Category Archives: Food & Drink

WEST SOMERSET SCHOOLS: BAKE-OFF WINNERS CROWNED

West Somerset Schools’ Bake-Off came to the crunch with the final of the competition after weeks of floury fun. Crowned worthy winners were: Amy Wickens and Alexis Kemp from Old Cleeve Church of England First School.

Dan Perry from Old Cleeve School said, “I am over the moon that Old Cleeve are the inaugural winners of this fantastic competition and the children’s success is in no small measure to their own hard work and dedication.”

More than 1,000 pupils from six schools in the West Somerset Academies Trust took part with a series of heats – around 40 sessions in all since the Bake-Off was launched in the New Year. The schools that took part were: St Peter’s, Old Cleeve and Danesfield in Williton; and in Minehead: St Michael’s, Minehead First and Minehead Middle.

Finalists from the heats were invited to join a Masterclass hosted by professional chefs so they could get the best possible advice before putting on their aprons for the final.

Judges on the day were: Paul Rushforth (West Somerset Academies Trust), Emma Kelly (Butlins), Cllr Andrew Hadley (West Somerset Council), Ann Wells (Brooks Food Processing Equipment) and Phil David, Steven Franks and Diane Franks (Arthur David) – they represented businesses and partners that contributed significantly to the project.

One of the Judges, Ann Wells from Brooks Food Processing Equipment, said, “It was fabulous to be involved in this competition, anything that encourages local children to get involved with projects showcasing their skills and talents away from the classroom and textbooks has got to be a good thing.”

Werner Hartholt, Development Chef at Butlin’s, and Paul Ruttledge, Head Chef at The Beach Hotel along with the class teachers Lindsay Everett (Danesfield Middle), Sarah Mills and Veronica Curtis (Minehead Middle) have mentored the youngsters and supported them through the early rounds of the competition.

Werner Hartholt Butlins Development Chef said: “The way the students applied themselves was commendable, they all worked hard and were engaged, they really showed how different ages and abilities can work together and really achieve something special. It was a pleasure to be part of it and I would like to thank all those involved for making it possible.”

A number of local businesses have been supporting the event including Brook Food Processing Equipment and Arthur David, who have covered the costs of ingredients, baking equipment, and competition prizes.

“This has been a fantastic project that has involved a huge amount of organisation behind the scenes. Congratulations to everyone involved – the children, our partners and, of course, the winners,” said Cllr Andrew Hadley, West Somerset Council’s Lead Member for regeneration and economic growth.

“I hope that it inspires our children and forges new relationships between schools in the Trust and between pupils in the groups from year 4 to year 8; this is so important in a rural area like West Somerset.”

The project got under way this year thanks to hard work and inspiration from a partnership involving West Somerset Academies Trust, West Coast 360, Butlins, The Beach Hotel, West Somerset Council, Jobcentre Plus, and West Somerset College.

NORTH DEVON MARKETING BUREAU LAUNCHES NEW FOOD AND DRINK INITIATIVE

A new initiative set to boost food and drink businesses in North Devon was launched yesterday (Monday 26 March 2018).

The North Devon Marketing Bureau unveiled the brand-new North Devon Food Trail app, which is designed to showcase the best independent food and drink businesses the region has to offer. The businesses included in the app were all recommended by locals, as part of a piece of research undertaken in 2017.

It features over 150 businesses all identified as unmissable by North Devon residents and aims to give visitors insider knowledge on where to eat. The app also lists some of North Devon’s unique food producers.

The app was commissioned by the North Devon Marketing Bureau (NDMB), the not-for-profit business set up to execute destination marketing for North Devon, Torridge and Exmoor. Nick White, Chair of the North Devon Marketing Bureau, said: “A little-known fact is that Devon has more Michelin stars that Cornwall – at the North Devon Marketing Bureau we aim to raise the profile of Northern Devon’s quality food and drink at all levels. This new app is the backbone of our regional campaign.

“We want to put North Devon firmly on the foodie map and our unique app is designed to do this. Based on genuine recommendations from North Devon locals we’ve put together the must-have guide to eateries in the area.

“As North Devon locals, we all know this area has a fantastic array of independent food and drink heroes, from restaurants, to street food, to artisan producers – but we also know that many visitors and locals want reliable information on how to find the real gems.

“Tourism is of huge importance to the area, supporting one in four jobs with a turnover of over £550m. This initiative aims to support local food and drink businesses, boost visitor spend, bringing together and benefitting local communities.

“We’d like to say thank you to all the locals that voted for their favourite food and drink – we’d like to invite locals to download the app too. After all, while we all have our particular favourites, it’s great to get some new ideas.”

The app is being endorsed by local chefs and food and drink businesses.

