Cream of the 2023 crop: best food and drink of the year

A look at the 2023 menu including best cheese, whiskies, beers and restaurants

Gangstad Gårdsysteri's Nidelven Blå took the top cheese prize
Gangstad Gårdsysteri's Nidelven Blå took top prize at the World Cheese Awards
(Image credit: Gangstad Gårdsysteri/Facebook)

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World Cheese Awards

A Norwegian blue cheese, Nidelven Blå from cheesemaker Gangstad Gårdsysteri, beat "contenders from around the world" in October to become the world's new No.1 cheese, CNN reported. The judges at the World Cheese Awards had "delectable things to say" about the "semi-solid, blue mold cheese, made with pasteurised cows’ milk". One judge said it has this "sort of short creaminess, like real dense fudginess", while another called it "the perfect blue cheese".

A record-breaking whisky

The record for "the world's most expensive bottle of whisky" was broken in November, The Guardian reported, after a 1926 rare bottle of the Macallan Valerio Adami 60 Year Old sold for £2.1 million ($2.7 million) at a Sotheby's auction in London. The sale "set a new record for any bottle of spirit or wine sold at auction". However, Sotheby’s had estimated the bottle would fetch between £750,000 and £1.2 million. The previous record was set in 2019, after a Macallan 1926 sold for £1.5 million ($1.8 million). 

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The world's best restaurant

After coming second last year on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, Central in Peru’s capital city Lima went one step further by taking the No.1 spot for 2023. The "flagship" restaurant of chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León was described by the awards organisers as an "ode to Peru". Central "started from the bottom" when it first appeared at No.50 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2013. But with its "influence" across Latin America "rising steadily", 10 years later it became the first ever South American eatery to earn the title of the world's best.

‘Pinnacle of gastronomy’: how Central became the world’s best restaurant

British Restaurant Awards

Andrew Sheridan and Bleú Steakhouse both won major gongs at the British Restaurant Awards. The former, in Liverpool, was named Restaurant of the Year at the awards ceremony, while the steakhouse, in the Kent town of Staplehurst, won Best New Restaurant. Culinary veteran Gordon Ramsay bagged the Best Chef title.

The UK's best restaurants of 2023

World Whiskies Awards

Judges raised a dram to a number of brands at the 2023 World Whiskies Awards. The winners' list included Storm King Distilling Co's Side Gig Whiskey, which was named the world's best American whiskey, Breckenridge Distillery High Proof Bourbon Whiskey (US) was the world's best blended and M&H Elements Sherry Cask from Israel was the world's best single malt. 

Whiskies tried and tasted: a world tour of whisky

Michelin's most memorable dishes

At the launch of "The Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2023" in April, the Michelin inspectors were asked to name their most memorable dishes from 2022-2023. Delicious picks included calves' liver with bacon, onion, mash and cabbage at The Broad Chare in Newcastle upon Tyne, England; Walsh's lamb, Ottoman spiced firik, carrot, gooseberry, kumquat and isot at dede in Baltimore, Ireland; and 60-day aged beef rib, morels, salsify, red wine and thyme at the White Swan in Fence, England.

World Beer Awards

South Korea's Amazing Brewing Company was one of the big winners at the 2023 World Beer Awards as its First Love tipple was named the world's best IPA. Yatsugatake Brewery from Japan won the world's best lager award for Touchdown Kiyosato Lager and Jim & Dad's Brewing Company from Taiwan won the world's best stout and porter for Impromptu.

British Street Food Awards

Fife-based Choola, a "husband-and-wife duo bringing the taste of Nepal to the streets of Scotland in a cute, bright blue van", was crowned overall champion at the British Street Food Awards 2023, Time Out reported. Choola impressed judges with "authentic, flavour-packed dishes". 

Cocktail of the year

The negroni, that "quintessentially Italian" aperitivo, was ranked No.1 in Drinks International's 2023 "Cocktail Report", which looked at the bestselling classic cocktails at the world’s best bars. "Punchy and complex", yet "bright and lifted", said the magazine, the negroni is "difficult to make badly". The top five also included old fashioned, margarita, espresso martini and daiquiri.   

Negroni recipes: how to make the classic cocktail

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