December 3, 2023

Apple cider vinegar is pick of the crop, as Great Taste judges go with their gut

(L-R) John Farrand, Guild of Fine Food, Michael Mackle of Natural Umber and Grainne Moody from Invest Northern Ireland.

Celebrating the very best in food and drink, Great Taste, the world’s most coveted food awards, has reached its grand finale for 2018. The Great Taste Golden Fork for the best food or drink from Northern Ireland was presented to Natural Umber from Dungannon for its bold and well-rounded Natural Umber Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, which was a hit with the Great Taste judges. “Smooth and easy to drink with water”, the apple cider vinegar has a “syrupy viscosity, sweet apple character and a sharpness, making a grown up and refreshing soft drink”.

Out of a record breaking 12,634 products entered into Great Taste 2018, the Natural Umber Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, which is made by Michael Mackle, whose family has been producing apple products for more than 50 years, was celebrated as the best tasting product in its region at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner held on Sunday 2 September at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel, London, where over 350 guests from the world of fine food gathered to hear the results of many months of rigorous judging.

 The judges’ comments included:

“…Almost delicious enough to treat like sherry and drink…”

“…Very pure and it feels simple and fresh…”

“…Beautiful colour and fabulous apple aromas. Flavour of apple sings…”

“…This a delicious appley wonder!  Simply yummy…”

“…A delightfully rich and sweet cider vinegar with quite firm acidity, but in balance with the depth of flavour…”

The Golden Fork from Northern Ireland was sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland and also nominated this year was a Great Taste 3-star winning Lamb Bacon from Hannan Meats in Armagh and a Salted Almond Ice Cream from Antrim-based Mauds Ice Creams.

What is Natural Umber?

Natural Umber is a revolutionary organic apple cider vinegar launched in January 2018. Apple cider vinegar has always tasted tart and bitter, but has been used for thousands of years for its amazing health-giving properties. Fermented differently to the rest, Natural Umber retains the natural sweetness of apples and tastes delicious. It’s good enough to drink in just a little still or sparkling water, it also tastes delicious on salads, in sauces, marinades and soups or as a tangy addition to a cocktail.

Natural Umber was developed by Michael Mackle, whose family have over 50 years’ experience producing apple products.

Fermented differently to other apple cider vinegars, Natural Umber has all of the same health benefits, but retains the natural sweetness of apples and tastes delicious.

Natural Umber is available to buy online from, on Amazon, or from a growing number of retailers in the UK and Ireland. Go to for more details.