Suffolk: EADT Food and Drink Awards celebrate county’s producers
THE East Anglian Daily Times and the Suffolk Magazine are celebrating the county’s food and drink heroes as they launch their seventh EADT Suffolk Food and Drink Awards.
The awards are a celebration of the county’s wonderful producers and retailers and aim to recognise all the elements of the food industry - from independent butchers, bakers and farm shops, to neighbourhood pubs, vibrant cafes and fine dining restaurants.
This year sees a shake-up of the awards, with new categories on offer and a streamlined entry process.
Suffolk Magazine editor Jayne Lindill said: “The awards are always a highlight in the Suffolk Magazine calendar and this year they promise to be even better.
“After seven years we felt it was time for an overhaul, so we’ve taken note of some very valuable feedback and have made some significant changes.
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“The new categories, for example, are designed to better reflect the enormous diversity of Suffolk’s food and drink industry - and there are more of them so we can recognise the achievements of more people.
“We’ve also introduced a more rigorous judging process and streamlined the entry process.
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“Businesses can nominate themselves simply going to the Suffolk Food and Drink Awards website at www.suffolkfada.co.uk
“I also encourage people to show their support for the county’s food and drink industry by nominating their favourite food and drink producers, independent retailers, restaurants, pubs, cafes and food heroes.”
Nominations for the awards are now open, so if you’re involved in the food and drink industry and think you deserve an award – or if you know someone who is – you can put them forward at www.suffolkfada.co.uk.
The closing date for nominations is September 24. Entries will then be shortlisted and a specially selected panel of judges will make the final decision.
The awards will culminate in a celebratory luncheon for winners, finalists and their friends on November 12 at Wherstead Park.
Suffolk-based brewer, distiller and hotelier Adnams is once again the main sponsor for the event.
Adnams’ chief executive Andy Wood said the company was proud to support the awards.
“These awards are especially important to us, as supporting the local community is an ethos that runs right through the Adnams business, and not just in brewing our beer.
“We firmly believe that by supporting those locally, we can achieve a whole host of benefits - after all, if businesses spend money locally, it stays locally.”
He added: “The food and drink industry is the lifeblood of East Anglia and one that needs to be preserved for the prosperity of all.”
Indeed, the food industry is an important part of Suffolk for many reasons.
Lady Caroline Cranbrook, the president of the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, said: “Suffolk has long been renowned for its food and drink.
“Historically, it was a very important ‘larder’ for London, particularly for prime lamb, beef, pork, poultry and vegetables.
“Today its farmers and growers provide an even greater variety but the produce is distributed nationwide. At certain times of year, 50% of the potatoes sold in supermarkets come from east Suffolk.
“More recently, Suffolk has become famous for the extraordinary variety, quality and abundance of its local food and drink, found in its high street stores, butchers, greengrocers, village shops, delis, farm shops, farmers markets, pubs, restaurants, hotels and bed and breakfasts.
“The food festivals too help raise people’s awareness of the wonderful produce available on their doorstep.
“As the interest in local food rises, so do the opportunities. Each year the number of local food and drink producers increases, providing a lot of employment, helping keep young people on the land, supporting the local economy and helping safeguard the environment by ensuring our grassland and nature reserves are grazed.”
For Lady Cranbrook, the availability of good food and drink has become one of Suffolk’s main attractions.
She praises the Food and Drink Awards for way they publicise the county’s offerings and help connect the producers with the people who buy their products and visit the places where they are sold.
Terry Hunt, EADT editor, added: “Suffolk is rightly proud of its food and drink industry and these awards recognise the excellence right across the sector.
“It is really appropriate that we celebrate the fantastic work which goes on in the industry locally. As a judge, I want my job to be made extra difficult this year with an array of top-quality entries!’’
In the coming weeks we’ll be following the progress of the awards and talking to last year’s winners.
n For more information and to nominate an individual or business visit www.suffolkfada.co.uk