The passion and success of the South West food and drink industry was clear for all to see at the Taste of the West Awards’ Ceremony on Tuesday 15 October. The ceremony took place at The Bristol Pavilion, the home of Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, and saw the 166 Gold award-winning products competing for the 22 ‘Best Of’ category awards and prestigious ‘Champion Product’. Six of these highly sought after ‘Best Of’ category awards were won by producers from Devon.
These seven delighted Devon producers include; Highfield Preserves Ltd winner of the ‘Savoury Preserves’ category; Hillside Speciality Foods who won the ‘Best Of Packaging’ category; Four Elms Fruit Farm winner of the ‘Non-Alcoholic Drinks’ category; Mike’s Smokehouse winner of the ‘Fish Product’ category; Pork Heaven from Devon winner of the ‘Sausages’ category; Sharpham Partnership Ltd winner of the ‘Cheese’ category and The Wonky Kitchen winner of the ‘Confectionery’ category. This is the second year in a row that both Pork Heaven from Devon and Sharpham Partnership Ltd have won ‘Best Of’ for their sausages and cheese, respectively.
The ‘Best South West Restaurant’ was awarded to Devon’s Moorland Garden Hotel in the Hospitality & Retail Awards. During the last few months a panel of anonymous, independent expert judges visited all the registered establishments. Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards were awarded on merit, based on a scoring system. The judges’ criteria included looking at the extent of local sourcing, communication of local sourcing in the establishment, quality and speed of service, quality of meal, atmosphere and ambience of the place and value for money.
Somerset’s Bridgwater College received the ‘Local Food in Schools and Colleges’ award for their high level of commitment to sourcing and educating pupils about healthy, locally-sourced food. ‘The Carol Trewin South West Producer of the Year’ awarded to The Watercress Company Ltd, recognises an entrepreneurial, successful producer of food and drink. Capreolus Fine Foods were given the coveted ‘Champion Product’ title for their outstanding Guanciale, winner of the ‘Cured Meat’ category.
Commenting on behalf of Taste of the West, chief executive John Sheaves says: “Devon produces food and drink of an exceptionally high quality and continues to thrive in the Taste of the West Awards.” John continues: “For a county to win six ‘Best Of’ category awards, a ‘Best Of Packaging’ award and a Hospitality and Retail Award is a remarkable achievement, our congratulations go to all the award winners from Devon on their outstanding success at this year’s awards.”
The ceremony lunch was enjoyed by 300 movers and shakers in the food and drink industry, which included producers, top retailers, hospitality establishments, food writers, buyers and leading chefs. Those attending enjoyed a drinks reception, sponsored by Smith & Williamson, followed by an outstanding three course lunch which showcased a fantastic selection of winning products. The awards were presented by owner of Rockfish and Dartmouth’s The Seahorse, fish chef extraordinaire, Mitch Tonks, who had sampled these top 22 products to find this year’s ‘Champion Product’.
These results follow the earlier announcement of all the Taste of the West Product Award winners. Out of a hugely impressive 1040 products entered into the awards, 166 won a Gold Award, 216 were awarded a Silver Award and 213 were given a Bronze Award. A highly impressive fifty-nine of these Gold Award winning products were from Devon.
The ‘Product Awards’ were made up of 25 classes. Judges evaluated each product individually, assessing its appearance, aroma, texture, packaging and, most significantly, its taste. Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards were awarded entirely on merit and judges were not limited on the number of awards that could be given.
Products which won Gold Awards were judged a second time by a further panel of judges to identify the winners of 22 ‘Best Of’ category awards with the esteemed ‘Champion Product’ chosen from these winners.
For further information on all the awards visit Taste of the West’s website: www.tasteofthewest.co.uk ; follow @Tasteofthewest on Twitter or ‘like’ Taste of the West on Facebook.