Great Taste Awards

gff logoGreat Taste, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, is the acknowledged benchmark for speciality food and drink. It has been described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world and the ‘epicurean equivalent of the Booker prize’. Quite simply the Great Taste logo is the sign you can trust when buying food and drink in your local, quality retailer.

Winning is important to the producers as it differentiates their products from the norm and means you, as the customer, have a guarantee that the products you buy have a reliable seal of approval based upon great taste and not marketing.


In Great Taste Awards 2016 Woodcock Smokery gained a One Star Award for:

Woodcock Smokery Smoked Wild Salmon

And a Two Star Award for:

Traditional quality Undyed Hot-Smoked Atlantic Mackerel  

One Star GOLD – Simply Delicious
Two Star GOLD – Outstanding


In Great Taste Awards 2014 Woodcock Smokery gained One Star Awards for:

Traditional quality Undyed Hot-Smoked Atlantic Mackerel  

Undyed Atlantic Kipper Fillet

Woodcock Smokery Smoked Wild Salmon

One Star GOLD – Close to perfect

great taste awards   In Great Taste Awards 2013 Woodcock Smokery was awarded:

   2stars  Hot-smoked Atlantic Mackerel    

   1star  Smoked Wild Atlantic Salmon    

1star  Smoked Wild Atlantic Haddock   

One Star GOLD – A virtually faultless food
Two Stars GOLD - Exquisite


artisan awards



Belling Artisan Food Awards 2013



Award for consistent excllence in artisan food products




Georgina Campbell on Woodcock Smokery

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‘Wild and Sustainable Fish Products’ from Sally Barnes’ Woodcock Smokery - the smokehouse that has set the benchmark for Irish smoked foods

gc logo2'Ireland has many excellent smokehouses, and some outstanding ones, but few would disagree that the benchmark has been set by Sally Barnes whose iconic Woodcock Smokery dates back to 1981.

At the time she had taken to tinkering around with smoking in order to preserve some of the surplus fish brought home by her fisherman husband; then, as she puts it herself, she “acquired an Afos mini-kiln in settlement of a debt and set about acquiring the real skills of the smoker’s art.”

Today, many leading chefs will use no other smoked fish and her products have earned every conceivable accolade, including unprecedented international praise at the UK’s Great Taste Awards where she won the 2006 Supreme Champion award for her smoked salmon, in competition with over 4,500 other products, and since then her products have been singled out for many more one, two and three star ratings and several Irish Speciality Food awards.

gc logo thSally Barnes’ philosophy closely matches that of the Slow Food movement, which she enthusiastically supports. Always uncompromising regarding the quality of her raw material, she deals exclusively with fresh wild fish caught by sustainable methods, including wild salmon when available. No artificial chemicals or dyes are used, only traditional smoking methods over native hardwoods.

The range of fish currently offered includes cold smoked haddock, hot smoked mackerel, hot smoked tuna, kippers, matured wild smoked salmon and wild smoked salmon.

Woodcock Smokery products are available from selected outlets throughout Ireland, especially in Co Cork, and can also be purchased by mail order through the website for delivery in Ireland and the UK. A treat well worth trying.'

Woodcock Cold-Smoked Irish Haddock


Aroma: Well balanced aroma

Appearance: Good natural colour and well presented

Texture: Soft, flaky and very tender

Taste: Delicately smoked, giving a full bodied flavour

Woodcock Wild Hot-Smoked Albacore Tuna


Refreshing and original, the tuna's smokey taste and aroma allied to tremendously tender texture really make this an outstanding, award winning product.

The Restaurant 29 December 2011

georgeRugby pundits Tom McGurk and George Hook battled it out to improve their 3 star ratings.

George made use of Woodcock Smokery smoked haddock for his starter; George is obviously a great fan, critic Tom Doorley simply said:

‘Sally Barnes is the greatest fish smoker in the country.’

With the critics’ votes at one course each for the contestants, it was Woodcock Smokery’s smoked haddock that clinched a win for George!


Rachel Allen’s Easy Meals on RTE - 22 December 2011

rachel interview
Smoked salmon and chives fishcakes.

Rachel visited Woodcock Smokery in West Cork, talked to Joleine and Sally Barnes about how they produce award-winning smoked salmon and shows you how to prepare her own version of smoked salmon fishcakes. So good, it’s not just for Christmas!


Great Taste Awards 2010

Three Woodcock Smokery products received Awards at the Great Taste Awards in London in this year:

Wild Smoked Salmon

Smoked Mackerel

Hot Smoked Albacore Tuna

Woodcock’s Wild Smoked Salmon was also nominated for Best Irish Speciality Award

The one, two are three star ratings are established on the premise that a one star is a perfect food or drink, a two star is absolutely sublime and three star is that moment you turn to the person next to you and exclaim ‘Wow! You must try this, it’s amazing!”

The 2010 GTAs saw even more products entered than ever before. 6021 in total were blind-tasted, tested and discussed over an intense, two-month judging period by 350 judges, comprising food writers, chefs, deli and farm shop owners, food producers and buyers.

