Devon's leading food and drink producers and hospitality organisations came together to recognise and celebrate the best that Devon has to offer at the Food and Drink Devon Awards evening on Monday 14th October.
Held this year at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, the awards are now in their third year. They are set to become an established event in the food and drink sector's award season and are becoming a badge of provenance and prestige for Devonshire businesses.
This year saw a total of 79 entries from members keen to win the silver, gold and platinum awards, along with the highly coveted 'Best' titles. The evening marked the culmination of an extensive judging process to discover the best in Devon.
Tideford Organics, an organic food manufacturer in Totnes, were named winners of the Best Packaging award, with judges commending them on their 'picturesque and well thought out design that clearly helped sell their product and promoted Devon produce'. After starting in 1996, Tideford Organics have developed a rustic, homely packaging for its variety of soups, pestos, puddings and more.
The title of Best Producer went to Partridge Farm Meats, a family owned farm and butchery based in Tiverton. Their success didn't stop there as they were also named platinum award winners for their sirloin steak which was described by judges as 'a perfect piece of meat', gold award winners for their merguez sausages which had 'a lovely rustic, handmade appearance' and silver award winners for their plain pork chipolatas which were 'a perfect balance of pork and herbs.'
Dartmouth-based restaurant, Annabelles Kitchen, walked away with the title of Best Fine Dining Restaurant, with judges stating that 'the menu was a good balance of dishes using local and seasonal ingredients and the food well executed and featured bold flavours and presentation.'
Noel Corston's restaurant Noel Corston @ EX34 defended their title to be named winners of Best Restaurant, having first won the title last year. Judges were impressed by the restaurant's 'honest and simple philosophy.' The Woolacombe restaurant is a simple, modern brasserie-style concept that showcases Devon through Noel's use of local produce.
Awarded the Best Bistro title was Totnes' Waterside Bistro, who impressed the judges who stated that 'their food was fresh and well presented with great taste and textures.' Run by husband and wife Matt and Delphine Buzzo, Waterside Bistro first opened in 2004 and quickly established an ethos in sourcing the freshest, finest foods creating firm relationships with both suppliers and locals.
A local community pub in Sandford, Credition, The Lamb Inn, was awarded the title of Best Pub, described by judges as 'a great local pub that obviously care for their patrons'. The 16th century former coaching house is a core part of the community serving coffee, real ales and quality wine, with emphasis on flavour, quality ingredients and use of local and home-grown produce.
The winner of the Best Café / Tearoom was The Rosemoor Kitchen Garden based in Great Torrington. The popular venue uses produce from their own fruit and vegetable garden to create great dishes, with their poached salmon described as 'delicate and served with the perfect mix of garden vegetables' which was 'complemented with friendly and efficient service'. Having undergone a recent refurbishment, The Rosemoor Kitchen Garden has since introduced a new menu.
Ruby Modern Diner, which has been open since January 2013, was named as the Best Takeaway / Street Food winner. Situated in the heart of Exeter, Ruby Modern Diner offers a modern twist on the popular American diner, serving delicious burgers, muffins, desserts and more. Judges thought Ruby Modern Diner to be 'an establishment that has obviously set themselves high standards and clearly works hard to achieve them'.
Eversfield Organic had another successful year at the annual awards after being named Best Online Retailer, as well as being awarded a gold award for their organic dry-cure bacon again this year. Judges thought the website to be 'easy to navigate, with an efficient and effective purchasing process.' The family-run business, which has been going for over ten years, overlooks Dartmoor National Park, forming the perfect setting for raising their organic livestock.
Ashburton Delicatessen, a local deli run by mother and son team Sue and Robin Hudson, received the title of Best Retailer. Described as 'a truly outstanding deli', Ashburton Delicatessen impressed the judges with their 'warm and friendly welcome' and a 'beautiful and tempting window display'. Since taking over the delicatessen in 2012, Sue and Robin have transformed it into a light, airy shop stocking a wide range of local produce plus Robin's homemade omelettes and more.
The prestigious Outstanding Contribution award went to Gabriel David - owner of Luscombe Drinks. This award recognises individuals who stand out as having made an enormous contribution to the Food and Drink industry in Devon. Gabriel took over a cottage cider making business from his father in 1998. In 15 years he has built a quality Devon business supplying multiple products throughout the UK and internationally.
Luscombe's demand for top quality product extends from Devon grown apples and elderflower to organic Sicilian oranges and lemons. Gabriel has always spurned the path to the supermarkets and has fully supported privately owned individual delis and shops. He has a passion for quality and for all things Devon. Gabriel is a great example of how a Devon business can grow and thrive.
Food and Drink Devon represents members of like-minded businesses who are dedicated to providing and supporting locally produced food and drink. Dating back to the 1990s, Food and Drink Devon was created after the merging of the South Hams Food and Drink Association and the South Devon and Dartmoor Food Group in January 2008.
For a full list of this year's winners and more information about Food and Drink Devon, visit www.lovetheflavour.co.uk.