Dez Turland, Development Chef at Saunton Sands, said: “North Devon is home to some fantastic food and drink and this app is designed to help locals and visitors discover some hidden delights. It’s unique, because locals have nominated their particular favourites – we are very proud to launch the app as it’s been carefully collated by the people who really know what they’re talking about!

Lyndsay Platt, Owner of Glorious Oyster, said: “We’re thrilled to be part of this new initiative, designed to encourage visitors to discover some of the great food and drink in the area. We specialise in serving fresh local shellfish and seafood and want to shout about the great food available on our doorstep – this new app is designed to help people find more companies like us and we are proud to be involved.”

And accommodation providers, local attractions, food and drink producers and locals are all being encouraged to help spread the word to visitors.

Nick White continued: “We’re hoping that accommodation providers and businesses will see this app as a huge benefit and will download our toolkit to help promote it to their customers. This is just the start – we want to evolve the app over time, with greater functionality and more features.”

The North Devon Food Trail app has been funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the North Devon Marketing Bureau. It is available on the App Store and Google Play – more information can be found at www.northdevonfoodtrail.co.uk www.northdevonfoodtrail.co.uk
www.facebook.com/NorthDevonFoodTrailApp/
twitter.com/NDevonFoodTrail

MILES CELEBRATES 130 YEARS

It’s always best to leave enough time for the tea to infuse in the hot water as it allows for the depth of flavour and strength to develop. A quick dip just doesn’t give the same taste. At Miles this principle applies to the business and day-to-day life, which reflects in the longevity of the company. 2018 sees 130 years of tea and coffee heritage with the Miles family.

2017 saw continual sales growth, showing that taking time to create only the best products does pay off. One of the main areas of growth was with the award-winning West Country Original loose-leaf tea, with its tea blend recipe being a closely guarded secret for years.

John Halls, Operations Director, said: “It’s a real achievement to see growth in such uncertain times. We pride ourselves in protecting our West Somerset workforce and continually upgrading our rural production sites. We have invested in new machinery which will see new products being launched this year and look forward to sharing more about this soon. We are pleased to announce that, for the fifth year running, Miles have been independently ranked among the top four UK tea brands. This year our coffee has been ranked as the second most popular UK coffee brand for farm shops and delis to stock in Best Brands 2017/18 edition which is out this month.”

PHOTO: John Halls, Operations Director with Best Brands Magazines, a pack of Miles award winning West Country blend tea in the tea aisle at the Miles factory

 

 

CAREMOOR EVENTS BEGIN FOR 2018

Diners were in for a treat recently at two special fund-raising Exmoor Gin nights held at the award-winning Swan in Bampton as part of Exmoor National Park’s new CareMoor Dining Club.

Exmoor-based Wicked Wolf Gin owners Pat and Julie Heap had worked with Paul and Donna Berry of The Swan to deliver five gin-based drinks perfectly matching each of the five courses.

A total of £330 was raised for CareMoor for Exmoor, the National Park’s donation scheme supporting nature, heritage and access work across the moor.

The CareMoor Dining Club events are hosted by different venues around Greater Exmoor, celebrating the great local food and drink produced here, whilst also raising some funds to help keep Exmoor special.

Katrina Munro of Exmoor National Park said, “These events are the perfect way to celebrate and support our local Exmoor producers and we’re very grateful to the Swan for kicking off this year’s calendar.”

Spaces are still available on the next events are being held in February at Dulverton and Wootton Courtenay by Claire’s Kitchen and in March there are evenings at Dunkery Beacon Hotel and Psalter’s Restaurant, Luttrell Arms Hotel, Dunster. More details can be found here.

The Swan has been in an especially celebratory mood over the last week after being presented with a highest climber award at the 2018 ‘Estrella Damm’ Top 50 Gastropub Awards AND having won gold at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in Torquay on 1 February!

Finally, don’t forget that Wednesday 7 February is the Eat Exmoor event at The Beach Hotel Minehead. Find out more here.

PHOTO: Chef Donna Berry and team at the Swan, Bampton

EAT EXMOOR FOOD & DRINK TRADE SHOW

An exciting new, free event, the Eat Exmoor Food & Drink Trade Show, is for everyone involved in producing, preparing, selling and celebrating Exmoor food and drink.

The event is designed for hospitality and experience providers, chefs, retailers and food and drink buyers to meet local producers from the Greater Exmoor area, and is being held at the Beach Hotel in Minehead (TA24 5AP) on Wednesday 7 February.

There will be a range of cooking demonstrations and some short, inspiring and informative talks from chefs and producers as well as experts in the marketing of local food with themed toolkits for producers and food/accommodation businesses. With plenty of trade stands from local producers, this FREE day runs from 10am to 4pm and people are welcome to drop in any time or come for the whole day.

