This week, the Specialty Food Association (SFA) announced the winners of the 2019 sofi™ Awards, celebrating culinary excellence and creativity worldwide. The hotly anticipated awards honored 148 specialty food products with gold, silver, bronze, and best new product trophies.
"For 47 years, the sofi Awards have identified the best of the best within the specialty food industry. This year, we're incredibly proud to recognize so many fantastic products across so much of our membership," said Phil Kafarakis, President of the Specialty Food Association. "Our 2019 winners are passionate industry leaders creating exceptional, innovative specialty foods. They're what's driving excitement among retailers, foodservice, and consumers, and fueling our industry's growth. It's a delicious time for us all!"
A diverse panel of expert judges participated in a series of blind tastings to select the sofi winners. Over 12 days in March and April of 2019, 58 judges from across the food industry—including chefs, culinary instructors, recipe developers, food journalists, and specialty food buyers—participated in the selection process.
On the SFA website, sofi winners shared short videos expressing gratitude and excitement.
"We’re super excited to find out that we won sofi bronze [for our] Wagyu Beef… and even more excited for the gold for our Heritage Berkshire Culatello,” said Antonio Fiasche owner of Tempesta Artisan Salumi, which took home two out of three awards in the Meat, Poultry, Charcuterie category.
Liam Callahan, Owner of Bellwether Farms, expressed his appreciation to the SFA upon winning the award: “We just found out that our Whole Milk Ricotta won the gold in Cheese [Cow Milk] in this year’s competition. Many thanks to the judges for recognizing our hard work.”
And the entire team from Cypress Grove was on hand to celebrate the company’s gold sofi win in the Cheese - Non-Cow Milk, Mixed Milk category.
“We’re excited that Straight Up—one of our new fresh goat cheeses—won best new product,” said Emily Baldwin, Cypress Grove’s Marketing Manager. “Thanks to the Specialty Food Association. See you all at the show!”
According to the company’s press release, the SFA has been presenting sofi Awards since 1972. The 2019 winners are chosen in 39 categories: from baked goods to vinegars to everything in between. Winners were chosen from nearly 2,000 entries in a blind tasting by a national panel of industry experts.
And there is more celebration to come. The 2019 sofi Award Product of the Year—given to the product that received the highest cumulative score in judging—will be announced during the SFA's Summer Fancy Food Show, held at the Javits Center in New York, June 23-25, 2019.
Stay tuned to Deli Market News for more coverage as the show approaches.