Anna Murby updates us on the Carlsberg Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards…
With a greater number of entries than ever before and a wealth of new companies engaging with the competition, a fresh line-up of county producers find themselves battling it out for culinary glory in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards.
The Awards, now in their ninth year, are aimed at celebrating all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues and rewarding those who work so hard within the culinary sector.
The first judging session, staged at The Red Lion in East Haddon (as winner of the Great Service Award in last year’s Awards), saw a panel of judges including Katie Hewitt, Category Manager for spirit and soft drinks at Carlsberg UK and the editor of CAMRA’s What’s Brewing and BEER magazine, Tom Stainer, come together to choose their finalists in the two drinks categories. They are (in alphabetical order within the category):
New Local Drink of the Year:
Burnt Ox Blood – Nobby’s Brewing Co, Thrapston
Dream Catcher – Tea Lab Company, Northampton
Long Apple – Wharf Distillery, Potterspury
Oak Aged Gin – Phipps NBC, Northampton
Saxon Shield – Towcester Mill Brewery, Towcester
Winwick Gold – Healy’s of Winwick, Winwick
Artisan Local Drink of the Year:
Bell Ringer – Towcester Mill Brewery, Towcester
India Pale Ale – Phipps NBC, Northampton
Octane – Silverstone Real Ale Co, Silverstone
Old Nick’s Favourite – Brigstock Brewhouse, Brigstock
Pink Baron – New Lodge Vineyard, Earl’s Barton
Triple ‘F’ Pure Apple Juice – Floyer’s Fruit Farm, Flore
Merrimen Brewing in Litchborough was also awarded a ‘Highly Commended’ for their beer, Merri-ness.
Meanwhile, having already held a longlisting process in the two product categories, the shortlisting session staged at Holdenby House saw a panel of judges including Stephen Davies, Principal of category sponsor Moulton College, Saints and former England Saxons lock, Christian Day, and Food and Health Section Manager at Northamptonshire Trading Standards, Paul Maylunn tuck in to the array of tasty treats. The resulting finalists are (again in alphabetical order within the category):
Artisan Savoury Product of the Year (sponsored by Heygates Flour and Animal Feed):
Northamptonshire Blue – Hamm Tun Fine Foods, Hannington
Phipps Firkin – Neneview Dairy, Stanwick
Pilau Rice Kit – Punjaban, Northampton
Pork Pinwheels – Sauls of Spratton, Spratton
Stanwick Blue – Neneview Dairy, Stanwick
Tasty Tamarind Curry Base – Punjaban, Northampton
Artisan Sweet Product of the Year (sponsored by Moulton College):
Dark Espresso Chocolate – Seed and Bean, Corby
Gooseberry and Elderflower Gelato – Ganders Goat, Cottingham
Honey, Lemon and Ginger Marmalade – Nature’s Fayre, Thrapston
Northampton Marmalade – Friar’s Farm, Northampton
Raspberry and Amaretti Crunch Cake – Forget-Me-Not Café, Moulton
Vegan Tiramisu – Flo’s Kitchen, Northampton
Among the new finalists to be celebrating success in being shortlisted are Ian and Lauren Horton from Ganders Goat, an 11-acre goat farm at Cottingham near Corby, who learned of their success on their seventh wedding anniversary: “We couldn’t really have asked for a better present than the news that we’ve got through to the finals of these prestigious awards, especially as we’ve only been producing ice cream from our own goats’ milk for just over a year now” explained Ian.
“We’re absolutely delighted to think that the judges appreciated what we consider to be a really wonderful product and hope that this accolade will mean more people get to hear about us and are encouraged to try our delicious treats!” he added.
For the Awards Director, Rachel Mallows MBE, the line-up of finalists is a great indicator of the current health of the county’s food and drink sector: “I am really thrilled to see that some of our more established firms are continuing to hold their own, particularly as many of them are former finalists and winners, which just goes to show what value they place on the awards” revealed Rachel.
“But I’m equally pleased to see the new names on the shortlists as it shows the talent of business that is coming through, which all helps to create healthy competition and drive up standards as we’ve seen happen so successfully across the sector over the last nine years” she enthused.
The winners and runners-up in the four categories will be decided by a second panel of judges later in the year and the results, along with those of the other categories in the competition, will be announced at the Awards Dinner taking place at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate on 15th November.
For more details on the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2017/18, please visit the Awards’ website at www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk or contact Rachel Mallows on 01933 664437 or email firstname.lastname@example.org You can also follow the Awards on twitter at @foodawardsHQ or on Facebook at facebook.com/foodawards