Taste Durham Award Scheme
Taste Durham Award Scheme

Taste Durham Award Scheme

Taste Durham showcases and celebrates the county’s food and drink and encourages people who live here, and those who are visiting, to sample the best we have on offer.


Local food and produce is sought out by more and more people who are looking for an authentic experience and who care where their food comes from. The vibrancy of farmers markets, the emergence of more and more food festivals across the country and the growing number of food tourists are evidence of this trend.


Taste Durham is for all businesses in Durham’s food and drink sector - producers, suppliers and retailers. It helps businesses identify themselves to their customers as a quality business that source locally and are proud of thecounty’s food heritage. It helps businesses stand out from the crowd, attract more customers and can make a real difference to the bottom line.


At the heart of the Taste Durham initiative is the commitment of a business to provide a quality offer for their customers - the Taste Durham Awards.


All participating businesses receive a range of marketing, business support and networking benefits.

What does it involve?

Businesses that sell direct to consumers - bars, restaurants, cafés, hotel restaurants, take aways and fast food outlets - take part in the Taste Durham assessment process. It can sound scary, but it isn’t.


Taste Durham

“Taste Durham is something we have been involved in for a number of years and it strikes just the right chord by promoting the county as a food focused destination and highlighting the importance of quality local produce, something customers love to see”. Thomas Robinson, Headlam Hall


The assessment is a business development tool that involves an experienced assessor from Quality in Tourism, on behalf of Visit England, visiting and scoring the business against a range of criteria including: physical features such as the condition of the establishment, the food on offer, cleanliness, comfort and ease of use of the facilities. It also looks at the warmth of the welcome, and the atmosphere for customers. A commitment to local sourcing of produce is also evaluated, if this is relevant.


The visits take the form of a mystery shopper exercise so businesses are not alerted in advance of a visit from the assessor. However the assessor will introduce themselves on completion of the assessment and offer a personal debrief of the visit. A short while later the business receives a detailed business development report highlighting areas of excellence and outlining areas for improvement. The report also indicates if an award has been given.


The award will last 2 years unless there has been a change of ownership/offer of the establishment. If a business wishes to improve their award year on year or if a number of complaints have been received about the quality of the establishment.

NB: The assessment does not include looking at health and safety or food hygiene standards in food preparation areas. These areas are covered by the relevant statutory bodies and are not part of the Taste Durham assessment. However a minimum food hygiene rating of 3 or more is required.


Contact: Lucy Wearne
T: 03000 261 225 E: lucy.wearne@visitcountydurham.org