Finalists for St Albans and Harpenden Food and Drink Awards revealed

St Albans Food and Drink Festival 2016

St Albans Food and Drink Festival 2016 - Credit: Archant

A menu of 37 finalists have been dished up for the St Albans and Harpenden Food and Drink Festival awards following a public vote.

The village green outside the Old Town Hall

The village green outside the Old Town Hall - Credit: Archant

Almost 3,000 people took part in the online ballot after more than 400 venues were nominated for 11 coveted titles. These include best bar, best market stall and best café.

The voting closed after almost seven weeks with the top three in each category going forward to the final stage. Dead heats have resulted in four finalists in a few categories.

Now Festival Steering Group judges, including Herts Ad food and drink writer Becky Alexander, will make surprise visits to the finalists in the next few weeks to check them out.

Some businesses will be inspected with children present to test their family-friendly credentials. Others that say they use locally-sourced ingredients will have that claim examined too.

People enjoy eating in the street

People enjoy eating in the street - Credit: Archant

Food hygiene ratings, customer service and the quality of the facilities are among the attributes that will be considered.

The winners will then be selected and announced at a glittering Festival Awards Dinner at Sopwell House Hotel on Monday October 3.

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The annual festival, which is sponsored by SA Law, the Herts Advertiser and Oaklands College, starts on Sunday September 25 with a wealth of events throughout the district over a week.

The finalists, with addresses in St Albans unless otherwise stated, are:

People enjoy eating in the street

People enjoy eating in the street - Credit: Archant

Best Bar:

Dylan’s at the Kings Arms, George Street; The Snug, French Row; Mokoko, Verulam Road.

Best Independent Food/Drink Shop:

Buongiorno Italia, Lattimore Road; BEER SHOP, London Road; Smokehouse Deli, Cell Barnes Lane.

Best Café:

The Pudding Stop, Verulam Road; Bakehouse, Heritage Close, High Street; George St Canteen, George Street.

Best Newcomer:

Tabure, Spencer Street; Per Tutti, Holywell Hill; Suckerpunch, George Street; Panko, Holywell Hill.

Best Local Producer:

The Pudding Stop; Farr Brew, Coleman Green Lane, Wheathampstead. Hedges Farm, North Orbital Road.

Best Local Restaurant:

The Foragers @ The Verulam Arms, Lower Dagnall Street; Dylan’s at The Kings Arms; Tabure.

Best Pub:

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, Abbey Mill Lane; The Foragers @ The Verulam Arms; The Six Bells, St Michael’s Street; The Boot, Market Place.

Best Takeaway:

Godfrey’s Fish & Chips, High Street, Harpenden; The Pudding Stop; HATCH, The Maltings.

Best Market Stall:

Hatch; Farr Brew; Heaven is a Cupcake; Cheese Wheeler Cheese Van.

Most Family Friendly Venue:

The Waffle House, Kingsbury Watermill, St Michael’s Street; Wagamama, Christopher Place; Relish Burgers, Alban Arena; George Street Canteen.

Kate D’Arcy Award for customer service:

Jamie West, Rose and Crown, High Street, Sandridge, and The Gate, Station Road, Bricket Wood; Meena & Kim, Cinnamon Travelling Café; Sammy, The Six Bells.

For further details about the festival, click here.