Hot on the heels of Appleby Creamery Organic Brie (http://www.slow-life.co.uk/2011/08/31/appleby-organic-brie/) winning the prize for ‘Best Cheese’ at the Fine Dining Awards, its retailer, and my favourite food shop, Low Sizergh Barn won the Cumbria Life award tonight for the county’s best Farm Shop. The citation spoke of their amazing tea shop and their range of 2,000 products, but the best thing of all about Sizergh Barn, which nobody mentioned, is their magnificent policy on carrier bags. So many places try to big up their shaky environmental credentials by charging for carrier bags or being po-faced if you don’t have a ‘bag for life’. There’s none of that hypocrisy at Low Sizergh. At Low Sizergh carrier bags are given spontaneously and freely. It’s a simple reflection of their friendly, hospitable approach to their customers.
The award for Dining Pub of the year was given to The Highwayman at Burrow. I’m still trying to get my head around this. Not that it isn’t a decent place, it’s just that there’s nothing remotely Cumbrian about it. It’s in Lancashire, it’s owned by Lancastrians and it champions Lancastrian suppliers. Perhaps they have a Cumbrian cat.