The Fox & Duck, a quaint pub, surrounded by greenery in the picturesque village of Therfield, Royston, welcomed us in from the cold this morning to kick-start the celebration of Hertfordshires finest food and drinks. Winners of not just one of the prestigious Hertfordshire Food & Drink Awards, but two; the Outstanding Service Excellence (2015), and Pub of the Year (2016). It was clear why, as Ivan Titmuss and his team got the launch off to the most decadent start with fine canapés and a glass of sweet bubbling prosecco. I can’t think of a better way to start the week and kick-start this years awards.
The Hertfordshire Food and Drink Awards celebrates the counties finest and really gives customers and businesses a chance to reflect and recognise the bustling food and drink community in this county. It’s a chance to shout out from the rooftops about why food and drink in Hertfordshire really is great. This is all about celebrating and recognising the outstanding businesses within the huge county; from the independent shops and restaurateurs, to the local butchers, or baker making art out of bread, and the stand-out cocktail menus that’ll have you vying for more!
I must admit when I first moved to Hertfordshire having grown up in London and living in Leicester for some time, finding eateries with heart and soul felt somewhat difficult. To a newcomer the county can be rather modest about boasting it’s food and drink culture, often finding itself overshadowed by London and the sheer concentration of the vibrant food scene there. These awards are debunking that notion quickly, in just one morning connecting with previous winners and potential nominees for this years awards it’s clear that this county is alive and it’s finding it’s voice and ready to tell the world why Hertfordshire is a food destination.
Nominations for this years awards are open and most importantly they’re free to enter; giving businesses a fantastic opportunity to get involved and take part in the celebration of all that is food and drink. Composed of twelve categories covering a wide spectrum of things to celebrate, businesses can be nominated for one category.
Damian Cummins of Events and PR assures us that entries take no time, so the sooner, the better! The closing date of the 20th February I can guarantee will arrive faster than we think. I’ll be eagerly awaiting this years list of nominees and here are the categories for the 2017 awards:
- Best Independent Butchers Shop
- Best Artisan Bakery
- Independent Restaurant of the Year
- Best Fine Dining Restaurant
- Restaurant of the Year
- Outstanding Service Excellence
- Pub of the Year – Free House
- Pub of the Year – Tied House
- Best Newcomer
- Best Independent Tea/Coffee Shop
- Independent Food Retailer/Producer of the Year
- Craft Beer of the Year
And for the voters?
Voting goes through until the 24th April. This is really great chance to get out and explore what the food and drinks businesses of Hertfordshire have to offer. I’m already using 2016’s list of nominees as my food and drink guide to the county. So obviously I can’t wait to see what we’ve got on offer for us this time around.