Revealed: Winners of the Great Food Club Awards 2015

Today we can name the winners in the Great Food Club 2015 Awards for food & drink independents in the heart of England. Three businesses take our People’s Choice Awards for the highest number of public votes cast in each category (Producer, Pub/Restaurant and Shop). Naming that trio was easy because you, the voters, did it for us! Deciding the other winners was the tricky part, especially considering each business on the shortlist – which was compiled according to 1,750 public votes cast between March and May 2015 – was there for very good reasons.

Since the shortlist was revealed at the end of May, Great Food Club’s eight-strong team of regional correspondents, plus editor and founder Matt Wright, have been out anonymously judging the contenders. After much thought, below are our final decisions, complete with judges’ comments for each winner.

Congratulations to all the winners and to everyone shortlisted. And remember – the point of Great Food Club and these inaugural awards is to celebrate and promote our local food and drink independents – our villages, towns and cities would be much poorer places without them, so please support them!


People’s Choice Award Winners

These businesses received the highest number of public votes across the Midlands in each category.

Producer category
Chazwinkle’s, Elton, Cambridgeshire: Chazwinkle’s makes a really well-thought-out and creative array of preserves that will enhance virtually any meal, each made with high quality British ingredients.

Pub/restaurant category
The Mad Turk, Stamford, Lincolnshire: A family-run restaurant that has won many fans because of its friendly approach and exceptional, authentic Turkish food.

Shop category
Harker’s Farm Shop, Clipston on the Wolds, Notts: A combination of farm producing high-quality, high-welfare meat, and shop that’s well-run, friendly and welcoming. Harker’s Farm Shop re-establishes the link between farm and fork, which has been eroded by our supermarket culture.


Leicestershire & Rutland region

Producer category
WinnerHambleton Bakery, Exton, Rutland: Superb, high-quality bread and cakes served by well-informed, helpful staff.

Shortlisted
The Garage Bakehouse, Market Harborough, Leics
Nice Pie, Old Dalby, Leics

Pub/restaurant category

Winner: The Olive Branch, Clipsham, Rutland: Effortly classy. Quality-driven, exciting but unpretentious food, great wine and beer selection, relaxed service – hard to imagine a better food pub.

Shortlisted
The Red Lion Inn, Stathern, Leics
The Smokehouse, Leicester

Shop category

Winner: Thrussington’s Village Store, Thrussington, Leics: Very welcoming shop, well-stocked and well-used by locals and visitors. An intelligent mix of staple items and high quality speciality goods – including a fine cheese selection – along with tea-room menu makes this a fantastic reinvention of the village store.

Shortlisted
Farndon Fields Farm Shop, Market Harborough, Leics
The Garage Bakehouse, Market Harborough, Leics


Lincolnshire region

Producer category

Winner: Brewster’s Brewery, Grantham: Brewsters has really throught about its products and goes out of its way to produce exciting beers that fit into several different market niches.

Shortlisted
Doddington Hall & Gardens, Doddington
Redhill Farm Free Range Pork, Gainsborough

Pub/restaurant category

Winner: The Jew’s House, Lincoln: Eating in one of the oldest buildings in Britain is an experience not to be missed; the menu is beautifully crafted and delivered with great service – an all-round great eating-out experience

Shortlisted
Doddington Hall Restaurant & Café, Doddington
The Mad Turk, Stamford

Shop category

Winner: The Stamford Deli, Stamford: Beautifully stocked deli with plenty of home-cooked delights to tempt you – a simple concept done extremely well with lots of interesting foods to try.

Shortlisted
Doddington Hall Farm Shop, Doddington
Grasmere Farm Shop, Market Deeping


Northamptonshire region

Producer category

Winner: Warner Edwards Distillery, Harrington: Warner Edwards not only offers fabulous products but also oozes passion, knowledge and an understanding of its brand. Tom Warner and Sion Edwards are a great pair and have a strong team behind them, constantly encouraging them to create and be different. Their rhubarb gin is truly scrumptious. Now offering four varieties of gin, they are able to compete with the big boys.

Shortlisted
Brown’s Gourmet Sausages, Wollaston
King’s Cliffe Brewery, King’s Cliffe

Pub/restaurant category

Winner: The Swan, Braybrooke: A beautiful family pub offering not only great service but also a delicious range of food to suit any tummy rumble. A lovely pub tastefully decorated with lots of space and pretty gardens. We really enjoyed our meal here and the Prosecco was exceptional too.

