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Nominations open for the Norfolk Hero Food and Drink Awards 2015

PUBLISHED: 15:56 10 February 2015 | UPDATED: 11:26 11 February 2015

Aylsham Show 2015 president Tony Bambridge(centre) launches the Food and Drink Heroes competition with last years winners(l to r) Paul Graves of butchers H V Graves, Nicola Colchester from the Recruiting Sergeant, Tim Elwes from The Saracens Head and Anna Duttson from The Norfolk Mead Hotel. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Aylsham Show 2015 president Tony Bambridge(centre) launches the Food and Drink Heroes competition with last years winners(l to r) Paul Graves of butchers H V Graves, Nicola Colchester from the Recruiting Sergeant, Tim Elwes from The Saracens Head and Anna Duttson from The Norfolk Mead Hotel. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Food lovers can now vote for their favourite businesses which promote Norfolk’s varied produce and put the county on the gastronomic map.

The Norfolk Hero Food and Drink competition, which has grown in popularity since it started in 2007, is open for public nominations.

Votes can be cast for five categories and a champion will be chosen out the five winners - announced at the Aylsham Show at Blickling Park on August 31.

Winners of last year’s competition, organised by the Aylsham Show association, were crowned at the historic Blickling Hall today.

Overall champion was The Saracens Head in Wolterton, which won the Best Use of Norfolk Produce on Menu category.

Tim Elwes, 53, from Burgh, who co-owns the restaurant with his wife Janie, said: “We were in shock when we were announced as winners because there are great people out there in Norfolk.

“We are very lucky because we have so many good suppliers and farmers that care dearly about their produce. We try to get as much local food as we can, which is not difficult because there is so much out there.”

The couple took over the restaurant in April 2010, during the recession, but Mr Elwes said they stuck to their guns in terms of providing quality local food which has proved a success.

Other winners were:

■Best Food and Drink Supplier - butcher’s, bakery and grocery store Herbert V Graves Ltd in Briston.

■Best New Food and Drink Venture - Norfolk Mead Hotel in Coltishall.

■Best Specialist Food or Drink Producer - Surlingham-based Winbirri Vineyards English Wines.

■Individual Hero Award - Husband and wife team Nicola and Matthew Colchester who run the Recruiting Sergeant in Horstead, The Bucks Arms near Blickling Hall, Black Boys Hotel in Aylsham, and The Ship Inn in South Walsham.

Jacinth Rogers, chairman of the Norfolk Hero Food and Drink Awards Committee, said: “The competition started off in a small way and has gone from strength to strength.

“More people are interested in where their food comes from and want to praise the knowledge of the producers. It is good for the industry and showcases the various producers.”

Simon Evans, vice-president and chairman of the Aylsham Show, said: “There will be visitors from all over the country who might be surprised at what Norfolk can offer.”

This year’s categories are the same as last year’s and the deadline for nominations is May 15. They can be made by visiting www.aylshamshow.co.uk or picking up a leaflet from Norfolk food businesses.

Do you know of an unsung food hero? Email sophie.wyllie@archant.co.uk

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