Food & drink news in Kent this month

PUBLISHED: 17:40 25 March 2016 | UPDATED: 17:40 25 March 2016

Frazer Thompson (left) with Xavier Rolet

Frazer Thompson (left) with Xavier Rolet

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From Chapel Down’s Stock Exchange accolade to spicing it up in Dover and where to find the best Kent Farmers’ Markets for vegetarian shoppers

Chapel Down inspiring Britain

Chapel Down has been named as one of the London Stock Exchange’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain.’ The report, in its third year, recognises the UK’s fastest-growing and most dynamic small and medium-sized businesses.

The first wine producer ever to be included in the report, Chapel Down has shown consistent revenue growth, significantly outperforming its industry peers. Chapel Down’s record-breaking crowdfund from 2014 was quoted by the London Stock Exchange as having “blazed a trail in England’s winemaking and craft beer market,” while the winery was also recognised for its contribution to tourism, welcoming more than 50,000 visitors to Tenterden each year.

Chapel Down produces a world-class range of English sparkling and still wines together with the award-winning range of Curious beers and ciders. It was, this year, also awarded ‘Cool Brand’ status for the second consecutive year, is one of the UK government’s ‘Top 50 Food Stars ‘ and won Kent Life and Kent on Sunday’s Drinks Producer of the Year Award in 2015

Frazer Thompson, ceo, said: “We strive to push boundaries in all areas of our business, whether that be through product innovation, record-breaking crowdfunding or expansion in to new categories such as beer and cider; it is extremely rewarding to be recognised for this.”

Spicing it up in Dover

Kentish chefs gathered at the Ramada, Dover for a day of Eastern delight as executive chef Satish Nalli welcomed his peers to the latest meeting of The Chefs’ Forum.

Students from East Kent College and Hit Training worked with Satish in the kitchen creating Indian canapés for the 50 culinary experts who were to arrive at midday.

This gave the learners the chance to experiment with authentic Indian spices and master new cooking techniques using traditional Indian equipment such as the tandoor oven.

Satish said: “In the industry we are suffering from a shortfall in authentic Indian chefs and I hope that today has inspired some of these young people to explore Indian cuisine further.”

Following the reception Satish gave an introduction to authentic Indian spices and demonstrated classic dishes such as chicken Tikka Masala with coriander risotto.

Students then went head to head in a competition to showcase their newly acquired samosa-making skills, with Tom Ralph from East Kent College and Dorinel Cirneci (Hit Training learner at The Great House) being crowned joint winners and each receiving a Hari Ghotra curry kit and a day in the kitchen with Satish.

Meet the suppliers

Macknade Fine Foods of Faversham is hosting an in-store ‘Meet the Suppliers’ week from 18-24 April. There will be a selection of suppliers – from Kent and further afield – across the various departments, including Seggiano, The Wooden Spoon and The Zingiberi Bakery.

Each will be bringing plenty of samples, and there will be opportunities to talk to producers about how they make their products and what makes them special.

Suppliers will be in store from 11am-3pm each day and there will be special offers for Macknade Community Cardholders. The full list of suppliers wil be released nearer the date at: www.macknade.com.

Spuds you like

You can discover exciting new potato varieties and how to grow them on a new free online growing course, running until September at www.thepeoplespotatoes.com.

There are hundreds of varieties to choose from and anyone can have a go. You don’t have to be an expert and lack of growing space is no drawback.

There are regular videos, short bursts of text and a blog offering the best tips and tricks to help you get growing.

All you need to start is a small patio or garden or even a safe balcony. Or if you’ve got the space, a vegetable patch, allotment or smallholding.

The course is being run by Alan Wilson, technical manager for agronomy for Waitrose, gardener and author, who has been successfully growing potatoes in his garden for more than 30 years.

To help new and established growers, his website is packed with details of the potato course, Alan’s 25 top varieties, which to choose and why, a quick-fire potato quiz, top 10 recommended books and favourite web links.

Vegetarian producers

Farmers’ Markets are a great place to find specialist products. Gloria O’Donoghue sells a range of vegan food at markets in East Kent.  “I offer starters, main meals, desserts, tarts and bread that are ready-to-eat or can be reheated at home,” she explains. “They are free from meat, egg and dairy, so suitable for all vegans and vegetarians.”

Jane Apps, founder of The Fat Carrot, has been vegetarian for more than 20 years. “I learnt how difficult it was to find tempting, wholesome, vegetarian or vegan food, so I started a business to fill the gap.”  As well as producing tasty and nutritious food, Jane ensures her ingredients are local and ethical.  “Most of our vegetables come from Bourne Produce in East Peckham, and we only use free-range eggs, again mostly local.”  As well as attending 11 Markets across West and Mid Kent, Jane does outside catering and supper events.  “It’s hard work, but the response from customers makes it worthwhile.” 

Find which markets Gloria, Jane and other vegetarian stallholders attend at www.kfma.org.uk.

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