Sussex food and drink awards launched

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Celebrations were enjoyed at Harveys Brewery in Lewes as 60 finalists were announced in six out of the ten categories in this year’s Sussex Food and Drink Awards.

Harveys is the oldest independent brewery in Sussex and celebrates its 225th anniversary this year.

The impressive Victorian building in Lewes, which has become something of a Sussex icon, 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 and Hove at the Big Reveal event.

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 the Sussex Food and Drink Awards. It has kept 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 from Sussex, Kent and Surrey.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 various 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 September 21.

“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,” says Paula. Nominations for the remaining four categories will remain open throughout the summer with Sussex Street Food closing on September 6 and Sussex Young Chef, Farmer and Newcomer on September 13. More than 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.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 January 28, 2016, hosted by patron to the awards, Sally Gunnell OBE and Danny Pike.

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 or nominate for your favourite, visit www.sussexfoodawards.biz To see a full list of nominees visit our website at www.wscountytimes.co.uk

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 Farmer Market, West Sussex

Hailsham Street 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

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