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Gold star awards for Croots Farm Shop includes Bake Off star’s cake

Steve Croot and Val Stones

 

Popular Derbyshire farm shop Croots has scooped two gold star awards in this year’s Great Taste Awards – including one for a cake designed in conjunction with Bake Off star Val Stones.

Val’s Virtuous Cake, a fat-free, sugar-free and egg-free bake created by Val, who is the sister of Croots’ owner Steve Croot, was awarded a gold star accolade in the 2017 awards.

Croots Hickory Smoked Chicken Sausage, created in-house by the butchers at the farm shop near Duffield, also won a gold star in the awards, which are widely regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the fine food world.

A one star gold award identifies a product as being ‘simply delicious’, according to the Guild of Fine Food, who organise the annual awards.

The judges’ comments for Val’s cake, which is suitable for vegans, included: “A good, wholesome, homemade cake” and “A very good cake – and for all that is missing, you’ve made up for in taste. Good fruit, peel, spice, richness and moisture – very satisfying and with a full flavour without relying on many ingredients.”

Val shot to fame as a popular contestant of last year’s Great British Bake Off, screened on BBC1. She later devised a range of bakes for Croots under the Val at Croots……made with love brand, which include banana and pecan loaf, a range of cookies, cherry shortbread and the virtuous cake.

She is a regular visitor to the farm shop at Farnah House Farm, Wirksworth Road, near Duffield – travelling from her Somerset home to bake and advise on recipes for Croots.

Val said: “I am delighted to hear that Val’s Virtuous Cake has been awarded a one star gold award. I’m very proud of the baking team at Croots.”

For the chicken sausage, the judges’ comments included: “Plump little sausages with an inviting colour.  The aroma is of cured, smoked meats. We felt that for a low-fat chicken sausage this is oozing with positive, meaty flavours” and “A very pleasant, plump and well-cooked sausage, the grind of the meat is good, we detect chorizo in the aroma too, the mouth feel is pleasant, the sweet chorizo has worked with the chicken, we are also very pleased that the sausage is not at all dry and remains moist and pleasantly delicious.”

Steve Croot, who runs the farm shop and café with wife Kay, said: “We are chuffed to win two gold star awards for our products in the 2017 Great Taste Awards, as these really are regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the fine food world.

“I think we’ve now won 21 Great Taste Awards over the years for products ranging from our sausages and meat to our Croots sloe gin and our Croots muesli mix, which is a huge honour and illustrates the wide range of top quality products we produce here at our Derbyshire farm shop.”

Some 12,366 products were put forward by producers across the UK and other countries for consideration for the 2017 Great Taste Awards, which are acknowledged as the benchmark for speciality food and drink and have been described as the ‘epicurean equivalent of the Booker prize’. Just 35% of entries were accredited after rigorous testing by a panel of more than 500 judges.

These are the latest awards won by Croots, which in June scooped the People’s Choice Award for the Midlands at the Family Business United Awards 2017 and which also recently had two products – Croots Lemon Tart and Croots Lemon Rapeseed Oil – selected as finalists in this year’s Great British Food Awards 2017, run by national magazine Great British Food.