Devon’s talented food and drink scene was alive at Monday (4th October) night’s 10th Food Drink Devon Awards. Over 250 of 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 Grade II listed Victorian New Continental Hotel, in Plymouth. The ceremony was hosted by wine writer, presenter and broadcaster, Oz Clarke OBE.
Competition was immediately fierce in the ‘Taste of Devon Product Awards’ with a staggering 250 product entries. The highly prestigious ‘Product of the Year’ accolade went to Blakewell Smokehouse for their Superior Cold Smoked Devon Salmon, with judges commending Blakewell Smokehouse on ‘the soft and subtle smoke flavour of the best smoked salmon they had ever tasted.’
From the 250 product entries, all of which were blind tasted by independent judges, eight really impressed and achieved a faultless score of 100% and a ‘Platinum’ award. Deserving producers and their products were Andrew King Chocolates and their Signature Nine, Blakewell Smokehouse for their ‘Product of the Year’ Superior Cold Smoked Devon Salmon, Burrow Farm @ Courtneys and their Red Ruby Rump Steak, Figgy’s luxury handmade Christmas Pudding, Hunt’s Cider for Elfs Tipple, Lovaton Farm’s Lleyn Hogget Rolled Loin, The Dartmoor Ice Cream Co.’s Raspberry Sorbet and The Devon Fudge Company for their Barista Coffee Fudge. Products in the ‘Taste of Devon Product Awards’ achieving a score of 90-99% were awarded ‘Gold’ awards of which there were 88, with a further 50 obtaining ‘Silver‘ awards for scoring 85-89%.
Host of the 10th Food Drink Devon Awards, Oz Clarke OBE, commented: “Devon is showing itself to be a thrilling part of Britain using its wonderful natural resources to produce fabulous food and drink. I’ve been eating Devon cheese and seafood and drinking Devon beer, cider and wine for as long as I can remember and they’ve never tasted better!”
This year’s highly prestigious ‘Best Fine Dining Restaurant’ award was presented for the second time in the history of the awards to The Angel – Taste of Devon, Dartmouth. Commenting on The Angel – Taste of Devon, judges said ‘the food was sophisticated and sublime, this is the ultimate dining experience’. The ‘Best Restaurant’ award went to the exceptional Two Bridges Hotel, Dartmoor with judges’ praise including ‘sumptuous dining experience’ and ‘attentive and faultless service’. The White Hart Hotel, Modbury was the proud winner of the ‘Best Pub’ category with judges commending them for ‘serving quality local fresh food, the highlight being the beef fillet.’
Torquay’s The Offshore Bar & Restaurant claimed the ‘Best Bar’ award with judges applauding their ‘fantastic location with a vibrant atmosphere, friendly service and delicious food’. Lynmouth Bay Cafe, Lynmouth took home the accolade for ‘Best Café’, judges’ praise included ‘we loved their cream tea and thought the Devon fudge donut (with clotted cream) was amazing’. Previous Food Drink Devon award-winners Tambapanni, Braunton, were yet again successful and claimed ‘Best Takeaway’ with judges commending their ‘delicious food and friendly service’.
In the ‘Retail Awards’ ‘Best Online Retailer’ went to Bovey Tracey’s Hamiltons Fish, with judges commenting on their ‘great retail experience, and extremely generous portion sizes’. Strawberry Fields, Lifton triumphed in the ‘Best Retailer’ category, impressing judges with their ‘local, fresh and delicious produce, with nothing too much trouble for the staff’.
A special thank you goes to sponsors of the awards Partners&, M&B Edible Oils, Taste Buds, inkREADible Labels, Hedgerow Print, Village Design & Creative Marketing, Stephens Scown, Impact Design & Marketing, WestCountry Fruit Sales and Bishop Fleming.
The evening’s canapés and three-course dinner was created by Food Drink Devon board director and Master Chef of Great Britain, Peter Gorton and Kit Harris, head chef at the New Continental Hotel using fabulous local produce from members and food and drink sponsors including Salcombe Distilling Co., Hunt’s Cider, Summerskills Brewery, Luscombe Drinks, Sharpham Wine, M.C. Kelly, The Dartmoor Ice Cream Co., Sharpham Cheese, Owens Coffee, Salcombe Dairy, Waterhouse Fayre, Blakewell Smokehouse, Veyseys Butchers and WestCountry Fruit Sales.
Covering food production, preparation, retailing, cooking and service, the Food Drink Devon Awards honour businesses demonstrating a consistent commitment to quality, sustainability, provenance, excellent customer service and support for their local communities and other local businesses. Each year judging for the awards is carried out by a panel of independent and unbiased experts including a number of celebrated names from the region. All results and winners are verified by an independent adjudicator, with entrants receiving the opportunity to benefit from invaluable product feedback provided by the panel.
Food Drink Devon is committed to increasing the county’s profile, both nationally and internationally and represents a membership of Devon’s leading food and drink producers, speciality retailers, hospitality and catering businesses. Through working with like-minded businesses, together they showcase Devon as a county where the use of fantastic quality, seasonal and local produce is standard. The organisation and its members share a commitment to enjoy, inspire and discover more about food and drink. Look out for their green heart logo which is carried by over 320 producers and businesses across Devon.
For more information on Food Drink Devon please visit www.fooddrinkdevon.co.uk