Finalists revealed for Sussex Food & Drink Awards 2016

Celebrations were enjoyed as over a hundred Sussex food and drink business leaders gathered at the Sussex Food & Drink Awards 10th anniversary Big Reveal event held at Harveys Brewery in Lewes to hear who the finalists are in this year’s awards on 6th July.

Harveys is the oldest independent brewery in Sussex, celebrating 225 years, and its iconic brewery and riverside yard provided the perfect venue to host the many restaurateurs, butchers, farmers’ market organisers, food producers, shop keepers, brewers and vintners from the far reaches of East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton & Hove.

As previous winners of Sussex Drink Producer of the Year and proud sponsors of the Sussex Farmers Market of the Year category, Harveys is a great advocate of the ethos of buying local, keeping many family Sussex traditions over the years, including using their own supply of South Downs spring water drawn via an artesian well 60 feet below the brewery, which is mixed with locally grown hops.

To be surrounded by such nostalgia seemed very appropriate as organisers and guests at the Big Reveal event reflected on the last ten years of the Sussex Food & Drink Awards. Host, BBC Sussex radio presenter Danny Pike, entertained the audience and congratulated the top ten finalists announced in the Best Sussex Food Producer, Drink Producer, Food/Farm Shop, Farmers’ Market, Eating Experience and Butcher categories.

Tempting treats from street food vendors, a new category to the awards this year, as well as delicious platters of local food were all enjoyed and washed down with Harveys ale, Wobblegate apple juice and Sussex wine. Finalists, both familiar and new, celebrated getting to the next stage in the competition and were able to chat with the sponsor judges, winners from previous years and gain top tips about what could make them a winner of a coveted trophy this year.

Paula Seager and Hilary Knight, co-directors of Natural Partnerships CIC, who run the awards as a not-for-profit scheme, are urging the public to now get voting for their favourites by 21 September. Nominations for the remaining four categories will remain open throughout the summer with Sussex Street Food, Young Chef, Farmer and Newcomer of the Year all open until September.

Said Paula Seager, “This has been a wonderful evening and we are so grateful to Harveys for allowing us to host it at their stunning premises, to share anniversary celebrations together and officially open the public voting in this year’s awards.

“The competition is set to be very tough this year with an impressive line up of candidates; these unique awards are all about boosting the market for Sussex produce and letting people in the county know about the fantastic food and drink grown and made in Sussex, as well as the many great restaurants, pubs, cafes and food shops where it can be bought and enjoyed.”

Over 10,000 people voted in the Sussex Food and Drink Awards last year and the judging panel, chaired by local dairy farmer, William Goodwin, is hoping that even more people will vote for their favourite food and drink heroes to win at www.sussexfoodawards.biz – it only takes a minute or two and every vote really does count.

As well as earning the huge respect and recognition that these awards now carry, winners and runners up in all ten categories will go on to receive their trophies at a glittering tenth birthday ceremony on 28 January 2016, hosted by patron to the awards, Sally Gunnell OBE and Danny Pike from BBC Sussex. The ceremony includes a spectacular seven-course Sussex produce banquet produced by Sodexo Prestige at the Amex Stadium.

For more information about all the categories and how to vote for or nominate your favourite, visit www.sussexfoodawards.biz

Vote for your favourite Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2015/16 Finalists:

Sussex Food Producer of the Year, sponsored by The Southern Co-operative
Beal’s Farm Charcuterie, North Chailey, East Sussex
Ginger’s Kitchen, Partridge Green, West Sussex
Higgidy, Shoreham-by-sea, West Sussex
Nell Ball Farm Foods Ltd, Plaistow, West Sussex
Seriously Real, Pulborough, West Sussex
Springs Smoked Salmon, Edburton, West Sussex
Stratta, Eastbourne, East Sussex
Sussex Gold, Partridge Green, West Sussex
The Linseed Farm, Barns Green, West Sussex
The Traditional Cheese Dairy, Stonegate, East Sussex

Sussex Drink Producer of the Year, sponsored by Rix & Kay
Albourne Estate, Albourne, West Sussex
Ballards Brewery, Nyewood, West Sussex
Bolney Wine Estate, Bolney, West Sussex
Court Garden Vineyard, Ditchling, East Sussex
Dark Star Brewing Co Ltd, Partridge Green, West Sussex
Hammerpot Brewery, Poling, West Sussex
Kingscote Vineyards, East Grinstead, West Sussex
Langham Brewery, Lodsworth, West Sussex
Nutbourne Vineyards, Pulborough, West Sussex
Ridgeview Wine Estate, Ditchling Common, East Sussex

Sussex Food Shop of the Year, sponsored by Wealden District Council
Charlie’s Farm Shop, Bury, West Sussex
Crates Local Produce, Horsham, West Sussex
Middle Farm, Firle, East Sussex
Offham Farm Shop, Offham, East Sussex
Perryhill Orchards Farm Shop, Hartfield, East Sussex
Rushfields Farm Shop, Poynings, West Sussex
Sharnfold Farm Shop, Stone Cross, East Sussex
Tablehurst Farm Shop, Forest Row, East Sussex
Tottingworth Farm Shop, Heathfield, East Sussex
Veasey & Sons Fishmongers, Forest Row, East Sussex

Sussex Butcher of the Year, sponsored by Absolute Butchery
A C Coughtrey Butchers, Pulborough, West Sussex
Adsdean Farm Shop, Funtingdon, West Sussex
Archers of Westfield, Westfield, East Sussex
Archers, Brighton
Barfields Butchers, Brighton
Bramptons Butchers, Kemptown, Brighton
John Murray Butchers, Loxwood, West Sussex
Michael Courtney Family Butchers, Midhurst, West Sussex
New Street Butchers, Horsham, West Sussex
S K Hutchings, Partridge Green, West Sussex

Sussex Farmers Market of the Year, sponsored by Harveys of Lewes
Arundel Farmers Market, West Sussex
Chichester Farmers Market, West Sussex
Hailsham Farmers Market, East Sussex
Horsham Local Produce Market, West Sussex
Lewes Farmers Market, East Sussex
Shoreham Farmers Market, West Sussex
Slindon Village Market, West Sussex
Steyning Farmers Market, West Sussex
The Great Little Farmers’ Market, Worthing, West Sussex
Wisborough Green Farmers and Village Market, West Sussex

Sussex Eating Experience of the Year, co-sponsored by Natural PR and Sussex Food & Drink Network
Anderida Restaurant, Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club, Wych Cross, East Sussex
Coggings & Co, Brighton
East Beach Café, Littlehampton, West Sussex
Ockenden Manor Hotel, Cuckfield, West Sussex
Queens Room, Amberley Castle, West Sussex
The Cat Inn, West Hoathly, West Sussex
The Crown, Hastings, East Sussex
The Curlew Restaurant, Bodiam, East Sussex
The Royal Oak, East Lavant, West Susssex
The Sussex Ox, Polegate, East Sussex

Nominations remain open throughout the Summer for the following categories:
• Sussex Young Chef of the Year, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige
• Sussex Street Food of the Year, co-sponsored by Food Rocks and Hepworth Brewery
• Sussex Newcomer of the Year, sponsored by Spofforths
• Sussex Farmer of the Year

Vote at www.sussexfoodawards.biz