A WORCESTERSHIRE food producer has been awarded a prestigious accolade for the most tasty dish in the midlands.

Macneil's Smokehouse was presented with the Great Taste Golden Fork award for its smoked mackerel, which a panel of the toughest judges in Britain concluded was "perfectly executed, moist, juicy and sweet."

The mackerel, which is produced using traditional Nordic methods, was also listed among the highly prized Great Taste top 50 foods of the year.

Tony Macneil, from Macneil's Smokehouse, which is based in Rushock near Droitwich, said: "We are over the moon, we never really expected it, we didn't realise we had been nominated.

"We were really surprised, it's fantastic."

Great Taste accreditations are among the most highly respected for speciality food producers, this year 12,366 products were sampled.

Judges included chef, food writer and author, Gill Meller, MasterChef judge and restaurant critic, Charles Campion, author and Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen chef, Zoe Adjonyoh, baker, Tom Herbert, and food writer and baking columnist, Martha Collison.

All products are tasted blind which Tony Macneil believes adds to the kudos of being successful.

He said: "It's quite rigorous, it's all about taste not marketing. Great Taste is such a big name, people look for the symbol.

"It's absolutely huge, a mark of quality."

The secret of Macneil's success lies in Tony's background as a chef in Norway.

He has been a chef since the age of 19 and worked in a hotel on an island off the west coast of the country.

He imported and renovated a smoker from Norway when he set up the smokehouse just three years ago.

He prepares his products in Norwegian style, seasons them with his individual mix of peppercorns and uses beechwood in his smoker, all of which he believes gives his food a unique flavour.

Macneil's produce is available at a variety of outlets, including Selfridges, and direct via their online shop.

The Great Taste scheme was founded by the Guild of Fine Foods in 1994, this year just 165 products, including Macneil's smoked mackerel, were awarded three stars.