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English Wines Awards Announced06-12-2016
The first wholly independent English wine competition - the Independent English Wine Awards (IEWA)- has been announced.
With English wine producers pledging to increase English wine exports 10-fold by 2020, IEWA founder Alex Taylor sees the new competition as platform for the domestic industry to raise its profile and communicate with a wider audience.
“The quality is fantastic, but English wine is still mainly enjoyed by those ‘in the know,” according toTayylor, who added, “Big wins against Champagne at blind tasting events and news of a £100 million a year industry are remarkable.”
The IEWA will use international competition quality judging standards and its panel of expert judges will taste all wines within a carefully controlled and independently audited process. The awards set to be held annually in Bristol, will be three-tiered: gold, silver and bronze.
The inaugural judging will take place in March 2017 and entries from winemakers are open now.
Scenticles are bringing the smell of mulled wine, cinnamon, spiced orange and other festive aromas into the home, over the Christmas period.
The fragranced sticks made from sustainable, biodegradable paper infused with pure, solvent-free fragrances, are designed to fragrance the home for the festive season.
Fir, pine, spruce, and snow berry wreath aromas are also available from John Lewis, B&Q, Homebase, ASDA and garden centres nationwide.
Each pack of six ScentSicles fragranced sticks with hooks cost c£6.00.
Shepherd buys Village Green30-11-2016
Kent-based brewer, pub and hotel operator, Shepherd Neame, has bought Village Green Restaurants from Alex and Helen Bensley for £11.85m. Village Green Restaurants has five freehold pub restaurants in and around Maidstone and Ashford. In the year to the end of October 2015 Village Green made an operating profit of £0.9m on sales of £6.6m.
Jonathan Neame, chief executive of Shepherd Neame, said: “Over recent years we have transformed our pub profile, greatly developed our food offer and enhanced the experience for our customers and this is another important development in our strategy.”
Meet the Producers29-11-2016
The Empire Room restaurant at the Royal Harbour Hotel in Ramsgate, is to play host to a series of Meet the Producer events with fellow Produced in Kent members, allowing dinners to learn about the food and drink on the tables – directly from the local growers.
The Empire Room’s renowned chef, Craig Mather, noted for creating gourmet seasonal menus using the Kent’s abundant high quality produce, decided to run the events to highlight the premium food and drink products available locally.
The first such dinner will be with Little Stour Orchard on Friday 27th January, when Craig will prepare a special four-course menu featuring the orchard’s apple juice, cider and cider vinegar, costing around £30 a head.
The second Meet the Producer event will be held on Friday 3rd February with the Windmill Community Garden, when Craig will employ organic vegetables and honey produced on the project’s allotments.
The Empire Room intends to hold further monthly Meet the Producer events with local fishermen, wine makers, cheese producers, game keepers and farmers.
“No other part of the country can compete with Kent when it comes to the rich variety of top quality ingredients – with our artisan cheese producers, rare breed farms, sustainable fishing, wild game, foraging, fruit and vegetables – it’s a chefs’ paradise,” said Craig, who added, “Given the sharp rise in wholesale prices of imported food due to the fall in the value of sterling, there’s now even more incentive to buy local produce.”
The Empire Room has been nominated for ‘Best Restaurant’ in the Taste of Kent Awards.
Kent Tourism Up28-11-2016
Kent’s visitor economy has topped £3.6billion for the first time, after hosting 60 million visitors in 2015. Research commissioned by Visit Kent has revealed that the county remains the third most visited destination outside of London for foreign visitors. Tourism jobs increased by 5.9% to 71,920.
Chief executive of Visit Kent Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE said: “2015 was undoubtedly a challenging year for the industry, with poor weather and the impact of Operation Stack during the summer. But these new figures show a rise in visitor numbers, jobs, and in the value of our industry. With so many exciting projects ahead, such as our new Gardens & Gourmet project, the 350th Anniversary of the Battle of Medway, the Folkestone Triennial, and new developments at award-winning winning producer Chapel Down, Kent is in an enviable position for 2017.”
Visit Kent attributes the growth to investment by the public and private sector in hotels, attractions, footpaths and ferries and its single vision and strategy for tourism. Since Visit Kent’s launch in 2002, the value of Kent’s tourism industry has risen by 49%. Visit Kent calls for continued investment following a disappointing Autumn Statement by the Government, although it predicts currency fluctuations will benefit inbound tourism and staycations
Thanet saw one of the highest increases in visitor numbers and spend. The district saw 16.8% more day trips to the area and £293million was spent in the area as a result of tourism, an increase of 19.4% on 2013.
Canterbury had the highest number of trips in the county (7.2million) and overseas trips rose 6%. Other district highlights included a 6% increase in attraction spend in Ashford, a rise in the overall value of tourism in Sevenoaks, while Tonbridge and Malling saw a large increase in the number of overnighters.
There was a leap in the number of overnight visits from international visitors for Dover (12%) and Tunbridge Wells (7%), while Shepway had a 7% rise in overnight visits from domestic visitors. Visits also increased in Gravesham and Swale, and Medway witnessed a 5% increase in jobs supported by tourism.
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