Last month saw the post-pandemic return of Speciality & Fine Food Fair at London's Olympia - a vibrant gathering of those passionate about delicious food and drink. At the show we were thrilled for Slate to win the accolade of 'Independent Retailer of the Year'.

New for 2021, the Speciality and Fine Food Fair Awards were created across four categories to celebrate individuals and businesses driving innovation and delighting customers in the fine food and drink community. From hundreds of nominations a panel of industry-expert judges created a shortlist of finalists and back in July we were honoured to make this select group that was put out to a public vote. Enormous thanks to everyone who voted for us over the summer! Your votes were weighted with the judges' scores to get the debut winners of the SFFF Awards.

Clare was delighted to be at the live presentation in Olympia to receive the Independent Retailer of the Year Award on behalf of Slate. The judges' commented that during the pandemic we demonstrated 'exceptional commitment to customer care' and commended our support for the British dairy industry by raising funds for the Got Milk Fund. We were also delighted they recognised our dedication to British artisan cheese and the role we play helping smaller producers extend their reach beyond local farm shops and delicatessens. Sharing the stories of artisan cheeses and those who make them is at the heart of what we do here at Slate.

After a challenging start to the year followed by an extremely busy summer, winning this national award has been a huge boost for the whole Slate team and we appreciate hugely the support we received in the final round of voting from cheese-loving friends of Slate - each and every vote meant a lot!