The reception, sponsored by Moor Organic Juice, brought together previous winners, award sponsors and Kent foodies to celebrate the launch of the eleventh year of the awards. Guests were given the opportunity to tour the cheese barn, followed by a drinks reception with wine and cider supplied by Kent’s Hush Heath Estate.
James Beatton a partner at Cripps the awards Main Sponsor, comments: “Cripps is very proud to be the main sponsor of the Taste of Kent Awards again. Food and Drink is a key part of the Kent economy and one of the main sectors in our business.”
During the evening inspiration was drawn from talks given by previous winners Robin Betts, Winterdale Cheesemakers, Andrew Lingham from Court Farm Butchery, and Matthew Kearsey-Lawson, Kent Fine Foods on how winning a Taste of Kent Award has benefited and transformed their businesses.
The Taste of Kent Awards, organised by Produced in Kent to showcase Kent’s finest food and drink products, provides the general public with a unique opportunity to hand pick and vote for their favourite farmers, producers and farmers’ markets. To cast your vote simply visit <a href=’www.tasteofkentawards.co.uk>www.tasteofkentawards.co.uk before the public vote closes on 2 January 2015.
Stephanie continues: “Each year we receive more and more votes, with Kent foodies demonstrating great support for local products. For the outstanding businesses that win an award, it is an acknowledgement of their status as one of the county’s ‘food and drink heroes’ and a stamp of approval from consumers in Kent.”
This year’s categories open for public voting, are as follows:
•Kent Butcher or Meat Producer of the Year, sponsored by Stephens A retailer selling a good range of Kent produced meat. They will be required to provide evidence of traceability to substantiate this for judging.
•Best Kentish Beer, sponsored by Rix & Kay Solicitors Beer produced predominantly from hops grown in Kent at a brewery based in Kent.
•Best Kentish Wine, sponsored by Investaco Wine produced from grapes predominantly grown in Kent, Sussex, Essex or Surrey at a winery based in Kent.
•Best Kentish Cider or Perry, sponsored by Wilkins Kennedy FKC Cider or Perry made from apples or pears predominantly grown in Kent at a business based in Kent.
•Best Kent Juice Producer, sponsored by Kent County Council Producer of fruit juice made from made from fruit predominantly grown in Kent at a business based in Kent.
•Kent Local Food Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Opies The retailer must sell a wide range of Kent produce/products. They will be required to provide details of the suppliers and product range for judging.
•Kent Fishmonger of the Year, sponsored by Chapman’s of Sevenoaks Ltd A retailer selling a good range of Kent caught fish. They will be required to provide evidence of traceability to substantiate this for judging.
•Kent Food Producer of the Year, sponsored by Shopper Anonymous A business that makes a food product using ingredients sourced from Kent where possible.
•Kent Restaurant of the Year, sponsored by Henkelman UK Ltd The restaurant must actively use Kent produce and products where and when available and demonstrate this commitment in menus and marketing.
•Kent Dining Pub of the Year Must actively use produce/products, beer, cider and juices when available from within Kent and demonstrate this commitment in menus & marketing.
•Kent Farmers’ Market of the Year, sponsored by Hadlow College The market must be a current member of the Kent Farmers’ Market Association (KFMA).
Other awards, not open for public voting, are:
•Best Kent Food Product of the Year, sponsored by kff A product selected by the judging panel as the overall winner from the entries in all the Kent Food Product Category Awards.
•Kent Food Product Category Awards, sponsored by Shepherd Neame A product available in retailers and/or caterers made from Kent primary produce that has undergone a value added process over and above just being re-packaged.
•Kent Countryside Award, sponsored by Kent Downs and High Weald AONBs This stand-alone award gives farmers, and food and drink producers, the opportunity to enter their own farms and businesses directly into the competition visit www.tasteofkentawards.co.uk/awards/kent-food-farming-landscape-award
•Garden of England Champions – Soft Fruit, sponsored by EMR 3 Awards to Kent growers of tastiest strawberries, raspberries and cherries.
•Garden of England Champions – Top Fruit, sponsored by BTF Partnership 2 Awards to Kent growers of tastiest apples and pears.
Kent’s producers and manufacturers are also able to submit their products in the self-nominating category the Kent Food Product Category Award. Drink producers are judged by a separate panel, including Best Kentish Wine and Best Kentish Beer, Best Kent Juice Producer and Best Kentish Cider or Perry. Full details are available on www.tasteofkentawards.co.uk
In addition to the online voting at www.tasteofkentawards.co.uk, voters can pick up a voting form from their nearest farmers’ market or direct from Produced in Kent, tel. 01732 853170.