Competition! Win a £50 Gift Voucher to spend at a Princesshay eatery of your choice!

Exeter is full of excellent eateries and many of them are located in Princesshay.  We recently experienced some lovely food at Giraffe World Kitchen, Byron Burger and Cafe Rouge.

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We’ve teamed up with the guys at Princesshay to bring you a £50 Gift Card that can be used at any of the wonderful food places that Princesshay has to offer.  Simply head to our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag/mention a friend who you’d splash out on! And don’t forget to follow us too!

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Entries will be taken from those who tag a friend – those entries will be picked at random and announced on the 30th October.  Closing date for entries will be midnight 29th October!

 

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Good Game is expanding their horizons

Award-winning charcuterie company, Good Game, has been awarded £40k of EU funding, matched by a further £40k investment of their own as part of a growth strategy.

To support the company’s ambition to increase production by 300%, the Topsham based
manufacturer has completed its custom-built premises at Darts Business Park.

View More: http://melissalove.pass.us/goodgame

Compared to their previous warehouse in Clyst Vale, the new spacious location will allow Good Game to hang meat, develop new products, package products and create additional office space.

Best known for producing naturally dried game and cured meats made from hand-reared pigs on the Powderham Estate and neighbouring farms, Good Game are on a mission to champion the best tasting charcuterie in the world. Just like artisanal Italian charcuterie,

Good Game make everything they produce by hand, using only salt and natural air. Whilst this process takes significantly longer than commercial products, owners Steve Williams and Pete Woodham-Kay believe the traditional approach is best. They have also recently secured an organic certification meaning they are one of the only organic and nitrate free producers in the world.

Steve says, “Since we set-up Good Game four years ago, we set out to create a product that is truly original; traditional techniques using local meat and flavours. We want to support the west country, so we work with the best suppliers on our doorstep. We’re thrilled excited to now have the latest phase of expansion up and running.”

The announcement comes as they unveiled seven new products to their portfolio; rabbit salami, chilli chorizo, nduja (spreadable spicy salami), organic pastrami and salt beef, face bacon, mortadella and frankfurters, injecting further excitement into the UK charcuterie sector.

There has been a cured meat revolution in recent years, with more than 200 British manufacturers in 2017 compared with only 19 in 2010. Pete says, “The weak pound means that the cost of imported charcuterie has risen by approximately 10%, so it’s no wonder we have seen an increase of British artisanal producers. It’s great for our food chain, as charcuterie production uses up every single part of the animal so nothing is wasted; and it’s great for consumers as there’s far more choice available.”

Good Game currently sell their products to pubs, restaurants, retailers, at their Topsham-based barbecue restaurant, The Pig and Pallet, and online at www.good-game.co.uk.

Photos courtesy of Good Game/Go Wild 

The Seven Stars at Kennford by Chris Gower

It is strange how life completely overruns everything sometimes!  After a promotion at work, I hadn’t realised how much brain space it would take up, so apologies to our regular readers for a lack of activity on the blog in recent weeks.  But to break the silence, here is my write-up of the stonking meal we had at the Seven Stars in Kennford a few weeks ago after being invited down by Mike Welsh.

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It was an amazing meal and I say it from the bottom of my heart that this was one of those meals that twanged a string somewhere at the part of my existence that is purely fuelled by food.

I love pubs.  All pubs. Big ones, small ones, posh ones and scruffy ones.  The role of the pub within a small community is amplified by support for its existence by the locals. They are the ones that make or break a pub’s existence, and when you get a really good pub helmed by a team with passion and skill, you get a pub like the Seven Stars in Kennford.

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Before the motorway came through, this pub sat on one of the principal routes heading to Torquay and beyond.  The tiny village of Kennford rests in the shadow of Haldon Hill; just up the road is the excellent Bickham Farm which is the home of Rod & Ben’s and the lovely Bickham Barn where all sorts of amazing Pop-up events take place.  But that is another story!

I will admit now, I drove to Kenton.

After my brain failed spectacularly at this working out the difference between the two villages, I cracked out the Sat Nav and in a matter of minutes we were pulling up outside The Seven Stars; an unassuming looking pub with on-street parking and smack bang in the middle of this cosy little village that many motorists pass worrying about getting enough speed to make it up Haldon Hill.

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A beautiful mishmash of furniture, a fire stocked to the guns with wood ready for burning as the colder months set in, a wooden floor and an elaborate collection of stuff to admire presented themselves as we walked in.

There were no silent stares, just a welcoming feeling.  And pints of local ale including the eponymous yet much loved Dartmoor Brewery’s, Jail Ale.  I return to our seat with pints in hand, and a small part of me was metaphorically snuggling up in a duvet – this place has a good energy.

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The menu is straight forward and well thought out.  There is the main menu and a Sunday variation (under Food and Takeaway Pizzas) which takes into account that on Sundays, punters want Roasted Meats.  But not all want a roast, so there are a few other options as well which is refreshing, given the insistence that some pubs have that on Sunday the ONLY thing you can have is roast.  The Sunday option and the main options are both reasonably priced and competitive compared to other pubs locally that offer food.

For our starter I went for the one thing that had the word ‘spiced’ in the title Spiced Pulled Pork Fritters, Maple Dressing and Crackling £6.50 and Tori opted for Garlic Mushrooms on Toast with Dressed Leaves £6.00

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My starter as utterly gorgeous.  A perfect fritter surrounding a moist collection of pulled pork topped with a home made pork scratching.  After the meal, Mike explained how the scratching is made, and once you realise how much work it takes, this dainty addition to the meal takes on a whole new context!

The Maple Dressing is the perfect dipping sauce for both elements of the starter.  Its sweetness with the complex smokiness of the pork harmonised together perfectly. Can you tell I liked it?

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Tori’s morsels of mushroomy goodness went down very well on her side of the table. The toast and the garlic mushrooms contrasted well together with the Forest Funghi wild mushrooms to create a really tasty starter.

Our mains were an agonising choice as it sounded all so appealing.  I went for Chicken, Forest Fungi Mushrooms & Devon Blue Cheese; Seasonal Vegetables, Garlic & Thyme Potatoes (£13.50) and Tori eventually went for her favourite 8oz Rump Steak, Tomato, Mushrooms, Onion Rings, Hand Cut Chips & Salad* £16.75  with added Peppercorn sauce.

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Perfectly cooked veg, a good helping of gravy and a lovely moist chicken breast really topped this dish off for me.  After the large and delightful starter, this was a nicely portioned light chicken dish that played to the strengths of the Forest Funghi mushrooms and the seasoned vegetables.  Add the gravy too which turned it into a lovely combination.

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This was a really delightful steak and from Tori’s side of the table there was much comments about how well cooked it was and the great taste of the meat.  The perfectly cooked steak had an amazing taste which was tender and lovely.

Both of us were full and incredibly satisfied so we only shared a dessert.  I let Tori choose it and inevitably it was going to be the choice that mostly consisted of chocolate.

Chocolate Brownie & Pistachio Ice Cream (£6.00) was inevitable. It was going to happen, and I was really glad it did happen!

Where possible ingredients are bought locally with fewer miles on the clock, this is reflected in the taste and quality of the ingredients.