The Guild of Fine Food’s Bob Farrand commented of this year’s entries:

“It’s so exciting to see the standards of food and drink in these islands go from strength to strength, year after year, proving that for those who enjoy great food - it’s there to be discovered.”

Farrand continued, “We’ve worked hard to ensure our judging process is as robust as possible. The judging teams are balanced in terms of experience, background and even gender and every Gold Award winning entry has been independently proven to be of the highest standard.”

The Great Tasting for 2010 under way in the Food Hall at Fortnum & Mason's

Great Taste Awards 2009 - Best Irish Speciality Award
& Special Judges Commendation


Woodcock Smokery achieved another resounding success in the annual Great Taste Awards held on Monday 7 September 2009 in Fortnum and Mason’s Food Hall.

Sally Barnes not only won Best Irish Speciality Award for her wild smoked salmon but also gained a Special Commendation from the judges.

Maria Stokes of Bord Bia, sponsors of the Best Irish Speciality Award, made the award to Sally Barnes and Richard Corrigan rushed over from Bentley's Restaurant to present it to her.


The chefs, cookery writers and celebrity foodies on this year’s final judging panel included TV chef Antony Worrall Thompson, restaurateur Mark Hix and former MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers. Chairman of judges Simon Burdess, Fortnums’ trading director, announced a special commendation for Woodcock Smokery’s wild smoked salmon.

The judges’ deliberations were broadcast live on TV screens to an audience of over 400 food producers and buyers as they sampled some of 2009’s Great Taste Awards three-star gold-winners on display in Fortnum’s famous Food Hall.

Great Taste Awards Supreme Champion 2006

This highly prestigious competition involved eight full days of blind tasting by over 450 judges of over 4,500 food products, from which 530 ‘Gold’ certificates were awarded for excellence.

These were judged for a second time and whittled down to a shortlist of the best 28 foods which were then blind tasted for a third time by a team of 12 experts from the food world. Judges included Richard Johnson, food writer from The Guardian and presenter of BBC’s Full on Food, Evening Standard’s Charles Campion, celebrity chef Giancarlo Caldesi from BBC2’s Return to Tuscany and Jennifer Sharp, restaurant reviewer for Harpers Bazaar.


The unanimous winner was Woodcock Smokery’s Irish wild smoked salmon which won Best Speciality and Best Fresh Product, before being awarded the Fortnum & Mason Trophy for Great Taste Awards 2006 Supreme Champion.

Judge Duncan Ackery from Tate Catering commented: “It was a very difficult decision but Woodcock’s salmon was just exquisite.”

On the night itself, Sally Barnes said: “We’re absolutely delighted but we are in shock – it hasn’t sunk in yet! Winning a Great Taste Award is the ultimate recognition and is a fantastic help when promoting our product. So much hard work has gone into developing and perfecting these products – to win is just brilliant.”


'The Clatter of Forks and Spoons' – 2008

"Sally Barnes at Woodcock Smokery in Skibbereen is one of those rare, inspirational human beings you just take your hat off to. Sally is a law unto herself. Such an intelligent woman, with a profound understanding of the smoke, but what sets her apart is her absolute refusal to smoke anything other than wild fish…..

"Such are her ethics and perfectionism that she won’t even use fish caught on the seven-day boats, because she won’t smoke a fish that is over twenty-four hours old. 'If a fish stays on ice out on the boats I can’t use it. It spoils before we can finish our process,' she says.

"Sally’s whole ethos is that the best things take time. At the smokery each fish is treated as an individual, hand-filleted and dry-salted for the right amount of time to suit its size and fat content. After that it is smoked slowly. Again, for how long is down to the temperature and humidity. After the first stage of smoking, it is pinboned again, by hand, and put back into the kiln again to finish smoking. Some of the salmon is kept back and matured for three months before being sold."

© The Clatter of Forks and Spoons by Richard Corrigan, Fourth Estate, 2008.

Richard Corrigan is one of our most respected and outspoken chefs. He has been a key pioneer in the rehabilitation of British and Irish food, a champion of small producers, and is dedicated to rediscovering and reinterpreting the traditional and often wild foodstuffs of these islands.

bridgestoneBridgestone Irish Food Guide

"Sally Barnes is one of the supreme fish smokers, with a signature style that is simpy unique and which has garnered her oodles of culinary prizes over the years. Woodcock smoked fish is up there with the icons of artisan Irish food with all that punky, idiosyncratic widlness that you expect from a champion West Cork Food.

"Sally uses only local fish, and then either cold smokes or hot smokes the fish - tuna and mackerel are hot smoked, pollock, haddock and salmon are cold smoked.

"The end result is that blessed unity of smoke, fish and a finishing grace note of salt that delivers culinary bliss."

Corrigan Knows Food

Top Chef Richard Corrigan visits Woodcock Smokery in West Cork for the RTE programme Corrigan Knows Food.