What a delight it is to be announcing our 2021 Cotswold Food & Drink Awards.
As many of you will know, we made the difficult decision last year to postpone the awards because of the effect COVID-19 has had on the industry. Too many of our much loved restaurants, pubs, hotels, cafés and producers found it a difficult time, with constantly changing government guidelines surrounding hospitality, staff being furloughed, and loyal patrons feeling nervous about leaving their homes. It simply didn’t feel like the right time to be celebrating our usually thriving food and drink businesses.
While some, sadly, had to call it a day, others found new ways in which to operate in challenging times; setting up takeaway services, delivering the complete restaurant service direct to homes, and installing all manner of shelters in gardens. We’ve seen quirky open-sided carriages, fairy light-festooned marquees, geodesic domes, tipis... and we’ve also seen traditional pubs transformed into village stores, selling everything from fruit and veg to daily papers. Ingenious.
The way in which independent Cotswold businesses have joined forces to share experiences and ideas in the last 14 months or so has been truly heart-warming and fills us with both hope and excitement for the days to come. And so, we’re launching our Food & Drink Awards for the 19th year with great fanfare and the popping of many corks, and hope you’ll join us in recognising some of our heroes.
The awards will remain open for entries until Sunday 18 July, judging and public vote for each of our categories will follow once the awards close for entries. The finalists of the 2021 awards will be announced online on Monday 13 September, then featured in Cotwold Life which goes on sale Wednesday 6 October. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday 11 October at Cheltenham Racecourse.
Please do send in your nominations now, and we look forward to seeing you in October at our celebration of all that’s good about Cotswold food and drink.
Candia McKormack, Editor, Cotswold Life