NEW YORK — Lake Erie Creamery in Cleveland, Ohio, has earned the most prestigious prize in the Gallo Family Vineyards Gold Medal Awards competition.
The creamery, owned by Mariann Janosko and Gerald Onken, claimed the All Artisanal Award, which goes to the family-owned business that best exemplifies exceptional culinary craftsmanship and stands as an inspiration to other food industry professionals.
The Gallo family selected Janosko and Onken due to their entrepreneurial spirit, tenacity and ongoing dedication to provide their community with an exceptional hand-crafted product everyone can enjoy.
They will receive a trip to Aspen, Colo., in June 2008 to attend the Food and Wine Classic, showcasing their winning product alongside the Gallo family to influential members of the culinary community.
Lake Erie Creamery also won the contest’s dairy division with its signature Blooma cheese.
Joining Janosko and Onken in the winner’s circle was Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams of Columbus, Ohio. Jeni Britton Bauer topped the fruit or vegetable division with her sour cherry lambic sorbet.
Division winners were selected through a blind tasting conducted by a panel of judges. Grand prize winners were determined based on taste, dedication to standards of high quality production, sustainability and traditional artisanal methods of food producing.
Other division winners included:
Each grand prize winner received a $5,000 business development grant to help nurture their commitment to excellence in culinary craftsmanship, an annual membership to the Chefs Collaborative (a not-for-profit organization fostering sustainable agriculture) and the Gallo Family Vineyards Gold Medal Awards “seal of excellence” to display on their products as a symbol of quality.
In addition, each winner received a trip to New York City where Gina Gallo honored them during a celebratory luncheon at one of New York’s top restaurants, Park Avenue Spring.
Chef Craig Koketsu prepared a four-course meal featuring the winning products and was so inspired by the quality of this year’s winning foods that he temporarily changed the restaurant’s name for the event to Park Avenue Spring-Artisanal.
This is the third consecutive year the Gallo family has conducted a nationwide search for the country’s top artisanal food producers. Nearly 300 foods were submitted for the 2008 contest. The entries came from all corners of the country and the line-up ranged from catfish and antelope to lavender-jalapeno caramels and chili-garlic plantain chips.
The judging panel behind this year’s winners included: Ed Doyle, president of RealFood Consulting and Chefs Collaborative executive board member; Malachy Duffy, wine and food writer; Max McCalman, Maitre Fromager Artisanal and Picholine Restaurants;
Ferdinand Metz, president emeritus of Culinary Institute of America and the World Association of Chefs; Sara Moulton, food editor for Good Morning America; Joanne Weir, PBS television host and cookbook author; and Clark Wolf, food and restaurant consultant.
Gallo Family Vineyards Sonoma has ranked among the world’s most award-winning wineries since its first wines were released in 1993. The company is under the leadership of third-generation family members, Gina and Matt Gallo, the sister and brother team of winemaker and winegrower, along with cousin Stephanie Gallo heading up the brand’s global marketing.
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