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We have hand-picked some of the finest producers of food and drink from across Sussex. From cheese to wines; charcuterie to salmon; chocolates to honey; all products are locally-produced giving our customers a selection of the best that Sussex has to offer.
The story of Alsop & Walker's Arthur Alsop is straight out of a Hollywood biopic. He is a self-taught cheesemaker who purchased the business from a friend moving to South Africa. Since this acquisition, his story has been one of success, and his bespoke cheese have gained wide acclaim and recognition over the years.
The Lord London is probably the most famous Alsop and Walker cheese. The soft cow's milk cheese was created to celebrate the 2012 London Olympics and was famously served at the Royal Wedding Breakfast of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Impressively, this East-Sussex business believes in giving back as much of their milk is from local sources.
This Balcombe Estate-based dairy is known for its single-herd blue cheese. This farm believes firmly in producing quality over quantity. Hence even their famous Blue Clouds cheese, a recipient of a Great Taste Award, is produced only in small batches. The name is inspired by the cheese made in 'mawingo' or the 'cloud farms' in the Aberdare Mountains of Kenya.
The Balcombe Breeze is another variety that is popular with customers but sourced only in small quantities. This cheese is a young alpine-style variety that takes about 12 to 16 weeks to mature. If kept over a more extended period, it acquires a lovely nutty flavour. The dairy initially intended it to be a house cheese, so the popularity of Balcombe came as an unexpected but welcome surprise for the dairy.
The milk to produce most of Balcombe Dairy's cheeses is from the cows at Lodgelands Farm.
Even though classic English sparkling is their forte (the country's largest producer by volume), the Bolney Wine Estate also has a wide selection of still wines. The 50-year-old winery in rural Sussex is run by Sam Linter, who inherited it from her parents.
The winery is one of England's most renowned wine producers. A white Bolney Pinot Gris 2014 was the first English wine ever to be served at Wimbledon. Today, it produces six sparkling and seven still enormously popular wines.
The winery offers multiple guided tours of the estate, offering visitors a chance to explore the Sussex countryside. At the tasting, lovers of clean, acidic English blends are sure to fall for the Bolney Bubbly. The delicious vintage combines a floral base with hints of honeysuckle and elderflower.
What do you realise after a cheese wins gold five times at the biggest cheese awards in the world? The jury must be extremely fondue it!
Such is the case with Bookham Harrison's bestselling Sussex Charmer and the Nantwich International Cheese Awards. The Charmer is made by combining a mature farmhouse cheddar with a hard Italian-style parmesan and uses only the milk from the farms' cows.
For the longest time, Bookham Harrison Farms was the only producer of Parmesan Cheese in the UK. The Jersey/Friesian cows they rear here produce exceptionally rich milk and are central to the farms' success story. This milk is responsible for producing creamy, traditional cheese that have won so many awards over the years.
If ever in Rudgwick, West Sussex, visitors will not regret a trip to The Milk Churn. The cafe's Sussex Charmer, matched with its unique chutney, is sure to leave patrons floored.
Hidden Spring Vineyard was started in 2015 on an old campsite in Horam, East Sussex. Two wine enthusiasts, David McNally and Chris Phipps cleared the old camp area and planted over 24,000 vines in the 13-acre site. The excellent wines we see today are the results of this hard work.
These two entrepreneurs are actively involved in the wine-production process- David is the head winemaker, and Chris is in charge of cultivating and harvesting the grapes. The charming air of the vineyard is popular with couples, and the place is often booked as a wedding venue.
The Hidden Bacchus (2019) is a clear standout in the vineyard's selection, even among the other delicious wines.
The ‘hoogly’ in Hoogly Tea is the literal spelling of the Norwegian word `hygge, referring to a lasting feeling of intimacy, cosiness and well-being.
Tina Gloggengieser, founder and long-time tea fan, makes this Nordic concept of mindfulness the cornerstone of her brand. For her 35 unique blends, she sources tea leaves from around the world - black teas from Sri Lanka and South Africa and white teas from places like Japan and China.
Hooghly Tea is a brand that takes the idea of sustainability to heart. Their teabags use zero plastic and are made of plant material, making them fully biodegradable. The teas are hand blended and packaged in Sussex.
Hooghly Tea's blends are well suited for wellness and detox practices. Peppermint teas like the Chill Out Mint are a particular favourite of customers looking for something to relax them. The fresh mixture of peppermint, spearmint, eucalyptus, and pine needles makes it a perfect end-of-day drink.
Horsham Gingerbread Bakehouse was founded by Lesley Ward in 2013 and is known for its trademark gingerbreads and gluten-free biscuits.
