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Excellence in Food and Drink Awards 2009 – the winners

08 January 2010 by
Excellence in Food and Drink Awards 2009 – the winners

We reveal the food and drink products that were judged by our panel of industry experts to be outstanding in their field - winners of the 2009 Caterer and Hotelkeeper Excellence in Food & Drink Awards.

Imaginative, flavoursome creations prepared using the finest ingredients were once the preserve of fine-dining establishments with kitchens staffed by highly skilled chefs and the prestige to charge higher prices.

Today we see such dishes across the spectrum, from mid-spend restaurants to hotels and pubs, and for this we must thank the manufacturers who develop high-quality, innovative products that allow operators to extend their menus into this realm.

Giving recognition to these manufacturers is exactly what the Caterer and Hotelkeeper Excellence in Food & Drink Awards, now in their seventh year, were set up to do.

This year's awards did not disappoint, and our panel of experts tasted and assessed nearly 200 products to come up with a shortlist of 42 which they judged to deliver plenty in terms of taste, appearance and usability.

From those were selected the category winners - the products deemed to be worthy of an excellence award - and an overall winner to receive our coveted Gold Award for the best of the best.

Here, we celebrate the 2009 winners and shortlisted products and congratulate them all.

STARTERS, SIDE ORDERS AND BUFFET PRODUCTSGOLD AWARD WINNER


1. BLACKSTICKS BLUE CHEESE AND WALNUT SOUFFLE (BRAKES)

In taking all the hassle and uncertainty out of offering a soufflé on the menu as well as delivering great quality and flavour, Blacksticks Blue Cheese and Walnut Soufflé ticked all the boxes for our judges, who selected the product as the 2009 Gold Award winner chosen from all the category winners.

The product offers the provenance of the award-winning Blacksticks Blue Cheese in a pre-baked soufflé coated in chopped walnuts, which the panel "could definitely see on a gastropub menu" in addition to being "great for functions where you wouldn't normally go near soufflés".

It won praise for "a great flavour profile - blue cheese and walnuts is a great combination" and for being "light, with lots of flavour" and "nice and crispy on the outside". In conclusion, it was deemed to be quite simply "delicious".

0845 606 9090www.brake.co.uk

SHORTLISTED

  • Super Mash, Butter and Milk
    Aviko
    01442 239536
  • Prawn and Smoked Salmon Savoury FillingBrakes
    0845 606 9090
  • Shropshire Blue and Quince Tart
    Brakes
    0845 606 9090

ACCOMPANIMENTS AND INGREDIENTS


2. SOUR CHERRY KU-LI (MACPHIE OF GLENBERVIE)

Sour Cherry Ku-li is an addition to Macphie's range of ambient fruit coulis. It is designed to be used hot or cold with both sweet and savoury dishes, not just for plate decoration but to add colour and flavour to porridge, pancakes, ice-cream, cheesecakes, yogurts, cocktails and smoothies and to be combined with demi-glace for a jus for poultry and game.

Our judges were very impressed by its "good colour" and "excellent flavour", remarking that "you can really taste the cherries", and could see "a big market for it in hotels and pubs".

Packed in convenient squeezy bottles with a fine stay-clean nozzle, the coulis is made from morello cherries, is free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives and contains less than 0.1% fat.

0800 085 9800www.macphie.com

Shortlisted


ALCOHOLIC DRINKS


3. PIG IN A POKE OLD SPOT RED (WHEELBARROW WINES)

Old Spot Red is a blend of ripe, fruity Malbec and big-hitting Shiraz from the Mendoza region of Argentina, delivering flavours of blackcurrants, damsons and cherries.

Our judges deemed it "very quaffable" and a wine that "would go with most things". They also liked the bottle, describing the marketing as "very distinctive", which concurs with Wheelbarrow Wines' objective of creating distinctive, carefully crafted packaging with an easy-to-understand proposition that removes the need for complicated staff training. The panel agreed it could be used as a house or by-the-glass wine, and one judge remarked: "It would convert me into a red wine drinker."

01628 628258www.piginapokelive.com

Shortlisted

BAKERY


4. WHITES WALNUT PAVE (3663)

The rustic-style French bread with natural sourdough and walnut pieces is produced in a bakery in the Pyrenees region in southern France, where the climate aids the creation of a sourdough unique to the region.

It is made using liquid sourdough and long resting periods and contains no improvers or additives. Culture Raisonnée Contrôlée flour is used for its superior quality and traceability.

The judges praised its "lovely crunchy crust" and "generous sprinkling of walnuts", which gave it a "lovely appearance for a cheeseboard". It was deemed to be very versatile, working equally well in various applications including being served with a selection of oils or on its own.

0870 366 3000www.3663.co.uk

Shortlisted

  • La Boulangerie 100% Rye Tin Loaf
    Brakes
    0845 606 9090
  • La Boulangerie Treacle Toffee Apple Tulip Muffin
    Brakes
    0845 606 9090

CHEESE, DAIRY AND MILK PRODUCTS

5. VINTAGE RESERVE CHEDDAR (BARBERS 1833)

Barbers 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar is the result of the wealth of experience gained from six generations of the Barber family farming and cheesemaking at Maryland Farm, Ditcheat, Somerset.

