Taste of Kent Award Winners 2015

Group

Kent’s ultimate food and drink heroes, the winners of Produced in Kent’s Taste of Kent Awards 2015, have tonight (Thursday 12 March) been announced at a black tie dinner held at the Kent County Showground.

Stephanie Durling of Produced in Kent, comments: “Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists. The competition this year has been exceptionally close and all the judges, mystery shoppers and secret diners have had some challenging decisions to make.

“From the record number of businesses nominated, to the thousands of people who took the time to vote for the three finalists in each category, this year has again demonstrated the public’s enthusiasm for good quality Kentish produce.”

Pete Kenyon, Partner at Cripps LLP, the Awards’ main sponsor, said: “Tonight’s awards showcase the exceptional level of passion and skill that make up Kent’s food and drinks industry. We are very pleased to be supporting the awards for the fourth consecutive year and are hugely encouraged again, to see such high standards being maintained and to see the variety of local produce being grown, made, sold, sourced and served across the county.”

Stephanie Durling continues: “The awards highlight the very finest produce the county has to offer. For the winners the Taste of Kent Awards are the ultimate accolade in the Kentish food and drink sector, but it is not just about celebrating great tasting food once a year. If we all sourced 10% of our weekly groceries from Kent producers, retailers and farmers’ markets we can help to generate over £185 million for our local economy.”

Stephanie Durling concludes: “We would like to thank Maddie Allen and the team of Mama Feelgoods from Bekesbourne near Canterbury for preparing the delicious three-course meal and the Kent Events Centre at the Kent County Show Ground for their valuable support.”

The winners are:

Garden of England Champions Top Fruit, sponsored by BTF Partnership

• Top Apple – Jazz variety, Simon Bray, Monks Farm, Norton

“Good for the variety that it has recognition as the tastiest apple in Kent. Jazz – best apple in the world in my view.”

• Top Pear – Concorde variety,  Clive & Richard Edmed, Horsmonden

“We are mainly suppliers to Tesco and this is a very proud moment and we will be letting them know the good news and what Kent can do and how good this variety is. Most of our fruit goes to the supermarkets – I am also the BIFCA vice chairman and very much behind the smaller grower and to give them a voice which is important.”

Top Fruit

Garden of England Champion Cherry and soft fruit sponsored by East Malling Research (“EMR”)

• Cherries – D H Bryant & Partner, Faversham for their Zoe variety

“We are always trying to produce something that the public want and this is down to the effort of our staff. We are delighted the public agree this is the tastiest variety and the one they want.”

• Strawberries – Hugh Lowe Farms, Mereworth for their Baby Jubilee variety

• Raspberries – Lower Ladysden Farm, Horsmonden for their Glen Ample variety

“We supply fruit direct from the farm as a PYO farm and people come to us for the flavour.  We can use winning this award as a way to market directly to our customers so they know they are picking the best in Kent.”

 CherryStrawberryRaspberry

Kent Farmers Market of the Year, sponsored by Hadlow College

Winner: Aylesford Farmers’ Market

“First award for this market. It shows it is a good market and we are pushing local food forward to the public. The market is a real community as well, the producers, the customers and we are giving them what they want. All  our customers are local – normally within 15 miles, most within 5 miles. We have 1,000 customers at every market, and about 45 producers.”

Finalists:

Capel-le-Ferne Farmers’ Market

Elm Court Farmers’ Market

Market

Best Kentish Wine, sponsored by Investaco

Winner: Bacchus – Chapel Down, Tenterden

“To be awarded the best Kentish wine is a real honour especially now when we are investing considerable amounts of money into our vineyards and of course in Kent. We are creating more rural jobs and are contributing widely to the local economy. To be selected as one of the top 3 great wines and then as the best tasting is fantastic and testament to the quality of Kentish wines standing their ground around the world.”

Finalists:

Ortega – Biddenden Vineyards, Biddenden

Balfour Brut Sparkling Rose, Hush Heath Estate, Staplehurst

Wine

Best Kent Juice Producer, sponsored by Kent County Council

Winner: Chegworth Valley Juices, Harrietsham

This is the first TOKA we have entered and have won and although we have been around for a few years we have concentrated on conquering the London market. Over the last year and a half we have tried to make it in Kent and winning this award has made the hard work worth it. Can’t believe we have won it.”

Finalists:

The Juice Executive, Bearsted

Pine Trees Farm, Doddington

 Juice

Kent Local Food Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Opies

Winner: Macknade Fine Foods, Faversham

“This is the second year running we have won the award and we are very honoured to have won it again. This is credit to our suppliers, 120 of whom are Kentish and thanks to our customers and staff who support us.”

Finalists:

Monty’s, Birchington

Peters Produce, Herne Bay

 Retailer

Kent Fishmonger of the Year, sponsored by Chapman’s of Sevenoaks Ltd

Winner: Hudson’s Fish, Herne Bay

“This is our first TOKA and the first time we have entered. This shows the reality of what our customers really think of us and they have been behind us and this is proof of that. We supply good local produce and this is what our customers are looking for.”