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The brownie was spectacular with home-made pistachio ice cream, this was a simple yet divine dessert.  We battled the last piece of brownie around the plate like ice hockey players seconds before the final buzzer of the game.  I was gracious in defeat but I let her have the last piece… honestly?

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Behind the unassuming exterior of this village pub lives a vision and skill that is almost deceptive.  Although Mike isn’t always in the pub – in fact he is the main cog in a very successful catering business which himself and his wife Leanne take great pride in providing fine food to weddings and other big events like Chagstock for instance – the food is representative of the eye for detail and flavour that was representative of our meal at the Seven Stars.

I thoroughly recommend coming out to The Seven Stars and giving it a spin.  It was homely and welcoming, and it has no pretenses above a great village pub serving exquisite food.

They even have a pool table.  I’m not actually that bad at pool, so I thought…

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The Nourish Gin Festival & The Devon Street Food Awards return to Bovey Tracey in September

Music: Fri 1 & Sat 2 September

Food & Craft: Sat 2 September

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Nourish Festival, now in its 4th year, has become synonymous with fine food, craft and music of the highest quality presented in the heart of Bovey Tracey, Devon.

The Devon Street Food Awards at Nourish Festival in association with Devon Life turns for another successful year celebrating the very best in Street Food in Devon. The county is packed full of inspirational and exciting street food producers and Nourish celebrates those Food Heroes. Street Food producers from across Devon are invited to enter and present to our judges Andy Cooper, editor of Devon Life, Kate Haskell, ITV weather presenter & Devon Life columnist and Alex Murdin, Devon Home Cook of the Year and former director of The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, are suitably looking forward to the enviable task of sampling the food.

We will present an eclectic, exciting and above all delicious mix of street food at Nourish so whether you create Caribbean, Indian, Spanish, Moroccan flavours, wood fired Italian pizza, French crepes, Mexican street food, fish delicacies or a proper pie. A flavour to suit everyone.

We are extremely partial to a decent gin & tonic and with the soon to be opened Dartmoor Distillery in Bovey Tracey, we are rather keen to announce The Nourish Gin Festival. South West produces of artisan gin will gather for us all to enjoy at Nourish in September. Our Gin Festival is supported by Fever Tree Tonic and Tarquin’s Gin.

The Nourish Food & Drink Fair will fill Bovey’s high street with some of the best producers from the South West on Sat 2 September. We invited producers of the widest possible variety of excellent food. We had 2 simple criteria, you make the best and you live in the South West of England. Expect to find artisan cheeses, preserves, bread, cakes, cordials, vegetables, herbs, beer, game, meat, fish, wine, liqueurs, cider, relishes, pates, handmade chocolates, oils, pies and even speciality mushrooms. An exceptional collection of epicurean delights.

Other events include The Bovey Bake Off and Junior Bovey Bake Off, will once again get the community reaching for their mixing bowls judged by our own Queen of Cakes, Tracey Godwin.

The Nourish Contemporary Craft Fair will be hosted in the Methodist Church Hall, showcasing beautiful handmade craft from across the South West with craft demonstrations and other craft events taking place at Devon Guild of Craftsmen.

Exceptional makers from across the South West will present an inspirational selection of jewellery, pottery, glass, textiles and wood

The Nourish Music programme from 1 September will present a rare performance from world renowned cellist, Steven Isserllis. Isserlis, who sells out Wigmore Hall and venues across the globe will be performing in Bovey Tracey on Friday September 1st in the intimate surroundings of St Peter, St Paul and St Thomas Church. A truly unique experience. THIS CONCERT IS NOW SOLD OUT

The Festival also features Japanese pianist, Noriko Ogawa. Noriko appears with all the major European, Japanese and US orchestras including recent and forthcoming performances with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech National Symphony Orchestra and the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Noriko will be performing in Bovey Tracey on Friday September 2nd at St Peter, St Paul and St Thomas Church.

Superlocrian, our Saturday afternoon concert, brings together two trumpets, two trombones and two saxophones to create a thrilling sound where the dynamic edge of brass sits alongside the warm, soulful sounds of saxes and flute; a concert promising adrenaline, emotion – and superb musicianship.

Nourish Festival organiser Sarah James said:

“We are delighted that Nourish Festival has been welcomed so warmly to Bovey Tracey. It has been a success for the stall holders and craft makers visiting the town, for the local traders, and best of all for the local community. There is such a buzz in the town with so many people visiting the food stalls, talking to expert craftspeople and taking part in our own Bovey Bake Off. I’m also very excited about our Devon Street Food Awards and looking forward very much to our Gin Festival!

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The music programme continues to be a tremendous success, and I look forward to welcoming Steven Isserlis, Noriko Ogawa and Superlocrian. A weekend to remember”

Nourish Festival is a community initiative led by The Contemporary Craft Festival, The Devon Guild of Craftsmen and the Cheese Shed.

The Food & Craft Fair on Sat 2 Sept are free. Concerts on 1 & 2 September are ticketed. Full details and ticket information can be found at www.nourishfestival.org. Tickets will also available via our Box Office at The Devon Guild of Craftsmen.

Notes for editors

Nourish is an annual event produced in association with The Contemporary Craft Festival, The Devon Guild of Craftsmen and the Cheese Shed. The event celebrates the very best in food, craft and music, and takes place in Bovey Tracey, Devon, UK. Music: Fri 1 & Sat 2 September Food & Craft: Sat 2 Sept

Contact Sarah James hello@nourishfestival.org 01626 437653 www.nourishfestival.org @nourishfestival

Photography courtesy of the Nourish Festival apart from the Featured Image which is ours.  We visited the festival a few years ago and had a great time! Read our write-up here

Upcoming courses at Exeter Cookery School

At Eating Exeter, Dining Devon we are massive fans of the Exeter Cookery School. We have seen them develop and flourish from their launch, and they’ve continued to grow from strength to strength. We recently went down to help them celebrate their 1st birthday in their current premises with the owners, Jim and Lucy Fisher.

For more information visit http://www.exetercookeryschool.co.uk or click on the title of each course!

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The sheer range of courses that are available is mind-boggling, from seafood to sugar-spinning, you can sharpen your culinary skills whilst admiring the beautiful surroundings on Exeter’s historic quayside.

Exeter Cookery School Launch - read more at www.eatingexeter.co.uk

One Day Vegetarian/Vegetable Cooking Course

Are you a seasoned vegetarian looking for some fresh inspiration to pep up your repertoire?Maybe you’re new to vegetarianism and want some guidance and are keen to learn a few key veggie techniques.

Or perhaps you’re an omnivore, but are thinking that you’d like to be able to cook for your vegetarian friends or family members.Well, whichever is the case, this is the course for you. You’ll learn how to prepare and cook vegetables and vegetarian dishes from scratch in a fun and friendly environment.We’ll teach you all manner of professional cookery tips including cook-ahead and pre-prep methods.

Dishes might include the tower of riddled Mediterranean vegetables, the classic Greek Spanakopita, or freshly made raviolis.


What do you do on the first morning of your long-awaited French holiday? If you’re anything like us you seek out a popular cafe or patisserie, pull up a chair, sit down in the sun and order your first croissant of the year!
 

If you’ve been to France before you’ll know that the locals eat theirs just as they are, or dunk them into a bowl of hot cafe crème. We Brits like ours with a knob of butter and a spoon of jam, but either way there’s no denying the exquisite pleasure that is the archetypal French breakfast. 

