Public’s chance to vote for Sussex Food and Drink favourites

Public's chance to vote
Public's chance to vote

There were plenty of celebrations last night (Monday July 10) as more than 100 Sussex food and drink business leaders gathered at the Sussex Food and Drink Awards’ Big Reveal event, held at Albourne Estate and Bedlam Brewery in West Sussex to hear who made it onto the finalists list in this year’s awards.

Voting is now open for food and drink lovers across the county to ensure their favourite food and drink heroes have their chance to reach the grand finals in this year’s Sussex Food and Drink Awards at www.sussexfoodawards.biz.

The public vote is a vital part of the judging process in these unique awards. It only takes a minute or two and can really make all the difference

Albourne Estate’s beautiful boutique vineyard and winery, located on the edge of the South Downs near Brighton, 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 at the Big Reveal event.

BBC Sussex radio presenter Danny Pike hosted the event and congratulated the finalists announced for Sussex Food Producer of the Year sponsored by Southern Co-op, Sussex Drink Producer of the Year sponsored by Natural PR, Sussex Food Shop of the Year sponsored by Wealden District Council, Sussex Farmers Market of the Year sponsored by Harvey’s Brewery, Sussex Eating Experience of the Year sponsored by Blakes Foods and Sussex Butcher of the Year sponsored by RP Meats Wholesale Ltd.

Delicious tasters of the best local food were washed down with Albourne Estate’s brand new sparkling wine, Bedlam Brewery’s ales and other local brews, including juices and ciders. 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.

Celebrating ten years of supporting local British food and drink producers, long-term supporters of the awards Southern Co-op brought their Local Flavours VW camper van to the Big Reveal for its grand finale stop in a tour which has crossed ten southern counties this summer encouraging people to try and buy local fare.

A record 13,000 votes were received for the Sussex Food and Drink Awards last year and the expert judging panel, chaired by local dairy farmer and Nuffield Scholar, William Goodwin, is hoping that even more people will vote for their favourite to win at www.sussexfoodawards.biz by September 19.

Said William Goodwin: “We are delighted to see that the quality in this competition remains consistently high with yet another impressive set of finalists this year. Over the next ten weeks we are encouraging people to get out and about and sample the wonderful products from these amazing Sussex food and drink businesses and most importantly to vote for their favourites to win. The public vote is a vital part of the judging process in these unique awards. It only takes a minute or two and can really make all the difference.”

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 on 7 February 2018 at a BAFTA-style ceremony with seven-course Sussex produce banquet, hosted by awards patron Sally Gunnell OBE and Danny Pike from BBC Sussex.

Four other categories remain open for nomination, including Young Sussex Farmer of the Year, seeking a farmer aged 35 or under, who is making a real difference on their own or on someone else’s farm, sponsored by Plumpton College in association with Farmers Weekly; and Sussex Newcomer of the Year sponsored by Kreston Reeves and Sussex Food & Drink Network, which could be any new food and drink business doing something special in Sussex.

The judges are also seeking top chefs aged 16 to 25 to enter Sussex Young Chef of the Year and participate in a cook off at the Amex Stadium in October, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige; and Sussex Street Food of the Year, sponsored by Horsham Time Well Spent with Food Rocks organising a competition and market day for the top 10 street food vendors in the county on October 22 in Horsham Carfax.

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

Vote for your favourite Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2018 Finalists:

Sussex Food Producer of the Year, sponsored by Southern Co-op

Bookham Harrison Farms, Rudgwick, West Sussex

Ginger’s Kitchen, Partridge Green, West Sussex

Just Brownies, Shipley, West Sussex

Lighthouse bakery & school, Robertsbridge, East Sussex

Nutbourne Nursery, Pulborough, West Sussex

Piglets Pantry, Worthing, West Sussex

Southdowns Honey, Lancing, West Sussex

Springs’ Smokery, Edburton, West Sussex

The Raw Chocolate Company, Henfield, West Sussex

The Real Pie Company, Crawley, West Sussex

Sussex Drink Producer of the Year, sponsored by Natural PR

Bedlam Brewery, Albourne, West Sussex

Brighton Gin, Brighton and Hove

Chilgrove Spirits, Chilgrove, West Sussex

Gran Stead’s Ginger Co, Portslade, West Sussex

Hepworth and Co Brewers Ltd, Pulborough, West Sussex

Langham Brewery, Lodsworth, West Sussex

Plumpton Estate, Plumpton, East Sussex

Ridgeview Estate Winery, Ditchling Common, East Sussex

Tinwood Estate, Halnaker, West Sussex

Wobblegate, Bolney, West Sussex

Sussex Food Shop of the Year, sponsored by Wealden District Council

Barley Sugar artisan deli, Eastbourne, East Sussex

Crates Local Produce, Horsham, West Sussex

Eggs to Apples, Etchingham, East Sussex

Holmansbridge Farm Shop, Barcombe, East Sussex

Judges Bakery, Hastings, East Sussex

Oast Farm Shop, Buxted, East Sussex

Plaw Hatch Farm Shop, Sharpthorne, West Sussex

Rushfields Farm Shop, Poynings, West Sussex

The Sussex Produce Company, Steyning, West Sussex

Veasey and Sons Fishmongers, Forest Row, East Sussex

Sussex Butcher of the Year, sponsored by RP Meats Wholesale Ltd

Archers of Westfield, Westfield, East Sussex

Barfields Butchers, Brighton and Hove

Bramptons Butchers Ltd, Brighton and Hove

Garlic Wood Butchery, Steyning, West Sussex

J. Heath and Son, Eastbourne, East Sussex

May’s Farm Cart, Lewes, East Sussex

Michael Courtney Family Butchers, Midhurst, West Sussex

New Street Butchers & Deli, Horsham, West Sussex

Steyning Butchers, Steyning, West Sussex

Tablehurst Farm, Forest Row, East Sussex

Sussex Farmers Market of the Year, sponsored by Harvey’s Brewery

Chichester Farmers Market, West Sussex

Horsham Markets, West Sussex

Lewes Farmers Market, Cliffe Precinct (monthly), East Sussex

Lewes Food Market, Market Tower (weekly), East Sussex

Shoreham Farmers Market, West Sussex

Steyning Farmers Market, West Sussex

Sussex Eating Experience of the Year, sponsored by Blakes Foods

64 Degrees, Brighton and Hove

Cowdray Farm Shop Café, Easebourne, West Sussex

etch., Brighton and Hove

Isaac At, Brighton and Hove

The Artisan Bakehouse, Ashurst, West Sussex

The Milk Churn, Rudgwick, West Sussex

The Parsons Table, Arundel, West Sussex

The Ram Inn, Firle, East Sussex

The Set, Brighton and Hove

Zari Restaurant and Lounge, Ifield, West Sussex