THE annual Flavours of Herefordshire competition has proved tougher than ever to judge, say the organisers, but they have now published their shortlisted candidates in each of seven categories.

The featured restaurants, inns, tearooms and food producers on the list will, however, have to wait until Monday, September 19, to learn who's taken top honours.

The Flavours of Herefordshire scheme, which recognises the best use and promotion of local produce, continues to be one of the most popular competitions of its kind in the Heart of England.

In the seven years since its launch, the competition has highlighted Herefordshire's reputation for its food and locally sourced menus, as well as raising standards of quality and service throughout the county.

This year, two young chef awards have been introduced - Young Chefs Training and Young Chefs in Industry - and a special award will be made for the most enterprising business.

Following the awards ceremony, a Flavours of Herefordshire booklet will be published, with details of prizewinners and information for visitors wishing to follow a food trail around the county.