Produced in Kent’s prestigious Taste of Kent Awards 2016 are now in full swing. Public voting was officially opened on Wednesday 16 September at a launch reception at Hush Heath Winery in Staplehurst, Kent.
The reception, sponsored by Moor Organic Juice, brought together previous winners, award sponsors and Kent foodies to celebrate the launch of the awards, now in their twelfth year. Guests were given the opportunity to tour the vineyard and winery, followed by canapés and a drinks reception with wine and cider supplied by the Hush Heath Estate.
During the evening Richard Balfour-Lynn, owner of the vineyard that hosted the evening, spoke about the history of the vineyard and its future and inspiration was also drawn from talks given by previous winners Kingcott Cheese, Chegworth Valley and AMC Foods, on how winning a Taste of Kent Award has benefited and transformed their businesses.
The Taste of Kent Awards, organised by Produced in Kent to showcase Kent’s finest food and drink products, provides the general public with a unique opportunity to have their say and vote for their favourite producers, retailers, restaurants, dining pubs and farmers’ markets. To cast your vote simply visit www.tasteofkentawards.co.uk before the public vote closes on 4th January 2016. This year it is expected more than 16,000 votes will be cast, as the awards have grown year on year in popularity and support.
James Beatton a partner at Cripps the awards Main Sponsor, comments: “Cripps is proud to be the main sponsor of the Taste of Kent Awards for the fifth consecutive year. The awards are truly a celebration of all that is good about Kent’s flourishing food & drink sector, a sector which is very important to our business. Each year we have been delighted to be involved and look forward to sampling the entries for 2016!”
Stephanie Durling at Produced in Kent, comments: “Following the all-important initial public vote, the three finalists in each category open for public voting will go forward to be judged by mystery shoppers and diners or an expert judging panel, to find the ultimate ‘food and drink heroes’. The awards presentation dinner will take place in March 2016 at the Kent Event Centre, Detling.”
Stephanie Durling continues:
“Drink producers are judged by a separate panel, including Best Kentish Wine and Best Kentish Beer and Best Kentish Cider or Perry. Kent’s producers and manufacturers are also able to submit their products in the self-nominating category the Kent Food Product Classes. Full details are available on www.tasteofkentawards.co.uk.”
The Best Kent Juice Producer for the first time this year will be subjected to a site visit by the judges, together with tasting of their range of juices.
In addition to the online voting at www.tasteofkentawards.co.uk, voters can pick up a voting form from their nearest farmers’ market or direct from Produced in Kent, tel. 01732 853170.
The Taste of Kent Awards main sponsor is Cripps LLP, with media support from insideKENT.
This year’s categories open for public voting, are as follows:
Kent Butcher’s Shop of the Year, sponsored by Stephens
A retailer selling a good range of Kent produced meat. They will be required to provide evidence of traceability to substantiate this for judging.
Kent Beer of the year, sponsored by Rix & Kay Solicitors
Beer produced predominantly from hops grown in Kent at a brewery based in Kent.
Kent Wine of the Year, sponsored by Eurostar
Wine produced from grapes predominantly grown in Kent, Sussex, Essex or Surrey at a winery based in Kent.
Kent Cider or Perry of the Year, sponsored by Wilkins Kennedy FKC
Cider or Perry made from apples or pears predominantly grown in Kent at a business based in
Kent Juice Producer of the Year, sponsored by AC Goatham & Son
Producer of fruit juice made from made from fruit predominantly grown in Kent at a business based in Kent.
Kent Local Food Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Opies
The retailer must sell a wide range of Kent produce/products. They will be required to provide details of the suppliers and product range for judging.
Kent Fishmonger of the Year, sponsored by The University of Kent
A retailer selling a good range of Kent caught fish. They will be required to provide evidence of traceability to substantiate this for judging.
Kent Food Producer of the Year, sponsored by Shopper Anonymous
A business that makes a food product using ingredients sourced from Kent where possible.
Kent Restaurant of the Year, sponsored by Thompson, Snell & Passmore
The restaurant must actively use Kent produce and products where and when available and demonstrate this commitment in menus and marketing.
Kent Dining Pub of the Year, sponsored by Page & Wells
Must actively use produce/products, beer, cider and juices when available from within Kent and demonstrate this commitment in menus & marketing.
Kent Farmers’ Market of the Year, sponsored by Hadlow College
The market must be a current member of the Kent Farmers’ Market Association (KFMA).
Other awards, not open for public voting, are:
Kent Food Product Classes, sponsored by Shepherd Neame
(5 classes in this category) Producers can enter their own products into one of 5 classes. This must be a product 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 the entries in all the Kent Food Product Classes.
Kent Countryside Award, sponsored by Kent Downs and High Weald AONBs
This stand-alone award gives farmers, and food and drink producers, the opportunity to enter their own farms and businesses directly into the competition visit www.tasteofkentawards.co.uk/awards/kent-food-farming-landscape-award/ for more information.
Garden of England Champions – Cherry & Soft Fruit, sponsored by EMR
Three categories: Cherry, Strawberries and Raspberries
Judged on taste by both professionals from the industry and members of the public at the Kent County Show, July 2015 and amazingly the winner of all three categories was John Myatt & Co of Cliffe Woods:
Cherries – Vanda variety
Strawberries – Magnum variety
Raspberries – Tulamen variety
Garden of England Champions – Top Fruit, sponsored by BTF Partnership
The winners of Produced in Kent’s Taste of Kent Awards 2016 Garden of England Champion Top Fruit Category, sponsored by BTF Partnership, will be announced in October at the National Fruit Show at Kent County Show Ground.
All Kentish apples & pears entered into the competitions will automatically by entered into the Taste of Kent Awards Top Fruit categories and will be taste tested and announced at the show.
The deadline for entering fruit in the National Fruit show is 1st October.