County’s fruit growing tradition is celebrated in Taste of Kent awards 2015

Fruit producers from “The Garden of England” have been shortlisted for Produced in Kent’s Taste of Kent Awards 2015.

Family-run fruit farms and award-winning vineyards are this year among the finalists of the annual competition, which celebrates the county’s best food producers, retailers, restaurants, dining pubs and farmers’ markets.

The finalists won the public’s vote to stave off competition from more than 500 other entrants – and will now enter the next stage of the contest with the hope of being crowned a winner in March.

Stephanie Durling, a representative for Produced in Kent, which provides advice to the county’s food and drink sector, said: “This year has again seen people voting in their thousands with the number of votes we received up by around 50 per cent. We are delighted that the public is so enthusiastic to celebrate the very best Kent produce, and this year we received nominations for a record number of businesses.”

The contest incorporates the county’s fruit producing tradition by including “best Kentish wine”, “best Kentish cider or perry”, and “best Kent juice producer” categories.

One of the wine producers to have been shortlisted is the winery Chapel Down, which last month (December 2014) announced that it had teamed up with St Pancras Renaissance Hotel to release the most expensive bottle of English sparkling wine – priced at £5,000.

English apple juice producer Chegworth Valley, which last month (December 2014) was invited to served up its hot, spiced “Winter Warmer” apple juice at Downing Street, is among those shortlisted for the “best Kent juice producer.”

The finalists include:

Best Kentish Wine (sponsored by Investaco)

Ortega – Biddenden Vineyard, Biddenden

Bacchus – Chapel Down, Tenterden

Balfour Brut – Hush Heath, Staplehurst

Best Kentish Cider or Perry (sponsored by Wilkins Kennedy FKC)

Strong Kentish Cider – Biddenden Vineyard, Biddenden

Cheery Old Dudda – Duddas Tun, Doddington

Wise Owl Cider – Wise Owl Cider, Ashford

Best Kent Juice Producer (sponsored by Kent County Council)

Chegworth Valley – Harrietsham

Juice Executive – Maidstone

Pine Trees – Doddington

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