For 45 years, the Specialty Food Association has honored creative and distinctive artisanal foods with sofi Awards (it stands for “specialty outstanding food innovation”). A panel of judges — chefs, recipe developers, specialty food buyers, food journalists, culinary instructors — hold blind tastings and select the winners in dozens of categories. This year’s winners were chosen last week, from a competitive field of 3,000 entries. The top award, a gold sofi, is akin to an Oscar, only the gold statue is of a chef holding a chafing dish.
Six New England companies took the prestigious accolade. From the Bay State, pasta-sauce maker Sauces ’n Love of Lynn, which had already acquired three golds over the years, snagged another for its porcini and shiitake Alfredo sauce. The recognition also went to Newton-based importer ItalyPoint for its tarallo, an Italian ring-shaped cracker made with flour, oil, salt, and white wine by I Lecci della Torre.
From Connecticut, Calabro Cheese Corp. of East Haven won for ricotta di bufala, a creamy ricotta that includes the whey of buffalo milk. The New Milford company Tresomega Nutrition won for organic virgin coconut oil, cold-pressed from fresh, organic coconut meat. Vermont Creamery of Websterville, Vt., won a gold sofi — and not its first — for a sweet dessert topping, vanilla crème fraiche. A gold award, its fifth, went to New Hampshire’s Wozz! Kitchen Creations of Bethlehem, which makes sauces and dressings; this time the winner was Cambodian coconut peanut sauce, crafted with natural peanut butter, coconut milk, chiles, red curry, turmeric, lime, and Southeast Asian spices. The sauce also won a second recognition as one of the best new products.
A dozen New Englanders also won silver and bronze statues, such as Effie’s Homemade of Hyde Park for pecan nutcakes, Vivra Chocolate from Walpole for a curry cashew bar, and Small Batch Organics of Manchester, Vt., for its toasted coconut ginger granola. Winners will show off their foods at the Summer Fancy Food Show, a trade event in New York June 25-27. To see the entire list of winners go to www.specialtyfood.com/awards/sofi/winners
Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at email@example.com.