Devon Life Food & Drink Awards 2007

PUBLISHED: 17:43 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:17 20 February 2013

Brixham market; Rick Benyon, Gibson's Plaice

Brixham market; Rick Benyon, Gibson's Plaice

Winners from the Devon Life Food & Drink Awards 2007 are featured.

They like their food in Crediton. Out of 15 Devon Life Food and Drink Awards last year, three went to Crediton businesses. One we featured last month (Linscombe Farm) and the other two show up in this month's article. It is hardly surprising, since Crediton is the shopping basket of this part of Devon, but Magdalene Street in Exeter also appears as a centre of food excellence.

Treloar's Delicatessen

Best Independent Food Shop of the Year 2007

Sponsored by Darts Farm

Treloar's Delicatessen at 38 High Street, Crediton, is the epitome of the local deli. Sitting at the centre of a web of organic producers and high-class suppliers, it could hardly fail to attract the attention of anyone who has a liking for top-quality food and drink. As Guy Treloar Garrett rightly says, "It's local people who are our bread and butter who we exist to serve." Even so, it came as a pleasant surprise when Treloar's was nominated last year. "Although we have won awards in national publications, to be officially recognised in our home market means a great deal. And it was fantastic for the staff as well - real recognition for all their hard work."

Treloar's make all their own produce in-house, using ingredients sourced from farms in and around the immediate vicinity. Guy even grows his own salad vegetables for sale in the deli. Exotics have to be imported but Guy applies the same exacting standards to their provenance as he does to the local produce.

Crediton Farmers' Market

Best Farmers' Market of the Year 2007

Sponsored by Sandy Park

Crediton Farmers' Market is held on the first Saturday of every month. It's so popular that people travel from miles around to buy from the wide range of organic and locally produced foods and local crafts. And in between markets much of the produce sold here can also be found in the local shops and in the plethora of farm shops with which the local area is blessed. "It's that really local element that is so important," says Chairman of the Crediton Farmers' Market Association Glyn Comont, who runs a stall, Redlands Country Pork, in the market. "75% of our stallholders come from within seven miles of the town." And you can be assured that everything is as fresh as it could possibly be and that the stallholders know their produce inside out: any questions, just ask!

The market isn't a stranger to awards. It has also picked up a gong for the best in the whole South-west, awarded by DEFRA and presented by MP Ben Bradshaw.

Gibson's Plaice in Magdalene Street, Exeter

Best Fishmonger of the Year 2007

Sponsored by Archant Life

Gibson's Plaice has been supplying quality fish for ten years, but only under the new ownership of Rick Benyon and Liz Hill for one of those, so it was a source of some pride to have been nominated for an award in his first year of trading. In fact, there was a threefold spin-off: it was a huge motivation for everyone involved; it dramatically increased the customer base as a direct result, "with customers even travelling down from North Devon," Rick said; and it motivated other fishmongers to want to get themselves nominated.

With Piper's Farm shop just across the road also the winner of Best Butcher of the Year, this area of Exeter is something of an exclusive food and drink venue - the best fish and meat in Devon in one small street.

All of Rick's fish is bought daily from Brixham Fish Market by Rick himself, ensuring the freshest quality, with shellfish being sourced from Exmouth boats. Rick and his team prepare all the fish to customers' requirements, smoke their own fish at a local smokehouse, and even supply over 100 recipe leaflets free of charge.

Vinnicombe's, High Street, Sidmouth

Best Baker / Confectioner of the Year 2007

Sponsored by Tarka Springs

It's a fine old Devon name is Vinnicombe, and Vinnicombe's bakery in Sidmouth is as traditional a bakery as you might hope to find in a quintessential Devon seaside town. As craft bakers and confectioners, they produce goods of the highest quality by traditional methods using quality raw materials and ingredients.

If any vindication were needed of the worth of the Devon Life Food and Drink Awards, then Vinnicombe's could provide it. I happened to be hosting the table at last year's awards ceremony which included Vinnicombe proprietors Martin and Sheila Kerridge amongst its complement, and the air of expectancy was so tangible you could almost taste it. The Kerridges' elation at having been voted first in their class, and the rest of the table's barely suppressed disappointment at losing out, was an illuminating experience. "The award," Sheila Kerridge said at the time, "is going to take pride of place behind the counter in the shop as a salute to all the customers who have voted for us."

Piper's Farm, Exeter

Best Butcher / Meat Producer of the Year 2007

Sponsored by Taylors Regional Foods

Like many of the other nominees, the Devon Life Food and Drink Awards are not the only ones that winners can list on their CVs. Peter and Henrietta Grieg can hold up an entire roll call of anyone who is anyone in the food and drink industry nationally to support what their customers have known for a long time - Piper's Farm supplies exceptional meat and meat products, produced and prepared the natural way.

Piper's Farm is at the centre of a network of local farmers all producing meat to their own exacting standards. In the face of their national recognition, you might be forgiven for thinking that a local award is small beer, but far from it. "Last year's award proved to be a tremendous accolade not only for us but for the market place, too," Peter Grieg said. "Many new customers are coming into the shop at Magdalene Street in Exeter and it's also sparked a lot of new online business as well, so the influence of the Devon Life awards spreads much further than the local community."


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