A shortlist of finalists has been drawn up for three categories in this year’s Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards.
Products made by firms in Weldon, Bulwick, Kettering and Wellingborough are among those which have made the shortlists.
A panel of judges met at Holdenby House to choose the finalists in the ‘New Local Product of the Year’, ‘New Local Drink of the Year’ and ‘Artisan Local Product/Drink of the Year’ categories for the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2012/13.
The Awards, devised by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP), are now in their fourth year and 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 two ‘New’ categories were introduced to encourage innovation and support growth and were aimed at products and drinks which were not on sale before January 1, 2011.
The shortlisted finalists in the ‘New Local Product’ category are:
Blackberry & Rosemary Aged Balsamic Vinegar - Gourmet Spice Company, Weldon
Chocolate and Cinnamon Marshmallows - Zoe’s Biscuit Tin
Fruity Apple and Plum Chutney - The Village Orchard, Flore
The Hot Runner - The Pickled Village, Bulwick
The Jubilee Jammyboree - The Pickled Village, Bulwick
Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake - Rossi’s Ice Cream, Kettering
The shortlisted finalists in the ‘New Local Drink’ category are:
Golden Russet Apple Juice - The Village Orchard, Flore
Hart No.1 (4.1%) - Hart Family Brewers, Wellingborough
Hop Trotter - Potbelly Brewery, Kettering
The shortlisted finalists in the ‘Artisan Local Product/Drink’ category are:
Dairy Vanilla Ice Cream - Rossi’s Ice Cream, Kettering
Fire Bellied Toad - Frog Island Brewery, Northampton
Flore Gold Apple Juice - The Village Orchard, Flore
Home Cured Bacon - Sauls of Spratton
Northamptonshire Bitter - Hoggleys Brewery, Litchborough
Jonathan Chaplin from The Village Orchard at Flore said: “We were runners-up last year for our medium apple juice so while we very much hoped that we’d still be in the reckoning at this stage, it’s absolutely wonderful to have made all three shortlists.
“I am especially delighted that the chutney went down so well with the judges because that too was devised as a way of making use of our plums which would, like the apples, otherwise have gone to waste. It’s only been on the market for a few months so I’m delighted it’s been given such an early stamp of approval.”
The judges who chose the shortlisted products included Steven Saunders, co-founder of BBC’s Ready Steady Cook, Daniel Owens, news editor of the Northamptonshire Telegraph’s sister paper the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, and Rob Purdie, NEP’s Executive Director.
Mr Purdie said: “We are really beginning to see some maturity and momentum building within the Awards with a growing range of local producers who have the right ingredients, products and packaging to make us proud that they are made in Northamptonshire.
“We now have a really solid base within the local food and drink industry from which to develop our range of activities and we are continuing to constantly raise the bar to improve both product and financial performance so that we have a vibrant and growing sector.”
Visitors to the Northamptonshire Food Show at Holdenby House on August 26 and 27 will be able to taste the five shortlisted products in the ‘Artisan’ category and there will be a chance for people to sample the products vying for the titles of ‘New Local Product’ and ‘New Local Drink’ at a special event later in the autumn.
The winners and runners-up in all three categories will be decided by another select panel of judges later in the year and those results, along with those of the other remaining categories in the competition, will be announced at the Awards Dinner, sponsored by Electrolux, which will take place at The Wing, Silverstone on Wednesday, November 14.
For more on the awards visit www.letyourselfgrow.com/foodanddrinkawards