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Sophie Hewitt
20th June 2024

The most prestigious food and drink awards in Kent, Produced in Kent’s Taste of Kent Award winners have been announced and our mouths are watering just at the thought of the celebrated foodie finds to make the final list this year! With so many sensational producers, restaurants and sweet treats on the list, we’re sharing just a few of our favourites, but if you really want to set tummies rumbling, be sure to check out the full list of winners.  

So, join us as we spill the tea (or Kentish cider) on some of this year’s winners…

Kent Casual Dining Experience of the Year – Boys Hall

We can’t lie, we weren’t surprised to see Boys Hall on this year’s list of best restaurants! Set in a beautifully restored manor house (which has boutique bedrooms upstairs if you fancy sipping on a little Kentish wine), Boys Hall strives to work with the very best Kentish producers. From breakfast through to dinner, the ingredients from these small, local producers help craft a delicious menu of seasonal favourites. Each dish has been influenced by the chefs’ world travels, not to mention the incredible Kentish landscapes which surround it.

Kent Dairy Product of the Year - Blueberry-Lavender Jam, Meringue Swirl Ice cream, Bears Ice Cream Imaginarium, Whitstable

One of our favourite seaside hotspots, Whitstable, is home to our next award-winner. Bears Ice Cream’s sensational Blueberry-Lavender Jam, Meringue Swirl Ice cream (now that’s a mouthful) uses the finest Kent ingredients, resulting in a cone of some of the most flavour-full ice cream around. Each scoop is meticulously crafted in-house and can be enjoyed fresh from the Imaginarium in Whitstable. Get yours and enjoy overlooking the beauty of Whitstable beach, the perfect seaside pairing.

Kent Fish or Seafood Product of the Year - Whitstable Pacific Rock Oysters, Whitstable Oyster Trading Company 

While you’re here, you HAVE to try Whitstable Oyster Trading Company’s Whitstable Pacific Rock Oysters, the celebrated seafood product of the year in this year’s awards and an absolute icon in Kent’s culinary line-up. With their very own restaurant right beside Whitstable Beach, there couldn’t be a better place to sample this delicacy, so be sure to book up a table and sample the world-famous oysters, fish and seafood, paired with glorious beach-side views.

Kent Non-Alcoholic Cold Drink of the Year - Sparkling Apple Juice, Biddenden Vineyards

With their very own orchards, set in the heart of the Kent countryside in the Kent countryside, it’s really no surprise Biddenden makes some of the best apple juice (and cider and wine, for that matter) in Kent. While you can sup and sample this crisp and refreshing drink, made with 100% Biddenden-produced apple juice, in many spots across the county, we recommend heading to the vineyard itself, taking a tour or simply heading straight to the fully-stocked shop for this and so many more Biddenden treats!

Kent Wine of the Year - Wandering Wayfarer Bacchus 2022, Wayfarer Wines LLP 

With a real reputation as one of the UK’s leading wine regions, earning this award in Kent is no mean feat! One sip of this limited production wine and you’ll soon see why it’s made the list. Crafted from Wayfarer-grown Bacchus grapes this clean and crisp tipple can be enjoyed right on site at the Wayfarer Wines vineyard, set in the beautiful Ashford countryside. Choose from their selection of tours and tastings for the ultimate experience, and learn about the care and craftsmanship that goes into creating their outstanding still wines.

Kent Cider of the Year - Craftsman, Kentish Pip Cider 

Multi-awarding Kentish Pip have done it again with Craftsman, their original cider that started it all. Expect fresh apple, complex notes and a medium dry finish in this delicious drink, but while you’re visiting Kentish Pip’s home of Woolton Farm, we recommend picking up a couple of their other award-winners.  Take guided cider tours through the orchards and cidery, settle into The Barn for pizza paired with cider, or really kick back and relax with a stay in one of their self-catered cottages.

Kent Sweet Bakery Product of the Year and Kent Free From Product of the Year - Little Sugar, Ltd 

We’ve got a double award-winner! Yes, Little Sugar bakery have made the list twice with their Caramel Peanut Brownies as Free-From Product of the Year and Sweet Bakery Product of the Year! For a taste of these sweet treats, we recommend heading to their home at The Goods Shed in Canterbury, a fab food hall which is a true celebration of Kentish produce. Stock up on their brownies, peruse the sweet treats, and if you can resist eating them all right there and then, be sure to stock up with some baked goods for later.

Kent Independent Retailer of the Year - Loddington Farm Shop 

With so much produce to celebrate in Kent, you’d better believe we’re always on the lookout for the best spots to find it all – enter Loddington Farm Shop in Boughton Monchelsea. Open just six months at the time of the awards, you’d better believe Loddington has been doing something pretty special to make the Taste of Kent Award-Winners list. Set at Loddington Farm, the shop aims to shine a light on the work the team are doing regenerating the land, with sustainable agriculture at the heart of their mission. Here you’ll find produce from the farm itself, plus a number of other expertly selected local producers, truly honouring the best of Kentish.

Kent Fine Dining Experience of the Year - The Smallholding 

We’re sorry, but if you’re not already dreaming of our delicious Kent produce, you will be with the next award-winner. With its very own farm, the Smallholding in Kilndown is a true farm to fork experience, which holds true to its key principles of organic farming using sustainable methods, such as no-dig growing and biodiverse practices. As the menu is 100% led by what’s being harvested, it’s ever-changing, fixed and fresh, delivering dishes crafted from food grown or foraged right on the doorstep.

Kent Café, Coffee Shop or Tea Room of the Year - Kin Coffee 

A coffee shop that roasts their own coffee? Yes, please! With those credentials, plus the not-so-small matter of them being Taste of Kent Award Winners should tell you all you need to know about the care Kin Coffee pours into every cup. Whichever roast or origin you choose, whether you opt for a mocha or an affogato, oat milk or local Hinxden Dairy cows milk, you can be assured of a friendly welcome, delicious treats and bakes and true community feel at this lovely little coffee shop in Staplehurst.

West Malling Farmers’ Market – Kent Food and Drink Market of the Year

The pretty market town of West Malling is know for its boutique shops, independent restaurants, listed waterfall, and its monthly farmers’ market. Held on the 4th Sunday of the month, this popular market boasts a fantastic selection of local stallholders, including fishmongers, cheese stalls, meats and game, cakes and marinades. Each month offers the chance to discover foodie finds from across the county, with plenty of delicious dishes to take home or, if you’re feeling peckish, tuck into at the market.

Kent Community Award - Lily’s Social Kitchen 

Lily’s Social Kitchen is a not for profit organisation that uses food as an opportunity to employment and training to people with neuro diversity and learning disabilities. A passion for people and food is shared through training and employment in their catering business and cafes, providing life-long skills and the chance to change perceptions. With community at its heart, it’s no surprise Lily’s Social Kitchen has cafés in Canterbury, Maidstone and Ashford, offering the chance to showcase the skills of their workforce, bring locals together and enjoy delicious food and drink. What’s more, all of the cafes are run on a donation only basis to ensure everyone can access them!