Food and drink award finalists from district

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The grand finalists in the Sussex Food & Drink Awards 2015/16 have been revealed this week and once again Horsham district food and drink businesses are strongly represented with 12 out of the shortlisted 30 businesses being selected as Grand Finalists, following an eight-month intensive process, including several phases of expert judging and the verification of over 10,000 votes from members of the public.

These inspirational food and drink heroes can now look forward to an exciting night of celebrations at ‘the Sussex foodie event of the year’, the spectacular Sussex Food and Drink Awards Banquet on 28 January at the Amex Stadium, hosted by Sally Gunnell OBE and BBC’s Danny Pike.

Celebrating its tenth year, the awards are all about supporting and boosting local farmers, food and drink producers and the outlets that use and sell this superb local fare.

Starting from small beginnings, the awards have grown to become prestigious and respected, with huge support from business in the county, bringing together the whole local food and farming community.

Sussex dairy farmer and Nuffield scholar, William Goodwin, who is chairman of the judges, said: “Over the last ten years the awards have encouraged more and more people to discover and explore local markets, food shops and restaurants where they can sample the very best local produce and see for themselves why it tastes so much better.

“It is so exciting to see the growth across the region which has really delivered Sussex as one of the leading counties in the UK for producing superb food and drink.

“This year’s Grand Finalists line up offers an impressive range of first class, diverse businesses and individuals, and we are so proud of everyone who has made it through to this final stage in the competition.”

All the winners and runners up will be revealed and receive their trophies at the glittering tenth birthday ceremony on 28 January 2016, hosted by patron to the awards, Sally Gunnell OBE and Danny Pike from BBC Sussex.

Tickets are now on sale for this very special awards ceremony, which includes a spectacular seven-course Sussex produce banquet created by Sodexo Prestige at the Amex Stadium.

The Horsham Grand Finalists in each of the awards categories are:

n Sussex Food Producer of the Year, sponsored by The Southern Co-operative: Springs Smoked Salmon, Edburton, West Sussex

n Sussex Drink Producer of the Year, sponsored by Rix & Kay: Dark Star Brewing Co Ltd, Partridge Green and Nutbourne Vineyards, Pulborough

n Sussex Food Shop of the Year, sponsored by Wealden District Council: Charlie’s Farm Shop, Bury

n Sussex Butcher of the Year, sponsored by Absolute Butchery: A C Coughtrey Butchers, Pulborough and S K Hutchings, Partridge Green

n Sussex Farmers Market of the Year, sponsored by Harveys of Lewes: Horsham Local Produce Market

n Sussex Newcomer of the Year, sponsored by Spofforths: Etch Food, Billingshurst

n Sussex Farmer of the Year, in partnership with Farmers Weekly: Charlie and Sarah Hughes, Southview Farm, Pulborough and Julia and Simon Feakes, Sussex Lamb, Horsham

n Previously announced, Sussex Street Food Vendor of the Year, co-sponsored by Food Rocks and Hepworth Brewery: Jah Jyot, Henfield

n Previously announced, Sussex Young Chef of the Year, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige: Ryan Tomkinson, The Pass, Lower Beeding

For more information about the awards and ticket sales go to www.sussexfoodawards.biz

Pictures are previous Sussex Young Chef grand finalists, Stephanie Haywood, Michael Sutherland & Ryan Tomkinson.

Report contributed by Horsham District Council.