oscar for artisan-food makers. The Specialty Food Association, a group of fine-food producers, wholesalers, and buyers, has given out the awards every year since 1972. This year, entries from 3,200 food makers were judged in a blind tasting. For some, it’s not their first time for the accolade and the gold statue of a chef holding a chafing dish. From New Hampshire, Wozz! Kitchen Creations of Bethlehem, which makes sauces and dressings and has already won four gold sofis in three years, took the honor for North African Chermoula Dressing. Gelato Fiasco from Brunswick, Maine, won for Ripe Mango Sorbetto, and Vermont’s Big Picture Farm in Townshend got a gold statue for Sea Salt & Vanilla Farmstead Goat Milk Caramels. Last year, Big Picture’s goat milk caramels made with rhubarb and raspberry took the top honor for best new product. Other Vermont winners are Jan’s Farmhouse Crisps of Stowe for the cracker Cranberry Pistachio, and Vermont Creamery of Websterville for Bijou, a French-style goats’ milk cheese that has earned the company sofis three years in a row.

There were no gold winners from the Bay State this year, but seven earned silver awards, including Batch Ice Cream from Boston for Caramelized Banana & Walnuts, Effie’s Homemade of Hyde Park for Walnut Rye Cakes, and Somerville’s EHChocolatier for Brown Butter Toffee Almond. Other Massachusetts silver winners include Panaroma Foods in Braintree for Buffalo Betty, a Buffalo-style Bloody Mary mix, and Vivra Chocolate of Walpole for Chili Crunch Bar, a milk chocolate bar with bits of toasted tortilla bits kicked up with hot chile pepper. New Bedford’s Sid Wainer & Son took a silver honor for Jansal Valley Boneless Prosciutto Toscano, a cured and aged prosciutto spiced with juniper berries, and Worcester company Custom Source won for the dark chocolate bar Bonnat Los Colorados made with Ecuador chocolate.

Winners will showcase their foods at the Summer Fancy Food show, a trade-only event in New York June 26-28. Wozz! Kitchen Creations,;Gelato Fiasco,; Big Picture Farm,; Jan’s Farmhouse Crisps,; Vermont Creamery,; Batch Ice Cream,; Effie’s Homemade,; EHChocolatier,; Panorama Foods,; Vivra Chocolate,; Sid Wainer & Son,; Custom Source,


Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at