CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Guy Warner: The Cotswolds’ Got Talent!

PUBLISHED: 11:21 17 August 2015 | UPDATED: 15:48 17 August 2015

Cotswold Distilling Company

Cotswold Distilling Company

Tom Elms Photography

Readers of Cotswold Life will know it also has its own annual talent show, one that’s been running for longer than the X Factor...

Cheese of the Year sponsored by Paxton & Whitfield - Cerney Ash by Cerney Cheese, North CerneyCheese of the Year sponsored by Paxton & Whitfield - Cerney Ash by Cerney Cheese, North Cerney

Now I’m not one to judge but it does seem that you can’t flick the TV on these days without being faced with some talent show or another – be it singing, baking, dancing and even hairdressing, there’s a row of judges all waiting to deliberate, cogitate and digest what’s been served up before them. Apparently, our appetite for these talent shows is insatiable which is why they’ve been multiplying faster than a rabbit in springtime. While I may not join my kids in their Saturday night devotion to Lord Cowell et al, despite my ever so male assertions to the contrary, I can see why such shows are popular. Once you’ve sifted through the chaff, you can be left with some pretty good stuff, and everyone, as we know, ultimately likes a winner.

Readers of Cotswold Life will know it also has its own annual talent show, one that’s been running for longer than the X Factor, with arguably a great deal more talent than Britain’s Got has ever shown – yes, I’m talking about the Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards. Now in its 13th year, the Food & Drink Awards celebrate true winners in every sense of the word. Every year, these awards highlight the phenomenal standard of food and drink that we have on our own doorstep. They vindicate the hard work, dedication and devotion that Cotswold producers have tirelessly given to creating and perfecting their product and remind us of how fortunate we are to live in an area with such a vibrant food scene.

As a sponsor of the awards, I have been on the judging panel in the past (though my contribution was probably more Louis Walsh than Simon Cowell) and I tell you, it’s a daunting task. I like to think I know a bit about food but the standard of what these local producers are creating is now way past my comfort zone. Here in the Cotswolds, we’ve got big cheeses that win awards on the international stage and Michelin-starred chefs who are world-renowned.

However, unlike the X Factor wannabees, these finalists aren’t looking to win us over – it’s they who won us over in the first place. Every single producer that made the Food & Drink Awards list was nominated by us, Joe Public, and in my mind that gives each and every one of them huge credibility. So, if I’m looking to try some new cheese, I’m going to go straight for the Cheese of the Year winner, Cerney Ash, and for my next G&T I’m going to try the locally-produced Cotswolds Dry Gin thank you very much! In fact, so tried and tested are these finalists and winners that I’m going to make it my mission to wade through the finalists list over the next few months – a bit like an Egon Ronay guide to Cotswolds’ Got Talent if you like.

Drinks Product of the Year sponsored by Farrow & Ball - Cotswolds Dry Gin, Cotswolds Distillery, StourtonDrinks Product of the Year sponsored by Farrow & Ball - Cotswolds Dry Gin, Cotswolds Distillery, Stourton

Why don’t you join me on my Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards Live Tour and unearth some of these fabulous local products too? I’m sure by Christmas, you’ll have a new number one on your hands, but, I’m afraid, you’ll have to judge that for yourself!


Top scorers

• Guy’s winner: Best Pub Restaurant winner, The Horse and Groom in Bourton-on-the-Hill

• One to watch: Food Product of the Year finalist, Blaisden Red Plum Jam by The Artisan Kitchen

• The next number one: Cheese of the Year finalist, Double Gloucester by Jonathan Crump’s Cheese

• Where to buy:

Cerney Ash – Warner’s Budgens Bidford on Avon, Moreton-in-Marsh, a variety of farm shops and delis across the Cotswolds

Cotswolds Dry Gin – Sheldon’s Wine Cellars, Shipston on Stour, online at

Blaisden Red Plum Jam, The Artisan Kitchen – Gloucester Services, a variety of farm shops and delis across the Cotswolds and online at

Jonathan Crump’s Double Gloucester – Cheeseworks in Cheltenham, online at


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

I send this postcard from Cirencester, complete with the discoveries and viewpoints from four members of my family – both the young and not so young

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

One hundred years ago this month the guns fell silent, marking the end of what was to become known as The Great War. Stephen Roberts remembers the impact the war had on Cotswold lives from 1914-1918

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Being a region so steeped in history, there are plenty of locations in the Cotswolds with spooky stories from over the years. From bloody executions, eerie apparitions and headless horsemen, we pick 23 of the most haunted locations throughout the Cotswolds to visit if you dare

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

New bat cams installed at Woodchester Mansion help study protected breeds while also becoming an added attraction for visitors. Jo Barber looks at the work of one of the UK’s foremost bat experts and the mansion’s valued volunteers

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

From an all-boy, all boarding prep school for just 30 pupils, to the quietly trailblazing yet still traditional school it is today – here is a snapshot of Beaudesert over its 110-year history

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Of all the castles in the region, none have seen as much war, romance and royalty as Sudeley over its dramatic 1,000-year history. And with such a colourful and eventful past, it is easy to see why some people believe there could be spirits from bygone eras which still wander the halls and corridors to this day

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Following a record year for ‘visitor giving’ donations via local businesses, applications are invited to fund conservation projects

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

What started as a business ploy by one Cotswold firm has developed into an inspirational garden

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

If a bit of English eccentricity is your thing, spend an enjoyable afternoon exploring the delightful follies of Faringdon

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search