Finding the fine food

Nigel Howarth

Nigel Howarth

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Food and drink companies from across Lancashire are being encouraged to enter this year’s Fine Food Awards which have been revamped for 2011.

The awards are open to all food and drink manufacturing small and medium business in the region – from chutneys, confectionery and cakes, to sausages, seafood, sauces and sorbet.

Last year’s awards’ saw more than 120 companies from across Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, and Merseyside take part.

Entry is free and the closing date is May 13. Application forms are available online at www.finefoodawards.co.uk

The format of this year’s awards has been changed to allow a wider range of products to be entered.

Known as a benchmark for the region’s best foods, in 2011 the awards will be judged by a panel of food experts including top chefs, food buyers and food writers, through a series of heats held across the region at the end of May.

Celebrity chef, Nigel Haworth, chef patron of Northcote, will continue in his role as chair of the judges.

As part of the new format, those products rated as ‘excellent’ in 2011, will win a Food NW Heart Award and those deemed ‘exceptional’ on the scoring criteria will secure a Food NW Gold Heart Award.

The Gold Heart Award winners will then battle it out to reign as the first Fine Food Awards Supreme Champion which will be judged by Nigel Haworth and will be announced at his Fantastic Food Show3 held at Ewood Park in Blackburn on June 11 and 12.

Last year’s Lancashire winners included The Farm Burscough in Burscough for its Lime Curd; Hill’s Fine Foods in Preston for its Longridge Natural Vanilla Real Dairy Ice Cream; Uncle Bobs in Preston for its Melon Sorbet; Spout House Farm Shop in Chorley for its Sirloin Steak and Lamb Chop; Udale Speciality Foods in Morecambe for its Gloucester Old Spot Loin Steak; Port of Lancaster Smokehouse in Lancaster for its Whole Lancashire Kippers; Wareing’s of Tarleton for its lettuce; Bowland Beer Company in Clitheroe for its Kettle Drum Beer and J Atkinson and Co in Lancaster for its Columbian Santuario Coffee.

“This region has some exceptional produce and it is important they are given the support to develop their businesses and to continue improving their products,” said Nigel Howarth. “I am pleased to see that the awards continue to recognise the best of our region, and I look forward to presenting the awards at the food show in June.”

The North West has one of the largest food and drink sectors in the UK, contributing £9.5 billion to the local economy.