Nick Mosley from Brighton & Hove Food & Drink Festival has a look at what’s hot this summer in Sussex
Make mine a pint of Sussex
There’s been a veritable explosion of craft brewing in the UK over the past couple of years, and Sussex is home to some of the best. Micro-breweries such as Unbarred in Brighton, 360 Degrees at Sheffield Park, and Isfield at Framfield are all producing cracking beers that combine quality ingredients and traditional skills with creative flair.
It’s also great to see established brewers such as Brighton Bier grow to a fully-fledged business supplying the south coast and into London. Breweries are also more accessible in terms of allowing you to visit. Whilst the waiting list for a tour of Harvey’s in Lewes is rather lengthy, you can be ‘Brewer for the Day’ at KingBeer in Horsham, helping out on all aspects of the brewing process. (KingBeer, 01403 272102, kingbeer.co.uk).
If you’d rather sit back and enjoy the labours of someone else’s graft, then a great country pub with a wide range of local beers is The Bull in Ditchling. (01273 843147, thebullditchling.com). Or you can join me at the Brighton Beer & Cider Festival on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 May on Hove Lawns, and sample over 50 beers and ciders from Sussex, the Channel Islands, London and the West Country (advance tickets £7 from brightonfoodfestival.com) – cheers!
I’m game, are you?
Game is by its very nature organic and free-range, and it also tends to be a lot leaner than farm-reared beasts. Rabbit, pigeon, wild boar and the invasive species of Muntjac deer are available pretty much year-round. Whilst autumn and winter see pheasant, grouse and the larger species of deer appear.
[pullquote position=”left”]We’ve got an amazing choice of game birds and animals to choose from on our doorstep here in Sussex but we’re simply not eating enough of them.[/pullquote]
It’s essential that game is managed in our countryside, as over-population causes millions of pounds of damage to crops. And across the UK around 74,000 road accidents a year are attributed to deer. Speak to your local butcher about what game meats are in season. Or visit Chanctonbury Game in Washington, West Sussex (01903 877 551, chanctonburygame.co.uk), for a wide choice of locally sourced game from the fields, woods and downland of Sussex.
Or why not enjoy a Sussex game safari? Knepp Castle Estate near Horsham has over 3,500 acres of land where you’ll find free-roaming herds of wild ponies, long-horn cattle, deer and pigs, plus the option to camp overnight (knepp.co.uk).
Food trends – fermented foods, Skandi cuisine, vermouth…
Over the summer I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of fermented food on the menus of the county’s better eateries. And the much vaunted but often disappointing ’street food revolution’ will continue to mature. Look out for lobster burgers and tempura oysters appearing on more menus.
Scandinavian cuisine will continue to influence chefs, although it wouldn’t surprise me at all if we saw more Korean restaurants popping up. I’m also convinced this will finally be the year of vermouth. Take a look at the utterly delicious silver birch vermouth from Blackdown Artisan Spirits near Pulborough (blackdowncellar.co.uk). Martinis all round in the garden this year then…
Nick Mosley, director of the Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival