The Nantwich Food Awards were staged last week at the town’s Civic Hall, with a Gala celebration of local businesses that have delivered outstanding products and services to customers.
Local food and drink lovers voted online in their thousands in recent months to select the best eateries, speciality producers and customer service champions.
The awards recognise businesses that promote the South Cheshire region, and follows the annual Food Festival that brings over 40,000 visitors to Nantwich every September.
The evening kicked off with live music from Callum Wright & Oli Ng and the soulful sounds of Charmaine Baines and her band, Matrix Club Matrix, made it a party atmosphere to remember.
Close-up magician Russ Appleby wowed guests with some clever trickery around the tables, and a photo booth was provided by the Bazaar Media Group to capture special memories.
An excellent buffet was produced by the award-winning South Cheshire College Academy Restaurant, while Rodney Densem Wines kindly supplied champagne for category winners. Concorde Trophies provided the unique awards, and McCarthy’s Salon offered additional prizes.
The awards organiser, Nanna Pedley, said: “The Nantwich Food Festival and Nantwich Food Awards go from strength to strength, but they are only possible with the ongoing contribution from hundreds of volunteers and generous local businesses.
“The awards ceremony recognizes the outstanding contribution made by the excellent food and drink businesses in the area, but it’s also a way to thank everyone who has been involved in staging the showcase events, including the outstanding group of volunteers.
“Holding the evening at the Nantwich Civic Hall this year makes it extra special as it’s such an important venue at the heart of the historic town.”
In attendance for the prestigious evening were The Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire, David Briggs, M.B.E., K.St.J., the Mayor of Cheshire East, Councillor Arthur Moran, the Mayor of Nantwich, Councillor Penny Butterill, MP for Crewe and Nantwich, Laura Smith, and Chairman of South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Shaun Cafferty
VIPs, guests and nominees waited eagerly for news from the judges as the seven category winners were announced. Results were as follows:
Best Restaurant (including Hotel Restaurants): Romazzino
Best Pub with Food: The Leopard
Best Café or Coffee Shop: Ginger & Pickles
Beer Champion: Beer Dock, Nantwich
Best Newcomer: Deadwood Smokehouse
Best Local Producer: Snugburys
Excellence in Customer Service: Nantwich Bookshop & Coffee Lounge
There were additional awards for people who took part in competitions at the Food Festival in September.
A special presentation was also made by the organising committee to Roger Mills who has stepped down from his position as a Director. To celebrate his long-standing association with the festival, and to acknowledge his never-ending hard work, he was given the honorary position of President.
Festival Directors Chris Farrall and John Coulter said: “Roger has given so much over the years to help the festival become the success it now is. He is known throughout Nantwich as someone who is prepared to give his time and knowledge to help others.
“Running the annual festival is an ongoing commitment across twelve months of the year, so it’s right that he enjoys time to pursue other interests. We know that Roger will always be available to offer advice and support when needed.”
y Food Theatre, including home economist Claire Bassano and Luca Rizzotto from Romazzino restaurant in Nantwich.
Shane Guildford from South Cheshire College’s award-winning academy restaurant will also take to the hob to serve up some culinary delights.
Returning by popular demand is the high-energy show by CBeebies favourite Katy Ashworth, sure to get children involved with her captivating and magical storytelling.
This year there’s even more on offer, with Hall Smith Whittingham’s Family FunZone marquee staging dance and circus workshops, music from RedShift Radio, traditional games, crazy bubbles, face-painting fun and much more.
A BBQ grill-off sponsored by Cheerbrook Farm Shop will test amateur chefs on the coals, while a vegetable-themed cake competition will judge the most creative cooks.
The Chilli cook-off is sure to raise the temperature and could see the Nantwich heat winner jet off to the USA for the World Championships!
The Nantwich Food Festival grows in popularity and reach every year, and the market town streets will be packed with over 40,000 visitors over the late-summer weekend.
Well over 200 exhibitors from Cheshire and across the country bring fresh produce and unusual new recipes to the festival’s marquees.
Visitors can enjoy tasters, purchase their favourite food and drink products, and enjoy delicious cuisines in the bustling food courts that are located across the centre of Nantwich.
The Mr Dabber Town Trail also returns, with great prizes to be won. Visitors can collect entry forms at the Festival Office on the main square.
Entry to the Nantwich Food Festival marquees and food displays is free, with a varied programme of events, music and entertainment spread across three exciting days.
The festival takes place from Friday 1 to Sunday 3 September.