More than 420 people gathered to celebrate the West Country’s finest food and drink, best pubs, restaurants, cafes and shops at the 2019 Taste of the West awards, held at Exeter University.
“The sector is home to a huge variety of food and drink products from our farmers and growers, but also from artisan and speciality food producers who have taken up the food challenge,” said Taste of the West Chief Executive John Sheaves. “This means that consumers can now buy the most incredible range of products – all produced here in our wonderful region.”
Mr Sheaves added that the awards proved the region’s food industry was in good heart, despite the uncertainty caused by Brexit.
There was a triple win for NFU dairy board appointee Gemma Smale-Rowland at the awards.
Cornish Moo milk, which is produced at Gemma’s family farm at North Petherwin, won the best dairy product and best marketing categories at the awards, which were held at Exeter University. Described by the judges as “a fantastic initiative by an individual farm to convert a commodity product-milk into a consumer savvy brand” it was also named as reserve supreme champion product.
Perhaps reflecting modern mores, the supreme champion award went to a bag of salad leaves produced by Natural Branscombe. The firm impressed the judges with their innovative approach to salad production.
They said: “You can pick out individual flavours from each and every leaf and flower tasted, it was so fresh and enticing. We thought that both the supreme champion and the reserve reminded us of what good quality food products can taste like when produced naturally but with care and attention to taste.”
Other notable winners included Strawberry Fields at Lifton, which romped home in the best farm shop category, which is sponsored by the NFU. The Butcher’s Block in Portishead was best butcher, with Cornish Blue Nanny picking up the champion cheese award.