Keeping it LOCAL…
… with celebrated Sussex and Kentish food and drink producers
We are very fortunate in this corner of the UK to have many of the best artisan food producers, and makers, of finest fare. Kent and Sussex have an abundance of award-winning creators of fabulous food whilst there are too many to mention, we share a pick of the bunch right here, to give you some festive inspiration to bring to the Christmas dinner table.
In 2019, inspired by Hastings town and the sea, Julian Haswell created Hastings Gin and the striking blue bottle in which the spirit is sold. The gin is smooth on the palate with the distinct taste of sweet berries, which are soft and delicate, to create a truly balanced gin. In August 2020 Strawberry Hastings Gin was launched keeping the tones of the 1066 but with the addition of the natural essence of strawberry. Both gins have been a great success in Sussex and the bottles are as eye catching as the gin is delicious. The 1066 and the Strawberry gins are also available in 10cl bottles, a generous measure for two and a perfect Christmas gift.
In the Kentish countryside, you’ll see light smoke and coffee chaff rising from the chimney of award-winning Bean Smitten Coffee Roasters. The aroma of roasting coffee beans will have you following your nose to notes of chocolate, popcorn and caramel as the beans turn brown and crack in the rotating barrel of the roaster.
Bean Smitten was founded by ex-accountant Darren Tickner seven years ago, on the principle of making sustainable, specialty coffee accessible to all. All their coffees are fully traceable from farm to cup. Whether it’s a single estate or farmer’s co-operative, they are sure of their coffee’s provenance and the growers’ welfare.
This year their Classic Blend picked up a 3 Star Great Taste win and a Golden Fork Nomination and back by popular demand is their famous Christmas Blend, with notes of rich chocolate, nuts, citrus and spices.
International chocolatier Jens Knoop, who founded the brand, based on the original concept of Knoopology: the art of crafting the perfect chocolate drink, has revolutionised chocolate drinks with a completely customisable chocolate percentage menu hosting over twenty different percentages from 28% White to 100% Extra Dark. To intensify the chocolate further you can select the milk of your choice and choose from 21 flavour enhancing add-ons, like sea salt, orange zest, chilli and cinnamon, and top it off with a handmade Knoops marshmallow.
Knoopology caters for every taste and can be the perfect chocolate drink hot or cold; as a warming mug of smooth hot chocolate, poured over cold milk and ice for an iced chocolate drink or blended with ice cream for a delicious milkshake. Knoops Christmas Collection and Festive Spice Gift Set are the perfect gifts for the chocolate lover in your life.
Based in Cranbrook, Paley Farm produces sustainably and environmentally friendly grass-fed meat. Mindful of their livestock’s well-being, they take conscientious care of their animals and the 800-acre pastureland on which they graze. Paley Farm offer delicious bespoke meat boxes, for all the family to enjoy, perfect for a weekday evening meal, weekend brunch or Sunday lunch including lamb, gammon, rump steaks, racks of pork ribs, succulent chicken, game, warming pies and so much more. Looking ahead to Christmas
celebrations, their classic beef wellington is a showstopper and worthy centrepiece for the Christmas dinner table and the pure beef dripping is sure to give you the crispiest roast potatoes.
The meat boxes can be ordered and delivered directly to your door or alternatively, they can be collected directly from Paley Farm’s Shop.
To create the Kent Food Product of the Year 2021, the Tankerton Smokeshed use two simple ingredients to cure their Scottish salmon, just sugar and salt, but the process doesn’t stop there… The fish is smoked with a gentle complexity of apple, oak and cherry woods and carefully dried so that the flavours intensify.
Tankerton Smokeshed is a family passion with Michael at the helm as the maker and creator of the smoked produce. Every part of the process is created by hand and made with love, care and attention. What started as a way to satisfy their children’s discerning palettes, he and his wife have grown and evolved the business to make it what it is today.
The bespoke smoked salmon is made to order and available in three portion sizes: a breakfast pack, half a side and whole side.
Winterdale Shaw cheese is a cheddar style recipe, traditionally produced from raw cows milk, cloth wrapped and matured in caves dug deep into the chalky North Downs of Kent. The taste is nutty and tangy with a creamy texture. If you prefer smoked cheese then the Winterdale Oak Smoked, which is gently smoked for 24hrs in a traditional oak fired kiln, should be the one to try.
The family have been farming in Kent since 1495 and started their award-winning cheesemaking business in 2006. They scooped both a silver and bronze award for their cheeses at the 2021 World Cheese Awards and are proud of their carbon neutral production and delivery methods.
Christmas hampers can be ordered through the cheese barn shop along with an array of accompaniments to create a truly unique gift.