Northamptonshire is back! As the contenders for the County’s Food Awards are revealed, the judges are wowed at the calibre of Northamptonshire’s artisan producers

The Fifteenth Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards, launched on the first day of spring at Silverstone Circuit, have now begun the shortlisting process. 21 of the County’s best artisan food and drink products have been announced as finalists, they will now compete for Gold, Silver, and Bronze in their respective categories.

J Sweeney Accountants have joined sponsors Heygates and Daily Bread to support the three Artisan producer categories: Artisan Local Drink, Artisan Local Product and Artisan Local Vegetarian/Vegan 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.

Park Inn by Radisson Northampton, new Associate sponsors were kind to host Artisan Local Drink. The judges were amazed by the range of drinks available in our county, when asked to shortlist to between 3-5 products could not reduce the number of finalists to less than 7!

Sam Toyne from Phipps commented, ”I’m delighted about getting through to the finals as this was our apprentice brewer, Josh’s first solo recipe for us. It was supposed to be a one off but it’s proven so popular it has been added to our permanent range of real ales.  To have a brand new recipe performing as well as our traditional recipes gives us security for the future of Phipps.”

Honey was a sticking point with the judges at Northampton Active for our Artisan Local Product shortlisting. They were wowed by the international influence and wide range of products that had been shortlisted.

Eat Curious, last year’s winner of Artisan Local Vegetarian/Vegan Product provided a scenic venue at Horton for judging this year’s entries. Category sponsor Daily Bread commented that since COVID Northamptonshire is now “back” offering such a high range of quality products.

No stranger to the Awards and its benefits, Gary Bradshaw of Hamm Tun Fine Foods, last year won Silver in Artisan Local Product with his Northamptonshire Blue, is back with a bang after a devastating fire in the winter losing all his stock, being named as a finalist in both Product categories. “It’s good to have some recognition for all my hard work. Sales have been slow, if it wasn’t for all the food shows I wouldn’t still be here. I can’t make enough of the Shoetown Blue it’s my most popular product by far, it’s so consistently good. What a fantastic way to mark my 10th year in business”.

 

Rachel Mallows MBE DL, Awards Director, said:

“Across all 3 categories, judges reported it was such a hard decision and could not meet my maximum 5 shortlist. Not only were the produced in Northamptonshire products and drinks wide ranging but every judging session had feedback about the exceptional taste. We were so pleased that entries in each category were at least 30% new producers to the awards.”

These prestigious Northamptonshire 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.

 

Finalists for all three categories are:

Artisan Local Drink of the Year, sponsored by J Sweeney Accountants

Barely Organised- Paw Another Light Session Mead

Mee Farmers- 100% Blueberry Juice

Phipps Northampton Brewery Co Ltd- Phipps Foundry Mild

Silverstone Distillery- Club 80- Navy Strength Gin

Three Hills Brewing- Heidrun session NEIPA

Wild & Furrow- Oat drink

Winwick Hall Bruce Green Limited- Winwick Hall Methode Champenoise

 

Artisan Local Product of the Year, sponsored by Heygates:

Duston Village Bakery- Steak Pasty

Friars Farm- Lemon Curd

Hamm Tun Fine Foods- Shoetown Blue

Made by the Beekeeper- New Lodge Vineyard Chilli Honey

F.F Tee Bakery- Northampton Cheesecake

The Boughton Estate- Boughton Estate Homemade honey

Your Cool- Coffee ice-cream

 

Artisan Local Vegetarian/ Vegan Product of the Year, sponsored by Daily Bread:

Dovely Bakery – Rose Cottage Multi Seed Loaf

Hamm Tun Fine Foods- Northamptonshire Blue

Mill House at the Old Stable Yard Tearoom- Strawberry & Rose Cake

Shoots & Spores- Fresh Oyster Mushrooms

Sophisticake Creations- Carrot, Parsnip & Pecan Cake

The Tollemache Arms- Harrington Wild Garlic Butter

Urban Microgreens- Salad Mix

 

The winners and runners-up in each category will be decided by a second stage judging process and winners will be announced on 4th August at The Daily Bread.

For more information on the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2023/24, please visit www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk or call Sophie Smith on 01933 664437 or email sophie@themallowscompany.com

Follow the Awards on Facebook at @foodawards or Twitter and Instagram at @foodawardsHQ or on LinkedIn at @weetabixnfadawards.

 

Northamptonshire Good Food and Drink Festival