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The Taste of Kent Awards champions 2014’s food, drink and farming heroes across The Garden of England

The prestigious Taste of Kent Awards took place on Thursday 13th March 2014, in recognition of the food, drink and farming stars of the county this year. There were celebrations all round as Kent’s ‘edible Oscars’ saw some exciting new businesses clinch awards for the first time, whilst other former winners returned to claim their victory on the night.

The brainchild of Produced in Kent, the sparkling ceremony was hosted in new surroundings this year, fittingly taking place at the agricultural wonder that is the Kent Event Centre at Kent Showground, Detling. Guests at the black tie dinner were treated to a Kentish sparkling wine reception upon arrival – with canapés, a three-course dinner, wine, coffee, chocolates and the glittering awards presentations to follow. On this occasion, the fantastic feast was created and cooked up by The Minnis Bar and Restaurant’s chef patron, Jason Freedman.

Presenter Kevin Field hosted, while speeches were made by Amanda Cottrell OBE, patron of Produced in Kent; Ed Martin, manager of Produced in Kent; James Beatton, partner and head of the Corporate and Commercial Team at Vertex Law, part of Cripps Harries Hall; and guest speaker, Sian Holt of Lyminge-based Fudge Kitchen.

The anticipated winners of the night were individually selected by an expert panel of judges, who picked from three finalists who were shortlisted for each award category. The shortlisted finalists received the most votes in each award category and had been nominated and voted for by members of the public. From Rochester to Folkestone, the people of Kent chose the tastes, flavours, products, produce and venues that they have enjoyed the most over the last 12 months.

…and without further ado, here are your 2014 WINNERS:

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Best Kent Juice Producer sponsored by Kent County Council

Winner: Little Stour Orchard, Margate

Finalists: Biddenden Farm Pressed Apple Juice, Biddenden

Newlands Juices, Faversham

Best Kentish Beer sponsored by Rix & Kay Solicitors

Winner: Genesis – Goody Ales, Herne

Finalists: Farriers 1606 – Old Forge Brewery, The Farriers Arms, Mersham

Gadds’ No. 3 Ramsgate Brewery, Ramsgate

Best Kentish Cider or Perry sponsored by Wilkins Kennedy FKC

Winner: Duddas Tun Cider – Pine Trees Farm, Doddington

Finalists: Strong Kentish cider – Biddenden Vineyard, Biddenden

10 ACRE Orchard Cider – Little Stour Orchard, Margate

Best Kentish Wine sponsored by Investaco

Winner: Ortega 2012 – Biddenden Vineyards, Biddenden

Finalists: Bacchus – Chapel Down, Tenterden

English Rose – Chapel Down, Tenterden

Kent Artisan Food Producer of the Year sponsored by Shopper Anonymous

Winner: Kent Fine Foods, Gillingham

Finalists: Samovar, Nonington, Dover

Simply Ice Cream, Ashford

Kent Butcher or Meat Producer of the Year sponsored by sff

Winner: Court Farm Butchery & Country Larder, Halling, Rochester

Finalists: A.J.Barkaway, Faversham

Chandler & Dunn, Ash, Canterbury

Kent Dining Pub of the Year sponsored by Opies

Winner: The Ferry House Inn, Isle of Sheppey

Finalists: The George Inn, Molash

The Three Tuns, Lower Halstow

Kent Farmers Market of the Year sponsored by Hadlow College

Winner: Cliftonville Farmers Market

Finalists: Rochester Farmers Market

Tonbridge Farmers Market

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

Winner: Mobile Fresh Fish & Farm Shop

Finalists: Fruits De Mer, Broadstairs

Folkestone Trawlers, Folkestone

Kent Local Food Retailer of the Year sponsored by NFU Mutual

Winner: Macknade Fine Foods, Faversham

Finalists: Quex Barn, Birchington

Whitstable Produce Store, Whitstable

Kent Restaurant of the Year sponsored by Henkelman UK Ltd

Winner: Rocksalt, Folkestone

Finalists: The Ambrette, Margate

Wyatt & Jones, Broadstairs

Garden of England Champions Top Fruit sponsored by BTF Partnership

  • Winner – Top Apple: Gala variety Kate Langridge, Mallions Farm, Marden
  • Winner – Garden of England Champions Top Pear: Concorde variety D & C Stevens, Elm Farm, Lower Halstow

