Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards finalists announced

Holdenby House, where one of the judging sessions took place
Holdenby House, where one of the judging sessions took place

Food producers from Northampton, Towcester, Brackley, Spratton and Sulgrave are among the finalists in the Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards.

The products that have reached the finals include, chocolates, fruit cake, apple juice and marmalade.

The awards, devised by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP) and now in their seventh year, are aimed at celebrating all that is great about local produce and drink and recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues. They are sponsored by Carlsberg UK.

Two panels of experts judged the categories at the recent product and drink judging sessions staged at Holdenby House and at the reigning Community Pub of the Year – Town, The Malt Shovel Tavern in Northampton respectively, the shortlisted finalists in the five categories have been chosen from a record number of entries. They are (in alphabetical order within the category):

Artisan Sweet Product of the Year (sponsored by Moulton College):

Amaretti Tiffin - The Corner Deli & Sandwich Shop, Kettering

Cornish Sea Salted Caramels - Belflair Chocolates, Brackley

Fruitilicious Granola with Nuts and Seeds - Most Marvellous Baking, Northampton

Rich Fruit Cake - Elliotts Kitchen Fine Foods, Towcester

Swiss Roll Raspberry Puree Ice Cream Cake - A Rossi and Partners, Kettering

Artisan Savoury Product of the Year (sponsored by Heygates Flour and Animal Feed):

Hobnail Goat Cheese – NeneView Dairy, Stanwick

Nice Try Lamb Pie – Sauls of Spratton, Spratton

Pastrami – Ashley Farm Shop, Ashley

Pork, Apple and Black Pudding Scotch Egg – Elliotts Kitchen Fine Foods, Towcester

Potato, Leek and Stilton Pie – The Moulton Pie Company, Moulton

New Local Product of the Year (sponsored by Whitworth Bros. Ltd Flour Millers):

Fruitilicious Granola with Nuts and Seeds – Most Marvellous Baking, Northampton

Middle Eastern Marmalade – Friars Farm, Northampton

Rapstick Goat Cheese – NeneView Dairy, Stanwick

Rhubarb and GINger Cake – Most Marvellous Baking, Northampton

Skyver Goat Cheese – NeneView Dairy, Stanwick

Artisan Local Drink of the Year:

Apple Juice – Windmill Orchards, Sulgrave

Becket’s Ale – Phipps NBC, Northampton

Bible Black Porter – Nene Valley Brewery, Oundle

Booze Hound – Gun Dog Ales, Woodford Halse

Northamptonshire Bitter – Hoggley’s Brewery, Northampton

New Local Drink of the Year:

Bell Ringer – Towcester Mill Brewery, Towcester

Founder’s Reserve East India Pale Ale – Phipps NBC, Northampton

Plum Cider – Saxby’s Cider, Irchester

Ratliffe’s Celebrated Stout – Phipps NBC, Northampton

Additionally, while not shortlisted, One Track Mind from Brigstock Brewery at Brigstock was also ‘commended’ by the judges in the ‘New Local Drink’ category.

Among those new finalists to be celebrating their success is John Evans from Towcester Mill Brewery, who said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that we have been shortlisted, especially as we’ve just marked the first anniversary of the opening of the newly refurbished brewery after we moved into the town from Whittlebury.

“It’s been a lot of hard work in bringing the old mill back to life but this helps to make all that effort worthwhile and we shall certainly be pulling a few pints in our community tap room to celebrate.”

Vicky Robertson of Most Marvellous Baking in Northampton who is a triple finalist across two categories this year with her granola and rhubarb and ginger cake; “The publicity I had from being shortlisted last year brought a real boost to my business so I’m delighted to have been successful again.

“My cake uses rhubarb gin from one of last year’s winners, Warner Edwards, so here’s hoping that that might be the magic ingredient to take at least one of the titles this year.”

The winners and runners-up in all five categories will be decided by a second panel of judges later in the year and the results, along with those of the other 13 categories in the competition, will be announced at the Awards Dinner taking place at Royal & Derngate in Northampton on Thursday, October 15.

Meanwhile visitors to both the Northamptonshire Food Show at Holdenby on Saturday and Sunday September 5 and 6 and the Althorp Food Festival on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th September 25 and 26 will have chance to sample some of the 24 shortlisted products and drinks.

For more details on all 18 categories in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2015/16, please visit the Awards’ website at www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk