I’m from Norfolk
A confession first, I’m not actually local, I’m from Norfolk. And proud yes, but I have been living in East Kent for the last eleven or twelve years and the thing I quickly came to love was the abundance of delicious locally produced food and drink. We should be rightly proud of what comes out of the soil around here and some of that goes into some splendid drinks that naturally compliment the local foodstuffs.
Real ale, real flavour, really not just for morris dancers
Another brief confession, I am a morris dancer, but don’t let that put you off. When you have the equivalent of the finest appellation of hop growing on your doorstep it’s almost perverse that so many people write off real ale. Kent has some incredibly talented brewers making craft beers that reflect the area and have a distinct style of their own. We will be showcasing the best of the truly local breweries – Hopdaemon, Gadds and Wantsum to start with, and will be seeking to match them with food as well as offering a springboard to a world of favour. More beers will follow and look out for tasting events with the brewers.
I drinks it all of the day..
It follows that the garden of England, with its bounty of orchards would be a home to craft ciders. We will be seeking out the best, and, in my opinion, have got off to a very good start with Biddendens: a cider which has such a cult status in Canterbury that I had to ration it out back when I worked in a pub in town. Cider is going to develop over the next few years, I am sure of it and we’ll soon be talking terroir and varieties. Oh yes, it shall pass.
Oh, wine from England, how quaint…
Shut it. Yes, ten years ago English wine was embarrassing but now, we are in the heady times of a viticultural revolution. The king lost his head at the International Wine Challenge 2010 when Champagne lost out on the trophy to an English wine. Camel Valley Rose Sparkling from Cornwall beat off the opposition to win the crown and it’s not the only one. Kent is right up there on the quality stakes with Chapel Down, Sandhurst and Biddenden all consistently excellent, with some fantastic fizzes and still wines, of course we have some fantastic bottlings from all of them alongside some of the best from around the British Isles such as Ridgeview, Nyetimber and er, Camel Valley. There really is little reason to look across the Channel when it comes to fizz and this is set to increase as more and more land goes under vine. Now if I could only convince someone to stop saying rose on the bottle and call it pink. Pink I say.