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Bite into Sussex this September

Chef Jimmy Gray of Jeremys Restaurant - credit Julia Claxton

Following a two year hiatus, the original team behind the Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival are back with the Bite Sussex Autumn food and drink festival.

The tasty line-up of events showcasing Sussex food and drink will be running at restaurants, bars and vineyards in and around Brighton and Hove, Worthing and Mid Sussex from 10-19 September.

Headline events include Sussex Cocktail Week with participating venues offering bespoke drinks featuring locally produced spirits at a promotional price of just £7, alongside a range of one-off dinners, trails and tastings.

“The past decade has seen so many craft distilleries set up across Sussex”, said Nathalie Gomez de Vera, co-director of Bite Sussex. “Cocktail Week really showcases not only the spirits themselves but also what our talented bartenders can do with the product to create cocktails with genuine provenance”.

One of the key objectives of Bite Sussex is to raise the profile of hospitality jobs and encourage young people to enter careers in the industry.

To support the Bite Sussex Rising Stars Awards, the team are hosting a ‘Rising Stars’ Dinner at Jeremy’s Restaurant at Borde Hill. This five course dinner on Wednesday 15 September will see talented young chefs from – amongst other restaurants – The Salt Room, The Coalshed and Etch by Steven Edwards work alongside Jeremy’s Restaurant head chef Jimmy Gray and five local food producers to for a one-off, never to be repeated dinner with each course matched with drinks from local wineries, distilleries and cider producers.

Alex Preston at Isaac At - credit Varun Mahatme

The young team at Isaac At on Gloucester Street in Brighton will also be showcasing the best of Sussex on Thursday 16 September with accompanying drinks presented by Kathy Caton from Brighton Gin, Marie Davies from Stopham Wine Estate, Kirsty Goring from Wiston Estate and Tom Stephens from Wobblegate Orchards.

“From day one, we’ve championed hyperlocal food and drink”, said Alex Preston from Isaac At. “It’s the very core of what our restaurant is and does”.

“We’re the longest established restaurant in the UK with an exclusively English wine list. It’s clear from our guests that they want to choose – and enjoy – quality local producers”.

Sebastian Vanderhoff, Mariya Takeuchi and Seb Cole of Boho Gelato - credit Julia Claxton

The Bite Sussex festival is also an opportunity for local chefs and producers to get creative and have a bit of fun. Seb Cole of Boho Gelato will be mixing and mashing up a ‘Flavours of Sussex’ takeover of his ice cream cabinet in Pool Valley, Brighton from 10-12 September and Pizzaface, Worthing from 17-19 September. With a wacky line-up of local ingredients and inspirations to play with – from Butlers Wine Cellar to Bottle and Jug Dept via Fourth & Church and Redroaster – expect some wild ice creams, sorbets and granitas.

“Our local ‘Flavours’ cabinet takeovers are always a main highlight of our year at Boho Gelato”, said owner Seb Cole. “We get a chance to meet new and exciting businesses, reconnect with friends in the industry and get really creative as we collaborate with them on amazing new flavours featuring their ingredients and ideas”.

David Deaves of Curds and Whey

In Hove, David Deaves of Curds & Whey and Cases Wine Bar on Western Road will be presenting an evening of five Sussex wines perfectly matched with locally produced cheese and charcuterie.

“Sussex has an abundance of first-class food and drink producers; some well-known and some that are just emerging”, said David. “Our ‘Journey Through Sussex’ night will give you the opportunity to enjoy really great producers”.

To encourage people to get out and sample food and drink from different restaurants, ‘Bite Brighton Bites’ will be running across multiple venues in the city on Saturday 11 September. From 2-5pm, participating restaurants will be serving up a snack and accompanying drink for just £6, payable directly at the venue. Simply drop in and enjoy a quick bite and quaff.

“Whether you want to build your own afternoon food safari, or simply stop off whilst shopping, it’s a chance to sample some of the best eateries in the city at a very pocket-friendly price”, said Nathalie from Bite Sussex.

The culmination of the festival week is the Sussex Wine and Spirits Festival at My Brighton hotel in Jubilee Square including a host of local drink producers. Guests are invited to try and buy from the makers themselves, with tickets for a two hour tasting session an affordable £10.

Ian Curtis and Inger Smith of Madame Jennifer Distillery

Other events include a child-friendly pizza making workshop with Bertie van der Beek of Pizzaface at the Brighton Community Kitchen, the launch of the Wiston Wine Barn, behind-the-scenes tours of both Brighton Gin and Madame Jennifer distilleries and cocktail promotions at Bolney Estate.

The past 18 months have been hugely challenging not only for hospitality businesses but also the wider tourism and local food and drink production sectors.

“With both the Bite Sussex festival and our Bite Sussex Rising Stars Awards – hosted in conjunction with the local branch of the Institute of Hospitality – our on-going aim is to create exceptional collaborations to ensure our region is on the national and international culinary map”, said Nathalie from Bite Sussex.

“We invite everyone – whether local or a visitor – to enjoy and experience the wonderful food and drink to be found right here on our doorstep in Sussex”.

Check out all the events from 10-19 September on the Bite Sussex website:


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