As many of you know, we were outright winners of the B and B / Guesthouses category at the Free From Eating Out Awards in 2015. Due to other commitments we have not entered the awards in the past two years but have been a judge instead, which I must admit is hard work, and not without stresses, but great fun . (Lets face it, touring the country staying in lovely hotels, visiting amazing restaurants and cafes and being a piggy really doesnt seem like work much of the time… except the two occasions when I was well and truly “got”… once with gluten and once with dairy… but I lived to tell the tale, so we just put those down to experience)
This year we entered two categories: B and B / Guesthouses, and Creme de la Creme (a category for past winners). We weren’t idle on the judging angle either, and judged other categories as well. The judging system has changed as there is so much more awareness of catering for allergies etc, and there are more establishments worthy of winning, so they now award Bronze, silver , Silver – gilt and Gold. The judging is in stages with 3 judges assessing at the earlier rounds, then those who have been shortlisted have a secret visit from one judge.
My judge had many, quite complex dietary requirements and allergies but as we cater for just about every lifestyle and allergy diet there is, it wasn’t a problem… prior notice always helps of course!
Everything must have been to her liking as we were highly chuffed to have been awarded a Gold in both the Bed and Breakfast / Guesthouses , and the Creme de la Creme category. The ceremony was held at Food Matters Life show at Excel in London in November. For anyone involved in working with food, it is a very interesting and informative show with conferences and talks throughout the week on trends and the future of Food manufacture and service. The show floor provides an excellent opportunity to test new products and ingredients even before they go into production, as well as discovering software etc that makes our lives easier as caterers when it comes to complying with necessary legislation etc.
Judges comments – September 2018
‘The welcome started before I even arrived. I had a phone call within 24 hours of booking to check all the dietary information I had put down. Felt very comfortable. Everything on the menu was gluten and wheat free. All allergens were labelled on the breakfast items (including those containing sulphites), and we went through everything again at breakfast to make sure I knew what was what.
Afternoon tea was amazing! It is the first time in a very long time, outside of me making desserts as home, I have eaten out and been able to have everything on the menu!!
The food was delicious!! You could tell the attention to detail was there. Everything had been thought of. The scones were fabulous – I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a gf scone before so that was a treat. The sandwiches were fantastic. Best GF white bread I’ve ever tasted. Julia said that it came from the wheat free bread company in Scotland. Everything that could be was locally sourced. Breakfast was brilliant, the bacon and sausages were fab! We have added that butchers to our list of places to buy from.’
‘It’s not the cheapest B&B but it is absolute value for money and I think you get more for your money. Care and attention has been paid to absolutely everything. The crockery is lovely to use, little silver spoons in the sugar pot is so cute and lovely, handmade local soaps in the bathroom and even chocolates on the pillow!!’