Dan James, Sustainable Economy Manager for Exmoor National Park, said, “This will be the ideal opportunity for the trade to meet up, make new contacts from Exmoor and beyond and really focus on the importance of local food and the Exmoor brand.”

Barrie Tucker, Head Chef at the Luttrell Arms, will be demonstrating how to cook a Porlock Bay oyster to perfection. In addition, award-winning chef Werner Hartholt will be showing how to develop the perfect menu and promote the use of local produce within it and social media consultant to Visit Exmoor will be on hand to share his wealth of experience managing social media channels and providing training courses. More details of talks and demonstrations can be found at: www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/tourism

Also at the Show, Visit Exmoor will also be launching their new Eat Exmoor Food and Drink Guide on the day. The guide will distributed widely and is available free from our National Park Centres from February 2018.

The Trade Show has been organised by Exmoor National Park, supported by Visit Exmoor and West Somerset Council. More details can be obtained by emailing KJMunro@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk or by calling 01398 323665.

Eat Exmoor is a partnership initiative between the National Park Authority and Visit Exmoor with support from West Somerset Council to encourage more visitors to enjoy the area’s delicious local produce and the landscape it comes from.

PHOTO: Barrie Tucker, Head Chef at The Luttrell Arms

BE A BARISTA WITH MILES TEA & COFFEE

Miles Tea & Coffee are offering a new ‘Barista Experience’ at their factory in Somerset.

The first class will take place on Thursday 22 February as part of the Exmoor Food Festival. Miles’ barista expert has a wealth of experience from working in Italy for many years and he is a member of the Speciality Coffee Association Europe (SCAE).

The class will last three hours, during which attendees will learn to distinguish the subtle differences between coffee beans, master the perfect cup of coffee and see some creative latte art.

Previous knowledge of coffee is not a requirement, but a passion for coffee is a must!

Places are limited; to book, email info@djmiles.co.uk. The first course has an introductory price of £33 per person. Location will either be at the Miles Tea & Coffee Minehead or Porlock site, start time to be 9.30am.

Can’t make it? Why not join the company’s monthly roastery tours on the last Thursday of the month, pre-book only, check online for more details or email info@djmiles.co.uk.

PHOTO: Latte Art made with Miles Coffee.

BE A BARISTA WITH MILES TEA & COFFEE

Miles Tea & Coffee are offering a new ‘Barista Experience’ at their factory in Somerset.

The first class will take place on Thursday 22 February as part of the Exmoor Food Festival. Miles’ barista expert has a wealth of experience from working in Italy for many years and he is a member of the Speciality Coffee Association Europe (SCAE).

The class will last three hours, during which attendees will learn to distinguish the subtle differences between coffee beans, master the perfect cup of coffee and see some creative latte art.

Previous knowledge of coffee is not a requirement, but a passion for coffee is a must!

Places are limited; to book, email info@djmiles.co.uk. The first course has an introductory price of £33 per person. Location will either be at the Miles Tea & Coffee Minehead or Porlock site, start time to be 9.30am.

Can’t make it? Why not join the company’s monthly roastery tours on the last Thursday of the month, pre-book only, check online for more details or email info@djmiles.co.uk.

PHOTO: Latte Art made with Miles Coffee.

CAREMOOR FOR EXMOOR DINING CLUB

The first dates of the new CareMoor for Exmoor Dining Club have been released. Top chefs are supporting the National Park by holding special lunchtime and evening events, celebrating their use of local produce and raising funds to help keep Exmoor special.

During the meal, diners will enjoy hearing from the chefs, as well as some of their suppliers, about their passion and love for Exmoor produce. Events will take place throughout the year at different locations, from award-winning restaurants to unique pop-up events across Greater Exmoor. Each event will have its own unique menu created specifically to celebrate locally sourced produce. Whilst highlighting their passion for local food, the chefs are also supporting the National Park as the fixed-price meal for each event includes a contribution to CareMoor for Exmoor, which raises funds for nature, heritage and access projects across the National Park.

The first dates for 2018 include:

·        Friday 26 January at The Swan, Bampton. An evening meal with owner / chef Paul Berry preparing a five-course tasting menu in conjunction with Wicked Wolf Gin and Exmoor Ales.
·        Sunday 4 February with Claire’s Kitchen at Wootton Courtenay Village Hall preparing a two-course Sunday Lunch in partnership with Little Oak Farm.
·        Saturday 10 February with Claire’s Kitchen at Dulverton Town Hall for a three-course oriental evening in conjunction with Secret Orchard Cider.
·        Saturday 3 March: a four-course evening meal presented by Head Chef Barrie Tucker Chef at Psalters Restaurant, at the Luttrell Arms, Dunster.
·        Thursday 29 March with Chef John Bradley at the Coleridge Restaurant, Dunkery Beacon Country House Hotel with a ‘Taste of the Moor’ tasting menu.