But, returning home for work on Monday, France seems a million miles away. So what better than to knock up a batch of croissants in order to relive your moment in the sun? And while you’re at it, you may as well make some other staples as well. 

That’s where we come in: we’ll show you how to make authentic croissants and, using the same dough, you’ll also create some pain aux raisins and pains au chocolat. While we’re on a roll (pun intended), we’ll also make some crusty baguettes to have with lunch.And who knows, maybe we’ll even get to sit in the sun!

One Day Advanced Dessert Cookery Course

Taking things up a notch or two from our Classic French Dessert Cookery Course, the Advanced Dessert Cookery Course takes you into the realms of the professional pastry chef.Taking two complex restaurant-quality desserts as springboards for some pretty advanced techniques, we cover many facets of the Patissiere’s art:

Dessert Louis XV (pronounced “Louis Canze”)

Dessert Louis XV is the invention of Alain Ducasse of the three Michelin-star restaurant Le Louis XV-Alain Ducasse at the Hôtel de Paris in Monte Carlo.It is a many-layered chocolate extravagance: the base is a thin Dacquoise (hazelnut meringue) followed by a crunchy feulletine layer, then a rich sumptuous chocolate mousse. The whole is then draped with liquid chocolate and topped with a hazelnut spun-sugar droplet and a flutter of gold leaf.

Lemon Posset

Lemon Posset with Raspberry SorbetStrawberry LeatherStrawberry & Black Pepper Shortbread – Our chef’s signature dessert.

Half Day Ice Cream & Sorbet Making Course

Let’s get one thing straight: eating ice cream is about experiencing that luxurious cool texture and rich tongue-coating flavour we never forget from childhood. And herein lies the secret to making and serving great ice cream: it’s about using full-fat cream, free-range egg yolks, sugar and strong natural flavourings.

Forget your skimmed milk, reduced sugar, yoghurt-based grainy horrors – we’re talking full-on guilty pleasure here!But, making ice cream brings with it a fear of curdling the custard base which can put a lot of cooks off.

So, on your Half Day Ice Cream & Sorbet Making Course, you’ll learn how to make a perfect Crème Anglaise custard base, but with a little twist that makes use of a small amount of natural chemistry knowledge.

Don’t worry, we won’t be using any weird chemicals, but you will gain a fascinating glimpse into the world of proteins, sugars and gels. And it never fails!

We’ll answer a few questions, too – for instance: what makes a custard curdle, and what, if anything, can be done to rectify it; is there a correct temperature at which to serve ice cream; how to achieve that professional smooth finish, but without having to buy expensive gadgets.

One Day Bread Making Course

Our one day bread-making course covers more than just making rolls and loaves: after a brief introductory chat by the chef over coffee and biscuits, you’ll be shown how to choose the correct flour, yeast and other ingredients for each bread type.

You’ll be preparing everything from scratch, which means weighing, mixing and kneading the ingredients to form the various required doughs.

During the day, while you’re kneading and stretching dough around the communal central island, our chef will explain the chemistry involved in making bread and how you can take advantage of this knowledge to achieve consistent results at home. For instance; the reasons why one batch of dough will rise perfectly one day while another might fall flat the next; how temperature affects the rise; how you can refrigerate or even freeze active bread dough; why we choose a high gluten content flour for one type of bread, but a low gluten flour for another.While your breads are proving, you will be making various fillings and preparing tins, etc, prior to baking.

Lunch will be a buffet laid out by us and will include some of the bread you’ve made.At the end of the course, you will be able to take home everything you’ve made in order to show off your new-found skills to family and friends.

Half Day Children’s Cookery Course

Learning all about using fresh ingredients, the basics of following a recipe and the core principals of how to cook should be an integral part of a child’s education.

At Exeter Cookery School, we firmly believe that children should be inspired to cook from scratch so that they can truly explore the joys of cooking as well as giving them a firm founding in food education that will last them a lifetime.
On our half day children’s cookery course we will be teaching children between the ages of 10 and 14 how to cook a basic bread dough, which they will use to create a delicious pizza and garlic pizza bread or dough balls.
The children on our half day children’s cookery course will also learn how to make and pipe Swiss meringues, combining them with a Chantilly cream to form a delicious pudding for the summer. Add handfuls of fresh summer berries and you have the makings of a dessert that will delight the whole family.

Cake baking, the epitome of all that is good in the world. With cake baking becoming ever more popular (and competitive) than ever thanks to TV shows such as the Great British Bake Off, we thought it was high time we offered a half day cake baking cookery course. So here we are…

Cake baking: How to make the perfect Victoria Sponge

Want to learn how to bake a cake for the loved ones in your life? Or have a better chance in your workplace charity bake off events? Or even just love cake and want to be able to recreate it yourself with better results, this is the course for you.

You’ll learn how to make a traditional Victoria sponge with buttercream icing.This classic cake first came to popularity way back in the 1840s, made possible by the invention of baking powder.
The sweet-toothed British public embraced the gloriously patriotic recipe with aplomb. Mrs Beeton’s version of how to bake a Victoria sponge may have been slightly underwhelming as they contained no eggs. However, over the last century and a half there have been many different incarnations of the classic Victoria sponge cake, all baked with love and in many cases accolades. We can help you create your own Victoria Sponge award winner.

Learn how to make chocolate brownies

Cake baking: Learn how to bake gooey chocolate brownies at Exeter Cookery School

Then comes the chocolatey gooey bit, where you’ll learn how to make failsafe chocolate brownies using the melting technique. Whether you want to learn how to make brownies for a school bake sale or are hosting a coffee morning and want to impress your friends, our chocolate brownie recipe will tick all the boxes.

And the best bit…

We can’t really think of a better way to spend the morning or afternoon, and what’s better, you get to take away with you what you’ve cooked.

Presenting Eating Exeter, Dining Devon and a fantastic celebratory competition with Harry’s Restaurant

Since 2011, Eating Exeter has been reporting and reviewing foodie events and restaurants throughout Exeter & Devon.  Six years after the first review was written, the blog is getting a major identity overhaul and a brand new web address to reflect its expanding ambitions.

From the 1st August Eating Exeter will be Eating Exeter, Dining Devon – the new URL will be http://www.diningdevon.com

Co-founded by Chris Gower with his good friend and then work colleague Polly Addison, the team has been beavering away giving impartial reviews to some of Exeter’s best loved restaurants.

The blog was so successful that in February 2016 Chris put a call out for volunteer writers to help out.  Through this process South African born Lauren Heath volunteered and has played a vital role in the running of the blog ever since. The blog is now currently run by Lauren and Chris who often attend events and reviews, bringing their loyal readers the best in foodie news.

In 2016 the blog reached the Grand Final of Food Magazine’s Readers Awards, and although not reaching the glory of overall winner this was a crowning achievement for a small blog that concentrated mostly on Exeter and the surrounding area.  

We’ve been finding ourselves doing reviews in Salcombe and Barnstaple and as Devon is such a big county and with this increased popularity, it makes sense to encompass our larger audience in the identity of the blog.  

There are many great things happening for foodies, with new producers and restaurants opening throughout the year, Eating Exeter, Dining Devon will continue its goal under a new brand that will help appeal to readers across the county.