Shortlisted
The Wheatsheaf, Dallington
The White Horse, Old

Shop category

Winner: Beckworth Emporium, Mears Ashby: Not only a beautiful garden centre and deli store, but now Beckworth Emporium is also championing Northamptonshire producers by showcasing them within their store. Beckworth stands by great customer service and offers a range of delicious food as well as their famous afternoon teas.

Shortlisted
Ashley Farm Shop, Ashley
Waterloo Cottage Farm, Great Oxendon


Nottinghamshire region

Producer category

Winner: Maxeys Farm Shop, Kirklington: A fantastic grower of potatoes, asparagus, pumpkins, cabbages, broad beans, cauliflowers, broccoli, beetroot, Romanesque and more. Also a producer of wonderful baked and butchery items, all sold within a pleasant, well-run farm shop.

Shortlisted
Harker’s Farm Shop, Clipston on the Wolds
Sauce Shop, Nottingham

Pub/restaurant category

Joint winners: The Clock House, Upton, and Hart’s, Nottingham: We couldn’t choose between the polish of a Nottingham stalwart and charm of The Clock House and we feel they are equally deserving of the award. The Clock House is in a quaint location and dining here makes you feel special. The crab and pickled fennel starter was a highlight. Hart’s provides a true fine dining experience but isn’t afraid to bring innovation to its menu – a very strong all-round experience.

Shortlisted
The Harley Café, Welbeck

Shop category

Winner: Welbeck Farm Shop, Welbeck: A unique and luxurious food and drink shopping experience, with meat, cheese, beer, bread, chocolates, pastries and coffee all produced on the Welbeck estate. The presence of an in-store patissier and chocolatier – Boutique Aromatique – provides extra appeal. The shopping environment has been beautifully created and curated.

Shortlisted
Gonalston Farm Shop, Gonalston
Harker’s Farm Shop, Clipston on the Wolds


Derbyshire region

Producer category

Winner: Lindsay’s Still Room, Turnditch: Innovative products, fresh ideas, continually introducing and tweaking new lines and responding to customers views and maintaining high standards.

Shortlisted
Amber Valley Wines, Heage
Croots Farm Shop, Duffield

Pub/restaurant category

Winner: Calabria, Chesterfield: A local gem with exceptional, high quality food, friendly and helpful staff – a well deserved winner.

Shortlisted
The Samuel Fox, Bradwell
The Shires Eatery at Croots Farm Shop, Duffield

Shop category

Winner: Hackwood Farm Shop, Radbourne: Well stocked with local produce, friendly staff and an excellent range of goods at reasonable prices.

Shortlisted
Bluebells Dairy Farm Shop, Derby
Croots Farm Shop, Duffield


West Midlands region

Producer category

Winner: Talton Mill Farm Shop, Newbold on Stour: A warm, welcoming farm shop, packed with locally produced items, including its own meat, veg and freshly baked pies, quiches and cakes. The friendly staff are knowledgeable about their stock, making a visit a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Shortlisted
Loaf Bakery, Stirchley, Birmingham
Purity Brewery, Great Alne

Pub/restaurant category

Winner: Purecraft Bar & Kitchen, Birmingham: From arrival until departure, the service was attentive, helpful, knowledgable and warm, with an all-round relaxing atmosphere. The food was of excellent quality, with a diverse menu offering something for everyone. The whole idea of PureCraft oozes creativity, from the suggestions of beers paired with the food, to the restaurant decor, tasting room and ‘beer theatre’.

Shortlisted
The Duncombe Arms, Ellastone
On The Rocks at Quigley’s, Rugby

Shop category

Winner: Loaf Bakery, Stirchley: Located in a busy Birmingham suburb and surrounded by chains, Loaf offers something very different and really sets an example for every run-down high street in the country.

Shortlisted
Talton Mill Farm Shop, Newbold on Stour
Jim Gough Greengrocers, Wolverhampton


More information about the Great Food Club Awards 2015
The Great Food Club Awards 2015 shortlist was the result of 1,750 votes cast by Great Food Club members and other local-food lovers between March and May 2015. It comprised the top three vote winners in each category for each region.

The final winners were chosen by the Great Food Club writing team (more here) after anonymous visits to each shortlisted business. The three People’s Choice Awards went to the businesses that achieved the highest number of total votes in each category.

Matt Wright
The author:

Matt founded Great Food Club in 2010 and is editor-in-chief. He loves to brew his own beer and unearth food and drink gems, and lives in Leicestershire with his wife, two kids and jack russell terrier.