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Taste of the West 2017 award winners
This year’s Taste of the West awards have been announced and 675 products were given Gold, Silver and Highly Commended awards.
Over a thousand products were assessed by a panel of 80 independent judges in the UK’s largest regional food and drinks awards programme.
Innovative new products from South West Producers highlighted by the judge included Falafel Mix containing mealworms and crickets from Cornish Edible Insects based in Redruth, Tideford Organics’ Fresh Brown Rice Miso Paste and the Watercress Company’s Fresh Wasabi Grating Mix which all secured Gold. Little & Cull of Devon won ten Gold, four Silver and two Highly Commended Awards with their products which ranged from pies to terrines. There were many Golds for more traditional West Country produce. See www.tasteofthewest.co.uk for the full list.
John Sheaves, Chief Executive of Taste of the West, said: “This year we are particularly pleased that the level of innovation in product development has been higher than usual. Through our experience of running the UK’s largest regional food and drink awards programme, we are seeking to raise the bar in terms of excellence. In this way, we know that we can offer a product to a discerning consumer market which has been thoroughly tested and evaluated.”
Some of the highest-scoring Gold award winners will go through to the next round of judging to find the Champion in each class. The final results will be announced at Taste of the West Awards ceremony, which this year takes place at The Great Hall in the University of Exeter on 14th September.
This ceremony will also reveal the winners of Taste of the West’s Best Newcomer Award, sponsored by Tracklements, South West Producer of the Year Award, sponsored by Porter Dodson and Innovation in the Food & Drink Industry Award, sponsored by Grant Thornton.
This year’s awards are sponsored by Old Mill Accountants & Financial Planners. Phil Mills, Senior Manager in the Food & Drink team at Old Mill commented: “Once again the outstanding quality of the produce delivered day in, day out by the award winners cements our belief that the West Country is at the pinnacle of the UK food and drink industry and we are delighted to have formed a partnership with Taste of the West through which we can further support the sector.”
Dartmoor Brewery opens new £400k extension
South West craft ale producer Dartmoor Brewery have unveiled a major extension to their brewery complex in Princetown, Devon. The company is projecting the extension will allow them to double beer production within the next four years.
The South West Growth Fund part-funded the £400k extension which includes a new state-of-the-art boiler system and an expanded production space that’s a 40% increase in floor space from the original brewery. The additional storage and processing space will ensure ‘grain-to-glass’ quality control and consistency, according to the brewer. They say the improved infrastructure will ensure continued compliance with the brewing industry SALSA quality scheme, which Dartmoor Brewery are signed up to.
Richard Smith, Managing Director of Dartmoor Brewery, commented: “The craft ale sector is booming, and with our well-established local ales and our new brewery extension, we are well placed to grow our share. Dartmoor is our birthplace, our home, and the inspiration for our ales, and this new extension really underlines our commitment to growing our production here on the moor. Good news for our business, and our customers, but also a real boost for the local economy and for the profile of Dartmoor throughout our UK markets.”
Paul Gilbert of SWMAS Limited, a partner to the South West Growth Fund, commented: “It’s great to see a business with such provenance and high-quality products seizing the opportunity of this growth market. It’s been a real privilege to assist the business with its next phase of growth.”
St Austell partner with Talem Recruitment
An exclusive recruitment partnership between Plymouth-based Talem Recruitment Group and Cornwall’s St Austell Brewery has been announced. Talem will initially find general managers to work across several of the company’s managed houses in the South West.
Donna Barnes, company director at Talem Recruitment said: “We are extremely proud to announce a new recruitment partnership with St Austell Brewery. Over the coming weeks and months, we will be working very hard to attract high-quality candidates that will bring value to the brewery’s managed estate.”
Steve Worrall, retail director, St Austell Brewery, said: “The partnership with Talem will help ensure we continue to attract and recruit the very best managers across our managed estate. St Austell Brewery is highly regarded in the hospitality industry and our people are central to this. We have a very clear focus on responding to the ever-changing demands of customers and it’s imperative that our growing pub estate – and the people we employ – continue to deliver exceptional and distinct experiences.”
Salcombe Gin wins World Spirit Double Gold
Salcombe Distilling Co has been awarded a Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition 2017.
It topped off a flurry of awards for the company which was started in Salcombe, Devon in July 2016 by Angus Lugsdin and Howard Davies. Their Salcombe Gin ‘Start Point’ was awarded a Platinum Medal and the highest possible rating by the Beverage Testing Institute in America. Earlier this year, they were awarded Gold at the World Drinks Awards winning the title of World’s Best Gin in two of the Design subcategories.
Commenting on the latest award win, Angus Lugsdin says: “We are ecstatic our Gin is now being recognised internationally, an incredible accolade after all the hard work of the past year. Our main objective is to produce an exceptional hand crafted gin and we strive for perfection in every step of the process. These awards are a real testament to our ethos and hardworking team in Salcombe.”
