Best food and drink producers
Best food and drink producers
We tasted a range of incredible locally-produced goodies. Here’s what we found…
As part of our Food and Culture Awards, we have a special category recognising all those local producers out there that are doing something really special. Our judging panel, made up of top chef Adam Byatt of Michelin-starred Trinity in Clapham, Zoe Wilmer of food PR agency Samphire Communications, our editor Tina Lofthouse and publisher and brand specialist Lucy Kane, set about the tough task (!) of trying a huge range of products.
Here’s what they thought…
We kicked off with coffees courtesy of Alchemy, based in Wimbledon, where they roast on an 85-year-old reconditioned roaster. The verdict? “Delicious, very fresh tasting coffee, fruity and rounded.” Highly recommended and they pay directly to the farmers they partner with, too.
On to some pastries and breads courtesy of The French Tarte in Surbiton (from the people behind The French Table), and sausage rolls from award-winning Bevans Butchers, whose take on the favourite is a whole (well seasoned) sausage in flaky pastry. Standouts from The French Tarte were a delicious Raspberry and Chocolate Delice and a fabulous Pear and Almond Tarte.
Mouths cleansed we commenced on some tea tasting from The Wimbledon Brewery who collaborated with Putney’s Teas Up, having met at our Food and Culture Awards party in 2019. We were all impressed by breakfast tea, the Earl Grey and a beautiful green tea – which Adam said would also be wonderful used to infuse rice during cooking.
Blushing Cook, in Merton Abbey Mills, has a great niche producing brownies, blondies and shortbreads with pressed edible flowers. The traditional brownies wowed us all: “They taste as good as they look and have that wonderful fudgy taste and texture that a brownie should have. Incredible.”
We had quite a line up of gin to try – among them Wimbledon Gin, Graveney, Six Wives and Lord Of Misrule from Hampton Court Gin, as well as newcomer Bone Idyll, which has attracted investment from the local community. Two rums (Market Row from Brixton and Bone Idyll) rounded off our spirits tasting. (And a pop of rum truffle from Market Row – delish!)
The most popular spirit was Wimbledon Gin with special mention going to Lord of Misrule as “the perfect winter gin”. Also on the drinks side, the Albury Vineyard rosé would make a quaffable summer party wine. Wimbledon Brewery’s range of ales impressed across the entire range.
Image 2: Blushing Cook / Image 4: Alchemy / Image 5-6: Hilton Hams
And the winners are:
Regional Producer of the Year Gold Award: Wimbledon Brewery
Silver Award: Blushing Cook
Taste Award: Lord of Misrule and French Tarte
Most Innovative New Brand Launch: Bone Idyll
Editor’s Choice Awards
Our highlights of the year…
Park Brewery, Kingston
Always excellent, across a wide range of beers.
Hilton Hams, Kew
Produced locally with meats from Yorkshire, this range of charcuterie is wonderful. We particularly love the coppa and lomo.
They have wowed us with their cheesecakes for years but we also love their tubs of frozen cheesecakes – just dreamy!
DeRosier Chocolates, Earlsfield
Wow – stunning. Fabulous quality and they look amazing, too.
Many thanks to the sponsors of our Food & Drink Producers category – Elys Wimbledon, stockists of some great local and national food & drink brands.