A HOST of awards have been dished out to the best food and drink producers in Dorset.

The fifth Taste of Dorset Awards named the best of what the county has to offer from restaurants to community gardens and orchards.

Food producers in and around Dorchester and Bridport landed top spots in the awards.

The Maiden Newton allotments struck gold in the Grow Your Own award judged by Michael Burks of the Gardens Group.

Cattistock’s The Fox and Hounds Inn stole the top stop for Best Local award while the Best Cafe or Tearoom went to Hive Beach Cafe in Burton Bradstock.

The county town’s The Walnut Grove landed a spot in the final for Best Restaurant along with Weymouth restaurant The Dining Room.

This award was nominated by readers before sponsors judged the final three.

Sophie Kermani Jibet, owner of The Dining Room, said: “We were totally overwhelmed to have been nominated in the first place.

“As it’s a public vote, it means that our diners have enjoyed the food and experience so much that they believe we should be awarded best restaurant in Dorset.

“To then be in the final four among such well established, all over 10 years, and popular restaurants in Dorset was an honour.”

She added: “To be a finalist having only been open nine months is a massive accomplishment.”

Mark Hammick of Dorchester’s Gaggle of Geese grabbed a spot in the final of the Best Dorset Recipe and Best Dorset Domestic Recipe award.

While Jane Davies of Broadmayne , Dorchester landed in the final of the Best Domestic Cook award.

The New Inn of Cerne Abbas finished in the top three for the Best Dining Pub award.

Special guests included Lord Lieutenant of Dorset Valerie Pitt-Rivers and 2009 Masterchef winner Mat Follas, who presented the awards.

Organiser Fanny Charles, said: “The awards are a celebration of the talent, skill and creativity of Dorset’s chefs and food-producers and a tribute to the food industry, which makes such an important contribution to the economy of the county and the region.”

New awards this year included the hotly contested Best Dorset Recipe, making a total of 12 categories.


West Dorset strikes gold

WEST Dorset proved to be a haven for top food and drink in the 2012 Taste of Dorset Awards.

The Town Mill Cheesemonger in Lyme Regis struck gold when it was named the Best Independent Food Shop.

Also, Felicity’s Farm Shop in Morcombelake finished in the final of this category, while Bridport’s Marshwood Vale Cider landed a spot in the final for the Best Dorset Drink Award.

And Tim Attrill of the Hive Beach Cafe in Burton Bradstock narrowly missed out on the award for Best Dorset Recipe and Best Dorset Domestic Recipe.