Bristol’s burgeoning food and drink sector is this week toasting the city’s success in helping land the prestigious title of the world’s best food or drink destination.

The city landed the coveted accolade in a global awards scheme set up to celebrate excellence and innovation in experiences for food tourism. The awards ceremony in London was organised by The World Food Travel Association

The city was the only UK representative shortlisted for Best Food and Drink Destination of the Year award and was one of a number of centres from around the globe – including destinations in Vietnam, Indonesia, France, the US and Portugal.

Now in their fifth year, The Food Trekking Awards are the world’s first food and beverage travel trade awards, celebrating excellence and innovation in experiences for food tourism.

The 29 semi-finalists were spread across six award categories: Best Food or Beverage Destination; Best Food or Beverage Lodging Experience; Best Food or Beverage Tour Experience; Best Creative Use of Space for a Food Lover Attraction; Most Innovative Use of Local Ingredients in a Foodservice Menu and Best Local Storytelling in a Food or Beverage Experience.

Destination Bristol was shortlisted in the Best Food or Beverage Destination of the Year award in acknowledgement of the work undertaken by the team and businesses within the city.

Over the past two years, Destination Bristol has been developing specific programmes around food and beverage tourism, thanks to funding received from the government’s £40m Discover England Fund administered by Visit England.

Erik Wolf, Executive Director of World Food Travel Association said: “The judges for the World Food Travel Association’s 2019 Food Trekking Awards were impressed by Bristol’s application for the Best Culinary Destination category. Bristol is an oasis of culinary excellence in South West England.”

The winners were announced on Sunday in London at the FoodTreX London Food Travel Innovation Summit, where Justin Hawke from Bristol brewery Moor Beer Company was among the speakers.

Destination Bristol head of tourism Kathryn Davis said: “It has been an incredible two years of developing a food tourism strategy and working with businesses to support their development in enabling them to reach the vast B2B travel trade market. This covers producers, restaurants, cafes, breweries, tours and experiences and the sense of collaboration that exists.”

The award caps a ground-breaking year in the food and drink sector for the city. 

In January, Bristol was dubbed the Vegan Capital of the World, by foodie website Chef’s Pencil, which analysed Google search data to compile a list of worldwide places interested in veganism.

“Move over Berlin and London…,” said Chef’s Pencil. “Bristol is the new European and world-wide vegan capital.”

More recently, two Bristol restaurants were named in the Top 50 Restaurants, by Waitrose Good Food Guide 2020 as Casamia retained its place in ninth position, and Wilks made the list at number 42.

Both have Michelin stars along with three others in the city – Pony and Trap, Paco Tapas and Bulrush. With five Michelin-starred restaurants in total, Bristol is now the UK city with the most stars outside London.

The city has also hosted many successful food and drink festivals this year including British Dal Festival, Foodies Festival, Bristol Food Connections, the year-round Love Food Festival and most recently, The Coffee House Project which took place in September.