Sussex Food and Drink Awards Big Reveal 2017Celebrations were enjoyed on 4 July as over a hundred Sussex food and drink business leaders gathered at the Sussex Food and Drink Awards’ Big Reveal event held at Ridgeview Wine Estate in Ditchling to hear the 60 finalists announced in six out of the ten categories this year.

Ridgeview’s beautiful vineyard and winery, which is nestled on the picturesque South Downs, provided the perfect venue to host the many restaurateurs, butchers, farmers’ market organisers, food producers, shop keepers, brewers and vintners from the far reaches of East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton & Hove at the Big Reveal event.

Host, BBC Sussex radio presenter, Danny Pike entertained the audience and congratulated the top ten finalists announced in the Best Sussex Food Producer, Drink Producer, Food/Farm Shop, Farmers’ Market, Eating Experience and Butcher categories, selected by a high power panel of judges at a meeting in June hosted by the Shepherd and Dog, Fulking.

Tempting treats from various street food vendors as well as delicious platters of local food were all enjoyed and washed down with Ridgeview sparkling wine, local ales, juices and ciders.  Finalists, both familiar and new, celebrated getting to the next stage in the competition and were able to chat with the sponsor judges, winners from previous years and gain top tips about what could make them a winner of a coveted trophy this year.

Paula Seager and Hilary Knight, co-directors of Natural Partnerships CIC, who run the awards as a not-for-profit scheme, are urging the public to now get voting for their favourites by 24 September.  Nominations for the remaining four categories, Sussex Street Food, Sussex Young Chef, Farmer and Newcomer, will remain open throughout the summer with a closing date of 8 September.

Said Paula “This has been a wonderful evening and we are so grateful to Ridgeview for allowing us to host it at their stunning premises and officially open the public voting in this year’s awards.

“The quality is consistently high in this competition with yet another impressive set of finalists this year, so we are urging people to visit them and try out the produce in order to vote for their favourites to win. The public vote is a vital part of the judging process and the top three will become grand finalists, so please do get voting!”

Over 10,000 people voted in the Sussex Food and Drink Awards last year and the judging panel, chaired by local dairy farmer, William Goodwin, is hoping that even more people will vote for their favourite to win at www.sussexfoodawards.biz – it only takes a minute or two.

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 1 February 2017 at a BAFTA-style ceremony hosted by patron to the awards Sally Gunnell OBE and Danny Pike from BBC Sussex.  The ceremony includes a spectacular seven-course Sussex produce banquet produced by Sodexo Prestige at the Amex Stadium.

Guests also celebrated the first birthday of www.southdownsfood.org, which is a great way for people to find local food and drink producers and places to eat and buy local fare in the region.

For more information about all the categories and how to vote or nominate for your favourite visit www.sussexfoodawards.biz

Vote for your favourite Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2017 Finalists:

Sussex Food Producer of the Year, sponsored by The Southern Co-operative
Beal’s Farm Charcuterie, North Chailey, East Sussex
Brontie & Co, Ferring, West Sussex
Mud Foods, Midhurst, West Sussex
Noble and Stace Chocolatiers, Midhurst, West Sussex
Ouse Valley Foods, Piltdown, East Sussex
Seriously Real, Pulborough, West Sussex
Slindon Bakery, Ford, West Sussex
Tablehurst Farm, Forest Row, East Sussex
The Hearth Bakehouse, Lewes, East Sussex
The Real Pie Company, Crawley, West Sussex

Sussex Drink Producer of the Year, sponsored by Rix & Kay
Albourne Estate, Albourne, West Sussex
Brighton Gin, Hove, East Sussex
Firebird Brewing Co, Rudgwick, West Sussex
Langham Brewery, Lodsworth, West Sussex
Nyetimber Vineyard, West Chiltington, West Sussex
Ridgeview Wine Estate, Ditchling Common, East Sussex
SeaCider, Ditchling Common, East Sussex
Silly Moo Cider, Cowfold, West Sussex
Stopham Vineyard, Stopham, Pulborough, West Sussex
Wobblegate, Bolney, West Susse

Sussex Food Shop of the Year, sponsored by Wealden District Council
Adsdean Farm Shop, Funtington, West Sussex
Charlie’s Farm Shop, Bury, West Sussex
Cowdray Farm Shop, Midhurst, West Sussex
Crossbush Farm Shop, Arundel, West Sussex
Dyke Farm Shop, Pulborough, West Sussex
Eggs to Apples, Hurst Green, East Sussex
Perryhill Orchards Farm Shop, Hartfield, East Sussex
Sharnfold Farm Shop, Stone Cross, East Sussex
Swains Farm Shop, Henfield, West Sussex
Tablehurst Farm Limited, Forest Row, East Sussex

Sussex Butcher of the Year, co-sponsored by Plumpton College & RP Meats Wholesaler Ltd
A C Coughtrey Butchers, Pulborough, West Sussex
Archers of Westfield, Westfield, East Sussex
Barfields Butchers, Brighton, East Sussex
Bramptons Butchers, Brighton, East Sussex
Glyn Thomas & Son Ltd, Lindfield, West Sussex
May’s Farm Cart, Lewes, East Sussex
New Street Butchers, Horsham, West Sussex
Nick the Butcher, Hartfield, East Sussex
Steyning Butchers, Steyning, West Sussex
The Hungry Guest Butcher, Petworth, West Sussex

Sussex Farmers Market of the Year, sponsored by Harveys of Lewes
Chichester Farmers Market, West Sussex
Forest Row Farmers Market, East Sussex
Heathfield Farmers Market, East Sussex
Horsham Local Produce Market, West Sussex
Lewes Farmers Market, Cliffe Precinct (monthly) East Sussex
Lewes Farmers Market, Market Tower (weekly) East Sussex
Pulborough Farmers Market, West Sussex
Shoreham Farmers Market, West Sussex
Steyning Farmers Market, West Sussex
The Great Little Farmers Market, Worthing, West Sussex

Sussex Eating Experience of the Year, sponsored by Superfast Thermapen, ETI Ltd
Rushfields Café, Poynings, West Sussex
The Cat Inn, West Hoathly, West Sussex
The Coach and Horses, Danehill, East Sussex
The Countryman Inn, Shipley, West Sussex
The Crown, Hastings, East Sussex
The Dorset Arms, Withyham, East Sussex
The Earl of March, Lavant, West Sussex
The Leconfield, Petworth, West Sussex
The Ram Inn, Firle, East Sussex
The Sussex Ox, Polegate, East Sussex

Nominations remain open until 8 September for the following categories:

  • Sussex Young Chef of the Year, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige
  • Sussex Street Food of the Year, co-sponsored by Food Rocks and Horsham District Food & Drink Festival
  • Sussex Newcomer of the Year, co-sponsored by Spofforths and the Sussex Food & Drink Network
  • Sussex Farmer of the Year sponsored by Natural PR in association with Farmers Weekly