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

  • Cherries – Elverton Farms, Faversham for their Merchant variety
  • Strawberries – Langdon Manor Farm, Faversham for their Jubilee variety
  • Raspberries – Newmafruit, Chartham, Canterbury for their Glen Ample variety

Kent Food, Farming and Landscape Award sponsored by Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

  • Winner – Court Farm, Halling, Rochester

Kent Food Product Category Awards sponsored by Shepherd Neame

  • Winner Dairy Class – Winterdale Shaw, Winterdale Cheesemakers
  • Winner Ambient Class – 10 ACRE Cider Vinegar, Little Stour Orchard
  • Winner Bakery & Confectionery Class – Honey Cake with Kentish Honey, Samovar
  • Winner Prepared Food Class – Kentish beef and vegetable pasty, S W Doughty
  • Winner Catering Class – Dangus beef fillet, Gribble Bridge Meats
  • Catering Highly Commended – Strong Wholemeal Flour, Pure Kent
  • Dairy Highly Commended – Chaucers Camembert, Cheesemakers of Canterbury

Best Kent Food Product sponsored by KFF

Winner: 10 ACRE Apple Cider Vinegar

Produced in Kent also presented a special award to Sian Holt, managing director of Fudge Kitchen.

After a triumphant evening, the stunning flower arrangements on each table were auctioned off in aid of ‘mind’, the mental health charity. A generous pound-for-pound match funded by Barclays Bank doubled the final amount raised.

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2014 has provided a delightful plethora of winners for the Taste of Kent Awards and has continued its lasting legacy with the championing of the very best that Kent has to offer.

Stephanie Durling of Produced in Kent, commented: “We would like to thank the thousands of people who took the time to vote in this, our tenth year. We are especially delighted that nearly 500 local businesses across the county were nominated for the awards. The battle for first place amongst the finalists was hard, with a tough decision for our judges. The standard of products, produce, shops, pubs and restaurants is very high and Kent is firmly becoming established as a foody destination in the UK.”

This year there were a number of businesses that were new to the list of finalists, including: Newlands Juices, Goody Ales, Samovar, Chandler & Dunn, The Ferry House Inn, The Three Tuns, Rochester Farmers Market, Fruits De Mer, Folkestone Trawlers, Whitstable Produce Store, Rocksalt and Wyatt & Jones.

Many of last year’s winners were once again in this year’s top three, including: Little Stour Orchards’ Juice, Gadds No 3, Biddenden Ortega, The George Inn, Quex Barn, and The Ambrette.

Stephanie Durling concluded: “The awards were a fantastic showcase for Kent’s food, drink and farming. The Taste of Kent Awards is the ultimate stamp of approval from members of the public and confirmation of food and drink excellence. We would like to thank Jason Freedman of The Minnis Bar and Restaurant who prepared the delicious three-course meal for the award’s dinner and the Kent Event Centre at the Kent Showground for their valuable support.”

The awards are sponsored by Vertex Law, part of Cripps Harries Hall LLP. James Beatton, a partner of the firm, says: “Kent is well known for the excellence of its food and drink and the Taste of Kent Awards are a great way to celebrate the skill and passion of those involved in the industry. This is the third year that Vertex Law has been the headline sponsor and as a business that is committed both to Kent and its food and drink industry, we are delighted to be involved again.”

This year’s awards are run with sponsorship from Biddenden Vineyards, BTF Partnership, Chapel Down Winery, Chapmans of Sevenoaks, EMR (East Malling Research), Hadlow College, Henkleman UK Ltd, Kent Downs and High Weald AONBs, KCC (Kent County Council), kff (Kent Frozen Foods), NFU Mutual, Opies, Rix & Kay Solicitors, Shopper Anonymous, Shepherd Neame, sff (Stephen’s Fresh Foods), Vertex Law, part of Cripps Harries Hall LLP, and Wilkins Kennedy FKC.

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For more info on the Taste of Kent Awards, visit www.tasteofkentawards.co.uk

@TasteKentAwards

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