Food & drink news from around Kent

PUBLISHED: 13:15 10 January 2016 | UPDATED: 13:27 10 January 2016

Dame Kelly Holmes and team at Cafe 1809

Dame Kelly Holmes and team at Cafe 1809


From Champagne Taittinger investing in Kent to a local Olympian’s first birthday for her gourmet business venture

Café 1809 celebrates first anniversary

CAPTION: Dame Kelly Holmes and her team

Kent’s favourite athlete, the double-gold Olympian champion Dame Kelly Holmes, enjoyed celebrations of a different kind when she hosted a glorious day of food, fun and music at Café 1809, the venture she opened in December 2014 in her home village of Hildenborough and named after the number she wore during the 2004 Athens Games.

As passionately hands-on as ever, from serving customers to clearing tables, Kelly has created a place that is loved by everyone from local workers, mums and senior citizens to walking groups and cyclists – the latter enjoying the provision of secure, ample bike racks and a warm welcome, however muddy they are.

As wells as a breakfast and lunch buffet, with all produce sourced locally as much as possible, a late afternoon cream tea gave Kelly the chance to showcase her new branded strawberry and vanilla jam, now on sale at the café along with Café 1809 own-brand coffee and limited edition candles.

New for this year is the opening of a beauty room on the first floor, Sparkle and Soul, and the anniversary also marked the launch of Active Soul – a free membership club created to bring together like-minded people interested in nutrition, wellness and physical activity.

Find all details and updates at: and follow @Cafe1809.

Seeing red

Biddenden Vineyards has launched Red Love, the UK’s first commercially available naturally red apple juice.

Made using the juice pressed straight from the apple variety Red Love, the special edition apple juice is a vibrant red, clear not cloudy and contains no added colourants, sugars or chemicals.

Rich in healthy anthocyanins, Red Love contains a higher concentration of anti-oxidants than the average white-fleshed apple and is an entirely British apple juice, being exclusively produced in Kent by Biddenden Vineyards, in conjunction with AG Thames and East Malling Research, where the trees are planted.

● The limited edition Red Love juice is available in 1litre and 250ml bottles, with a naturally red cider scheduled for release in April 2016.

Champagne house invests in Kent

Champagne Taittinger has bought 69 hectares of farmland at Stone Stile Farm, a former apple farm near Chilham, to produce premium English Sparkling Wines under the name Domaine Evremond.

No wine will be produced until the plots are transformed from orchards into vineyards, with 40 acres being planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines.

Working with Hatch Mansfield and private investors, this unique collaboration is the first time a Champagne house has invested in the UK.

Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, President of Champagne Taittinger, said: ““Our family has strong connections to Kent through my father, Jean Taittinger, who twinned Canterbury with Reims over 45 years ago when he was Mayor of Reims. I am looking forward to being able to strengthen these links with Kent and with Great Britain as we embark on this venture.”

News in brief

Sex & Drugs & Sausage Rolls

Michelin-starred chef Graham Garrett’s autobiographical cookbook, Sex & Drugs & Sausage Rolls, features recipes inspired by the story of his transformation from stadium-filling rock star to ground-breaking chef, written with food writer Cat Black.

The London-born musician and songwriter has worked in kitchens since the early 1990s, running restaurants for renowned chefs such as Nico Ladenis and Richard Corrigan. In 2002 he and his partner Jackie bought The West House restaurant in Biddenden, which was soon awarded a Michelin star.

The book reveals how his love of food started in 1960’s East End London and has been heavily inspired by his experiences touring the world as a drummer in the 1980s, with influences drawn from American, British, Indian, Japanese, Russian and Thai cuisines.

A must for any keen Kent cook, Sex & Drugs & Sausage Rolls is published by Face Publications

Game and golf

Top chefs from across Kent enjoyed an afternoon of gastronomy, game and golf at the latest meeting of The Chefs’ Forum.

Held at Eastwell Manor, near Ashford, the event gave the chance to network and meet leading suppliers while giving learners from HIT Training the opportunity to work in a professional kitchen.

Eastwell chef Byron Hayter and his sous chef, Richard Scutt gave a cookery demonstration showcasing dishes from his menu. This was followed by a presentation on game butchery showing how to prepare and dress different game birds in the feather – then a few rounds on the hotel’s golf course to round off the event.

Kent Farmers Markets

After the feasting of Christmas and New Year, many of us seek simpler food in January, and thankfully Kent’s Farmers’ Markets can meet these needs just as well as they fed our December indulgences.

Those seeking a healthier diet will relish the great local fish in season, especially turbot, sole, halibut and lemon sole all in season. For meat eaters, game is an excellent choice. It is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, yet full of flavour. Equally, the pheasant, partridge and wild duck seasons end at the end of the month, so make the most of them now in a casserole or pie.

Many markets also have specialist stallholders offering vegetarian dishes which are delicious and nutritious, and particularly appealing after the meat- and poultry-laden festivities.

Parsnips are always better in winter because they need a frost to trigger the process of turning starches into sugars, which results in a much better flavour, and celeriac makes a great mash, especially if mixed with local apples and pears.

So, why not make your New Year’s Resolution to support our local Farmers’ Markets and farm shops this year – so much rewarding than giving something up, and so more likely to last.

Some markets take a short break in January, especially if they are early in the month, so please check for opening details.

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