Lavender & Lovage Visits The Quality Food Awards
~ Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London ~
I was lucky enough to be invited along to the Quality Food Awards recently, which are the most prestigious awards for food and drink products on sale in UK grocery outlets. What sets these awards apart is the impartiality and robustness of the judging process and the invaluable feedback which entrants receive. The awards, highly regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the food and drink industry, have celebrated the people and the products that make the British food market the most dynamic and exciting in the world for over 40 years. The reputation of the Quality Food Awards has been built upon the transparency, integrity and robustness of the judging process. A 100 strong panel of food industry experts including chefs, chef lecturers, food writers and regional food groups tasted their way through almost 900 products during the two-week judging process, sampling all of the entries to choose the finest which then make-up the shortlist. I was terribly excited about attending, as the awards were held at The Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, London, and it was a black tie event, so I had to buy a new “posh frock”, and a girl can never have enough posh frocks. Unfortunately, just a few days before the awards, I slipped a disc in my back and so my “plus one”, Hannah my daughter, had to attend by herself and take a friend. She has guest blogged for me before, you may remember here: Keith Brymer Jones Pop Up Store in Portobello Road with the New Home Fragrance Collection; so, here she is again, with her 2nd guest post about the evening and the awards…..I have to say she flew the “lavender and lovage” flag very well. Her account of the evening is below, plus all the photos she took on the evening are posted here as well. With thanks to Lucy and Mercieca Communications for the invite, and all your help with travel arrangements. Karen
Guest Post by: Hannah L Burns
Ok, so when I was recently invited to the 2012 Quality Food Awards, I have to admit I did find the prospect of sitting through an awards ceremony celebrating the best bagged snacks, pizza, and cold beverages(amongst others) a little absurd. However, unless you’re completely self-self-sufficient, or live under a rock, there’s no getting away from it – we all rely on food produced, tried and selected by others; be it your Asda margarita pizza or your Typhoo breakfast tea. So it’s for this reason that it’s good to know so much more goes on behind the supermarket scene – from working with local farmers and buying in locally produced products, right through to a yearly celebration in which well-earned accolades are awarded to those deserving.
I have to admit, one of the highlights of attending an event based solely on quality foods, is the meal itself, and it didn’t disappoint! After a few initial awards, guests were presented with a starter of pea, ham hock, and ricotta tortellini soup, before moving on to a mouth-watering Angus beef fillet steak with a Stilton cheese sauce, and sides of oyster mushrooms, pine nuts, herb potatoes, baby carrots, and green beans – yum! Sophie, my ever-present and veggie plus one was served a very tasty looking aubergine and Provençal vegetable timbale with a tomato butter sauce. For dessert we were treated to a coffee and chocolate mousse, before delving into my favourite course of the evening…the enormous cheese board!
Once the official awards ceremony was well under way, I discovered there really was an award for everything! From Christmas confectionery cereals & cereal bars, through to my favourite – the Local food awards.
A full list of the winners can be found in the link at the bottom of my post, however my personal favourite award winners of the evening included Aldi, Exmouth Mussels, and Vita Coco.
I’ve been drinking Vita Coco coconut water for a while now, and feel like I’m constantly extolling its virtues to my nearest and dearest, so was very pleased to see this delicious and healthy drink being recognised amongst the industry leaders – if you haven’t tried it yet, give it a go!
As mentioned, Aldi was another favourite. As a (relatively) recent student, it felt like I was constantly on the hunt for affordable but NICE food whilst living off a student budget, so it was also good to see them win an award. And the Exmouth Mussels award made my day as it was lovely to see an independent company receiving acknowledgement.
With thanks to Lucy, Paul Mercieca, and everyone else at Mercieca communications, who made me very welcome, especially as my mum was not able to make the event More information on the evenings winner can be found here: QFA Winners.