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Finalists revealed – Taste of Kent Awards 2021

Public voting has now closed and Produced in Kent is delighted to reveal the finalists for the Taste of Kent Awards 2021 (TOKA). The top three finalists in each category will now enter the final stages of the competition. They will be scrutinised by the judges who will decide which businesses are to be crowned winners at the virtual awards ceremony on Tuesday the 11th of May, which will be open to the general public. You can register to order a free ticket here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/virtual-taste-of-kent-awards-ceremony-tickets-145986352109

In a new twist, an exciting magazine called Taste of Kent 2021 celebrating the finalists and winners and sharing the stories of the businesses and products will be issued in the same week as the planned re-opening of pubs and restaurants on the 17th of May. The magazine will also provide detailed recipes and fabulous food hacks utilising the winning products. In a special sustainability section, the magazine will showcase the ways in which TOKA businesses are looking after our planet and embracing sustainability.

Demonstrating the growing interest of the public in local and sustainable produce, votes increased by 300% this year, to 41,000 votes. This surge of interest has seen an increase in both the public voting and entries in self-nominating categories; Diversification, Community, Sustainable Business, and Grower of the Year. A testament to all the incredible hard work that business owners have put into innovating and/or pivoting their business, becoming more sustainable, and giving back to the community in what has been a very challenging year.

Floortje Hoette pictured at the 2019 Taste of Kent Awards

Floortje Hoette, CE at Produced in Kent comments, “The sheer number of votes received this year is astounding. We’re blown away by the support from Kent residents to champion and celebrate their favourite local businesses. The numbers are unlike any we have seen before. 41,000 votes were counted this year compared to 13,000 last year! After the year everyone has lived through, this years’ TOKA will be a celebration like no other. We are very much looking forward to discovering and announcing the winners on May the 11th in our virtual ceremony, and we are very grateful for the support of our sponsors NFU Mutual – Ashford, Tenterden & Whitfield, Southern Co-op, and Southeastern who have made all this possible”.

All finalists will be examined by an expert panel of judges, consisting of sponsor representatives, Kent food lovers, and the founder of the Great Taste of Britain Awards, John Farrand.

The shortlisted Kent Community Award Heroes are:

Emma from Emma’s Kitchen, East Peckham

Paul & Rani Babra from Karara, Faversham/Canterbury

Ben from Modern Provider, Margate

Eli and Heather from Olbys Soul Café, Margate

The finalists in the self-nominated categories are:

Diversification Award, sponsored by NFU Mutual – Ashford, Tenterden & Whitfield

Foodari Home Delivery

The Meatball Company

Wildbox

Food and Drink Business of the Year, sponsored by Southeastern

Café Nucleus

Gusbourne

Kent Crisps

Grower of the Year, sponsored by NFU Mutual – Ashford, Tenterden & Whitfield

Eckley Farms

Paley Farm

Walmestone Growers

Sustainable Food and Drink Business of the Year, sponsored by Southeastern

The Curious Eatery

Goupie

Provenance Potatoes

The top three finalists in each of the categories that are voted for by the public (in no particular order) are:

Kent Ambient Product of the Year, sponsored by Southern Co-op

Brisket and barrel Ketchup Smoké

Carringtons  Chillichup

Jam Face Jams   Chipotle and Habanero chilli jam

Kent Bakery and Confectionery Product of the Year, sponsored by Southern Co-op

Beardy Baker  Chocolate Brownies

Dockers Bakery & Brewery Sourdough Loaf

The Independent Baker  Classic Raspberry Jam Doughnuts

Kent Beer of the year, sponsored by NFU Mutual – Ashford, Tenterden & Whitfield

Cellar Head Brewing Co  Session Pale Ale

Romney Marsh Brewery  Amber Ale

Wantsum Brewery  Hurricane

Kent Cider or Perry of the Year, sponsored by Southern Co-op

Canterbury Cider Limited  Basher Original

Curious Brew  Curious Brew apple

Dudda’s Tun Cider DISCO

Kent Dairy Product of the Year, sponsored by Southern Co-op

Ben and Holly’s Little Dairy  Whole Milk

Kingcott Dairy  Kentish Blue Cheese

Street Farm Dairy Free Range Double Cream

Kent Distillery of the Year, sponsored by NFU Mutual – Ashford, Tenterden & Whitfield

Anno Distillers  Anno Kent Dry Gin

Copper Rivet Distillery Dockyard Gin

Maidstone Distillery George Bishop London Dry Gin

Kent Hospitality Business of the Year, sponsored by Southeastern

The Ambrette Canterbury

The Butchers Block Burham

Cafe Nucleus Rochester

Kent Non-Alcoholic Drink Product of the Year, sponsored by Southeastern

Bean Smitten Revive Blend

Garage Roasted  Maypole Blend Coffee

Lost Sheep Coffee Get to the Hopper blend

Kent Prepared Food Product of the Year, sponsored by Southern Co-op

Moons Green Charcuterie  Original Beer Sticks

Tankerton Smokeshed Scottish Smoked Salmon

Worgans farm shop Pork pie

Kent Retail Business of the Year, sponsored by Southeastern

Foodari Home Delivery

Quex Barn

Watts Farms

Kent Wine of the Year, sponsored by NFU Mutual – Ashford, Tenterden & Whitfield

Chapel Down  Bacchus

Herbert Hall Winery  Herbert Hall Brut Sparkling Wine

The Mount Vineyard  The Mount Vineyard Sparkling Rose 2015

Kent Food Product of the Year

The finalists and winner in this category will be announced at the virtual award ceremony on the 11th of May.

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AJ is a food writer, editor and PR.