Kent food and drink news: Great Benenden School Bake-Off and more
PUBLISHED: 09:47 09 June 2016 | UPDATED: 10:05 09 June 2016
Benenden School hosts its own bake-off, Cheeseworks becomes Curd & Cure, Solley's Kentish Ice Cream opens new shop, and more in this month's gourmet news
Great Benenden Bake-Off
Benenden School welcomed chef Marcus Wareing as guest judge at its first-ever Great Benenden Bake-Off, when 12 teams – each made up of a daughter and parent – battled it out in a suitably chintzy marquee to produce the best sponge cake in 90 minutes.
Marcus, a MasterChef: The Professionals judge, said: “It’s great to see the parent-daughter dynamic. Whatever they are like when they are together at home, it changes when you put them in a competition format. They take this competition very light-heartedly but deep down they get very competitive, which is nice.”
The fun competition was part of the Benenden Arts Festival, a weekend of drama, music, dance, art and food, which the school held for only the second time.
Curd & Cure
Cheeseworks launched its new brand identity, Curd & Cure, the latest evolution of this family business founded in 1988 by the Stimson family, at a sparkling reception held at Frankie’s Farm Shop in Staplehurst.
Having supplied more than just cheese for many years, it was felt the time was right to change the company name.
The new brand identity will now also be used on the range of cooked meats and deli products. The purpose-built cutting facility allows the team in Cranbrook to provide whatever their customers need.
The business currently occupies 3,000sq ft of space and has 19 people in the team. Discussions are now taking place about further expansion to a new 6,000 sq ft home, which will also increase employment opportunities.
They win and keep on winning … brothers Stephen and Phil Harris of The Sportsman in Seasalter picked up the title of Best Pub in the GQ Food and Drink Awards 2016 at a ceremony hosted in London by TV presenter Claudia Winkleman.
The Shepherd Neame-owned pub, which has held a Michelin star for eight years, serves high quality food in a low-key, cosy pub environment. It has won a host of other accolades, including recently being named UK’s Top Gastropub for the second year in a row, and taking second place in the National Restaurant Awards 2015.
Head chef Stephen Harris takes full advantage of the history and agriculture of the pub’s rural location near the seaside town of Whitstable, churning his own butter, making his own salt, baking his own bread and using only the finest, freshest produce from local farms and fishermen.
Every day’s a sundae
Solley’s Kentish Ice Cream has opened a new ice cream parlour at the family farm in Ripple, near Deal, and fans can even peep through the factory windows and see the award-winning treats being made just metres away.
Freshly-made sandwiches and paninis will also be on offer, as well as cakes from local bakeries and a range of hot and cold drinks.
The parlour joins The Calf Shed, which opened last year to showcase Kentish produce, with frozen and fresh items from local suppliers including Home Cooked by Hannah, Field Fare, Lower Hardres Butchers, Corinne’s Kitchen and Biddenden Apple Juice.
Also available are also fresh bread, fruit and vegetables, locally-produced jams and chutneys, freshly roasted coffee and eggs from the farm’s own hens.
Bring-a-Friend + Michel Roux Jr
June is Kent Farmers’ Market Month. This year’s theme is Bring-a-Friend, and Michel Roux Jr, patron of the county’s Markets, is eager for people to join in.
He told us: “I want to encourage shoppers to act as ambassadors for their local Farmers’ Market. Word of mouth is the most credible marketing, because who do you trust more than your own friends? So please invite someone who hasn’t been before to join you, and hopefully they will be converted by the quality of products and friendliness of producers.”
Charles Tassell, who promotes the work of Kent Farmers’ Market Association as its first ambassador and is judging the 2016 Kent Life and Kent on Sunday Farmers’ Market category, added: “There are 74 Farmers’ Markets across the county every month, where you will find some of the best producers our area has to offer. So whether you take a friend; go as a friend, or just go on your own, you will find great food, drink and crafts, and then I hope it will become a habit for more people all year round.”
You will find markets listed on the Association’s website www.kfma.org.uk, and with summer fruit now available, it is a delicious time for a visit.