Competition!

To celebrate the re-brand Eating Exeter, Dining Devon has partnered with one of the team’s favourite local independent restaurants, Harry’s Restaurant, to bring a lucky winner a fantastic prize.

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We are giving away a  £150 voucher!perfect for a dinner for four or more!  Head over to the Eating Exeter, Dining Devon Facebook and Twitter pages to find out how to be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize.

Simply follow the instructions on the pinned competition posts either the Facebook or Twitter to be in with a chance of winning this epic prize; it is one of the biggest prizes we’ve ever given away.

By entering the competition you adhere to the terms and conditions – Most importantly remember that this voucher cannot be redeemed for cash.  It must be used in one transaction, and no change can be given.

 

One Day Shellfish Course at Exeter Cookery School

You might have seen over the weekend that I headed down to the Exeter Cookery School to help them celebrate their first birthday.  It was a stonking event which, despite the weather, brought in lots of people all eager to have a peek and eat delicious scones with fresh cream and jam.

A course which is an absolute must for seafood or shellfish lovers is their Shellfish and Seafood Cookery Course. The next one is taking place on the 10th August.

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Have you ever wanted to know how to create a bisque or a demi glaze? How about cooking and dressing a crab?  Under the expert tutelage of Chef Jim Fisher, you will be armed with the skills and know-how which will allow you to get stuck in yourself.

“Devon is the UK’s only county with two coastlines. Consequently, wherever you start from, you’re never more than 35 miles from the sea! Which means we get the pick of the crop when it comes to fresh sustainable seafood.

Whether it’s mussels from Exmouth, oysters from Salcombe, or crabs, prawns and scallops from the pristine waters of Start Bay, we have access to some of Britain’s finest.

So, how to do it all justice? Come with us on a trip around the two-coast county and learn to select, prepare and cook a variety of maritime fauna and create some classic and modern seafood dishes.

These are examples of the kind of dishes you could be making

  • Tian of Crab with Granny Smith Apple, Lime Vinaigrette, Tomato Concasse
  • Spaghetti Vongole
  • Moules a la Creme
  • Mouclade
  • Seafood Bisque with Rouille Croutons
  • 21st Century Prawn Cocktail
  • Oysters with Devon Cider Sabayon”

If this tempts your tastebuds, take a look on the Exeter Cookery School website

Second limited edition Elmhirst Gin to launch following first edtion sell out!

Elmhirst Gin and Copa hamper 2017

After a staggering response to the first limited edition Elmhirst Gin, The Shops at Dartington is thrilled to announce a second limited edition Elmhirst Gin which is due to launch on Sunday 6th August 2017. 

Officially launched at Dartington Food Fair in May, the 157 bottles of the first edition Elmhirst Gin have already been sold. There has been such demand from The Shops at Dartington’s customers for more of this popular gin, fired by this being the spirit of the moment, that it became apparent that another batch was required.

Barbara King, Managing Director of The Shops at Dartington, comments: “We anticipated a good response for our Elmhirst Gin but have been blown away by our how quickly our first edition has sold out.” Barbara continues: “The ‘Still on the Move’, which is the brainchild of Devon Distillery, was hugely popular at the Food Fair in May, so much so that we have planned our next event on Sunday 6th August. As well as celebrating the launch of the second edition this provides another excuse for a lovely family day out with live music and a range of activities planned.”

Created at Dartington, using ingredients from the estate, Elmhirst Gin blends tradition with a modern twist to produce a unique taste and is a ‘must have’ for any discerning ‘ginoisseur’.  This new premium gin reflects the historical practices of Dartington. It is crafted in small batches in a custom made mobile Italian copper still called Prosperity, which is transported on a vintage truck. Prosperity, which will be present on the 6th August, allows visitors to witness the whole process from start to finish with a chance to be among the first to taste the results. 

Elmhirst Gin is a dry gin which combines the unmistakable flavour of juniper with a carefully selected range of botanicals, including a hint of violet. Its name honours the most significant family in its modern history.

In 1925, Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst purchased the dilapidated 14th century Dartington Estate and poured their resources into restoring the buildings and setting up a host of farming, forestry and educational projects. The Elmhirsts were true pioneers and Dartington rapidly became a magnet for artists, architects, writers, philosophers and musicians from around the world, creating an exceptional centre of creative activity.

Elmhirst Gin will be available from The Shops at Dartington in stunning 70cl oblong bottles complete with glass stoppers (£35.00).  For the perfect present, it is also available in a gift box complete with a Dartington Copa glass (£45.00). 

For further information on The Shops at Dartington please visit
www.shopsatdartington.co.uk, email info@dartington.org or call 01803 847000.  
Follow The Shops at Dartington on Twitter: @shopdartington and ‘
Like on Facebook. 

Changes to Eating Exeter, Exeter’s much loved restaurant blog is getting a make-over.

The plans have been brewing now since the beginning of the year and now we are nearly ready to unveil a brand new blog for Exeter & Devon.  We’ve been mixing and concocting for a little while, testing, trialling and ruminating over the direction the blog might take.  I can happily say we’re still going to go in the same direction, just with some go-faster stripes and maybe a big exhaust. Metaphorically…

From the 1st August Eating Exeter will be going through a re-brand which will reflect our county wide scope.  With a new URL, new site graphics and some plans for YouTube content, live video feeds and another amazing podcast!

We also have an amazing competition which we’ll announce on our launch night. We’re dead excited and are proud to say that it is one of our best prizes yet!

Over the next few days you’ll see a few things changing (our social media handles for instance) and some new graphics too.  Pop back next Tuesday for more details and our official ‘launch’.

Chris (Editor)

Byron Burgers, Princesshay by Chris Gower

26 Bedford St, Princesshay, Exeter EX1 1GJ – T:@byronhamburgers 01392 433340

We visited Byron Burgers a couple of years ago when it first opened in Princesshay.  It was quite delightful; the burgers were meaty and the beer was crafty & beery.

Byron Burgers is a name that many burger fans will recognise instantly as being a name synonymous with gourmet burgers and that subtle Americana.

It was started in 2007 by Tom Bing and has grown exponentially ever since.  In 2007, Princesshay itself was built too… fancy that!

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It was an enjoyable evening but we hadn’t been back since.  We were recently invited to give Bryon Burgers another go as part of the Princesshay’s Summer Eats promotion which is worth checking out.

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One of the things that I admire about Byron Burgers particularly is the interior.  Big windows give diners a vista across a busy precinct, perfect for people watching and ensuring lots of natural light in to the restaurant.

The first thing I did when we sat down at our window seat was to order a Brooklyn Beer. With the subtle Americana theme, comes the urge to fully embrace the USA-ness of Byron. I’d had this hankering for some sort of American lagery beer thing, so this was a perfect choice.

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Tori went for a Coke (we’ll let her off as she wasn’t feeling up to scratch that evening).  A quick perusal of the menu shows an attractive offering for burger lovers.

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We both went for The Cheese which is Byron’s ‘better-than-standard’ cheesy offering.

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Byron Cheese, shredded iceberg, pickles, onion, American Mustard and Byron sauce combined with sides of Bacon and Cheese Fries and Sweet Potato Fries were a perfect set of foods.

We really enjoyed the meal and would recommend The Cheese as a burger worth going for with its Bryon Cheese and in-house sauce making up a big part of the flavour.

