Reverend Kate Bottley greeted winners for three Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drinks Awards
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The gold, silver and bronze winners of three categories at the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drinks Awards 2022 were announced today (August 10) at Daily Bread.
Reverend Kate Bottley, a presenter known for starring on Gogglebox, was pleased to greet the winners as they collected their awards.
This is the fourteenth year it has run, and the three categories announced today were Artisan Local Vegetarian/Vegan Product, Artisan Local Product and Artisan Local Drink of the Year 2022/23.
Rachel Mallows MBE DL director of the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards said: “This competition was started during the recession, and we have been proud to continue it.
“We love being able to celebrate the best of the best, and the products were overwhelmingly fantastic across the three categories.
“The standard was exceptional, and we are proud that all of the finalists can add this to their accolade.”
17 of the 19 finalists were in attendance, which Rachel said “shows how much this competition matters and has an impact” on local food and drink producers.
Kate, who was due to visit Daily Bread to celebrate its 40th birthday a couple of years ago, found a love of food growing up when she was encouraged by her mum to mix and taste things.
She now continues to make jam with her 18 and 21-year-old children, and her own bread.
Kate said: “Food is more than just fuel - something happens when we eat, drink and make food together. It bonds us.
“It has been wonderful to be here on a sunny day with all these people who are so enthusiastic about what they make and produce.”
Kate was particularly taken aback by Salma Shah’s story - she first began making granola to empower women in her community, and as a distraction from a bereavement in her family.
“Stories make food and drink taste better because you know the meaning behind it,” said Kate. “Because I’m eating something that I know started from such a wholesome place, that makes me enjoy it more.”
Salma’s almond and coconut granola was awarded Bronze in the Artisan Local Vegan/Vegetarian Product of the Year.
Paul Heygate, director of Heygates Flour and Animal Feeds, first got involved with Northamptonshire's food and drink industry 14 years ago.
He said: “I’m desperately proud of the county. It’s great and is home to some wonderful businesses.
“Heygates is delighted to be the sponsor of the Artisan Local Product award.”
Daily Bread, in Bedford Road, where the event was held, was proud to sponsor the Artisan Local Vegetarian/Vegan Product award.
It has been running for 42 years and is run by a group from St Peter’s Church.
Following the pandemic, organisers were thrilled to receive a higher number of entries than previous years, from a range of established and new businesses.
Rachel said: “We are once again thrilled to have the headline sponsorship of Weetabix, and category sponsorship from Daily Bread and Heygates Flour and Animal Feed in these artisan awards.
“Buying local produce has never been so important, and every pound spent has a positive impact on the local economy.
“On this very warm summer’s day, we presented a superb range of finalist produce and drink from some pretty amazing businesses. To have Kate help us with this was the icing on the cake.”
Admitting she does not visit Northamptonshire as “often as she should”, Kate said: “The taste, texture and flavours of the food and drink produced in this county are incredible.
“It’s the love that’s put into these products that’s the added ingredient and makes all the difference.
“You can’t factor that into a mass produced product - it’s not the same.”
She admires the hard work of the businesses for overcoming the challenges of the “rollercoaster” the last two-to-three years have been, with some bouncing back from not making any profit at all.
The winners in the three categories announced today are as follows:
Artisan Local Vegan/Vegetarian Product of the Year 2022/23, sponsored by Daily Bread
GOLD: Oinkin’ Patties from The Curious Vegan
SILVER: Spiced Rhubarb Chutney from The Food Library, and Tongue Taster from Northampton Cheese Company
BRONZE: Almond & Coconut Granola by Salma Shah, Cucumber & Dill Sauerkraut from Millie Pickles, and Vegan Fizzy Blue Raspberry Bottles from The Sweet Loung
Artisan Local Product of the Year 2022/23, sponsored by Heygates Flour and Animal Feed
GOLD: Naked Dairy Gelato from Rocky’s Gelato
SILVER: Blueberry & Lavender Jam from Mee Farmers, Northamptonshire Blue from Hamm Tun Fine Foods, and White Sourdough from Whittlebury Bakery
BRONZE: Elderflower Sorbet from Your Cool, Garlic and Fennel Salami from Northampton Charcuterie Company, and Tomato & Chilli Chutney from Green Kitchen Preserves
Artisan Local Drink of the Year 2022/23
GOLD: Blue Aurora English Blue Ice Wine from Lutton Farm, Lactodorum Towcester Gin from Wharf Distillery, and Stonyfield English Quality Sparkling Wine 2018 Rose from Stonyfield Vineyard
SILVER: Heidrun Session NEIPA from Three Hills Brewing, and Oat Drink from Wild & Furrow
BRONZE: Solstice Single Malt Whisky from Wharf Distillery
The remainder of the 15 awards will be announced at the annual Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drinks Awards ceremony, planned for October 12 at Royal & Derngate.
For more information on this year’s competition, or for tickets, call Sophie Smith on 01933 664437 or email [email protected].