Hastings region's best produce, coffee, beer and restaurant rewarded at annual event

THE Hastings region has been celebrated for their immense selection of outstanding food and beverage, with four locals honoured with awards.

The first annual Tastings on Hastings Favourite Foodie Awards were presented recently, rewarding the best local produce, craft beer, coffee and restaurant for their hard work and dedication.

Best Local Produce: Kenny Little Fruit and Veg

Another award for the wall for Kenny Little.

Another award for the wall for Kenny Little.

Everyone is the town seems to know of Kenny Little. The hardworking fruit and veg guru has been providing outstanding local produce to the community for more than three decades.

“It’s nice to be recognised by other people. That’s what it’s all about for me … the community,” Kenny said.

“We support a lot of local growers, so it’s more about them than it is us at the end of the day.

“We have a really loyal customer base, around 3,500 a week retail, and more in restaurant trade.

“We have a lot of staff and now we’ve been voted the best in local produce, so I guess we’re doing something right.”

Best in Coffee: FOUR Espresso

The team from FOUR Espresso, Port Macquarie.

The team from FOUR Espresso, Port Macquarie.

Owner Emma Maslen chose her coffee beans carefully when starting her venture a couple of short years ago.

The cafes amazing coffee has been well supported by a loyal base of customers in the community, proving her choice to be the only NSW business with Padre coffee beans (a three bean blend of Columbian, Indian and Ethiopian) was the right one.

“I felt really grateful that the public had voted for us considering there are so many great coffee shops around. The competition is so high, so that proved that our calibre is as high as everyone else,” she said.

“I just want to say a huge thank you to all of our customers and everyone who voted for us.”

Mrs Maslen said it was all about consistency.

“Between myself, Nathan and Tyler (three main baristas), it’s just making sure that we talk to each other, understand what the coffee is doing, we weigh it every morning and throughout the day … and the competition in town is great.

“It keeps you ahead of the game. If you don’t have that, you become complacent and it doesn’t push you.”

Best in Bottle: Black Duck Brewery

Black Duck owner Alistair Owen was thrilled to receive recognition from the community.

Black Duck owner Alistair Owen was thrilled to receive recognition from the community.

Black Duck owner Alistair Owen said it was exciting and encouraging to receive an award for his company’s craft beer, which is all made in Port Macquarie.

“We’ve been in the community for a little while now so it’s great to see the recognition,” he said.

“We try really hard to participate in a lot of events so it’s good to see that recognition from the people. It was a pleasant surprise to be given the award.

“I wasn’t shocked because we have always been well supported by the community since our inception.”

Mr Owen said he was enthused to be part of this community and participate more than they have before.

“We’re certainly still receiving some great support from the people in our community. We have a really hectic festive season planned,” he said.

Black Duck not only have their own brewery in the town, but their own bar in Clarence Street called The Duck.

Best in Dining: Delizioso Laurieton

To make a quality pizza Delizioso co-owner Tom Hembling said it is essential to have great ingredients, dough and sauce. The restaurant uses authentic ingredients.

To make a quality pizza Delizioso co-owner Tom Hembling said it is essential to have great ingredients, dough and sauce. The restaurant uses authentic ingredients.

Owners Tom Hembling, Shane Fisher and Destiny Hobman said the win came as a surprise. 

“It’s good to get a bit of recognition for all the hard work that we’ve been putting in,” Tom said. 

“We make everything in house. Anything that we can’t make we source directly from Italy.” 

Tom is also a chef at the restaurant which has been open since December, 2016. 

To make a quality pizza he said it is essential to have great ingredients, dough and sauce.

“As soon as that sun goes down it’s a whole other world in here,” Mr Fisher said, adding the dining experience is similar to the vibe of popular Melbourne restaurants.

“It doesn’t really feel like you’re in Laurieton,” he said. 

The owners said they love to receive feedback from items on the menu. They thanked their loyal staff and customers.