Refreshing, heart warming, tangy, lively, robust and – in one case – squidgy was the verdict of Sussex High Sheriffs about Sussex food and drink at an event bringing together the finalists in the Sussex Food & Drink Awards 2012/13, held at the newly re-furbished Norfolk Pavilion at Ardingly Showground.
High Sheriff of East Sussex David Allam and High Sheriff of West Sussex, Andrewjohn Stephenson Clarke from the Borde Hill Estate, joined awards director Paula Seager on stage in front of 120 leading lights in the local food industry to sample the superb produce available in the county, including sparkling wine, sausages, cheese, apple juice, pies and brownies.
They were given the opportunity to provide just one word to describe each product’s taste and thereby characterise the produce of the county of Sussex as a whole.
“Public voting for our 75 finalists in this year’s awards is already under way and well up on last year, not just because we have improved our online voting system and introduced text voting for the first time, but because the growing trend is to buy local,” said Paula Seager, MD of Natural PR.
“The awards is 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 the county, as well as the great restaurants, pubs, cafes and food shops where it can be bought and enjoyed.
“Everyone has a strong opinion when it comes to food and drink and we urge people to try out the produce on our finalists list and vote for their favourites at www. sussexfoodawards.biz now – there are some real hidden treasures to be found!”
The award categories include:
Sussex Food Producer of the Year, sponsored by The Southern Co-operative
Best Sussex Eating Experience, sponsored by Mayo Wynne Baxter
Sussex Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Knill James
Sussex Farmers Market of the Year, sponsored by Harveys
Sussex Young Chef of the Year, sponsored by Cheese Please and Gram UK Ltd
Sussex Butcher of the Year, sponsored by Natural Farms
Sussex Drink Producer of the Year, sponsored by Natural PR
Best Sussex Food/Farm Shop, sponsored by Sussex Food & Drink Network
Voting is now open for the public to choose their favourites, with all details at  www.sussexfoodawards.biz. Voting closes at midnight on October 14 and winners will be revealed at a stunning seven-course Sussex banquet, to be held at the Amex Stadium in January 2013.