Category Archives: Food & Drink

BOOKINGS NOW OPEN FOR 2018 NORTH DEVON FOODFEST

North Devon’s biggest celebration of local food and drink is back and exhibitors are being urged to get in quick to secure their place at the event.

Online bookings are now being accepted for FOODfest 2018, which takes place on Sunday 21 October at Barnstaple Pannier Market and will feature many local food and drink exhibitors.

Now in its eleventh year, event organisers Barnstaple Town Centre Management and North Devon Council have seen the event increase in popularity and success since it first launched in 2008. With over 10,000 visitors, 100 exhibitors and top chefs from some of North Devon’s best local restaurants at FOODfest last year, the annual event is now a firm favourite in the foodie calendar.

Hannah Harrington, from Barnstaple Town Centre Management, says: “FOODfest 2018 will be as busy and popular as ever, showcasing and celebrating the best of our local food and drink. We are also delighted to be working with The Taw restaurant at Petroc this year for an exciting launch event.  As always, FOODfest will help to promote our area and support our suppliers, growers and traders.”

Executive Member for Economic Development, Councillor Pat Barker, says: “FOODfest is always hugely successful and is a unique opportunity for local food and drink businesses to showcase what they have to offer to the thousands of visitors who flock to the Pannier Market each year. The booking lines are already open so get in quick if you want to be part of the hottest food event of 2018.”

The closing date for applications is Tuesday 1 August. Apply online at www.barnstaple.co.uk/north-devon-foodfest, email foodfest@barnstaple.co.uk or call 01271 321049 for more information.

 

UNMISSABLE EXMOOR FOODIE EVENTS THIS SUMMER

Press release issued by Exmoor National Park

Exmoor National Park has teamed up with three top restaurants to add three new summer dates to its CareMoor for Exmoor Dining Club series, which celebrates the best of Exmoor produce while raising money towards the upkeep of the National Park and its special qualities.

The Beach Hotel, Minehead will kick off the series with a ‘Summer celebration of Exmoor & Sea’ on the 5th July (www.thebeachhotel.org, 01643 704765). Their restaurant incorporates an impressive theatre-style kitchen where diners can watch the chefs at work. The award-winning hotel hosted a very successful Local Food and Drink Trade Show earlier this year for the launch of the National Park’s #EatExmoor campaign.

Head Chef, Paul Ruttledge, whose background includes three-rosette restaurants, said: “This is another exciting opportunity to help support the National Park and showcase our use of great Exmoor produce. At our evening in July I’ll be presenting a very special menu with a real focus on my love of local food – characterised by the coming together of rich farmland and rugged coastline in one extraordinary place.”

On 9th August you can enjoy a celebratory five-course ‘Seafood Evening’ at Tarr Farm Inn, Dulverton (www.tarrfarm.co.uk, 01643 851507). Situated on the banks of the River Barle by the picturesque Tarr Steps, this Inn was voted in the Top 50 Gastro Pubs in 2017 and was a finalist in the Somerset Life Food and Drink Awards 2017.

The Pyne Arms, East Down, Barnstaple (www.pynearms.co.uk, 01271 850055) are holding an event on 7th September. Their use of local produce was recognised with a Taste of the West Gold Award 2017 and Best Pub in 2017 in the Devon Life Food & Drink Awards.

In October the Luttrell Arms in Dunster, who have recently been awarded 2 AA Rosettes for their fine cuisine, will be celebrating local produce with Head Chef Barrie Tucker (www.luttrellarms.co.uk,   01643 821555).

Katrina Munro, Sustainable Economy Project Officer for Exmoor National Park Authority, said: “As part of our Eat Exmoor campaign we’re working with local producers, hospitality businesses and Visit Exmoor to celebrate the great quality of the produce we have here on Exmoor. We’re very proud that these top restaurants are holding CareMoor Dining Club events and grateful for the funds they are raising for CareMoor.

“The fixed price of each Dining Club event includes a £5 donation to CareMoor – supporting important nature, heritage and rights of way projects across the National Park. We encourage anyone with a love of Exmoor and appreciation of fine food to book early for these very special meals.”

Further details of all the CareMoor Dining Club events can be found at www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/caremoor.

NATIONAL CREAM TEA DAY IS HERE!

CareMoor for Exmoor has teamed up with Visit Exmoor to celebrate National Cream Tea on Exmoor.

National Cream Tea Day offers a great opportunity to promote your venue and help raise funds and awareness of CareMoor for Exmoor.

