Two Woodbridge food producers are set to go head-to-head to win a competition celebrating locally-sourced heroes.
Choose Spice, run by Vernon Blackmore and Jamie Symons, are up against The Cake Shop in the Thoroughfare, as they battle to become the East of England Co-op’s Producer of the Year.
They are two of six finalists from across the East – with two companies from Essex and two from Norfolk, also vying for public votes.
David Wright who runs The Cake Shop said it had won numerous awards for its baking, using traditional methods handed down over three generations.
“I think what sets us apart from the competition is our mission to make brilliant bakes affordable and create strong links to the local community,” he said.
“We have a commitment to our customers who have supported us through thick and thin over the years. So many small bakeries disappeared from the high street but we’ve managed to survive.”
Vernon Blackmore from Choose Spice has created a range of curry pastes inspired by the tastes of South East Asia.
“My mum is Chinese Malaysian and she is a passionate cook and professional chef and I picked that up from her,” he said. “To start with I created three curry pastes based on my mum’s recipes.
“We only use fresh ingredients and our aim is to take the work out for the customer, so they can enjoy the delicious tastes of South East Asia from the comfort of their own home.”
The vote to pick Suffolk’s favourite is now open and runs until Thursday February 21st.
Jam producer Thursday Cottage and sandwich-maker Raynors are vying for votes in Essex and The Norfolk Brewhouse and Woodforde’s – both breweries – are competing for Norfolk.
One winner will be picked from each county, before a panel of food and farming experts will judge who will be crowned overall champion.
Roger Grosvenor, Joint Chief Executive at the East of England Co-op, said the competition in Suffolk was going to be tough.
“Choose Spice is a relatively new business bringing exciting and exotic flavours to the dining table,” he said. “Meanwhile, The Cake Shop is a family-run multi-award winning bakery with traditional roots and a long history. Both deserve recognition but for different reasons.
“We are asking the public to pick just one of these incredible businesses to represent Suffolk.
“The awards are a celebration of produce from across East Anglia – a region which is home to some of the most diverse and exciting products in the UK.
“From fruit and vegetables to meat, poultry and fish, we place a huge amount of emphasis on food provenance and a vast array of the products on our shelves are produced and packaged locally.
“Producer of the Year aims to celebrate the success of these businesses and I would like to urge everyone to vote and show your support for the producers that have been picked to showcase the best of Suffolk.”
Shoppers are encouraged to vote for one producer per county and in return, those who vote will have a chance to win £500 of vouchers to use in East of England Co-op stores.
To find out more about each of the shortlisted producers and to vote visit: www.eastofengland.coop/poty2019