THE phones at some of the county's finest eateries will be ringing off the hook with the winners of the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards now celebrating being named the best of the county's best.
The competition, now in its ninth year, is 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 results of the 2017/18 competition were announced at a glittering Awards Dinner staged at Northampton's Royal & Derngate on 15 November.
Among the winners were:
Restaurant of the Year (sponsored by Whitco Catering and Bakery Equipment):
Winner: The Folly, Towcester
Runner-up: Tap and Kitchen, Oundle
Booker Food Pub of the Year (sponsored by Booker):
Winner: The Hopping Hare, Northampton
Runner-up: The Wheatsheaf Pub & Dining Room, Northampton
Spice Restaurant of the Year (sponsored by British Pepper & Spice):
Winner: The Exotic Dining, Kettering
Runner-up: Taste of Spice, Northampton
Independent Cafe / Tea Room of the Year (sponsored by Pidy UK):
Winner: Workbridge Coffee Shop, Northampton
Runner-up: The Bread & Butter Factory, Northampton
Great Service Award (sponsored by Northampton College):
Winner: The Folly, Towcester
The event saw more than 500 guests made up of finalists, judges, sponsors and media partners join awards patrons William Sitwell, Sophie Grigson and Mary Laing as the results in all 18 categories were announced.
Sadly missing from the celebration was Antonio Carluccio OBE who passed away just a week before being due to follow in the footsteps of previous special guests Marcus Wareing, Jason Atherton and Michel Roux OBE in presenting the trophies to the proud winners.
Tributes were paid to the Godfather of Italian Cooking led by his good friend William Sitwell before the formal welcome from Awards' Director, Rachel Mallows MBE DL of The Mallows Company; Bruce Ray, VP Global Government Relations and UK Corporate Affairs at Carlsberg and Stephen Catchpole who is the Chief Executive of SEMLEP.
Guests then enjoyed a sumptuous three-course meal designed and created by Lee Scott of Tom Hewer Catering's newest restaurant, Hibiscus, with help from a team of culinary students from Northampton College, who switched their regular classes for the experience of being part of the prestigious occasion.
Befitting a celebration of the excellence of the county's food and drink sector, the menu included a wealth of Northamptonshire ingredients, including goat cheese from Stanwick's Neneview Dairy, marmalade from Nature's Fayre of Thrapston, mayonnaise from Farrington Oils at Hargrave and goat milk gelato from Ganders Goat in Cottingham. The culinary offering concluded with petits fours generously provided by Belflair Chocolates of Brackley with tea and coffee coming courtesy of Northampton's Tea Lab Company and Great Brington Coffee.
For the full list of results of all the categories in this year's Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2017/18, visit the awards' website at www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk or contact Rachel Mallows on 01933 664437 or email firstname.lastname@example.org You can also follow the awards on twitter at @foodawardsHQ or on Facebook at facebook.com/foodawards
Business Times will feature the results of all eighteen categories in January's edition.