The Food and Drink Networking Club met for its latest meeting on 27 July 2021. It was the first physical meeting for 17 months, hosted at the stunning Balfour Winery on the Hush Heath Estate and complemented by the glorious British sunshine. With lockdown lifted, new and old members met face-to-face to discuss the latest updates, challenges and opportunities experienced by the food and drink community, while enjoying the truly breathtaking view across Balfour’s sunlit vineyards.
ChiChi Bites’ freshly-made sushi, sashimi and canapés were enjoyed alongside a delicious biltong assortment made by Uncle Beef. These were perfectly accompanied by Balfour’s fantastic sparkling wine, with refreshing elderflower and elderberry thirst-quenchers from Silverhill Farm.
After socialising and tastings, Oliver Butler of Thomson Snell & Passmore kicked off proceedings with a speech to recognise the challenges faced by the community, and how good it was to finally be back face-to-face with members and guests.
Richard Balfour-Lynn, from the Hush Heath Estate followed. The family owned business is focussed on providing only the best quality wine to its customers – “If we don’t like the wine, it doesn’t go out”. The Estate’s ambition is to continue expanding (it has eight pub hotels) and bolstering its green credentials. Richard invited attendees and anyone else to visit the Estate, whether for tastings, the dining club, to sample or purchase its range of wines, beers and ciders or to simply explore the beautiful grounds (Richard’s “garden”). (https://hushheath.com/)
Miranda Rowland of ChiChi Bites followed. Miranda introduced us to a selection of the bespoke event-catering options which her business can provide. From giant paellas to drop-off dinner parties, she also offers sushi masterclasses and other cookery courses to corporate clients, individuals, for parties and other events. (https://www.chichibites.com/)
Next, the boys from Uncle Beef (Steve Livens and his apprentice butcher Ollie) explained how their meat supply business had seen rapid growth over the last few months and how they are aiming to increase the number of employees and boost production. Steve procures his Aberdeen Angus beef from one Scottish farm on the Ayrshire coast. Uncle Beef continue to experience rising orders from businesses and individual customers. (https://unclebeef.co.uk/)
Finally, Silverhill Farm, a family-run farm and drinks producer owned by Nick and Maria Olivier who told us about their 25 acres of elderberries and elderflowers which they grow following organic standards. Nick and Maria craft these into lemonades, cordials and juices and also supply the berries and flowers in raw and processed forms in any quantity, for making drinks and for use in teas, cosmetics, medicinal and health products.
This was another really successful event and we’re looking forward to the next one. If you work in the food and drink industry and would like to come along then please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to seeing you!