With Christmas just around the corner, Nick Mosley gives the lowdown on local farmers, producers and retailers offering Sussex fayre for the festive table and affordable food and drink gifts for family, friends and colleagues. [This article first appeared in The Argus in December 2020)
The Sussex Peasant
A long-standing champion of local food and drink producers, The Sussex Peasant is a mobile weekly farmers market that can be found at a variety of sites across the city from Thursday to Sunday, including Kemp Town, Hove and Preston Park. If you’d rather shop from home then you can also buy online from an extensive range of locally reared meat, Sussex caught fish, seasonal fruit and vegetables and a whole host of dairy and larder products. For Christmas, you can order one of farmer Will Sheffield’s turkeys from Meadow Brook Farm near Heathfield alongside handmade festive wreaths. Owner Ed Johnstone is proud that 68p from every pound spent goes back to a Sussex producer or grower.
For weekly market dates and to order online visit www.thesussexpeasant.co.uk
With a firm eye on keeping their food and drink hampers affordable, Metrodeco are encouraging you to put together your own from just £20 which includes free delivery to friends, family or work colleagues within the city. Choose from local charcuterie, chutneys and jams, biscuits and, of course, Metrodeco’s very own blended premium teas.
38 Upper St James Street, Brighton BN2 1JN
One of England’s most prestigious sparkling wine producers, the internationally award-winning Wiston Estate will undoubtably make your Christmas Day go with a tip-tip pop. A perfect choice is their Wiston Rosé 2014, packed with aromatic notes of cranberries, redcurrants, Seville oranges and toasty gingerbread. Broadcaster and wine writer Olly Smith says: “Wiston’s hallmark finesse and vitality along with richer and more complex savoury nuances that are spot on to crown your Christmas table in 2020.”
Wiston wines are available at vintners across Sussex or via their website at www.wistonestate.com
A Kemp Town icon, the popular Redroaster café on St James Street has been serving up great coffee since 2000. They source their own ethical beans from small growers across the globe – including Ethiopia, Rwanda and Columbia – then roast their own blends at their facility near Sussex Square. This month, they launch their new Sanctuary Light blend which features only half of the caffeine of their regular coffee and is available bagged and ready to drink. Redroaster are also promoting their subscription service that delivers your favourite blend straight to your – or your favourite coffee-lovers – door.
1D St James Street, Brighton BN2 1RE
As ‘Brighton’ as the Palace Pier or a stick of rock, Brighton Gin never fails to put the fun into your G&T or cocktail. Offering a selection of gift sets featuring their Pavilion strength (40% abv) and punchy Seaside navy strength (57% abv) gins, they’ve also got some pretty cool merchandise including branded glassware, gin lollipops and funky Brighton Gin socks. Order via their website for 15% off your first order and free local delivery to your door via their push bike or e-cargo bike, depending on whether you live on a hill or not!
Jeremy’s Restaurant & Café Elvira
Sussex’s longest-established – and most respected – independent restaurant business has adapted to the demands of this year’s lockdowns by offering pre-prepared meals for takeaway. Originally from Denmark, co-owner and chef Vera Ashpool has created a traditional Scandinavian Christmas Eve meal package featuring herring canapés, salmon gravadlax, roast duck with red cabbage and a delicious twist on rice pudding for £30 per head. The team are also serving up homemade Christmas Puddings for £18.50 and a luxury hamper curated by head chef Jimmy Gray with all the essential ingredients for the festive season.
Borde Hill, Haywards Heath RH16 1XP
The Flour Pot
With eight bakeries across Brighton and Hove, you won’t be far away from your local Flour Pot. This year they are offering a selection of Flour Pot Festive Feast bundles featuring a selection of sides, sauces and sweets to make Christmas Day as easy and fuss free as possible. Choices include mince pies; a stuffing made from sourdough, sausage, cranberry and chestnut; pre-prepared maple glazed parsnips, red cabbage and creamed sprouts; and their very own take on a traditional suet pudding but made completely vegan with portobello mushroom, balsamic onion and chestnut in a rich vegan gravy.
For bakery locations and to order online visit www.theflourpot.co.uk
Butler’s Wine Cellar
Having opened in 1979, Butler’s Wine Cellar vintners in Queens Park Road and St George’s Road has a pedigree that is hard to match. Proprietor and wine guru Henry Butler has long championed Sussex wine and spirit producers with the most extensive range to be found anywhere. Henry is batting for Seven Sisters Gin from the Rathfinny Wine Estate near Alfriston this year. “This is a proper gin”, said Henry. “Plenty of juniper and no unnecessarily flavourings to district. It sits just as well in a martini as it does with tonic”.
88 St George’s Road, Brighton BN2 1EE
This family farm at Bolney in West Sussex has been producing quality ciders and fruit-blended apple juices for ten years, using a host of traditional apple varieties that are grown with low intervention and are a true expression of the terroir of our region. Available for local delivery via their website or click-and-collect.
Old Mill Apple Farm, Cowfold Road, Bolney RH17 5SE
Every year, Brighton’s very own ice cream Willy Wonka, Seb Cole, creates fifteen festive flavours of dairy and vegan gelato that are available to buy in take-away tubs from their shops in Pool Valley, Brighton and Montague Street, Worthing and via their online store for home delivery. Choose from perennial classic flavours including Mulled Wine and Stollen, alongside new taste sensations of Marnier Clementine and Tonk Blanc. The perfect way to finish your festive feast, with or without a hearty dollop of Christmas pud.
Bottle & Jug Dept
A hop, skip and a jump behind Worthing Station, the Bottle & Jug Dept is the go-to place for the most interesting range of drinks including locally produced beer and natural and organic wines. Owner Tom Flint’s passion for Sussex is second-to-none, and particularly recommends the new Brooksteed Gin created in collaboration with his neighbours at the Brooksteed Pub and Hove’s Madame Jennifer boutique distillery. “It has a strong focus on cardamom which gives it a nice wintery feel”, said Tom.
21 South Farm Road, Worthing BN14 7AD
The Shelter Hall
A recent addition to Brighton’s famous seafront, The Shelter Hall opened earlier this year with their ‘Raw’ concept of street food producers. Due to the restraints of lockdown, the team are planning great things for their re-opening in March 2021 but in the meantime are trading with their Shelter Hall Market concept with a wide range of local food hampers, treats and cook-at-home kits created in collaboration with Great British Charcuterie.
Kings Road Arches, Brighton BN1 1NB
If turkey isn’t your thing, then why not choose Sussex Wagyu beef from Trenchmore Farm near Horsham? This family farm is serving up a variety of cuts including roasting joints, shin and short rib, alongside a Wagyu dripping that’s sure to make your roasties the talking point of the meal. The farm also produces a range of ciders under their Silly Moo brand, including an all-new ‘keeved’ naturally sweet lightly sparkling cider that packs a punch at 7.2% abv.
For details of their farmyard open evenings on Friday evenings before Christmas, retail locations and to order online visit www.trenchmore.co.uk
Fourth & Church
A Hove gastronomic favourite, Fourth & Church has a huge selection of local and international wines and spirits alongside quality cheese, antipasti and charcuterie packages that will add a little je ne sais quoi to your festive week. Co-owner Sam Pryor is a particular fan of the Ditchling Gin that they feature in their in-house signature cocktails and has exceptionally balanced botanicals.
84 Church Road, Hove BN3 2EB