Welsh producers enjoyed success at the prestigious BBC Food and Farming Awards ceremony, hosted at the International Convention Centre in Newport on 25th October 2023.
The winners included North Wales-based cheese and yogurt producer, Cosyn Cymru, who took the top prize of the evening, winning the UK’s ‘Best Food Producer’ award.
The other Welsh winners were Cardiff’s Maasi’s café, which was named the UK’s ‘Best Streetfood, Takeaway or Small Eatery’. Meanwhile, the Vale of Glamorgan’s Peterston Tea beat stiff competition from fellow Welsh producers, Pembrokeshire Lamb and Velfrey Vineyard, to win the ‘Best Food and Drink Producer in Wales Award with BBC Cymru Wales’.
The BBC Food & Farming Awards mission statement, since its inception in 2000, is “to honour those who have done most to promote the cause of good food”, and the winners from Wales have proven they have what it takes to shine amongst the rest of the UK.
The awards were judged and hosted by presenters including Thomasina Miers, cook, television presenter and co-founder of the Wahaca chain of Mexican restaurants, Jaega Wise and Dan Saladino from Radio 4’s The Food Programme, food presenter Leyla Kazim and Star Farmer Will Young. Sheila Dillon, Presenter of The Food Programme, said “The BBC Food & Farming Awards are delighted to be celebrating this year in Wales. Especially at a time when the Welsh Government is committed to making farming and food within its borders a model for the rest of the UK.”
The Awards ceremony, which returned to Wales for the second time in its 23 year history, took place alongside Welsh Government’s flagship food and drink trade event, BlasCymru/TasteWales, which is also being held at the same venue.
Organised by Food & Drink Wales, hundreds of industry professionals from across the globe have gathered for the fourth edition of the event, which features two hundred new Welsh food and drink products being launched in what is expected to be a multi-million pound boost in sales for Welsh food and drink producers.
Welsh Government Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd, Lesley Griffiths, said: “Congratulations to Cosyn Cymru, Maasi’s Café and Peterston Tea on their success at the BBC Food and Farming Awards.
“Their commitment to producing high quality products is clear and I am pleased this been rightly recognised.
“I am proud of the hard work of all of our Welsh food and drink businesses and their desire to succeed is seeing the industry continue to go from strength to strength.”
The Welsh winners were:
Best Food Producer: Cosyn Cymru (North Wales)
Inspired by a medley of master cheese-makers, Carrie Rimes makes her ewe’s milk products by hand in small batches with natural ingredients, using traditional methods.
Specialising in dairy unpasteurised ewe's milk cheese and creamy yogurt, to bring out the best qualities of the milk, all products are made by hand in small batches using natural ingredients, traditional methods, and plenty of patience.
Speaking of her delight at taking the top award, Carrie Rimes, said, “I’m absolutely delighted to have been named as the UK’s ‘Best Food Producer’ at the BBC Food and Farming Awards. It is an incredible honour, and a great reflection on the fantastic food and drink industry we have in Wales.
“Producing quality cheese and yogurt is a passion for me, and to see the hard work being rewarded with such a prestigious award is quite humbling. I’m grateful to be part of such a vibrant food scene in Wales, and to have benefited from working closely with others across the industry to help us flourish and succeed.”
Best Streetfood, Takeaway or Small Eatery: Maasi’s (Cardiff)
Fresh and tasty Pakistani food cooked with fresh ingredients with an all-female team. Maasi's, which means auntie in Punjabi was started by Sabrina Khan when her food became popular in lockdown.
Owner Sabrina Khan said, "I love to cook and I love food so I am just grateful to have been given the opportunity to live out my passion, and winning awards such as these is just the cherry on top.
“We started with an all-female team with the aim of inspiring the next generation of women to try their hand at working in a professional kitchen, and to give a voice to those who are not represented and marginalised. The award is testament to their incredible hard work and talent, and I couldn’t be prouder.”
Best Food and Drink Producer in Wales Award with BBC Cymru Wales: Peterston Tea (Vale of Glamorgan)
Peterson Tea grow speciality single estate loose leaf tea, hand-picked and processed in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Lucy George of Peterston Tea said, “Having begun growing tea on our family farm in early 2015, we would never have envisaged being where we are now and picking up such a prestigious award.
“What has started out as a mini project has grown to be so much more and we’re delighted to have been named as the best food and drink producer in Wales. There is so much good work and innovative products being produced in Wales, and we’re proud to be part of such a vibrant scene.”