Over 11,000 votes have already been received in the Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2018, which is seeking the best food and drink producers, farmers, butchers, and places serving and selling local produce. Patron to the awards, Sally Gunnell OBE and organisers are urging people to vote for their favourites at www.sussexfoodawards.biz before voting closes on 19 September 2017.
Said Paula Seager, co-director of Natural Partnerships CIC, which runs the awards, “Each year we are see an increasing amount of public votes for the awards and we are delighted that so many incredible food and drink producers throughout the region are being given the recognition that they deserve, which is what these awards are all about.
“The competition is very tight again this year, so every vote really does count and we are looking forward to seeing who makes it through as grand finalists, which are announced in November. Businesses from across the entire region have made it onto the list including 33 from West Sussex, 16 from East Sussex and seven from Brighton and Hove.”
The county is renowned for its innovation in making artisan food products and this year’s Sussex Food Producer of the Year category, sponsored by Southern Co-op, represents so much of what is special about the region. The impressive finalist line up includes award-winning cheesemakers, delicious, hand-cooked traditional meals, indulgent chocolate brownie makers, specialist tomato growers, mouthwatering pie makers, brilliant bakers, delectable honey producers, artisan chocolatiers and expert fish and meat smokers.
Farmers Markets are a familiar fixture in many of the main cities and towns across the region and have grown enormously in popularity over the last decade. They are one of the best advocates in supporting local and regional food and drink producers and offer a great opportunity to sample some of the very best that Sussex has to offer. Six of the best Sussex Farmers’ Markets have made it onto this year’s finalist list for this category sponsored by Harvey’s Brewery and public votes will decide who should be crowned winner, so get voting for your favourite now.
Sussex Food Shop of the Year sponsored by Wealden District Council presents a delightful spread of both new and old from across the region, each offering its own unique take on bringing plough to plate. Some familiar names as well as some exciting new can be found on the shortlist this year.
From traditional family butchers who have passed down their skills from generation to generation, to resourceful outlets who specialise in locally sourced meats or farm shops that have managed to diversify and build a reputation in quality and zero carbon footprint – they are all well represented in this year’s Sussex Butcher of the Year category sponsored by RP Meats Wholesale Ltd.
Residents of Sussex have an outstanding choice of where they choose to dine out from Michelin star restaurants, country pubs, elegant fine dining, trendy city establishments and gastro pubs, all of which are reflected in the finalist line up in this year’s Best Sussex Eating Experience category, sponsored by Blakes Foods.
The Sussex Drink Producer category, sponsored by Natural PR, not only offers some of the county’s, but the country’s very best wine producers, brewers, some unusual non-alcoholic drink producers and specialist gin and spirit makers so make sure your favourite Sussex tipple makes it through to the final round.
Nominations are now closed for Sussex Newcomer of the Year sponsored by Kreston Reeves and Sussex Food & Drink Network, Sussex Young Chef of the Year, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige and Young Sussex Farmer of the Year sponsored by Plumpton College in association with Farmers Weekly and final judging is now underway before the Grand Finalists in each are announced in November. The live finals of the Sussex Street Food of the Year category, sponsored by Horsham Time Well Spent, supported by Food Rocks is open to the public and will take place on Sunday 22 October in Horsham Carfax.
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 on 7 February 2018 at a BAFTA-style ceremony hosted by awards patron Sally Gunnell OBE and Danny Pike from BBC Sussex. The glittering event includes a spectacular seven-course Sussex produce banquet created by Sodexo Prestige at the Amex Stadium in Brighton.
Vote now by visiting www.sussexfoodawards.biz/vote/