The county's "food and drink heroes" are battling it out for top honours in this year's Taste of Kent awards.

Thanks to votes from 14,500 from members of the public, the top three have been named in each of 11 categories. The winners will be decided by an independent tasting panel, a mystery diner or a mystery shopper and announced on March 8.

Businesses making the shortlist for the first time include the Wantsum Brewery in Canterbury in the Best British Beer category and Little Stour Orchard, Margate, in the running for the Best Kent Juice Producer title.

2012 winners Biddenden Vineyards, Chapel Down, Mama Feelgoods and Ramsgate Brewery have all made the top three again this year, while previous winner Cliftonville takes on new names Tonbridge and Elm Court in the farmers' market category.

Edwyn Martyn, new manager of Produced in Kent, the organisation behind the Taste of Kent Awards said: "Whilst we all might be tightening our financial belts in 2013, eating and drinking locally produced food and drink and enjoying quality food retail and dining out experiences in Kent remains a top priority in our county. It's clear from the leap in votes that consumers are putting our food and drink heroes at the top of the menu and want to see their excellence rewarded. The awards have been made possible by the overall sponsorship of Vertex Law, together with the backing of 15 other category sponsors and we would like to thank them all for their tremendous support."

Local World

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