Byron Burgers is still a firm favourite of Exeter’s diners, and despite the competition from other burger chains is still as popular as ever.  For a subtle dose of Americana and a chance to win a prize by spotting all of the cows in the restaurant, pop down next time you have that burger urge!

This meal was paid for by Byron Burgers. The opinions expressed here are independent of influence from the restaurant.

It’s boom time for Devon drinks companies!

Devon-based Luscombe Drinks Ltd and Kineta Drinks Ltd are delighted to announce that they have been shortlisted for this year’s prestigious Soil Association’s BOOM Awards (Best of Organic Market Awards).

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The BOOM Awards are the UK’s only dedicated organic awards celebrating people, producers, restaurants and brands working to produce food and drink as they should be. This year the BOOMs are set to be bigger and better than ever, with the judges impressed with two of Luscombe Drinks’ range and a new drink recently launched by Kineta Drinks:

  • Best of Organic Non-Alcoholic Drinks – Raspberry Crush
    Crammed with sweet and succulent organic raspberries, this tongue tingling crush is made with Devon spring water and a touch of Madagascan vanilla. This gently sparkling drink is bursting with fresh taste and multi award-winning zing.
  • Best of Organic Alcoholic Drinks – Devon Cider

A traditional Devon cider made with organic apples – such as Sugar Bush, Quench, Devon Crimson & Pigs Snout – and Devon spring water to create a young light, yet full flavoured medium dry cider.

  • Best New Organic Product sponsored by Abel & Cole –
    Kineta Matcha Green Tea – Sicilian Lemon

A joint venture between local entrepreneur, Leane Bramhall of Kineta Drinks Ltd and Gabriel David of Luscombe Drinks Ltd, this natural energy drink is a perfect blend of organic Matcha green tea, Devon spring water and organic Sicilian lemon juice. A tasty twist on a traditional Matcha green tea presented as ready-to-drink.

Chairman of Luscombe Drinks, Gabriel David, said: “I am very pleased that Luscombe Drinks has been shortlisted for the BOOM Awards in three different categories. Our customers are drawn to the superior quality, taste and sophisticated flavour combinations our award-winning drinks offer.”

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He continued: “Luscombe Drinks is proud to use organic ingredients from our own orchards and trusted accredited growers. We use the highest quality natural ingredients to make the very best drinks with minimal processing. All our drinks are made, bottled and delivered by us. This is what makes us unique. We are fanatical about using natural ingredients to create our drinks; and do not use additives, artificial flavourings, preservatives or concentrates.”

Leane Bramhall of Kineta Drinks Ltd said: “This is really exciting! We have only just launched the Kineta Drinks ready-to-drink range, so to already be shortlisted for a Soil Association award is fantastic – and will help us spread the word further.

“As well as being organic, Matcha green tea is a well-known super-food with significant levels of antioxidants. There is a clear demand for organic natural energy drinks as an alternative to the fizzy sugary ones that are currently available.”

More people than ever before are choosing organic – confirmed by recent research from England Marketing1 which revealed 39 per cent of shoppers buy organic food on a weekly basis. Certified organic means food that has been produced to the very highest standards. It means fewer pesticides, no artificial additives or preservatives, always free range, higher standards of animal welfare and absolutely no GM. Now in its fifth year of continued growth and worth £2.09 billion, the organic sector has never been healthier.

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Soil Association Certification Business Development Director, Clare McDermott said: “The organic market grew a fantastic 7% last year and more and more people are looking for, buying and talking about organic. With hundreds of new and innovative products launched last year alone, the BOOMs give us an opportunity to make some noise about organic and help more people understand the benefits.”

The winners of the BOOM Awards will be announced at a ceremony in London on Wednesday, July 5th, 2017.

Strawberry Roulade courtesy of Sue Stoneman, South West Home Cook of the Year 2016

Over the next few weeks we’ll be presenting a series of exclusive recipes from South West Chef of The Year past contestants.  The South West Chef of The Year is the competition to get yourself in to if you reckon you have what it takes to go up against some of the best in the region.  Entries close 31st July.

Previous winners have included Jamie Coleman, Simon Hulstone and Dean Westcar to name a few in the Professional Category.  Read our account of the 2015 competition.

We asked Sue Stoneman, winner of the 2016 South West Home Cook of the year, to give us a recipe to kick us off.  A perfect sweet dish for a summer’s day!

This recipe reminds me of my Mum who taught me how to cook and inspired me to follow my passion in cooking and it was also the start of the cooking adventure that has brought me to where I am now.

My Mum always made a wonderful pavlova, it was always crunchy on the outside and had that lovely marshmallow chewy middle. I made a meringue roulade for my first cookery competition a few years ago, using mango and passion fruit, making a passion fruit curd for the filling as well.  Making a roulade is quick as you don’t need to cook it for an hour in a very low oven like you would for a normal pavlova.  This only takes 20 minutes to cook. Everyone who has eaten my roulade says it’s the best they’ve ever tasted!  I then started making the roulade with seasonal fruits – strawberries go very well and are of course in season and taste delicious.  It’s quite quick and easy to make and is a great dessert to serve up for alfresco dining. It looks fantastic, it is lovely and light and tastes of summer. There is “always room for roulade!”

Strawberry Roulade

3 large egg whites
175g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp malt vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
300ml double cream
Icing sugar for dusting
300g strawberries

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  • Quantities above are for a standard swiss roll baking sheet
  • Oven on at 140C.
  • Line baking sheet with baking parchment/silicone sheet.
  • In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until doubled in size.  Slowly whisk in sugar until thick and shiny.  Add cornflour, vinegar and vanilla extract and whisk again.  Spoon into the prepared tin and spread out with pallet knife.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. You are looking for a soft, marshmallowy meringue with a light, thin and crispy top. (While this is in the oven, get on with the filling).
  • Wash and cut the strawberries.  Leave some whole for decoration.  Whip the cream.
  • When the meringue is baked, remove from oven, place over a sheet of damp greaseproof paper. (Tear off a sheet larger than the baking tin, put it under the cold tap and wring it out). This helps to keep the meringue soft and cracks the top which gives a lovely texture and helps the icing sugar to stick to it later on. Leave for a few minutes.
  • Remove the damp greaseproof paper and carefully turn the tin (with the baked meringue still in it) upside down onto some parchment paper dusted with icing sugar.  Carefully peel off the paper you used to line the tin. This is the surface you are going to put the cream on – the marshmallowy side – spread over the whisked double cream, followed by the cut strawberries.  Then use the paper to help carefully roll up the roulade. (start rolling at the short side and make sure the join is on the underside).  Don’t worry if it cracks, this gives it the homemade look.
  • Carefully transfer onto a serving plate, dust with icing sugar and decorate with the leftover strawberries.
  • Serve with a strawberry puree – put a punnet of cut up strawberries into a saucepan with a tablespoon of caster sugar and a drop of vanilla exact. Cook over a medium heat until the strawberries are soft (about 5 minutes).  Cool a little and put into a blender or use a stick blender to puree.  Pour into a jug.  Serve this with the roulade and with extra cream if you like.You can use any seasonal fruit.

