Taste of the West champions the South West’s exceptional food identity and the awards aim to acknowledge food and drink of the highest quality produced in the region and those establishments committed to serving the produce to their guests.
Cliff and Trisha Nicholson, of Spears Cross, Dunster, took gold in the bed and breakfast category of the awards for a second successive year
Mr Nicholson said: “This is quite amazing. We have further improved our menu since last year, sourcing even more produce locally to the extent that our bacon is specially cured by our butcher and smoked by our fishmonger to our own specific requirements.
“With rare breed, free-range sausages from less than three miles away and even furniture that is made locally, our customers have a truly unique Westcountry experience.
“Our Gold win last year definitely helped increase business through word of mouth and using the award logo across all our marketing materials, so we look forward to shouting about our second award win in a row.”
The other Exmoor winner was Three Acres Country House, in Brushford, run by Julie and Edward Christian, which also received a gold award in the bed and breakfast category.
Mrs Christian said: “Our breakfast, which has won a Taste of the West Gold Award for 2006 and 2007, is prepared to order using fresh local ingredients.
“The unspoilt charm of Dulverton is nearby and the options are endless for exploring Exmoor.”
Taste of the West chief executive John Sheaves said: “Consumers are increasingly choosing to spend more of their income on quality food and drink, so much so that this year the market for local food in the UK has been valued at £4.8 billion.
“Despite this, many of the region’s hospitality, retail, and accommodation outlets still source food and drink through central purchasing contracts.
“The awards are therefore designed to highlight those outlets in the region that are proactively incorporating South West produce into their offerings, excelling in quality and, importantly, shouting about what they are doing.
“Not only are these outlets benefiting financially by responding to consumer demand, they are also bolstering the local economy and supporting our thriving producers.
“I therefore take my hat off to the winners and would personally like to thank them for embracing the produce on our doorstep for the greater good of the region and its economy.”
Support from key sponsors is vital to the continuation of the Taste of the West Awards, and Musgrave Retail Partners GB was again the lead sponsor this year.
Jonathon Bayne, head of technical services sustainability and regulatory affairs, said: “Musgrave works with entrepreneurial Budgens and Londis food retailers to provide the consumer with a food offer that is different and better.
“The standard and quality of establishments entered in the Taste of the West Awards simply gets better each year, testament to the ability of these winners to respond to changing consumer demand for local, quality produce.
“We are therefore delighted to be so involved in these highly respected awards for the 10th successive year.”
The awards are judged by a panel of industry experts who visit the winners anonymously and look for quality of food, cooking and service, ambience, evidence of local sourcing, and knowledgeable staff.
Taste of the West’s overall winners in the product, hospitality, and retail categories will be announced at a prestigious ceremony being held in Powderham Castle, near Exeter, on Tuesday, December 2.
More than 200 food and drink producers, retailers, restaurateurs, chefs, hoteliers, and invited guests will gather to discover who will win the coveted Champion Product Award for 2008 and the South West regional hospitality and retail awards.
The awards will be presented by celebrity chef brothers Chris and James Tanner.
- Our photographs show (TOP) Spears Cross, Dunster, and (BELOW) Three Acres Country House, Brushford. Photos submitted.