Celebrations were in full flow last week as the Sussex Food & Drink Awards revealed the county’s top food and drink producers for 2018, all hailed as local heroes as they received their winning trophies at the Amex Community Stadium in Brighton.
Hosted by Danny Pike of BBC Sussex and actress Julie Graham, representing the charity Chestnut Tree House, the glittering 12th awards ceremony saw 400 leaders in the food, drink and farming industry gather together for what is dubbed as ‘the Sussex foodie event of the year’, celebrating the cream of Sussex food and drink producers.
Guests were treated to a wonderful ‘Sussex bubbly and ale reception’, sponsored by NFU Mutual Pulborough, with Harveys Ale, Carr Taylor sparkling wine, Wobblegate apple juice and Brighton Gin accompanied by delicious canapés from The Naked Food Company. This was followed by a stunning seven-course banquet created by stadium caterers Sodexo Prestige, using the very best local and seasonal ingredients supplied by Lighthouse Bakery, Real Patisserie, Bookham & Harrison, Southview Farm Dairy, Hoads Farm, Veasey & Sons Fishmongers, Plumpton College, R P Meats (Wholesale), T G Fruits, The Cheese Man, Deerview Fine Foods, Just Brownies, The Raw Chocolate Company, South Downs Water Co Ltd and Edgcumbes Coffee Roasters and Tea Blenders.
Overall, Horsham District was well represented with 11 businesses voted as Grand Finalists – a third of all the companies celebrating on the night.
Horsham District Council provides business support in the food and drink sector through its annual food and drink festival and Big Nibble food celebration, and more recently the Council has launched its Horsham District Foodies brand to give extra weight to its locally based food businesses.
The Sussex Street Food of the Year Award was sponsored by Horsham District Foodies and Food Rocks this year, which was won by Garlic Wood Farm in Steyning. The award was presented by Cllr Gordon Lindsay, Horsham District Council’s Cabinet Member for the Local Economy.
Commenting on the awards he said: “These Sussex awards have been held annually for the past 12 years and each year Horsham District food and drink companies are well to the fore.
“To win 50% of the awards and have so many excellent businesses shortlisted in the finals is testament to the healthy state of the Horsham District’s food and drink sector and the contribution it makes to the visitor economy.
“We are very proud our firms and we continue to do everything we can to support and nurture these successful businesses.”
Other worthy Horsham District winners on the night were, The Sussex Produce Company in Steyning – Food Shop of the Year, New Street Butchers and Deli in Horsham – Butcher of the Year, and The Artisan Bakehouse in Ashurst – Eating Experience of the Year.