Ilfracombe fish and chip shop gets MSC certification
Lynbay Fish & Chip Restaurant in Ilfracombe, Devon has become the second shop in North Devon to be Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified.
They can now use the MSC blue tick label to show customers that the fish they sell has been responsibly caught using sustainable methods.
Lynbay opened in 1996 and is run by the father and daughter team of Paul and Fleur Prideaux.
Co-owner, Fleur Prideaux, said: “Supporting our local community is really important to our business and MSC certification is just another way of doing that. By serving sustainable fish, we’re helping to protect fish stocks. This means not only our customers but fish lovers everywhere can continue to enjoy fish long into the future.”
George Clark, UK Commercial Manager at the MSC, adds, “Thanks to Lynbay Fish & Chips, the sustainable choice for fish and chips fans in North Devon is growing. MSC certification shows their customers that they care about the future of the oceans and assures that the fish is sustainable and responsibly sourced. It’s great to see the team at Lynbay flying the flag for sustainability and we hope other fish and chip shops will follow their lead.”
Hampshire Food Festival plans launched
Local food group Hampshire Fare revealed their programme for this year’s food festival. Taking place across Hampshire in July, it will include tours of local farms, distilleries and vineyards and a series of themed pop-up dining events. MasterChef Champion 2016 and Hampshire resident, Jane Devonshire will be hosting two events.
Tracy Nash, Commercial Manager of Hampshire Fare commented: “The Hampshire Food Festival is now in its seventeenth year with people returning each year for a chance to explore the county’s food and farming. This year’s programme of events is divided into ‘Taste’, ‘Discover’, ‘Learn’, ‘Fêtes, fairs and festivals’ and ‘Stay’. There are so many talented producers bringing flavour to our county, July is the time to get out and discover the faces behind our food.”
Hampshire Food Festival will be sponsored by mineral water company, Hildon Ltd.
Devon bakery learns to SALSA
Truly Treats, an award-winning family-run wholesale bakery based in Paignton, Devon have become SALSA accredited. Earlier in the year, Truly Treats gained the nationally recognised accreditation which shows “continuing commitments to producing food that is consistently safe and legal”.
Adam & Ellie Emberson, a husband and wife team and directors of the bakery, now plan to take on their second apprentice baker. Ellie said: “We’ve had incredible success recruiting apprentices over the past 5 years, all of whom have stayed with the company upon completion of their training. It’s a great way to give young people an opportunity to get into an industry that may seem beyond their reach.”
FOOD & DRINK NEWS
Lyme Bay reveal new-look fruit liqueurs
The Devon-based winery have redesigned their multi-award-winning range of natural stone fruit liqueurs. The eight drinks include Apricot Brandy and Cherry Brandy which are all made by blending Lyme Bay’s Country Wines with a complementary spirit, to 17% volume. New bottles can be easily resealed and reused thanks to the traditional wooden stopper.
Available at independent retailers with an RRP of £12.49 per 350ml bottle or online at www.lymebaywinery.co.uk
Jude’s black ice cream
Hampshire ice cream producer Jude’s have launched a black coconut ice cream that they say is “set to be the edgiest summer treat to arrive in London.” when it goes on sale at the Pear Tree Café in Battersea Park. The black colour comes from coconut ash.
Chow Mezger, MD of Jude’s, said: “We are delighted to launch our Black Coconut ice cream in the amazing Pear Tree Cafe. At Jude’s we are constantly playing with new flavours and sensory experiences and noticed a trend of black ice cream across the pond in the US. This flavour is a feast for both the taste buds and the eyes and we expect all food loving Londoners to go (coco) nuts for it this May bank holiday.”
Strawberry & Black Pepper Gin from Bullards
Bullards Spirits, based in Norwich, are pitching their latest gin as the “perfect summer refresher.” Available to both the on and off-trade, Bullards Strawberry & Black Pepper Gin is made using real strawberries, black pepper, cardamon and lemon peel for “a sweet, fruity and slightly peppery combination”.
“People enjoy a long and refreshing drink in the summer, so we wanted to create something that could be served in a tall glass with fruit and ice. We recommend ice, strawberries, mint and a dash of tonic or lemonade,” explains Russell Evans, co-founder of Bullards Spirits. “Our Strawberry & Black Pepper Gin taps into the growing demand for more innovative and experimental gins and gives consumers a new way to enjoy gin this summer. Plus, the strawberry is quintessentially British so it’s a perfect fit,” he adds.
Available for an RRP of £40, go to www.bullardsspirits.co.uk for more details.
Big Shot ice maker from FEM
FEM’s new Manitowoc icemaker, the Big Shot, produces large gourmet cubes and is capable of turning out 2000 60g cubes a day.
The thimble-shaped cubes are hard and long-lasted and have a slower melt rate meaning customers can enjoy their drink with less dilution. FEM suggest that “being clear and eye-catching they look great in the glass and are perfect for ‘on the rocks’ drink presentation, as well as in cocktails.”
