Winners of Eat Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2018 revealed

Inside the Eat Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2018 at OPEN, Norwich Picture: Simon Finlay Photograph

Inside the Eat Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2018 at OPEN, Norwich Picture: Simon Finlay Photography - Credit: Archant

Twelve businesses and personalities take home prizes at 2018 Eat Norfolk Food and Drink Awards.

On Monday evening, at a glittering ceremony at Norwich's OPEN, 12 businesses and personalities were honoured as part of the Eat Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2018.

Following a delicious, seasonal supper, guests took their seats in anticipation to find out who our expert judges had deemed to be this year's winners.

Pride of Norfolk finalists included Green Farm Coffee, The Norfolk Brewhouse and Winbirri Vineyards, but it was Essence Foods which took home the prize, sponsored by Norse Catering.

Essence produces preserves, mustards and the innovative Beetella chocolate spreads from its base in the Norfolk countryside and the brand's products can be found far and wide across the county and beyond.

The hotly contested Best Afternoon Tea category, sponsored by Castlemeadow Care, included Guildhall Britannia, Piano Tearoom and Strattons Hotel, but it was Richard Hughes and his Norwich-based hotel and restaurant The Assembly House which ultimately won over the judges with its innovative and magical teas, created by head pastry chef Mark Mitson.

Past and Present Tearooms beat Garden Kitchen Cafe, Heydon Village Tea Room and No 33 to win Best Coffee/Tea Shop, sponsored by EDP Norfolk Magazine.

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And Best Newcomer, sponsored by Bullards, was taken by Hannah and Ben's Flint Vineyard on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, which is turning out some very fine wines, some of them having been taken under the Adnams own label series. Finalists were Farmyard, Jakey the Bakey and The Tipsy Vegan.

It was Worzals Bar and Grill which took Best Independent Food and Drink Retailer, sponsored by Bakers and Larners. Finalists were Archer's of Norwich, Jarrold Deli and Pye Baker of Norwich.

In the Easton and Otley College sponsored Field to Fork Category finalists included D J Barnard, The Fritton Arms and tofurei. The prize went to The Norfolk Brewhouse.

Wells Crab House Restaurant had a double whammy, taking not only the Outstanding Front of House prize (finalists included Farmyard, Loddon Swan and The Wildebeest) but also Best Restaurant, sponsored by Gerald Giles, and with finalists including River Green, The Lodge Griddle & Grill and The Wildebeest.

In a new category, Norfolk Home Chef of the Year, sponsored by Richard Hughes Cookery School, Mark Fitch beat finalists Graham Page, Kate Royall and Maria Randlesome, while finalists in the City College Norwich, Chef of Year category included Daniel Freear, Jeremy Park and Mark Elvin. Charlie Wilson of The Wildebeest was named winner in this category.

The Fritton Arms is celebrating being named Best Family Dining winner in the Food Care Systems sponsored category. Finalists were The Fox at Lyng, The Kitchen at St George's Distillery and The Lifeboat Inn.

Farnell Clarke sponsored the Best Pub category, contested by The Boars, Spooner Row, The Burston Crown and Warwick St Social but ultimately won by The Dabbling Duck Pub.

Finally, regional treasure and Canaries champion Delia Smith was honoured with the Hansells sponsored Outstanding Achievement Award.