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Let culinary combat commence

WHILE the county’s foodies rally behind its tastiest local treats and tipples with the launch of the Northamptonshire Year of Food and Drink, the battle among the culinary creators themselves has begun.

The Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2019/20 are now under way, and it’s those passionate producers vying for the five product and drink titles who are among the first clamouring to submit their entries to ensure they are in the mix for this year’s prestigious titles.

The awards, which are run by the sector for the sector, are aimed at celebrating all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues and rewarding those who work so hard within the culinary sector.

The competition was launched for its eleventh year in March at Warner’s Distillery, sponsors of the Artisan Local Drink and New Local Drink of the Year categories, and while, as reigning champions, Towcester Mill Brewery can’t defend the latter title this year, its director, John Evans, is urging others to get involved.

“You’ve only got to look at our record of success in the competition over recent years to appreciate the value we place on the awards in terms of raising awareness of our brand, opening doors with prospective stockists and increasing sales,” said John.

“So we were thrilled when our Rubio beer, which was named in honour of the local Grand National winner, galloped past the finishing post in first place last year and would heartily recommend that the county’s drinks producers enter to ensure that they’re in the starting gate this time round.”

Meanwhile, with the increase in entries in the three product categories – Artisan Local Savoury Product (sponsored by Heygates Flour and Animal Feed), Artisan Local Sweet Product of the Year (sponsored by Moulton College) and Artisan Local Vegetarian / Vegan Product of the Year – also growing year on year, the judging panels are gearing up for a very difficult task ahead.

Indeed, that last category, which was introduced for the first time last year, is sponsored by award-winning Northampton wholefood co-operative, Daily Bread, and Worker Co-operative Member, John Clarke, says he’s excited about who might be in the mix for this year’s title.

“We are really pleased to be sponsoring this category again and proud to be shining the spotlight on those local producers who create some wonderful food in this expanding and successful sector,” said John.

“Last year we saw the likes of cookies up against pies and puddings, so I’m really looking forward to discovering what products the judges might be tucking into later in the year and would recommend that those who are eligible get involved to enjoy the obvious benefits that success in this competition can bring.”

The closing date for the five product and drink categories is Tuesday 28 May. To download entry forms for those and indeed all of the free-to-enter categories in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2019/20, visit the awards website – www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk

Meanwhile for more information about the competition, including becoming a sponsor, making a nomination in the Independent Cafe/Tea Room, Weetabix Local Food Hero, and F&B Achiever of the Year categories, or to recommend your favourite pub or restaurant, email or call the awards team on 01933 664437.

You can also follow the Awards on Twitter and Instagram at @foodawardsHQ or on Facebook at facebook.com/foodawards

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