Dan James, Sustainable Economy Manager for Exmoor National Park, said, “The Dining Club is part of our joint Eat Exmoor project, which aims to spread the message about the quality of our local food and its link with the landscape we all love and want to conserve.  CareMoor for Exmoor is our donations scheme, which helps to keep Exmoor special. We are very grateful to the chefs and venues who are supporting us by hosting a Dining Club event and hope that this will give people a unique opportunity to experience the true taste of Exmoor.”

As part of the Eat Exmoor project, Visit Exmoor (the official tourism association)  is also publishing a new, free Eat Exmoor food and drink guide early next year and local food lovers can sign up for a foodie E-Newsletter making sure they hear about all the latest food events including those under the banner of  CareMoor for Exmoor Dining Club.

For full details, prices and booking information visit www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/caremoor. Further Dining Club dates will be added throughout the year.

PHOTO: John Bradley from the Dunkery Beacon  Country House Hotel.

EXMOOR ALES’ SPIRITED COLLABORATION

Beer meets gin. Gin meets beer. Wicked Wolf is the second beer in Exmoor Ales’ Exile series of occasional beers that are a bit different from the brewery’s main brands. A straw-coloured, juniper berry-infusing beer, it is the result of a collaboration between the Wiveliscombe-based brewery and Wicked Wolf, producers of small-batch, handcrafted gin in the famous Exmoor village of Brendon.

Exmoor Ales’ Managing Director Jonathan Price explains: “Wicked Wolf is the second in our new sub-brand series, Exile, and follows on from Urban Fox, which was released earlier in the year. We selected Wicked Wolf because of their reputation for fine, award-winning gin… and, of course, because they are based on Exmoor. As for the idea for the beer this happened after their distiller and co-founder, Pat, visited the brewery and met our head brewer, Adrian. Pat provided some juniper berries for sampling and trial brews, as well as sharing his advice and experience. The result was this delicious beer. We’re all really pleased with it and I’m especially thrilled that Pat has an idea to make an Exmoor Gold inspired gin next year.

“The Exile brand was devised as a sub-brand for Exmoor Ales to represent our new, more modern breed of beers. The pump clip shape and graffiti imagery are quite different to our established traditional brands and we shall will be developing the brand with further new beers throughout next year.

“As for the story behind the name “Exile”, this originated from EXmoor. The first two letters are important and strong and the inspiration is loosely drawn from RD Blackmore’s Lorna Doone. Incidentally, the outlawed Doone family were exiled in the Doone Valley, not far from where Wicked Wolf make their gins.” 

 

 

 

 

HOST A FISH SUPPER AND HELP SAVE LIVES AT SEA

This October, the RNLI is calling on the people of the South West to sink their teeth into a delicious fish dish to raise vital funds, as the lifesaving charity launches its annual Fish Supper fundraiser.

People across the UK and Ireland are being encouraged to host a fish-themed meal for friends and family on the weekend of 13–15 October to help the charity continue saving lives at sea.

The RNLI relies on the generosity of the public to fund its lifesaving services, and the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crew members often sacrifice their precious meal times at a moment’s notice, answering the call of their pagers to save lives at sea.

Michael England, the Mechanic and Second Coxswain at Padstow Lifeboat Station, said: “As a crew member, my pager can beep at any time. Whether I’m at work, asleep in bed or about to tuck into my dinner – I’ll stop what I’m doing and get straight to the lifeboat station, ready to save lives.

“Holding a Fish Supper is a great way for people to support the RNLI. It’s easy to sign up for a free fundraising pack and then enjoy hosting a fun evening with your friends and family. If cooking’s not your thing, you could always serve up something simple like a fish finger sandwich or fish and chips.”

Whether it’s a simple fish butty or a more challenging culinary masterpiece, everyone is invited to get involved in this year’s Fish Supper. If in need of a little inspiration, MasterChef champion Jane Devonshire’s Cheesy Fish Pie is a great place to start.

Jane says: “I love cooking for my family, and my cheesy fish pie is always a crowd pleaser – plus, it’s so easy to prepare. I urge anyone who hasn’t tried cooking fish before to give this recipe a try, and impress your friends and family while raising vital funds for the RNLI’s brave lifeboat crews.”

To receive your free Fish Supper fundraising pack, and to see some mouth-watering recipe inspiration, including Jane’s Cheesy Fish Pie, visit RNLI.org/FishSupper.

Last year, RNLI lifeboat crews across the UK and Ireland rescued 8,643 people and saved 431 lives. It costs over £485,000 per day to run the RNLI, and the charity relies on donations from the public to continue its lifesaving service.

PHOTO by Nick Watts