Follow Sue on Twitter

All photos are courtesy of Sue

High Tea at Salcombe Harbour Hotel by Chris Gower

Cliff Rd, Salcombe TQ8 8JH Tel: 0844 858 9187 – T: @SalcombeHHotel ‏ 

http://www.salcombe-harbour-hotel.co.uk/

South Devon gets left off the radar quite a bit on Eating Exeter.  We’ve done reviews in all parts of Devon but nothing towards Plymouth or the South, so I was over the moon when we were invited to touch down the historic port town of Salcombe for a spot of Afternoon Tea at the prestigious Salcombe Harbour Hotel.

We compiled a quick video of our afternoon including a walk around Salcombe afterwards.  Camera was jiggling around so apologies for the wobbles.

The first thing that hits you about Salcombe is that there are, in fact, two Salcombes in Devon.  One of them lies just outside Sidmouth and the other one – the one which is much better known – is Salcombe in South Devon.

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There are two things about both Salcombes, is that most of the infrastructure relies on lanes and hedgerows.  To navigate the lanes and roads of this end of Devon requires a good dose of ‘single lane driving knowledge’ which I have perfected over the years living in this funny and beautiful county.  Parking in Salcombe is tricky, in fact the Harbour Hotel has its very own park and ride service.

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But this is to be expected at the peak of summer at the busiest times in one of the UKs most desirable places.  Our fuddy little Skoda wasn’t the naffest car in the car park though, although it was definitely second.

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Nestled snugly on the Kingsbridge Estuary, or as some refer to it as the Salcombe Estuary, the inhabitants have historically lived off smuggling and fishery.  There are a number of historic wrecks that lie just beyond the estuary including one of three known UK bronze age wrecks. Although I am certain smuggling doesn’t continue, fishery and tourism is now the mainstay of this little town.  One of the bigger attractions is the Salcombe Harbour Hotel.

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Owned by Harbour Hotels, they have other hotels in attractive Harbour locations across the UK.  The Salcombe Harbour Hotel is a four silver star rated hotel and spa, and food is served at The Jetty restaurant and bar which has fantastic views over the estuary.

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We had been invited along to sample their Jetty Afternoon Tea, a light tea with the classic sandwiches and cake options.  A little bit of each.

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There are grander and more expensive options available for Afternoon Tea with champagne or sparkling wine, but you are going to be hard pressed to find a nicer location to have an afternoon tea in Devon.

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Parking was, despite my initial worries, a total breeze.  There was space in the car park and even if there had not been, the park and ride service would have catered for us. Once parked up the front desk look after your keys and you’re taken through to the Jetty Restaurant, a large open plan restaurant with big windows overlooking the beautiful Kingsbridge estuary.

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The hotel provides its guests and visitors with sumptuous fine dining as well, in fact Co-Editor Lauren visited not too long ago, look out for her review!  But for us today, we were going to do Afternoon Tea!

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The tea arrives on a platter, a three tiered tray of treats towering over the table.  Starting at the bottom with a small selection of sandwiches, moving up to a Devon Cream Tea and then finishing with a selection of small fancies at the top.

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We were particular fans of the home-made scones that Tori had likened to her own ones she bakes at home.  They were warm and fresh, with lashings of cream and jam to spread.

It all went too quickly, so we decided to go for a walk around Salcombe.  The day was bright and the tourists had gone home to leave a few stragglers enjoying a quiet Sunday evening rambling among the narrow streets and alleys.

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We ended the day in the pub. The Ferry Inn to be precise, having a swift half before heading back to the hotel to pick up our car.

Everything about the Salcombe Harbour Hotel is about making life easier.  From the car turntable outside the hotel entrance to the little touches.  The service was, throughout our visit, completely dedicated to making us feel welcome and the Afternoon Tea was delicious.  A perfect escape from the city!

This meal was paid for by Salcombe Harbour Hotel. The opinions expressed here are independent of influence from the restaurant.

The South West leads the way with competition to champion young chefs and home cooks

The 2017 prestigious South West Chef of the Year competition is open for applications. The highly anticipated culinary contest is the only one in the UK with the aim to find the very best regional talent from not one but five categories including professional and young professional chefs, students and apprentices, junior cooks under 16 years and home cooks. The South West’s culinary reputation has long been lauded, shaped by its bountiful lands and coastline that create outstanding produce and in turn inspire an increasingly long list of home grown Michelin starred chefs. The peninsula’s passion for delicious and sustainably sourced food and drink is recognised and nurtured by the South West Chef of the Year as it aims once again to find the region’s hottest talent.

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Lead judge, Michael Caines MBE of Lympstone Manor who has championed the competition since 2004 said: “South West Chef of the Year has always aimed to not only provide a spring board for the region’s emerging chefs but also to inspire home cooks of all ages and to help young people to make cooking a career choice. I have always said that the South West is home to some of the best food in the world but the industry always needs new blood and I invite all those with a passion for cooking, for wonderful ingredients and the produce we have in abundance here in the region to enter South West Chef of the Year. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn, to improve and be challenged.”

Michael will be joined by an impressive list of judges from the region’s most esteemed venues, including Michael Wignall of Gidleigh Park and Chris and James Tanner of Barbican Kitchen and Kentish Hare. The judges will be looking for competitors who display the highest standards of cooking as well as flair and creativity. The competition is renowned for its mentorship of contestants with those entering the final rounds receiving invaluable feedback in a supportive environment.

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Entry to the first round of the competition opened on 1 June with four of the five categories now taking online applications until 31 July at www.southwestchef.co.uk. Those interested in applying should devise and submit a two-course menu that includes the compulsory ingredients set for their category.

The Professional Chefs category includes those working as a sous chef, pastry chef or above. Menus submitted for this category should include saddle of lamb (on the bone) and pollack and mussels. Young Professional Chefs entering the competition includes those working in any position up to and including junior sous chef and aged 19 to 24 years. Their compulsory ingredients are pork tenderloin and red mullet.

Student and apprentice chefs are those at college or in an apprenticeship and aged 16 to 19 years; their menus should include beef sirloin (untrimmed) and John Dory and clams or cockles. Finally those entering the home cooks class (those who have never worked or trained in the catering industry aged from 16 years) must create a menu that includes a main course of best end of lamb or sea bass and a dessert with fruits of the autumn (apples, pears, quince, berries).

Those selected by the judges to go through to the next round will be asked to recreate their menus at semi-finals and finals taking place in September and October.

Photos courtesy of OneVoice media apart from Featured Image which is copyright Eating Exeter.

Giraffe World Kitchen, Princesshay by Chris Gower

Tel: 01392 494 222  Princesshay, Exeter, EX1 1GE @giraffetweet

Princesshay Shopping Centre is the gleaming modern jewel in the centre of Exeter’s shopping experience.  With restaurants and fine High Street names, it replaced the tattered pre-war complex that some of us Exonians still remember with a bizarre nostalgic fondness.

When the modern Princesshay opened, with it also opened Giraffe with its slightly westernised versions of world specialities, it was the start of the arrival of the big chain restaurants in Exeter.

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I have a few good memories of Giraffe when it first opened, and I even wrote a review quite a few years ago for my old blog Veget8.  Naturally since then it has moved on and changed, and it was great to be invited along to have a look at what has changed since it first opened back in 2007.

