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15th August 2013 Umami Seasoning Success

logo Great TasteYr Ardd Fadarch Eryri / The Mushroom Garden Snowdonia is celebrating the news that its Umami Seasoning has wowed judges in Great Taste 2013 by being awarded a star in the world’s largest and most rigorous food awards scheme involving over 400 judges and thousands of hours of blind tasting.

Great Taste is simply about taste, not clever branding or smart packaging. Judges are presented with, for example, a piece of cheese, a pie or a little dish of chutney, with no wrappings, jars or marks – and they taste, confer and re-taste before making the decision on whether a product should be a 1-, 2- or 3-star winner. In total more than 12 judges will have tasted and commented on each product.

The Mushroom Garden is a family business based in the heart of Snowdonia. What started as in interest in the natural fungi found in North Wales became a business seven years ago when the National Assembly introduced a project to see what crops could be grown by diversifying agricultural land. During the last couple of years, The Mushroom Garden have been developing a range of mushroom based products including Mushroom Caviar, Mexican Seasoning Blend, Shiitake Antipasto and the winner of this award the Umami Seasoning.

“We decided to enter the Great Taste award as we believe our Umami Seasoning, developed alongside Halen Mon Sea Salt is so uniquely special. After we brought the product to market in 2012, we were awarded the ‘Most Innovative Product’ award by the National Trust Fine Farm Produce judges, and by Christmas the Umami was in very exclusive hampers. We are over the moon being a Great Taste winner, their logo is a mark of the very best quality, and this is something we have always strived to achieve. We already have a range of Shiitake based products on the market, and we take pleasure in bringing the goodness and health benefits of Shiitake mushrooms to your plate in innovative and delicious ways!” explains Cynan Jones, Proprietor.

Umami Seasoning is a unique blend of Shiitake mushrooms, dried seaweed (both hold strong umami virtues) blended with the world famous Halen Mon Sea Salt to bring out the flavours. This product is vegan and as natural as you can get as all three ingredients are processed as little as possible to lock in the purity. Umami Seasoning can be added to any ingredient during the cooking process; as a rub for meat or fish, to sprinkle over potato wedges, added to sauces, gravies, risotto, bolognaise or even used instead of salt for a low sodium delicious homemade pasta. The seaweed is sourced from the UK, to keep the food millage as low as possible.

On Monday, 9 September, at a nail-biting Awards’ Dinner at the Royal Gardens Hotel, London, the great and the good from the world of fine food will gather to hear who has won the Golden Fork Awards and the final applause will be reserved for the Great Taste Supreme Champion 2013.

08 October, 2012
Snowdonia fungi food business all set to mushroom after scooping top National Trust award

A Snowdonia food business producing artisan mushrooms for chefs, restaurants and specialist food outlets throughout the UK is celebrating after scooping two top UK awards at the National Trust’s Fine Farm Produce Awards 2012.

The Mushroom Garden, located at one of the Trust’s smallest holdings in the UK near Beddgelert in Gwynedd, grows a range of specialist mushrooms used in dishes produced in a range of high-end restaurants and sold to outlets including Harvey Nichols.

The company, created by Cynan Jones, was awarded the Most Innovative Product for its Mushroom UMAMI seasoning and their Mushroom “Caviar”was also among the winning entries at the Real Food Festival hosted by the National Trust in London over the weekend (29-30 September). And to celebrate the products will be officially launched at Beddgelert this week.

Grown in a chemical free environment, the mushrooms produced by The Mushroom Garden, including the sought after Shiitake Asian mushroom, can take up to three months to produce. Demand for its products is increasing as more people become aware of the unique taste and benefits.

“We’re thrilled to have won these two top National Trust awards,” said Cynan who runs the business with his wife, daughter and son. “We’ve come a long way over the past 10 years and our produce is now being recognized for its unique taste and properties by chefs, restaurants and specialist food outlets.”

The company was set up 10 years ago as part of a European funded project to see if specialist mushrooms could be cultivated using specific system involving oak chip and sawdust.

It is now just one of a handful of specialist mushroom producers in the UK and has received support from the Welsh Government’s Trade Development Programme, delivered by business development company Menter a Busnes. The programme helps agri-food businesses develop new products and services – from development through to launch.

The company has developed three new products this year, including Mushroom Caviar, UMAMI seasoning and Mushroom Powder, with the help of the Trade Development Programme through Menter a Busnes, and in partnership with Halen Môn.

“Cynan and his family have developed a unique range of mushroom products, demonstrating how a specialist food product can be made commercially viable by adding value and targeting specific markets,” said Myrddin Davies, Trade Development Manager at Menter a Busnes.

Nearly 95 per cent of the Shiitake mushroom bought in the UK are imported from countries including China. Being able to deliver freshly cultivated products from North Wales to markets throughout the UK within hours, the company believes it has the potential to dramatically increase its share of the market.

The company cultivates its range of Snowdonia Shiitake, oyster, chestnut mushrooms in special temperature controlled environments. No chemicals are used in the process, ensuring the produce is natural, maintaining their taste and texture. Cynan is also a keen and informed wild mushroom forager, and during the mushroom season (late July- October) he can gather a variety of wild mushrooms that are native to Snowdonia, from much sought after Chanterelle and Porcini to the more humble field mushroom.

It’s Mushroom Caviar is an unique new Welsh recipe combining the Snowdonia Shiitake and Welsh laverbread. It was introduced at this year’s National Eisteddfod.

On Tuesday (2nd October) the company will host the launch at Beddgelert to celebrate scooping the top National Trust Awards. Cynan and his family will be using and preparing their very own mushroom products for guests to taste.

“We wanted a special way to celebrate and we thought a launch on our home turf was the best way. And what better way than giving guests tasters of our produce and how versatile our mushrooms can really be,” added Cynan.

And what’s for the future? “We’ve already worked with a brewery on a mushroom ale and a chocolatier on a mushroom chocolate. They taste great and we’re already planning to develop new products for the future.”




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