The aim was to create a cheese to reflect the family's long heritage as cheesemakers and the provenance of the milk and to have a smooth texture with maturity, depth and complexity of flavour.

The flavour certainly found favour with the judges, who described it as "a really good Cheddar" and "strong but not too harsh".

The Cheddar is matured for a minimum of 24 months and is suitable for use as a cooking ingredient as well as on a cheeseboard. The panel also praised the packaging, which they agreed reflected the product's quality.

01749 860666www.marylandfarm.com

Shortlisted

  • Italian Hard Cheese Wedge
    Brakes
    0845 606 9090
  • Whole Mini Camembert
    Brakes
    0845 606 9090


CONFECTIONERY AND IMPULSE SNACKING

  1. PURE INDULGENCE (PAUL WAYNE GREGORY)
    Paul Wayne Gregory
    Paul Wayne Gregory

The box of elegant hand-crafted chocolates in 12 different flavours is presented in packaging designed to protect the chocolates from damage, particularly in relation to humidity, which can cause the greatest damage to the chocolates.

The chocolates are oblong to reflect the shape of a gold ingot with a surface shine which is almost mirror-like, a point picked up by our judges, who described them as having an "amazing sheen", adding that they were "neat and not too fussy".

As the name suggests, the flavourings used are in their purest form: vanilla pods from Tahiti and fruit purées - rather than artificial flavoured oils or compounds - from France. The judges loved the "very distinctive flavours" and declared the chocolates "total decadent indulgence".

020 8679 5503www.paulwaynegregory.com

DESSERTS AND PUDDINGS

7. CHOCOLATE VOLCANO (CREATIVE FOODS)

"If you like chocolate, you can't fail to like this," was one judge's verdict on the Chocolate Volcano, a rich Belgian chocolate pudding filled with a creamy dark Belgian chocolate melting centre.

For ease of delivery it is designed for regeneration in a microwave, where the chocolate pellet melts and oozes up through the top of the sponge.

The consensus from the panel was "a fabulous chocolate product, rich and bitter" which represented "excellent value".

01352 897644www.creative-foods.co.uk

Shortlisted

FAIR-TRADE, ORGANIC AND ETHICAL PRODUCTS


8. GRAND CAFE TRIPLE CERTIFIED COFFEE (FIRST CHOICE COFFEE)

Sourced from a single origin (Nicaragua), Grand Café Triple Certified Coffee meets Rainforest Alliance, organic and Fairtrade standards.

The beans are slow-roasted for depth of flavour and packed into specially designed valve bags to preserve freshness. It is a rich coffee with a little acidity and a long-lasting flavour, which the judges described as "quite strong but smooth" and "not lacking in texture". They also remarked on its "lovely roast aroma" and "good crema".

01908 275520www.firstchoicecoffee.com

Shortlisted

HOT BEVERAGES


9. ORGANIC AFRICAN NECTAR (MIGHTY LEAF TEA)

Described by our judges as "outstanding", "aromatic" and "delicious", Organic African Nectar is one of a range of signature blends of high-quality teas and tisanes selected and blended with the aim of enhancing the tea-drinking experience. The unique hand-crafted cotton-stitched biodegradable silken tea pouches contain the whole-leaf blends, which include succulent fruit pieces, spices and flavours that are too big for ordinary tea bags. Organic African Nectar is a naturally sweet jewel-red blend of organic African rooibos leaves, hibiscus and marigold petals, with the lively tropical notes of mango and vanilla.

The panel also noted that "the flavours come through in a clean and natural way, not perfumed or artificial".

01377 217793www.mightyleafteas.co.uk

Shortlisted


ICE-CREAMS


10. MOVENPICK COGNAC VSOP (SCHOLLER ICE CREAM)

An addition to the Mövenpick stable of unusual flavours, Cognac VSOP is a smooth Swiss ice-cream infused with the fruity and floral notes of a fine Very Superior Old Pale Cognac and incorporating Cognac-marinated caramelised Granny Smith apple pieces to add a touch of sweetness and bite.

Judges praised its "wonderful flavour" and "perfectly balanced Cognac flavour and aroma" and remarked that "the apple bits are a nice touch".

01483 205500www.movenpick-icecream.com

Shortlisted

  • Whites Strawberry and Clotted Cream Ice Cream
    3663
    0870 366 3000

INNOVATION AWARD


11. THAI GREEN CHICKEN CURRY & JASMINE RICE WRAPPED IN A BANANA LEAF (BRAKES)

The innovation of this Thai green chicken curry lies in its presentation, which adds to the authenticity of the Thailand-made product and makes for a "very interesting way of serving it", according to our judges.

