South West food and drink producers have once again excelled themselves, and this week Taste of the West has had the honour of awarding the first phase of Gold, Silver and Commended awards in the 2021 Product Awards scheme, title sponsored by Old Mill. Please click here to view the list of winning products.
The annual Taste of the West Awards scheme, which has grown over the last two and a half decades to become the UK’s largest regional food and drink awards programme, helps food and drink businesses in the South West to thrive and succeed. Products entered in the second phase of judging are being sampled and tasted later this month (June 2021), and a further list of results is due to be announced in July. Following the publication of this further list of results, all the highest scoring Gold award-winning products will be judged again to determine the top three products in each class. These top three products are then judged a third time to establish the overall champion product in each class. The 27 champion products then go on to battle it out for the coveted Supreme Champion Product of 2021.
Working independently due to Covid restrictions, the judges have been blown away this year by some fantastic, innovative new products from South West food and drink producers, including Old School House Chutneys & Preserves from Yeovil in Somerset who won five Golds awards, with their delicious marmalade scooping two of these. The Vegan class, first introduced in 2020, saw many Gold winners too. New entrant, Tempeh Meades from Bristol won Gold with their Tempeh – a delicious and nutritious vegan protein which Taste of the West judges loved; as did The Organic Plantmilk Company T/A ReRooted with their range of plantmilks made in Totnes, Devon. Many firm favourites were among the winners once again this year including Chunk of Devon (Devon), Roly’s Fudge (Devon), Hollychocs (Wiltshire) and Freda’s Peanut Butter (Cornwall). There were many Gold awards for more traditional West Country products too such as beef, bacon, beer, cider, jam, chutney and cheese from producers including The Salcombe Meat Company (Devon), Waterhouse Fayre (Devon), The Book & Bucket Cheese Company (Dorset) and Trewithen Dairy (Cornwall) to name but a few.
A popular class again this year – Wines, Spirits and Liqueurs! With over 60 products entered in this first phase of judging alone. The Awards saw both Thunderflower in Teignmouth, Devon with their FireShip 58 and Papillion Dartmoor Distillery in Moretonhampstead, Devon with their Cerabus win Gold – again! Rum also proved a very popular entry this year, with the Devon Rum Company in Totnes winning two Golds for their Premium Spiced Rum and their Honey Spiced Rum.
So far, and bear in mind there are around 400 products still to be judged this month, Taste of the West has awarded 351 Gold awards, 138 Silver awards and 59 Commended awards to products made in the West Country as part of this year’s Taste of the West Awards.
John Sheaves, Chief Executive of Taste of the West, commented “This year Taste of the West is celebrating its 30th anniversary and are incredibly proud to be the UK’s largest independent regional food group. Times change but our values don’t – for 30 years we have been working together with support from our members, sponsors and partners for a sustainable future in South West food and drink. The results so far from this year’s Taste of the West Product Awards are a true reflection of the provenance, quality and integrity that food and drink producers in the West Country have to offer.”
This year’s Awards are title sponsored by Old Mill Financial Experts, who share Taste of the West’s passion for supporting local food and drink businesses from the West Country. Phil Mills, Head of the Food & Drink team at Old Mill commented “Despite all of the challenges over the last 12 months the quality of the produce is better than ever. We have seen producers adapt in ways we would never have thought possible, ensuring that the West Country continues to lead the way in the UK food and drink industry. Old Mill are delighted to have continued our partnership with Taste of the West through which we can further support the sector as it continues to evolve.”