With fantastic coast and countryside, not to mention a rich regional food heritage, Sussex has long been among the best UK destinations for foodies of all persuasions. There are some terrific markets and specialist food outlets available all year round, while restaurants such as our own make the most of top quality local and seasonal produce. Late summer is an especially good time to take your tastebuds on holiday. Here are a selection of must try Sussex specialties, along with some food events well worth looking out for in August and September:
A Sussex classic: The Banoffee Pie (Image Credit: Sarah Dichoecho/ Wikicommons media
Did you know that Sussex is the original home of the world famous Banoffee Pie? Since Ian Dowding and Nigel Mackenzie created the first version in 1972, this sweet treat has turned up just about everywhere from Crawley to California. Numerous bakeries and other outlets also serve up heavenly treats for the sweet tooth. Caroline’s Dairy Ice Cream is just one fine example; flavours such as Rhubarb or Fresh Raspberry are a true taste of British summer, made with local produce and utterly delicious.
Long before the current craft beer craze, Sussex was producing artisan ales of exceptional quality. Today you’ll find both traditional classics and “new world” beers. Your next pint could be anything from a deliciously malty porter to the hoppy bite of a 21st Century IPA in fact, with a host of newer Sussex microbreweries such as Heathen and Burning Sky joining stalwarts such as the famous Harvey’s. Many breweries also offer tours, such as the excellent Langham Brewery just a brief drive from our doors. Try their Sundowner Ale or Belgian Saison for a truly refreshing summer pint.
No longer the butt of jokes, today’s British sparkling wines are scooping awards and up there with the very best. The climate of Sussex is very well-suited to white grape varieties in fact, with Brut, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir especially good from the region. For the travelling wine lover, several Sussex vineyards now offer wine tours too, with tasting and “meet the makers” sessions sure to deepen your appreciation of this very Sussex success story. Tinwood Estate and Nutbourne Vineyard are just two within easy reach of Park House guests.
Few pies hit the spot like those made by the good folks at Mud Foods.
Another English staple is the classic pie. These don’t come much tastier than the gourmet pastries produced by Midhurst’s Mud Foods. Forget your reheated garage horrors, these pies are the real deal, handmade with top notch local ingredients and some fantastic taste combinations. Award-winning modern classics include their fabulous Lamb, Rosemary and Redcurrant Pie, or Shiitake Mushroom and Asparagus Pie, available from Chichester Farmers Market (click here for dates) among other outlets.
For cheese lovers, Sussex Charmer is a regional classic (Image: Bookhams Facebook Page)
Picture the rolling Sussex hills and traditional dairy farms and it comes as little surprise that Sussex produces some of the best cheese in Britain. Besides fine examples of classic styles, you might also be charmed by some truly original cheeses too. Sussex Charmer, produced by Bookhams, is a true one off for example, combining aspects of Cheddar and Parmesan production methods to form a tasty hybrid. Meanwhile, other favourites from across the region include favourites such as Brighton Blue and Duddleswell Sheep Milk Cheese.
Something Seasonal and Succulent
With so much fantastic produce available locally, we believe it would be silly not to make the most of regional produce. At Park House our chefs always keep a keen eye on the best of the season, whether that means Sussex lamb, freshly caught fish or local fruit served with fresh cream direct from the dairy. Add our extensive wine list and a charming country house setting and you have one of the best places to eat in West Sussex, whether you are staying with us or simply stopping for lunch or dinner. Take a look at our current sample menu HERE for a taste of what we can offer.
Local Food Events in West Sussex
Naturally, the other way to sink your teeth into the best of Sussex is to come and join us for one of the region’s special food events. 2016 is looking especially tasty with a whole hamper of happenings to whet your appetite. Here are some of the best:
Horsham District Food and Drink Festival/ The Big Nibble (3 & 4 September 2016)
A fantastic array of market stalls, suppliers, live displays, entertainment and family activities make up this culinary celebration. With so much to talk about, taste and learn over a busy two days, it is well worth a visit for anyone who loves real food and the experience of meeting passionate local producers.
Click here for more information.
Parham Harvest Fair (24 & 25 September 2016)
Located near Pulborough, this autumn special is a great way not only to taste local specialities but meet producers and experts to really broaden your food horizons. This year’s show includes Tudor cooking demonstrations and dancing, as well as falconry and foraging sessions. Add a whole host of local producers and crafts and you have all the makings of a great day out. More details here.
Apple Affair (West Dean, 1-2 October 2016)
Whether it’s a pint of cider or a special dessert, few things are more English than the apple. A mind-boggling number of varieties exist; over two thousand in England alone if you include eating, cooking and cider varieties! All manner of products are available at this event, which is sure to be tasty and enlightening whether you want to pick up expert cooking tips or simply educate your tastebuds with produce direct from the site’s own orchard. Click here for further details.