The Big Shot icemaker is available from FEM distributors for £3,900 plus VAT. Visit www.fem.co.uk
Drury launches Rancilio espresso machine
The London-based coffee roaster and tea blender, Drury, have introduced the Classe 7 espresso machine to its portfolio from Italian manufacturer Rancilio.
They describe the new machine as having a “host of technological features that represent the cutting edge of espresso technology.” These include a back-lit digital display with full diagnostics; programmable on/off function; ergonomic push button operational panel and Rancilio’s patented ‘C’ lever steam operation, which has been designed to reduce repetitive strain injury. Rancilio’s patented iSteam is now available for the first time as an option on the Classe 7. This auto frother produces “a rich creamy foam for cappuccinos and lattes, which is comparable to manually textured milk.”
Drurys have chosen the Classe 7 to complement its range of over 17 different espresso coffee beans. Customers regularly purchasing Drury coffee qualify for barista training.
The Classe 7 has a list price starting at £5140. More details from www.drurycoffee.com.
2nd – 4th June
City Centre Piazza, Plymouth
“The South West’s largest food and drink festival will see the Piazza transformed, with stalls brimming with local delicacies, live music and a marquee bar. With more than 100 traders showcasing the best regional produce – as well as cookery demonstrations from talented local and celebrity chefs – organisers are hoping to yet again attract more than 100,000 food lovers.”
Ottery St Mary Food & Families Festival
3rd June, 2017
Ottery St Mary town centre, Devon
“The town comes alive with a special food market featuring local producers, family fun and cookery demonstrations in the festival marquee. Demos this year include new South West Junior Chef of the Year, Ethan Clarke, Jim Fisher, Exeter Cookery School, Jamie Glover from Deer Park Country Hotel and Daniel Gavriilidis, Head Chef at THE PIG at Combe. The festival bar is supplied by the Volunteer Inn and features real ale from Otter Brewery.”
6th – 7th June
“Commercial Kitchen is the definitive event for equipment buyers, specifiers and decision makers from across all sectors of the foodservice industry who are looking for the best equipment, services and accessories for their kitchen.”
Royal Cornwall Show
8th – 10th June
Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge
“The county’s biggest annual event and is brim-full of exhibits and activities which offer so much in the way of entertainment, competition, information, shopping and all that’s best in food and farming.”
The Great Hall, The Castle Winchester
“Celebrate all that is great about the region’s food and drink scene – naturally with a focus on all things gin! A host of exciting, local gins from across the region will also be at the event including Bombay Sapphire, Conker, Pothecary Gin, Gorilla Spirits, Hiltingbury Still and Isle of Wight Distillery. Visitors will be able to sample new favourites, meet some of the geniuses behind the drinks themselves and perhaps buy a bottle or two to take home with them.”
Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival
9th – 11th June, 2017
Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham
“See your favourite celebrity chefs live on stage, joined by local chefs from leading hotels and restaurants showcasing local and regional food with inspiring demonstrations. Enjoy International wine tastings, food talks and entertainment for the whole family.”
Bournemouth Food & Drink Festival 2017
16th – 25th June
The Square, Bournemouth
“The Bournemouth Food & Drink Festival is 10 whole days of delight for foodies. Enjoy good food, amazing cooking skills and fabulous entertainment!” Includes: Street Food Festival, Farmers & Producers Market and Demo Kitchens.
International Gelato Festival London
16th – 18th June, 2017
Old Spitalfields Market, London
“Sample delicious gelato and sorbet, witness top chefs and gelato masters compete, view live demos, enjoy entertainment for all the family and have the chance understand more about this much loved, authentic Italian dessert.”
Bournemouth Vegan Fair
17th – 18th June
Bournemouth International Centre
“A weekend of indulgence, inspiration and information – with over 90 diverse stalls full of tempting treats, a wide range of talks, and plenty of delicious food.”
Bournemouth Business Expo 2017
22nd June, 10am-4pm
Bournemouth International Centre
“Bournemouth’s largest business show for all businesses who are looking to grow and prosper. Keynote speakers, seminars, speed networking and over 70 exhibitors.”
Hampshire Food Festival 2017
1st – 31st July, 2017
Various locations in Hampshire
“The Hampshire Food Festival is an opportunity to show people what is grown and made in the county and offer unique experiences. From walking with buffalo to distillery tours or watching demos from top local chefs, the festival offers something for all tastes.”
Imbibe Live 2017
3rd – 4th July
“Join 12,000 drinks professionals at the innovative and interactive annual exhibition for anyone who sources, buys or serves drinks in the licensed on-trade. Be part of Europe’s largest on-trade drinks exhibition: listen to ground-breaking seminars, experience rare and unique tastings, source new products and discover new trends defining the future of the industry.”