Since my first visit all those years ago, it has rebranded itself as Giraffe World Kitchen which has helped solidify itself as a place to go to get a wide range or world cuisine offerings, all of them excellent value.

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Not much has changed as far as the building itself.  Three of the four walls are fronted with glass giving an excellent vista of passing shoppers and part of the ancient city wall. There is al fresco dining available, perfect for whiling away a summer evening.

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As chain restaurants go this is certainly one of my favorites in Exeter.  It is casual dining at its most casual, with a fantastic menu that covers all continents it is also excellent value given many main meals are under £10.

We kicked proceedings off with bottle of Rosé wine and an Espresso Martini £6.95 (Absolut Vanilla vodka, Kahlua liqueur and a fresh espresso shot over ice) which was a perfect start to our enjoyable meal.

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For starters Tori went for Steamed Duck Gua Bao Buns £6.95 (soft steamed buns filled with crispy shredded duck, cucumber, peanuts, spring onion and rich hoisin sauce) and I predictably went for Nachos £7.95 (black bean chilli, Monterey Jack, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos and chipotle).

The Steamed Duck Gua Bao Buns were a definite hit with the other side of the table. We had first been properly introduced with Bao Buns at the Absurd Bird blogger night a couple of years ago, and this was another chance to try this oriental culinary staple.  I was very happy with my large mountain of Nachos, well seasoned and cooked well.

For our mains we were both in need of Bowl For Soul food!  Tori went for the Katsu Chicken £11.95 (breaded chicken and noodles in a mild peanut & coconut sauce, with bok choy, tenderstem broccoli and wok-fried vegetables) and I couldn’t help myself but went for the Thai Duck Stir Fry £10.95  (shredded duck and noodles with chilli jam, bok choy, crispy onions and wok-fried vegetables in teriyaki sauce).

The menu is incredibly diverse. It truly represents a classic dish from each continent of the world – they are also going to lengths to cater for those of us with dietary requirements too.

The food was well cooked and tasty – the menu itself is fantastic value for money, and even though the cost is on the lower end of the spectrum, it didn’t effect the quality or portions.

We went for desserts too, a lovely finish to a satisfying experience.

Tori went for a Whoopie Cookie £4.95 (speculoos biscuit ice cream sandwiched between chocolate cookies. With chocolate sauce, caramel popcorn and pretzels) and I plumped for the  Salted Caramel Sundae £5.95 (salted caramel ice cream layered with caramel popcorn and pretzel pieces).

So they ran out of pretzels, but instead we got double popcorn on our dessert.

Paul and Tom were amazing in their service, so helpful and friendly throughout the whole evening.  The evening service seemed quiet and surprisingly so for one of Exeter’s better chain restaurants which is a telling tale of restaurants throughout the city, whether a big High Street name or a unique independent.

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Giraffe World Kitchen is a good casual dining restaurant which presents excellent value for money, their menu is well thought out and not overly pricey.  Perfect for lunch, coffee or a nice evening meal.

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This meal was paid for by Giraffe World Kitchens but the opinions expressed here are independent of influence from the restaurant.

Dr Ink’s Curiousities launches their second journal: launch night by Chris Gower

43 The Quay, Exeter EX2 4AE – doctorinks.com/ –
T:ink_patrick  F:doctorinkscuriosities/ I: doctorinkscuriosities/

Since its opening last year Dr Ink’s Curiosities has raised the bar (get it…?) for cocktails in Exeter with their inventive takes on classic Victorian cocktails, spun through the eyes of Dr Ink himself and his classic cocktail based adventures.

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The menu, ‘ahem’ journal, is presented in a beautiful hard back book, embossed gold lettering on the front gives the menu a steampunk-esque feel to it.  The stories within are pieces of fiction written by the team and Dr Ink regulars too.

It was great to meet Paddy and Tom who are passionate about their award winning cocktail bar and we were able to sample some of the elaborate and theatrical creations that are now available to patrons.

We sampled a few cocktails throughout the launch evening, but there were a couple really stood out!

The Ceylon Julep was a lovely experience.  It had a strong savoury element to it, including a carrot and coriander syrup, topped off with curry leaves.  Weird? No it works so well together, it felt like an alcoholic carrot shake but with an elegance put in its place with the gin and bitters.  All presented in a beautiful copper goblet.

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I was also taken with one of the cocktails Lauren had – the impressively presented Iolanthes Latern which uses Apricot Infused Hayman’s Old Tom, Amontillado Sherry, Creame D’Apricot and Peach bitters all presented in a vast and wonderful hanging lantern.  A tart, strong cocktail that has a grand taste and an even grander presentation!

Pictured here is the Baobab Daisy and the Tales of Space and Thyme.

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The Baobab Daisy made from Pineapple Rum, Bitters and Lime Sherbert to mention a few of the ingredients had a wonderful tropical flavour with bitter notes. It felt like a concoction one might have in a hot country next to a nice beach, meeting an African Queen and securing a trade deal.  The only thing that was lacking was a bug-eyed Monkey!

I think the overall favourite for all of us was The Tales of Space and Thyme.  This was a delicate cocktail.  The rim of the glass was lined with salt and thyme which created an amazing flavour upon drinking.  Made with Tanquery and Pamplemousse Rose to name a few of the ingredients, it had strong overtones of grapefruit and with the bitterness of the gin, the whole thing created a lasting complex tone on the tongue.  The little UFO on top was a fantastic finish!

I finished the night with the Aardvark.  Unfortunately my photographic skills had declined somewhat and my phone is rubbish (wish I’d brought along the big camera!) so it is not a great representation.  But the stunning photography in the journal really do the cocktails justice!

Inspired from a recipe in The American Bartender by W.H. Laid (1866) this fantastic little drink contains Flor De Cana (South American rum), Seedlip (gin), Kafir lime and lemongrass syrup and edible ants to name a few of its components.

This Dr Ink’s story is one of my favourites.  Finding himself persued by a lion, he manages to escape by sacrificing his horse. He takes refuge in a termite mound and makes friends with an Anteater; he finds a bunch of gemstones that the anteater has dug up and is rescued by his companions.  Of course the actual story is much better, but it makes you realise the amount of time and hard work that goes in to creating the Dr Ink’s experience.

The team are constantly experimenting and researching new drinks and this second journal is a testament to the passion and unerring devotion that these guys have to cocktails.

Dr Ink Map

Double Gold for Salcombe Gin at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition 2017

The awards keep rolling in for Salcombe Distilling Co. this year.  Recognised as one of the most prestigious competitions in the world, Salcombe Distilling Co. is thrilled to have just been awarded a Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition 2017.

 

The co-founders of Salcombe Distilling Co. are Angus Lugsdin and Howard Davies. Commenting on the latest award win, Angus Lugsdin says: “We are ecstatic our Gin is now being recognised internationally, an incredible accolade after all the hard work of the past year. Our main objective is to produce an exceptional hand crafted gin and we strive for perfection in every step of the process. These awards are a real testament to our ethos and hardworking team in Salcombe, Devon.” 

Howard Davies continues: “Launched in July 2016, Salcombe Distilling Company is still a relatively new brand, so to be recognised globally at this early stage is a huge honour. It’s already been an extremely busy year for us, launching our new Gin School in Salcombe where the curious gin lover can develop and distil their very own bottle of gin. Plus the distillery bar overlooking the estuary is proving hugely popular with locals and tourists in the area. We are also busy sampling our delicious Gin at many food and drink festivals and events across the country.” 

