Devon’s talented food and drink scene was alive at last night’s vibrant annual Food Drink Devon Awards. The county’s finest food and drink producers, hospitality and catering businesses and speciality retailers celebrated in style at the esteemed Awards’ ceremony, held at the magnificent 19th century Victorian hotel, The Imperial in Torquay. The ceremony was hosted, for the first time, by Devon food and drink champion BBC Radio Devon’s, Kerry White.
Competition was immediately fierce in the ‘Taste of Devon Product Awards’ with a staggering 250 product entries. The highly prestigious ‘Best Producer’ accolade went to Eversfield Organic, with judges praising the quality of their Organic Beef Rump Steak stating ‘there was no room for improvement’. To claim this Award, the winner must achieve a ‘Gold’ Award for at least one of their products combined with high marks in both the judging of their packaging and website. Salcombe Distilling Company also triumphed, winning the title of ‘Best Brand’. Judges were particularly impressed with the company’s strong branding and engaging website which they classed as ‘excellent’.
From the 250 product entries, all of which are blind tasted by independent judges, five really impressed and achieved a faultless score of 100% and a ‘Platinum’ Award. Deserving producers and their products included Eversfield Organic’s Organic Beef Rump Steak, Granny Gothards’ Dairy Free Chocolate Ice Cream, Ruth’s Real Food’s Devon Braised Beef, Stokeley Butchers’ Faggots and Tideford Organics’ Lentil & Spinach Dhal Soup. Products in the ‘Taste of Devon Product Awards’ achieving a score of 90-99% were awarded ‘Gold’ Awards of which there were 49, with a further 43 obtaining ‘Silver‘ awards after scoring 85-89%.
Barbara King, chair of Food Drink Devon, commented: “Each year we’re increasingly impressed with the quality of entries. This year was certainly no exception, a fantastic reflection of the excellence of what Devon’s inspiring food and drink producers and dedicated hospitality and retail establishments offer. We’re proud to celebrate our Awards’ ninth anniversary this year, to receive over 250 product entries and over 95 entries into our ‘Retail’ and ‘Hospitality’ Awards demonstrates the amazing innovation, vitality and strength in our food and drink industry.”
Barbara added: “We’re exceptionally proud of our Awards and the opportunity they provide to acknowledge and celebrate Devon’s finest. I would like to congratulate all those who won and were shortlisted, our sponsors and those who make our fabulous Awards possible.”
This year’s highly prestigious ‘Best Fine Dining Restaurant’ Award was presented jointly to two establishments, for the first time in the Awards’ history. Judges simply couldn’t separate The Angel in Dartmouth and The Coach House by Michael Caines in Kentisbury. Commenting on The Angel judges said ‘excellent all round - I can't see why anyone wouldn't love this place’, high praise received for The Coach House by Michael Caines included ‘a very high quality, well run restaurant located at a beautiful hotel’.
Celebrating the best of fine dining, other formal dining awards went to the exceptional The NoBody Inn, Doddiscombsleigh who won the highly sought after ‘Best Restaurant’ Award, with striking Orestone Manor, Maidencombe victorious in the ‘Best Hotel Restaurant’ category. The Bear & Blacksmith, Kingsbridge were the proud winner of the ‘Best Pub’ category with judges commending them for growing a lot of the produce they use themselves, on their own farm.
In the casual dining section of the ‘Hospitality Awards’ ‘Best Bar’ went to The Cove Cafe Bar in beautiful Hope Cove with the ‘Best Café’ title awarded to Bayards Cove Inn, Dartmouth. Tambapanni in Barnstaple claimed the ‘Best Street Food’ Award with judges praising their certified plastic free status and ‘fantastic, authentic food’.
In the ‘Retail Awards’ the ‘Best Retailer’ title went to the magnificent Ashburton Delicatessen, who has previously won the accolade twice in the Awards’ history. ‘Best Online Retailer’ went to Eversfield Organic, rounding off a fantastic night for the Bratton Clovelly-based family owned business. Exeter Cookery School proudly won ‘Best Training School’ and Crediton Farmers’ Market were named ‘Best Farmers Market’.
A special thank you goes to sponsors of the awards Peplows Chartered Accountants, Stephens Scown, Black and White Asset Finance, WestCountry, The Source trade show, Taste Buds, Hedgerow Print and inkREADible.
For more information about Food Drink Devon, the awards and to sign up to their monthly newsletters which feature events, offers and competitions, please visit www.fooddrinkdevon.co.uk, follow @FoodDrinkDevon on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.