The pieces of chicken breast in a lemon grass, sweet basil and coconut-flavoured Thai green curry sauce served with jasmine rice are wrapped in a banana leaf, providing a complete Thai meal that is quick and easy to handle and heats straight from the freezer, allowing caterers to serve a visually stunning Thai meal with no wastage.

0845 606 9090
www.brake.co.uk

Shortlisted

KID'S MAIN MEALS


12. SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE WITH HIDDEN VEGETABLE SAUCE (ANNABEL KARMEL)

Spaghetti served in a rich tomato sauce with hidden vegetables is one of a range of balanced and nutritious meals from child nutrition expert Annabel Karmel which aims to offer strong child appeal in addition to reassurance for parents.

Red onion, carrot, celery and leek are blended with sun-dried tomatoes, basil and garlic, cooked with beef and served with spaghetti, providing a good source of protein, iron and carbohydrate in a 250g portion, which complies with Government regulations. The product is also dairy-free and does not contain nuts or egg.

The meals have proved popular at attractions such as Legoland and Alton Towers and, when road-tested by an invited a group of children aged 5 to 11 from four schools in Surrey, our young judges gave the spaghetti bolognaise a unanimous thumbs-up.

020 7355 4555www.annabelkarmel.com

Shortlisted

  • Prime Meats British Pork Shoulder Roasting JointBrakes 0845 606 9090
  • Great British Chicken MeatballsGreen Gourmet
    01453 766677

MEAT, GAME, POULTRY AND FISH


13. RARE BREED PORCHETTA (TASTE TRADITION)

Taste Tradition is a North Yorkshire farming family specialising in rare-breed pigs and rare- and native-breed cattle.

Its rare-breed piglets are used in the porchetta, a speciality dish originating from the Umbrian region of Italy, and the marbling within the meat increases the flavour. The piglets are slaughtered at a family-run abattoir situated eight miles from the farm then transported to the butchery in Thirsk, where they are boned out, rolled and stuffed.

Our judges loved the taste of the pork and fresh herbs, commenting that "the skin crackles up nicely".

01845 525330www.tastetradition.co.uk

Shortlisted

  • Prime Meats Premiere Scotch Aberdeen Angus Been Burger
    Brakes
    0845 606 9090
  • Farm Fresh Whole Duck
    Cherry Valley Farm
    01472 852860

SOFT DRINKS AND JUICES


14. GINGER BEER (FEVER TREE)

"Definitely gingery" was the judges' verdict on Fever-Tree Ginger Beer, which contains a unique blend of gingers, including fresh green ginger from the Ivory Coast and hot Nigerian ginger, blended with spring water and natural raw cane sugar and carbonated. Its fiery taste is suitable for enhancing dark spirits, particularly dark rums, and vodka or for serving on its own as a long drink.

The panel liked the heat in the taste and considered the drink would be "very refreshing over ice".

020 7349 4922www.fever-tree.com

Shortlisted

VEGETARIAN


15. GOATS CHEESE & RED PEPPER CHEESECAKE (BRAKES)

Developed as a quick and easy starter or light lunch option, the base of the cheesecake is made using Cheddar cheese, spring onion and black olives, topped with goats' cheese and diced red peppers.

Our judges thought it "nice and moist" with a "lovely taste" and could see it as "something different for vegetarians that would appeal to non-vegetarians too".

0845 606 9090www.brake.co.uk

Shortlisted

  • Premiere Individual Nut Loaf
    Brakes 0845 606 9090
  • Sweet Potato, Onion and Spinach Tart
    Millifoods
    01233 624886

JUDGES

  • Andrew Bapniah, area manager, Chester Boyd
  • Nick Bates, R&D chef, Angelo Po UK
  • Anthony Boyd, head chef, Glasshouse restaurant
  • Norman Brockwell, business development chef, Macphie of Glenbervie
  • Darren Byford, buying manager, Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation
  • Roger Denton, catering services manager, London Borough of Enfield
  • Mark Errington, senior sous shef, House of Commons
  • Jane Hildred, food service consultant, Foodskillsdirect
  • Mike Jeffery, food development manager, Greene King
  • Lawrence Kay, director, the Foodworks Partnership
  • Lawrence Keal, consultant chef
  • Roger Kellow, Government account manager, Hobart UK
  • Darius Knetsch, chef, the All England Lawn Tennis Club
  • Carl Lindsay, operations director, Hollywood Media Services
  • Luigi Mallozzi, operations manager, Chefs restaurant
  • Tammy Mariaux, proprietor, Tummies
  • Ann Marshall, network partner, the Foodworks Partnership
  • Joyce Milne,
  • Nick Moore, My Services
  • James Nicholson, food and beverage director, Legoland Windsor Park
  • Duncan Parsonage, development chef, Fresh Direct UK
  • Jason Radbourn, menu development manager, Punch Pub Company
  • Alan Sheppard, director, the Foodworks Partnership
  • Fiona Winter, product development manager, Nando's
  • Simon Young, executive head chef, Jumeirah Carlton Tower
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