When Cypress’ Craig Deihl this month claimed a Good Food Award for his cured meat, he was one of 130 honorees. But Deihl belongs to a far more select group of celebrated artisans: He’s one of only six food producers to win a Good Food Award in all four years of the program’s existence, and the lone Southern producer to achieve the distinction.
Created by San Francisco’s Seedlings Projects to recognize food deemed “tasty, responsible and authentic,” the annual Good Food Awards are considered the top prizes in the handcrafted food-and-drink world. For this year’s contest, cheese makers, picklers, chocolatiers, distillers and fermenters – among other artisans – submitted 1450 different products for judging.
While repeat winners Wisconsin’s Uplands Cheese; Missouri’s Patric Chocolate; Massachusetts’ Rogue Chocolatier and Washington’s Firefly Kitchens have each produced more than one winning product, their win lists include multiple prizes for the same product: Rogue Chocolatier, for example, went on a three-year run with its Sambirano, a single-origin bar from Madagascar. (Producers are permitted to enter up to three items in a category, which is how Rogue’s picked up a record eight Good Food Awards in four years.)
Charcuterie, by contrast, is a less stable category: Oregon’s Olympic Provisions has won a Good Food Award for six different preparations (For a taste of how they’re impressing the judges, check out the cold case at Two Boroughs Larder.) And Deihl has been honored for his Soppressata, Picante Salami and Culatello, which a press release describes as the “rear large muscle mass in a leg of pork, cured with salt in a pig’s bladder for 16 months” — which means the chef stands a good chance of winning another Good Food Award before the next batch of Culatello is ready to serve.