Interestingly, the history of the Horsham gingerbread goes back to the nineteenth century, to the days of Romantic poet PB Shelley. A resident of the Horsham area, he was said to be a fan of these ginger biscuits. The present recipe of the Horsham Gingerbread Bakehouse is based on this historic treat and uses ingredients like free rolled oats, black treacle, and ground ginger.
Almost all of their products, except for the original recipe products, are naturally gluten-free. Horsham Gingerbread Bakehouse sources linseed meal from local farms in West Sussex for the majority of their products. And to make it as healthy as possible, black treacle or local honey is used in place of synthetic stabilizers to replicate the gluten.
If you are looking for "proper marmalade," the stuff of British ladies and high-teas, then look no further than this.
Lucy Deedes is not known as the "First Lady of Marmalade" for nothing. Her marmalades have won numerous local awards, including gold at the Marmalade Awards hosted by Dalemain Cumbria. She has also written and published a book titled, The Little Book of Marmalade on the subject of, you guessed it, marmalade!
Her expertise in this great British tradition is, thus, enormous as expected. Seville Oranges form a significant portion of her ingredients and create the dominant base for multiple products like Orange and Ginger Marmalade and Pink Grapefruit Marmalade. The latter is a beautiful concoction in a shade of pink and combines the zesty flavours of Seville oranges and grapefruit.
Mountfield Winery is an artisanal winery based in Robertsbridge, East Sussex. "The Mountfield Way" is one of careful cultivation and is responsible for producing some of the best English sparkling wines. Over 14,000 Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier vines flourish on the winery's 10-acre vineyard.
The proximity of the press to the vineyard ensures the highest quality of fruit during harvest. In addition, the wine is also mixed with aged blends in oak barrels to add those complex notes and flavours.
The winery's Mountfield Classic Cuvee is a must for fans of sparkling wine. The classic champagne flavours blend gorgeously with the subtle notes of apple and peach. A sharp citrusy undertone keeps the blend fresh and exciting.
This East Sussex-based farm is the go-to place for top-quality goat milk cheese.
The cheese is hand-made using milk from pedigree breeds like British Saanen and British Toggenburg goats. Their range of cheese is varied and exceptionally unique- the farm supplies all kinds of goats cheese, from mild to intense and pungent. Some varieties even include herbs, garlic and fragrant spices in the mix to ramp up the flavours.
Nut Knowle Farm is owned by Lyn and Jennifer Jenner, who started the business in 1979 by accident. The daily uproar of their dogs barking at the milkman disturbed the neighbours. So, on the suggestion of someone, they decided to raise a goat for milk, and the rest is history!
Today, they buy milk from an independent farmer and service up to fifteen markets in a week!
Though they are only a five-year-old brand, Noble and Stace Chocolatiers have impressively managed to win top awards for three categories for three years at the Sussex Food and Drink Awards. Their Ditchling Gin and Orange Truffles is also the recipient of two golds, awarded by the Guild of Fine Foods.
For such a young brand to be gathering such honours speaks a lot for the quality of their products. Mike Noble, resident chocolatier, works closely with local Sussex wineries to make their speciality gin-truffle chocolates. Using English sparkling wines gives the truffles a delicious fruity centre filling encased in a crisp chocolate shell. The brand's vegan offerings are popular as well. The production of this sort of confection requires special mineral-rich water provided to them by local independent-run Sussex springs.
Having lived in a room above a chocolate shop during their university days, Only Coco's Paulina and Toby were inspired to make chocolate their passion in life. They started as independent manufacturers in 2016, with a rickety old machine they fondly named Lily. Since then, the duo has only gone from strength to strength and now operates from Hastings, East Sussex.
The chocolates on Only Coco options are huge, with exciting varieties like the Lemon Curd Dark Chocolate and the Gin and Tonic Milk Chocolate Bar. The owners have credited the still adolescent British chocolate industry for giving them the freedom to experiment with their products.
Only Coco uses sustainably sourced single-origin cocoa to create unique flavours- their dark chocolate comes from Ecuador and their medium dark from Peru. This practice allows the more subtle notes in the chocolate to the surface as the mixture remains uniform, coming from just one source.
Though based in Worthing, Sussex Bee Farm has hives all over Sussex. These local beekeepers ethically source honey to the farm, which packages and supplies delicious soft set honey to farmers' markets and local delis around Sussex. They also use the leftover beeswax to make products like candles and furniture polish so that nothing goes to waste.
Sussex Bee Farm refrains from blending and processing their honey, so each jar carries a unique subtle taste. Each jar of honey always comes from a single apiary and sometimes even just one hive, and its rich natural flavour is best enhanced when paired with hard goats' milk cheeses.