Here's a strange thing. Northern Ireland food producers have won the Supreme Award at the Great Taste Awards for the last two years.
McCartney's of Moira won it for corned beef in 2011, and Hannan Meats of Moira won it for their guanciale in 2012.
Hang on... both of them are from Moira? Wee Moira? Two Supreme Awards, on consecutive years, to one little mid-Ulster town? 9000 entrants and the Supreme Awards go to two meat specialists in Moira, County Down? You must be joking!
It's no joke and, having tasted Hannan Meats guanciale, we can see why the top award went once again to Moira. Quite simply, this is an indispensable cooking tool: sauté until the fat runs, then build your dish on top of that flavour base, and you can't go wrong. Your carbonara will never be the same again. It's superb meat, and just as superb is their Himalayan salt aged beef, using Glenarm beef, and the gorgeous Moyallon bacon.
You can shop at Hannan's if you are near to Moira or fancy a trip – bring a big cold box! – and their retail shop is open Wednesday-Saturday. They are planning that online ordering will be available soon. It won't be a moment too soon.