The St Albans and Harpenden Food and Drink Festival

I hope everyone who discovered the Alban Weekend street party in St Albans on Sunday enjoyed trying the food on offer; it is just a taster of what will be available in October at The St Albans and Harpenden Food & Drink Festival. It might seem far too early to tell you about it now but I have news that I know many of the local businesses are waiting for: the shortlist for the 2014 Food and Drink Festival Awards.
Voting is now OPEN and you can cast your vote at http://www.enjoystalbans.com. So if you know where to find the most delicious cake, or the perfect pint, this is your chance to say “well done” to a local business.
The winners will be decided by public vote, and after last year’s confusion over whether businesses were in the right category, judges will visit the three venues voted top by the public to check that they do exactly what they say they do. The family-friendly venues will be visited with children, and if the business claims that it uses “locally sourced” ingredients then the judges will see if that is actually true on the day they go in.
Voting is limited to one vote per person, and ip addresses and voting patterns will be checked.
There are 11 categories in total; 9 are decided by public vote along with scrutiny of a judging panel and 2 are special awards decided by the steering group. The Food and Drink Champion will be selected out of all the award category winners and judged by the sponsors and steering group. 

The Kate D’Arcy Award is a special award in memory of Kate D’Arcy that recognises exceptional customer service in any type of business. If you know a fantastic barperson or waiter, a super-helpful shopkeeper or market stall holder, for example, why not nominate?

The winners will be announced at the Awards Dinner on Monday 6 October at St Michael’s Manor. The Awards Dinner will be the last event in the Festival, which starts on Wednesday 24 September with the legendary CAMRA beer festival. There are two key dates for your diary now: the Harpenden Farmers Market will be on Sunday 28th September, with special Festival events, and The St Albans street festival, with stalls and live demos, will be on Sunday 5th October.

In the meantime, here are the shortlists. If any are new to you, this is the perfect opportunity to go and try – you may discover a new favourite.

Best Family Friendly Venue

Inn on the Park
The Pudding Stop
Bar Meze
The Sitting Room
Dahlia Coffee House (Aylett Nurseries)
Zizzi (St Albans)

Best Local Café

The Courtyard Café
The Pudding Stop
Bakehouse St Albans
Barrissimo
Blueberry Café
Inn on the Park
Abbot’s Kitchen

Best Independent Food/ Drink Shop

Tomoko Spirits Boutique
Hedges Farm Shop
Poulters fish stall, St Albans Saturday market
Buongiorno Italia Delicatessen
Beershop
Jay’s Delicatessen
Rollings Wine Company
Flagship Wines

Best Newcomer

Beershop
The Pudding Stop
Thompson@Darcys
The City Market Company
Baked Nation

Best Local Restaurant

Chez Mumtaj
Thompsons@Darcys
The Foragers@The Verulam Arms
That Little Place
Singhli
Bar Azita
Bar Meze
Lussmanns Fish & Grill Restaurants (St Albans & Harpenden)

Best Bar

Chilli Bar and Kitchen
Billy’s Bar and Restaurant
The Snug Bar
Mokoko

Best Pub

The Mermaid
The Cock Inn
The Verulam Arms
The Hare & Hounds
The Bull
The Lower Red Lion
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks
The Holly Bush

Best Takeaway

Hatch
Halema
H & H Fried Chicken and Kebabs
Godfrey’s
The Pudmobile (The Pudding Stop)
The Ridgeway Fish Bar
India Garden

Best Local Producer

Redbournbury Watermill and Bakery
Hedges Farm Shop
T Roberts and Son
Crumbs ‘n’ All
The 3 Brewers of St Albans
Earthworks

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About thelocalfoodie

Food writer for The Herts Advertiser.
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