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Aspall Cyder - Cider and Vinegar

Guild of Food Writers Awards 2015

12th June 2015


Each year the country’s top food and drink writers, journalists and broadcasters come together to celebrate the best in the business. Aspall were delighted to support the Awards for the second time this year sponsoring the the Michael Smith Award for Work on British Food.

Way back in 1984 an illustrious group of people including Lady Arabella Boxer, Jane Grigson, Claudia Roden gathered to discuss the formation of a circle of food writers to support each other, to lobby government and to celebrate food writing and broadcasting. 30 years later the Guild has a membership of about 425 professional food writers and broadcasters and can claim to have raised awareness of the potential risks of genetically modified food; encouraged seasonal eating; attempted to raise the standard of food in our national institutions like schools and hospitals; and encouraged children to cook.    

The annual Awards, established in 1996, recognises everything from Restaurant Reviewer of the Year to Food Blog of the year and Best Cookbook. They are the only awards where entries are judged by peers.  This year the Awards Ceremony took place at Opera Holland Park on a rather chilly June evening as 300 guests gathered to enjoy a glass of delicious English sparkling wine from Nyetimber and for those on soft drinks two unusual and refreshing fruit shrubs created especially for the evening using Aspall Organic Cyder Vinegar.      

A shrub is an old-fashioned drink, a cordial made with vinegar to preserve the fruit before the days of refrigeration and giving it a distinct tang that balances the sweetness of fresh fruit. We’re seeing a resurgence of shrubs as a cocktail ingredient in bars in the US and emerging in the UK but they’re also delicious and thoroughly refreshing just diluted with sparkling water. They’re really simple to make at home too - we’ll be posting some recipes soon!     

The Awards themselves were hosted by Xanthe Clay, President of the Guild and food writer for the Telegraph and radio presenter Bill Buckley. Aspall were proud to support the Michael Smith Award for Work on British Food with three fantastic books shortlisted: A Year at Otter Farm by Mark Diacono The Shed: The Cookbook by Richard, Oliver and Gregory Gladwin and Great British Sweets: And How to Make Them at Home by Adele Nozedar.    

It was brothers Richard, Oliver and Gregory Gladwin who picked up the award presented by Henry Chevallier Guild for the book of the restaurants. The brothers grew up on a farm in West Sussex where youngest brother Gregory continues to farm. Their ethos of the restaurants is to source everything sustainably and seasonally with an emphasis on foraged ingredients all from within a 100 mile radius of London. The book shares 100 seasonal recipes with personal introductions from each of the brothers, Gregory’s view from the farm and tips on pairing wine with each dish.      

Diana Henry stole the show scooping two awards one for Cookery Book of the Year for A Change of Appetite and one for Journalist of the Year for her writing in The Telegraph. But the highlight of the evening was to witness Rick Stein’s genuine humble acceptance of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

It’s a pleasure to support so many talented and passionate writers and broadcasters and we look forward to supporting The Guild of Food Writers in years to come.

Photographs by Lucy Young and Kirsten Holst