Clare, Seasoned’s Founder was honoured to be asked to judge the Derbyshire Life Food & Drink awards this year. The Derbyshire Life Food & Drink Awards are designed to champion, highlight and offer a showcase to the good and the great from the region’s food and drink industry – including local producers and suppliers, chefs, restaurants, pubs and hoteliers, and people who care about the countryside and the future of our local environment.
Clare was joined on the panel of judges by Alan from The Devonshire Arms and Robert from University of Derby. The final was held on 18th November, over 100 guests, finalists and sponsors celebrated at the Casa Hotel, Chesterfield.
Here are our top picks from this year’s entries:
Local Producer of the Year
With such a diverse county this section attracted cheesemakers, sausage makers & ice cream makers. The finalists included Bluebell Icecream, Spondon Dairy and Brock & Morten Rapeseed oil, whose packaging & marketing was the strongest in the section.
The winner was ‘The Buxton Pudding Company’ whose puddings are delicious – made with love, skill, care & attention. Certainly worth trying!
Food Product of the Year
This section was judged by Clare & there were some traditional favourites & new entrants that really shone.
The winner (& the overall winner for food hero as well) was Jacquest – their range of smoked and cured products was truly remarkable –food innovation and historical techniques blended perfectly into a range of delicious products. Highly commended & hard to beat was Hartington Stilton – early followers of Seasoned will know that we started off life in the Derbyshire hills not far from Hartington & the creamery in Hartington is doing better than ever.
Drink Product of the Year
The Drinks category was also judged by Clare. There were some superb breweries in the category as well as Renishaw Hall vineyard & Lindsey’s still room with an innovative and beautifully packaged range of pre mixed cocktails & spirits. The vineyard at Renishaw Hall is certainly worth visiting, as is the Hall & Gardens – a real Derbyshire treasure. The Renishaw Hall wines & the winemakers dedication really shone through & crowned them the winners of this category. Lindsey’s still room was awarded a Highly Commended and it is clear that this young Derbyshire business will go far.
Chef of the Year & Restaurant of the Year
Perhaps the highlight of Clare’s judging was visiting ‘The Lighthouse Restaurant’ in Boylestons’. Chef Jon Hardy & his team offer a superb tasting menu adapted with the seasons & local produce. The attention to detail was remarkable & it was a joy to see a chef who is living his dream, running his own restaurant and doing a fabulous job at it.
Book early if you want a table & sign up to their newsletters for details of taster menus. The Lighthouse offers wonderful food, superb value for money, a relaxed atmosphere & great front of house staff.