Finalists:

Folkestone Trawlers, Folkestone

Hales & Moore, Rainham

 Fishmonger

Kent Food Product Category Awards, sponsored by Shepherd Neame

• Winner Ambient Class –Wye Community Farm Raspberry Jam, The Challock Chutney Company
“I am stunned that I was nominated and even more stunned to have won. I have been making chutney for about 4 years and I work with Wye community farm and grow on the site of the old Wye Imperial College. They grow produce like raspberrys beetroot, shallots etc and I turn it into chutney and jam.”
Ambient
 • Winner Speciality Drinks Class –Kent Dry Gin, Anno Distillers
“It is a wonderful opportunity to be recognised for the product we produce in Kent by people in Kent. The company was set up 2011 and on gin has been on the market for just 15 months so to receive such a major award in this short time is fantastic and we are thrilled.”
Speciality Drink
• Winner Dairy Class – Organic Double Cream, Silcocks Farm
“This is the first time I have entered and we are delighted to have won. The cream is made from a small herd of our own cows which I look after and milk and we also make three types of chees, milk, handmade icecream, and of course cream, Our cows are happy and more content and I do believe this gives a better product and makes the milk and cream taste so delicious.”
Dairy
•Highly Commended Bakery & Confectionery Class –Sea Salt & Vinegar with Biddenden Cider, Kent CrispsWe have won an award previously in 2012. Winning does make a huge difference especially for our customers to know we have won an award. We are also thrilled that following huge growth in investment into the business, that flavour and taste is still recognised. Bakery & Confectionery
•Winner Bakery & Confectionery Class –Seeded Sourdough, Hemings Bakehouse
“This is the first time we have entered TOKA and we are thrilled to have been highly commended. I am hoping this helps promote Kentish bread more and I would like to thank Pure Kent for their flour. The long fermentation process we use makes the real difference to the taste of our bread.”
Highly Commended
•  Winner Prepared Food Class – Classic Titan Sausage Roll, Whitstable Larder
“This is the first award we have entered and won which is amazing. Our customers support us a huge amount and keep returning and the number of times I’ve heard people say ‘the best sausage roll ever’ and this proves it. We have a really loyal following and hopefully we will build on that as a result of winning the award.”
Prepared Food
• Winner Catering Class –Kentish Blue, Kingcott Cheese Limited
“This is the first award for this particular cheese and we hope winning it will help to raise the profile and more people will hopefully try it. It is made from our wonderful milk from our own dairy herd.”
Catering

Best Kent Food Product, sponsored by KFF

Winner: Kent Dry Gin, Anno Distillery

“There is so much good produce in Kent and to be picked out in our county against all the other products is a real joy to us.”

 Product

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

• Winner – Michael-John Knatchbull, The Mersham Hatch Estate

“We are thrilled to have won this award which in particular recognised our work in two areas, for the dormouse conservation project and barn owl conservation. Also the hornbeam pollarding process which takes place on the estate.”

 Countryside

Best Kentish Cider or Perry, sponsored by Wilkins Kennedy FKC

Winner: Wise Owl Cider – Wise Owl Cider Limited, High Halden

“Winning this award will be a big boost to us with our existing customers and also our future customers. To be judged the best in Kent is amazing in our first year and we are confident now in expanding our business further.”

Finalists:

Strong Kentish cider – Biddenden Vineyard, Biddenden

Cheery Old Dudda – Pine Trees Farm, Doddington

Cider

Best Kentish Beer, sponsored by Rix & Kay Solicitors

Winner: Good Health – Goody Ales, Herne

“We are delighted to have won this award for two years running and it is an amazing achievement against such tough competition. We are delighted and very proud.”

Finalists:

Gadds’ No. 3 Ramsgate Brewery, Ramsgate

Whitstable Bay Pale Ale, Shepherd Neame, Faversham

 Beer

Kent Butcher or Meat Producer of the Year, sponsored by sff

Winner: Stour Valley Game, Chilham

“This is the first TOKA – first year entered and I cannot believe it, I certainly wasn’t expecting to win it.  The key to our success is our traceability. We do a lot of shooting ourselves and we have lots of good suppliers. People know exactly where their food has come from.”

Finalists:

Court Farm Butchery & Country Larder, Halling, Rochester

M B Farms, Stockbury

Butcher

Kent Food Producer of the Year, sponsored by Shopper Anonymous

Winner: Hot Face Sauces, Maidstone

“This is our first TOKA and we have been trading less than a year. This means that the quality we have wanted to keep has shone through and the sky is the limit now. We are looking to push forward to the next level, getting more local shops, and independent supermarkets on board, visiting  more food shows and events and we will see what Kent has to offer and what we can offer. We are so pleased to have this award in our first year and to be recognised by customers and the judges.”

Finalists:

Great Preservations, Tonbridge

The Kentish Pieman, New Romney

 Producer

Kent Dining Pub of the Year, sponsored by Page & Wells

Winner: The George Inn, Molash

“This is the second award we have, we won in 2013 and were in the finals last year. This is the best accolade we can have and a big thank you to all our customers, as without them we wouldn’t have got here.”

Finalists:

The King’s Head, Wye

The Milk House, Sissinghurst

Dining Pub

Kent Restaurant of the Year, sponsored by Henkelman UK Ltd

Winner: The Corner House, Minster

Finalists:

The Ambrette, Margate

Wyatt & Jones, Broadstairs

 Restaurant

There were a number of winners who were new to the list of finalists including: Stour Valley Game, Wise Owl Cider, Chegworth Valley, Hudson’s Fish, Hot Face Sauces and The Corner House. Last year’s winners celebrating again this year include Goody Ales and Macknade Fine Foods.

Pictures and more information on all the winners are available at www.tasteofkentawards.co.uk

This year’s awards are run with sponsorship from Cripps LLP, Biddenden Vineyards, BTF Partnership, Chapel Down Winery, Chapman’s of Sevenoaks, EMR (East Malling Research), Hadlow College, Henkelman UK Ltd, insideKENT, Investaco, Kent Downs and High Weald AONBs, KCC (Kent County Council), kff (Kent Frozen Foods), Moor’s, Opies, Rix & Kay Solicitors, Shopper Anonymous Kent, Shepherd Neame, Stephen’s, and Wilkins Kennedy as well as event support from the Kent Event Centre and STL.

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