First round of local businesses crowned winners for their produce at the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2021/22

Gold, silver and bronze awards have been given out for Artisan Local Drink of the Year, Artisan Local Product of the Year and Artisan Local Vegetarian / Vegan Product of the Year

Monday, 19th July 2021, 12:52 pm
Updated Monday, 19th July 2021, 12:52 pm
John Evans of Towcester Brewery with Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, James Saunders Watson.

The first round of winners of this year's Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards (WNFDA) have been announced at Rockingham Castle.

The winners of the first categories were announced during the Rockingham Castle Food and Drink Fair on Saturday, July 17, which give the prestigious awards boosted exposure amongst the general public and an array of local, regional and national businesses.

This year, the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drinks Awards will be recognising food and drink businesses from around the county with two announcements culminating in the annual awards ceremony held in October.

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Steve Reid of Friars Farm and Jeyes with Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, James Saunders Watson.

Awards founder, Rachel Mallows, said: "We want to be able to celebrate successful food and drink producers throughout the year, providing a platform for finalists to champion their achievements at major events, food festivals and to their customer base.

"The pandemic has created an opportunity for independent businesses to harness the buy local message and the Awards help to shine a light on those doing great things."

Bronze, silver and gold winners were announced for the following categories: Artisan Local Product of the Year (sponsored by Heygates), Artisan Local Vegetarian/Vegan Product of the Year (Sponsored by Daily Bread) and Artisan Local Drink of the Year.

The judges had a tough job in shortlisting category finalists as well as awarding the coveted gold, silver and bronze placings.

Mindy Robinson of Sophisticakes with Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, James Saunders Watson.

Food journalist, cookery writer and patron of the awards, Susanna Booth, said: "Once again, it was wonderful to see the passion in Northamptonshire for food made with the highest standards of care and attention, which has endured despite all the upheaval of the past 18 months."

The final results were announced by radio presenter, John Griff and the Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, James Saunders Watson. The results are as follows:

Artisan Local Drink of the Year award winners:

GOLD: Steam Ale - Towcester Mill Brewery

SILVER: Silson Gin - Wharf Distillery

BRONZE: Infusion Set - Jelley’s Vodka and Tea Lab

BRONZE: Black Cherry and Vanilla Rum - New Town

BRONZE: Solar Star - Phipps NBC

BRONZE: Pilsner - Silverstone Brewery

Director of the Towcester Mill Brewery, John Evans - who was presented with a Gold award in the Artisan Local Drink of the Year category for his Steam Ale - commented: "The award has given us an extra boost to our business."

"We can now look forward to brighter days, producing a top quality product now we are back open for business following the pandemic."

Artisan Local Product of the Year award winners:

GOLD: Blueberry Jam - Friars Farm

GOLD: Jeyes’s Northamptonshire Sauce - Jeyes of Earls Barton

SILVER: Salted Caramel Ice Cream - Ganders Goat

SILVER: Northamptonshire Blue - Hamm Tun Fine Foods

BRONZE: Mango Caramel Popcorn - What’s Poppin’

BRONZE: Picklish - Bite Me Spices

Owner of Friars Farm and Jeyes of Earls Barton, Steve Reid, scooped an array of awards including two Gold in the Artisan Local Product of the Year for his Blueberry jam and Jeyes Northamptonshire sauce.

Steve said: "I’m over the moon. These awards put fire in my belly whilst providing recognition, which helps to raise the profile of my current products as well as our new ventures Northampton Charcuterie and Northampton Cheese Company."

Artisan Local Vegetarian/Vegan Product of the Year award winners:

GOLD: Pecan, Pumpkin and Cranberry Cake - Sophisticake Creations

SILVER: Little Bertie - Hamm Tun Fine Foods

SILVER: Vegan Sausage Roll - Whittlebury Bakery

BRONZE: Mushroom Biriyani - Bite Me Spices

BRONZE: Chilli Jam - Friars Farm

An emotional and heartfelt Gold award win was picked up by the founder of Sophisticake Creations, Mindy Robinson, for her pecan, pumpkin and cranberry cake in the Local Vegetarian / Vegan Product of the Year category.

Mindy said: "I was up against incredible competition and feel very humbled. The award gives me the reassurance and feedback that all the hard work and long hours I have put in to building my business is paying off."

For the full list of the results across the first three categories in this year’s competition or for more information on WDFDA 2021/22, visit www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk or email Rachel Mallows on [email protected]

Keep up to date with the latest WNFDA news by following the awards on Facebook at @foodawards or Twitter and Instagram at @foodawardsHQ or on LinkedIn at @weetabixnfadawards using the hashtag #WFDA21.