Yesterday we were delighted to be named overall Supreme Champion at the Taste of the West Awards 2016 for our Chocolate ‘The Bish’.
The Taste of the West awards are now in their 25th year celebrating the best food and drink producers and hospitality from the South West of England. H.R.H. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is patron.
The awards ceremony was held in beautiful Exeter Cathedral with over 400 guests, including food producers, top retailers, restaurateurs, food writers, buyers and leading chefs from across the region. BBC presenter Victoria Graham joined Taste of the West Chief Executive John Sheaves on stage to announce the Champions of each category and the winners of the coveted 2016 Supreme Champion Product Award and No 1 Place to Go.
Lick the Spoon were finalists in the chocolate category with our Bronde Chocolate bar and ‘The Bish‘ Chocolate. We perhaps should have realised this would be a special day as we were seated right at the front with the headline sponsors. However, this year we knew that the competition in the Chocolate category was of the highest level and never assume anything, so when the first announcement came that we had won Champion Chocolate 2016 for ‘The Bish’ chocolate we were absolutely over the moon. However the biggest surprise was still to come!
2016 marked our tenth anniversary since first entering the Taste of the West awards and in eight years of entering the awards we had now been named overall category winner six times. As the awards ceremony drew to a close BBC presenter Victoria Graham opened the golden envelope to announce the overall Supreme Champion award – the Champion of Champions. As the room fell silent Victoria announced that the Supreme Champion Product at the Taste of the West awards 2016 was ‘The Bish‘ chocolate by Lick the Spoon. We were so surprised that for the first thirty seconds we remained in our seats not quite believing the announcement!
As we stepped up to the podium Diana made a short speech explaining that ‘the Bish’ chocolate had been inspired by a meeting with the Bishop of Gloucester Rachel Treweek on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s hour. During a conversation between the two ladies Bishop Rachel revealed she was a chocolate fan and described her favourite chocolates as caramel and praline. Inspired by the meeting Diana created a new Caramel praline chocolate and Bishop Rachel graciously allowed us to call it ‘The Bish’ in her honour. Diana went on to thank the cocoa farmers in Madagascar who we work so closely with as well as husband and Director Matthew and right hand lady Chocolatier Tina Ingamells.
John Sheaves went on to explain that when considering the overall winner the judging panel were unanimous in praise for the technical expertise used to make such a chocolate.
An outstandingly high quality product, and admirably demonstrates the very high level of technical expertise involved in producing this product. Out of this world!
It is the first time that a Chocolate has been named Supreme Champion and the first time a Wiltshire producer has won the coveted award!