Eighteen of the county’s finest artisan food and drink products have been shortlisted as finalists in the fourteenth annual Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards (WNFAD) and will now battle it out for Gold, Silver and Bronze in their respective categories.
Sponsors Heygates and Daily Bread were delighted with the number of entries received across the three Artisan producer categories: Artisan Local Drink, Artisan Local Product and Artisan Local Vegan/Vegetarian Product.
The ‘Artisan’ classification includes products from companies that make a high-quality or distinctive product in small quantities, usually by hand or using traditional methods.
Alison Cox, from Green Kitchen Preserves, shortlisted for their Tomato and Chilli Chutney, said: “I was so pleased to hear I had been shortlisted on the evening of my 50th birthday.
“The competition standard is very high, I’m immensely proud. The Tomato and Chilli Chutney has got to be my best seller at the moment - customers are loving it and it seemed an obvious product to enter. Although I don’t naturally shout about my products, it’s fabulous to be recognised amongst other great products.”
Laurence Conisbee, from Wharf Distillery, shortlisted for their Lactodurum Gin and Solstice Malt Whisky, said: “Wharf Distillery is delighted to have two products in the finals of the Artisan Local Drink at this year's Weetabix Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards. Having one product reach the final is fantastic, but two is amazing and testimony to the hard work of our small team here in Towcester.
“We are particularly delighted that our Solstice English Whisky has made the finals as this has truly been a long labour of love, almost four years, bringing Northamptonshire's first ever whisky to the market. These awards are so important to help small producers raise their profile across Northamptonshire and beyond and we are honoured to be part of them.”
The WNFAD awards aim to celebrate all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues and reward those who work so hard within the culinary sector.
Awards director, Rachel Mallows MBE DL, said: “I’m delighted to see the County’s Food and Drink Sector continue to flourish after a couple of very challenging years.
“The entries in the artisan categories have made tough judging even at the short-listing stage which sets a great precedent of what’s to come and reflects the fantastic level of produce and drink within the category.
“I do hope that our county foodies will seek out these products and try them.”
Finalists for all three artisan producer categories are as follows:
Artisan Local Drink of the Year:
Stonyfield wine - Sparkling Rose Three Hills Brewing - Heidrun session NEIPA Wharf Distillery - Lactodurum Gin and Solstice Malt Whisky Lutton Farm - Blue Aurora Ice Wild and Furrow - Oat drink
Artisan Local Product of the Year, sponsored by Heygates:
Whittlebury Bakery- White Sourdough Northamptonshire Charcuterie Company- Garlic & Fennel salami Green Kitchen Preserves - Tomato & Chilli chutney Your cool - Elderflower sorbet Naked Dairy - Rocky’s Gelato Mee Farmers- Blueberry & lavender Jam Hamm Tun Fine Foods- Northamptonshire Blue
Artisan Local Vegetarian/Vegan Product of the Year, sponsored by Daily Bread:
Salma Shah - Almond & Coconut Granola The Food Library - Spiced Rhubarb Chutney Millie’s Pickles - Cucumber & cabbage The Curious Vegan - Oinkin Patties Sweet Lounge - Vegan blue raspberry bottles Northampton Cheese company - Tongue Taster
The winners and runners-up in each category will be decided by a second stage judging process and winners will be announced later in the summer.
For more information on the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2022/23, visit www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk.
Follow the Awards on Facebook at @foodawards or Twitter and Instagram at @foodawardsHQ or on LinkedIn at @weetabixnfadawards.