25 August 2014


The Aylsham Agricultural Show Association has awarded the Norfolk Hero Food and Drink Championship 2014 to the Saracen’s Head in Wolterton and the President’s Individual Hero Award has been given to Nicola and Matthew Colchester of the Colchester Inns.

The Saracen’s Head has beaten stiff competition from Winbirri Vineyards, H. V. Graves of Briston and the Norfolk Mead Hotel. Back in June, the Georgian inn had an excellent review when it won the ‘Best Use of Norfolk Produce on the Menu’ and has now secured the highest accolade which is sponsored by Larking Gowen.

The Colchester Inns are award winning pubs in Norfolk serving home cooked food, owned and managed by the Colchester family and their team. The pubs, which include Aylsham’s Black Boys Hotel, Horstead’s Recruiting Sergeant, South Walsham’s The Ship Inn and The Buckinghamshire Arms near Blickling Hall, are all well-known to local people and further afield.

“I’m honoured to give the Individual Hero Award to Nicola and Matthew Colchester. They have a passion for hosting and giving their customers truly delicious food. The family has a real knack in creating pubs into a destination experience for quality food and ambiance,” said Aylsham Show President Phillida Hurn.

Aylsham Show’s Hero Awards Chairman, Jacinth Rogers, said: “The Saracen’s Head has proven that it’s a true champion with its enthusiasm for local food. The judges summed it up beautifully saying that it’s ‘a delight to visit’ and it’s the ‘ultimate Norfolk experience – simply marvellous’.

Norfolk Hero Food and Drink Championship Winner 2014, Janie Elwes of the Saracen’s Head, said: ‘It’s such a great recognition for our local, fresh and seasonal food and drinks. And Tim and I would like to thank all our customers for their wonderful support.” Head Chef Mark Sayers added that he is delighted to win this accolade and really feels that all their hard work has been awarded. ‘We also want to thank our fantastic suppliers as because of them we have a great menu.”

Nicola Colchester of the Colchester Inns said after receiving the Individual Hero Award: “It’s unexpected and a real honour. We‘re thrilled to win and thank our fantastic team and family for their support. And our customers as that’s what it’s all about.

“Matthew and I started at 19 and we’re still going strong after 23 years of doing this together. It’s our good managers and customers that make it a real pleasure to go to work.”

Category winners 2014
· The Saracen’s Head, Wolterton, won ‘Best Use of Norfolk Produce on the Menu’ which is sponsored by PIC UK.
· Winbirri Vineyards, Surlingham, is the county’s ‘Best Specialist Food or Drink Producer’ which is sponsored by Gressingham Foods.
· H.V. Graves Ltd. in Briston, a butcher, bakery and local shop, is awarded ‘Best Food or Drink Supplier Promoting Local Produce’. This category is sponsored by Dewing Grain.
· ‘The Best New Food or Drink Venture started in 2013/ 14, sponsored by BOCM Pauls, is the Norfolk Mead Hotel in Coltishall.

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The Aylsham Agricultural Show Association established the Norfolk Hero Food and Drink awards in 2007 – the first of its kind in the county.

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John Wootten President of Aylsham Show 2017
Aylsham Show President I am very pleased and honoured to be President of the Aylsham Show in 2017. We moved to Aylsham in 1978, but as a ship’s captain, my job took me abroad for several years. In 1982 my wife’s uncle, John Thornton, then local director of Barclays Bank was President of the Show and he persuaded me to get involved. When illness forced me to retire from the sea, I became Assistant Showground Director to Tom Elwes for several years until 1992. After some years building up Eastern Events, in 2010 I took over as Show Director from Jamie Jamieson. My grandfather farmed at Horsham St Faith and I like to think that he may have visited the show in its formative years. My wife Charlotte certainly competed at the Show in the 1960’s, majoring on the gymkhana. Up until the end of last year I was a director of Revival Productions who have staged very successful concerts in Blickling Park for the past 5 years. All of us who work for the Show have special moments. As Show Director I was always on site by 5 am – a magical time with the mist rising and everything just stirring. The stockmen are washing down their cattle, and sheep are calling to one another. But soon it is all go and you look at your watch and discover it is 2 o’clock in the afternoon before you know it. One of the things I will really enjoy as President is actually being able to see the Show and to meet and thank all the people who make it such a success. The Show is a fantastic organisation where people give their time and energy to raise money for local charities and I am very proud to be a part of it and to be President in 2017.
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