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Three Taste of Nova Scotia awards go to Annapolis Valley businesses

WOLFVILLE, NS - Three Annapolis Valley businesses won Taste of Nova Scotia Awards on Oct. 26.

The Benjamin Bridge Winery in Gaspereau, which has been attracting the interest of Michelin-starred restaurants in England, was selected as Producer of the Year.

In accepting the award, Devon McConnell-Gordon said the winery team was humbled by the recognition, while winemaker Jean-Benoit Deslauriers said he feels blessed to make wine in this growing environment.

The 18-month-old Annapolis Cider Company in Wolfville was awarded Product of the Year for its unique cider blend called Something Different.

Cidermaker Melanie Eelman makes ciders flavoured by blueberries and Earl Gray tea.

Co-owner Gina Haverstock said that with 10 times as many apples grown in the Valley as grapes, “We’re in an ideal location.”

Culinary Ambassadors of the Year are Chris and Melissa Velden of the Flying Apron and Cookery in Summerville, Hants County.

Tourism Nova Scotia challenged the Veldens to create a dining experience on the floor of the ocean at Burntcoat Head and they already have 700 expressions of interest in next summer’s dinners.

The couple, who relocated from Vancouver, said they are happy to have put Nova Scotia on the world map as a culinary destination.

The awards celebrate culinary excellence in Nova Scotia and the winners were announced during Devour! The Food Film Fest in Wolfville.

“Every day, our members are building and elevating the culinary industry of this province. They are working as leaders in their field to innovate and to create,” said Emily Haynes, executive director of Taste of Nova Scotia.

“It’s important to take this time every year to celebrate their successes, innovation and the culinary experiences they provide.”

The Grand Banker Bar & Grill in Lunenburg is Restaurant of the Year.

“Local is why I do what I do,” said owner Adam Bower.

Nicole Raufeisen, manager and sommelier at Little Oak in downtown Halifax, was chosen as Server of the Year.

“Really great service can’t occur outside an atmosphere of collaboration,” she said.

Excellence in culinary experiences

Haynes said she was thrilled with the this year’s winners, and what they represent in terms of culinary experiences in nova Scotia.

“Our experiences and products can only be found and created right here in Nova Scotia. That sets us apart from everywhere else in the world. Our unique geography, climate and the character of our people…everything we celebrate is unique to who we are,” said Haynes.

“We are proud of what we have here in Nova Scotia and we appreciate that each winner, and each Taste member, represents something unique in the industry and distinctive to their region.”

Nominations for the Taste of Nova Scotia Awards were received from Taste of Nova Scotia members and the public. The nominations were brought to a judges’ panel and then approved by the Taste of Nova Scotia Board of Directors.

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