Why not join those already participating and sign up to host a cream tea for CareMoor (i.e. include a donation as part of cream tea sales) or promote CareMoor during the day to visitors, making collection boxes and opportunities to donate available.<

CareMoor and Visit Exmoor will be actively promoting National Cream Tea Day from now, up to and including 29 June, on social media: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as on the ENPA blog, and their websites and within our National Park Centres, through press releases to local and national press and through their partner networks. As the day is National Cream Tea Day any venue taking part will also get extra publicity via the National Cream Tea Society.

They will also be providing some additional promotional material to any participating establishment to display ahead of the event and on the day.

Competition
To capture public interest we will be running a twitter ‘competition’ asking visitors to vote on that old-age question. Should it be cream first with jam on top; or jam first with cream on top? Cream tea-ers will be invited to tweet their vote and a picture of their cream tea & venue. Why not join in? To take part, simple drop them a line letting them know what you are doing and they will add you to their Cream Tea venue map and social media promotions. What better way to enjoy flaming June than with a cream tea!

PHOTO: We would like to draw readers’ attention to the non-partisan choice of image for this story. We are risk averse on this one!

OLIVIER AND FINN SERVE UP TASTY NEW ROLES AT THE SWAN

Olivier Certain has this month (May, 2018) been officially appointed Head Chef at The Swan in Bampton and Finn Hutchison has also joined the kitchen team at the 2018 ‘Estrella Damm’ Top 50 Gastropub.

Olivier joins from the multi-award-winning Clavelshay Barn near Bridgwater and Finn from the Michelin-starred Masons Arms at Knowstone in Devon.

Co-owner of the gastropub with rooms, Donna Berry, who jointly runs the business with her husband and fellow Chef Patron, Paul, said: “We’re delighted that Olivier has joined us. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise, and really complements our style here. As does Finn, who is also an exceptional young chef. They will strengthen our talented team greatly and help us all take the business forward. We’ve exciting times ahead!

“But, rest assured, Paul and I are not taking a back seat, we’ll be here and all working together as a team to continue to develop the menu and what we offer to our loyal customers. The pair will very much work alongside us and you’ll continue to see us both in the kitchen, at the bar and front of house generally. We’re not disappearing!”
Marseille-born Olivier moved to Somerset in 1998 following his Michelin star training in La Bonne Etape Chateau Arnoux and Les Roches in Le Lavandou. His first job in the area was with Andrew Dixon at Porlock Weir where he was second chef.

In 2006, he joined Woods in Dulverton as head chef where he achieved 2 rosettes and the accolade of Somerset Dining Pub of the Year 2008, 2010 and 2011. In 2009, he reached the finals of the South West Chef of the Year competition.

In 2017, he was crowned Somerset Life’s Best Chef at the magazine’s annual Food and Drinks Award and he was also a finalist in the 2018 Trencherman’s Award, and was in great culinary company. His fellow finalists included Michael Caines, Josh Eggleton and Nathan Outlaw, who all have Michelin stars.

Olivier, who joined Clavelshay Barn in 2016, which has won Taste of the West Gold Award for the last six years running, as Head Chef.

Meanwhile, Finn joins The Swan from well-known chef Mark Dodson’s Mason Arms. In July 2006, The Mason Arms’ restaurant was awarded a Michelin star, which it still holds 12 years on.

The Swan, which is an AA Four Star Gold Inn and the oldest pub in Bampton, was named as one of the top 50 gastropubs in the country for the second year running this year.

In 2017, the pub was polled at 50 and this year it’s 28th in the rankings and received a highest climber award. The ‘Estrella Damm’ Top 50 Gastropub Awards are voted for by food writers, executive chefs, celebrity and top hospitality industry chefs, pub guide editors, industry chiefs and food operators.

It has scooped a plethora of awards for its food in the past few months and years including being named Gold Tourism Pub of the Year 2018 at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards, voted Best Dining Pub for 2018 in the Trencherman Awards and receiving a Gold Tourism Pub award in the 2017 Devon Tourism Awards. It has two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence as well.

The Swan’s team has a passion for food and embraces the use of produce from the area to create some real pub classics, such as sausages and mash, cod and chips, pies, grilled rump steak and sweets.

Donna said: “We try to keep our dishes simple yet bursting with flavours and imagination. From the freshly baked bread at the start of the meal, to tempting puddings, our kitchen produces everything we serve here at the pub.”

The Swan’s menu is created from fresh, seasonal ingredients, sourced from nearby, on a daily basis by Paul and Donna and their team.

Paul, who is a leading chef with more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, explained: “We are dedicated to using all the local or regional produce available to us, needless to say we are so lucky living here in the Westcountry, we have local farmers supplying us with their beef, pork and lamb and the fishing communities providing us with the freshest cod for our classic cod and chips.”

To find out more about The Swan and to book a table for the Exmoor please call 01398 332248 or visit www.theswan.co.

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.