Finalists announced for the Taste of Kent Awards 2018

Produced in Kent is delighted to announce the finalists, both businesses and individual products, for the Taste of Kent Awards 2018. The top three from each category will now enter the final stages and will be hoping to be crowned winners at the black-tie awards dinner on Thursday 8 March, 2018 at the Kent Events Centre.

For the first time in the history of the awards, there was a tie in the Restaurant category so there are four restaurants being mystery dined this year.  This is clearly demonstrated by the enthusiastic voting in this category by you, the public!

The awards have once again prompted a huge response from the people of Kent, who are responsible for nominating and voting for the finalists, demonstrating that Kent has a very vibrant food and drink sector.

The finalists for each category in alphabetical order are:

Kent Beer of the Year, sponsored by Eurostar

Goodness Gracious Me IPA – Goody Ales
Gadds No.3 – Ramsgate Brewery
Reliant Robin – Rockin Robin Brewery

Kent Butcher Shop of the Year, sponsored by Hadlow College

S.W.Doughty – Doddington
Southborough Butchers – Tunbridge Wells
Stour Valley Game – Chilham

Kent Cider or Perry of the Year, sponsored by Wilkins Kennedy LLP

Elderflower Cider – Turners Cider – Marden
Kentish Discovery – Kentish Pip – Bekesbourne
Wise Owl Bittersweet Dry Still Cider – Wise Owl Cider – High Halden

Kent Food Producer of the Year, sponsored by Shopper Anonymous

Bessie’s Tea Parlour – Broadstairs
Sissinghurst Pigs – Sissinghurst
The Chai Stop  – Minster

Kent Local Food Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Opies

Austen’s of Rochester – Rochester
Barham Village Store – Barham
Macknade Fine Foods – Faversham

Kent Tastiest Juice of the Year, AC Goatham & Son

Apple & Cherry Juice – Chegworth Valley – Maidstone
Apple Juice – Biddenden Vineyards – Biddenden
Spiced Apple Juice – Owlets Fruit Juice – Lamberhurst

Kent Wine of the Year, sponsored by NFU Mutual

Ortega – Biddenden Vineyards – Biddenden
Bacchus – Chapel Down – Tenterden
Sparkling White – The Mount Vineyard – Shoreham (Sevenoaks)

Kent Restaurant of the Year, sponsored by Thomson, Snell & Passmore

The Buoy & Oyster – Margate
The Carriage Restaurant – Faversham
The Corner House – Canterbury
The Mulberry Tree – Boughton Monchelsea

Kent Pub or Bistro of the Year, sponsored by University of Kent

The Ferry House Inn, Isle of Sheppey
The George Inn, Molash
The Hop & Huffkin, Sandwich

Just to show how many businesses and products were voted for by our voters, here is a short list:

  • 56 beers from 25 different breweries
  • 60 butcher shops
  • 32 ciders by 14 different cider makers
  • 117 dining pubs/bistros
  • 58 food producers
  • 53 retailers
  • 122 restaurants
  • 24 juices from 19 different companies
  • 21 wines from 8 different vineyards

Stephanie Durling at Produced in Kent comments: “From all over the county, the people of Kent have chosen the flavours, products, produce and venues they have enjoyed the most over the last 12 months. For the winners, these awards are the ultimate accolade from their customers and confirmation of their food and drink excellence. We are delighted to see some new names this year, Barham Village Store, Southborough Butchers, Austen’s, Rockin Robin,Turners Cider, The Buoy & Oyster, The Carriage Restaurant and Hop & Huffkin.  There are also more finalists from the Weald of Kent too.  We are also delighted to see some previous winners return to the list of finalists including Chai Stop (2009) and Owlets Fruit Juice (2010) We wish everyone good luck. It is a fantastic achievement to have been shortlisted from such stiff competition.”

Victoria Symons at Cripps comments: “A nomination to the Taste of Kent Awards shortlist is a huge achievement, indicative of the real passion consumers in the region have for top quality food and drink. The nominees should feel rightly proud of the proverbial pat on the back they have received, and with so many outstanding entries we look forward to the big event with excitement.”

The public voted for their favourite businesses and three finalists in each category will now go forward to be judged by independent mystery shoppers, mystery diners or expert judging panels to find Kent’s ultimate ‘food and drink heroes’. The final winners will be revealed at a black-tie awards dinner catered for by Jason Freedman at Curiously Kentish from Birchington and the drinks reception is sponsored by Synecore.

Other awards, not open for public voting, are:

 Kent Food Product Classes, sponsored by Shepherd Neame

Producers can enter their own products into a range of five classes. The product must be 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.

 Best Kent Food Product of the Year, sponsored by HSBC

A product selected by the judging panel as the overall winner from all the entries in the Kent Food Product Classes.

 Kent Countryside Award, sponsored by Kent Downs and High Weald AONBs

This stand-alone award gives farmers, rural businesses using local produce and food and drink producers, the opportunity to enter their businesses directly into the competition visit for more information.


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