A restaurant in Gisburn has come home with a gold award at the ‘Oscars’ of the Italian food world.

 La Locanda has claimed a gold award in the Independent Italian restaurant category of the awards, organised by the Pizza, Pasta and Italian Food Association (PAPA).

Cinzia Bocchi, co-owner, said: “It’s always a joy to receive the email saying we have been shortlisted for a PAPA award. We are so proud, happy and motivated to do more.

“We never have done and never will compromise the Italian cuisine. We respect the traditional recipes and don’t serve dishes that are not part of our culture.

"For us, food is culture, and through eating, it is possible to understand the people, the heritage and the tradition."

The business was founded by Cinzia and her husband, Maurizio, in 2003. It will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

La Locanda was given its gold accolade alongside four other independent Italian restaurants nationwide.

The overall winner will be revealed at the PAPA Awards Dinner on Thursday, November 9, at the Royal Lancaster, London.

Presented by celebrity chef Theo Randall and comedian Adam Bloom, this annual event brings businesses from across the nation’s pizza, pasta and Italian food industry together to celebrate their achievements.

Jim Winship, director, of the PAPA, said: “There’s something about Italian food which makes it so perfect for communal eating and this award celebrates those Italian restaurants bringing food, families and friends together across the nation.

“Cinzia and La Locanda showcase exactly what we look for in this category – a local business, serving local customers, and providing them with the authentic Italian experience.”

Cinzia said: “We are so very happy and honoured to be in the final of the awards, and it would be a fantastic way to celebrate our 20th anniversary with a win.”

The restaurant recently received £15,000 in funding from Lancashire Council's Rosebud Finance.

It has won the the Ospitalita’ Italiana Award every year since 2010, the only certification released from the Italian authorities to recognise the authentic Italian restaurants abroad.

Maurizio has also been honoured as a Taste Lancashire ambassador.