This year’s San Francisco World Spirit Competition was held at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco on 20th – 23rd April 2017.  It was another record-breaking year that featured 2,253 spirit entries from all corners of the world.

In addition, the Beverage Testing Institute in America has awarded Salcombe Gin ‘Start Point’ a Platinum Medal adding to their ever increasing and now international collection of awards. Salcombe Gin was described as ‘superlative’ and was awarded the highest possible rating with a score of 96/100. 

Powered by the Beverage Testing Institute, the Tastings.com International Review of Spirits is America’s oldest annual international spirits competition and has been operated objectively for 24 years. It is a blind tasting, medal-based competition that awards based on a 100-point scale. Spirits are judged by Tastings.com‘s trained staff joined by top Spirits professionals and buyers from retailers and restaurants using a proven, consistent, proprietary methodology developed in collaboration with Cornell University. The Tastings.com International Review of Spirits distributes its monthly results to consumers and the trade through Tastings.com, a free consumer website with tens of thousands of unique users a month on its searchable databases and via social media @tastingsbti.

The full review and score is available at http://tastings.com/Spirits-Review/Salcombe-Start-Point-London-Dry-Gin-United-Kingdom-88-Proof-05-01-2017.aspx.

Salcombe Distilling Co. celebrated success earlier this year when awarded Gold at the World Drinks Awards and winning the coveted title of World’s Best Gin in two of the Design subcategories, judged against hundreds of other spirits from around the world. 

Refreshing, delicious and super smooth Salcombe Gin is hand distilled in South Devon using only the finest hand sourced ingredients. This new gin is produced using thirteen carefully selected botanicals distilled in a beautiful copper pot still with the finest English wheat spirit and blended with pure Dartmoor water to produce a gin of extraordinary quality and elegance with no compromise. 

Angus and Howard have an uncompromising approach to quality and an almost obsessive attention to detail which has resulted in this perfectly balanced citrus led, hand crafted gin.
Perfect served on its own over ice or with a premium tonic water accompanied by a slice of ruby red grapefruit to complement the rich and warm citrus notes, Salcombe Gin also makes a cracking dry Martini with a twist of red grapefruit peel.
 

Salcombe Gin ‘Start Point’ 44% 70cl bottle (£37.50) is available to buy nationwide from various retailers including Fortnum & Mason, farm shops, food halls and delicatessens plus from the Salcombe Gin website www.salcombegin.com and can be purchased directly at the distillery.

For more information about Salcombe Gin visit www.salcombegin.com, email ilovegin@salcombegin.com or call 01548 288180. To keep up to date with the latest news follow @SalcombeGin on Twitter and ‘like’ SalcombeGin on Facebook. 

Grand Hotel, Torquay by Chris Gower

Sea Front, Torbay Rd, Torquay TQ2 6NT – 01803 296677 – T: @grandtorquay

Torquay: home of beaches, guest houses, palm trees, a large wheel, a marina, train station or two and lots of people of a certain age.  OK officially the oldest town in Britain is Southwold in Suffolk, and despite the stereotypes Torquay is adorned with, it has many different faces.  One face is a young and vibrant resort with clubs and ‘things to do’ and the other face is the Torquay that is friendly to the older folk.  It is multi-faceted, and much more so than its gentrified brother Exeter.

If you have never been to Torquay before, it is likely you are going to be hard pressed to find another place like it.  Like many large towns and cities the whole area is a conglomeration of small villages and towns that has grown in to one large massive built-up area; Cockington, St Mary Church and Babbacombe were all quite separate in their own right to begin with but as Torquay hit its Golden Age in the late 19th Century, the resort became much more like the resort we know today.  And with this came the railways, and with the railways came more tourists and the building of The Grand Hotel in 1881.

Torquay is a veritable warren of small roads and windy streets with a one-way system that changes with the wind and a host of stunning views across the bay from many vantage points.  Some lucky people live on these vantage points and everyone is very envious when they say how lovely the view from their loo is.

The arrival of the railways became catalysts for the very concept of holidays and hotels started springing up next-door to railways stations especially in resorts like Torquay.  The Grand Hotel was built to accommodate the GWRs expansion in to the South West, originally only with twelve bedrooms it grew over the years and in 1926 the installation of one of the first central heating systems within a UK hotel – it was the height of luxury.

We were invited (please see our FAQs to see what this means) to stay at The Grand Hotel and be their guests.  We were treated to a dinner and breakfast too along with an overnight stay.  It was a ‘nano-break’ and it was certainly needed given our life at the moment.  The Grand Hotel is owned by The Richardson Group who also own The Groservor Hotel in Torquay which Co-Editor Lauren reviewed a few months ago.

The Grand Hotel sits in a commanding position with a fantastic sea-view that would make folks back home quite jealous.  The vista encompasses the entire bay from Torquay Marina all the way over to Brixham in the distance.  With a sea-view room, you can see everything; a short walk away is The Princess Theatre, Las Iguanas (which we visited a while back) and a row of nice restaurants and cafes which are definitely worth a visit. But with the lovely food served in the restaurant, why would you want to?

It has had its share of famous residents including Agatha Christie to name but one, the luxury that comes with a name like The Grand is a calling to anyone looking for the finer side of things.  But the majority of residents are simply those who are on holiday, taking advantage of Torquay’s mild climate and local beaches.

Because of its close proximity to the station, I wanted to take the train originally but out of the sake of ease and comfort we decided to drive instead.  The romance of the image of arriving off the train and walking through the doors was overshadowed by the idea of timetables and the dire state of our local commuter trains “Oooh lets go down by train!… upon second thought, nah we’ll just drive”.

Parking at The Grand Hotel is split up between being able to park on the road directly outside the hotel, between their own allocated parking next door to the station and on the Rugby Ground.  We were fortunate enough to be able to park on the road which was free and very convenient.

We checked in, booked in our evening meal and settled in to our room.

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The height of the hotel means the views are good no matter which side you end up on, but naturally we had a sea view.

A large spacious room with nice comfy beds, a sea view and all the amenities that one comes to expect in a hotel room.  Tea and coffee making facilities, trouser press, television en-suite bathroom with complimentary toiletries, a working shower with loo roll!

But, first thing is first, a little exploration followed by a complimentry glass of prosecco.

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On the outside The Compass Lounge looks like a last minute thought, stuck on to the side of the hotel rather ungraciously, but inside it has lots of light and central bar that serves drinks and coffees.  It also serves light lunches in The Keith Richardson Brasserie as well, and is the perfect day-time destination if you miss breakfast, or if you wish to grab a light bite to eat before you head out to the wilds of Devon.

There is table service here and as with all of the service at The Grand Hotel, it was friendly and incredibly attentive.  We settled in with a glass of prosecco and watched the world through the lovely large windows, perfect for people watching as they went about their Saturday afternoon.

The Grand isn’t just about a place to stay and a place to eat, there is also a Spa and Pool area.  We did’t get a chance to experience this, but we went downstairs to have a peek at the facilities.

We had booked in to Dinner at the Restaurant 1881 for 8pm – their large restaurant area is also the place where they serve breakfast from 7:00am most mornings.  A vast room with strong coloured walls and a jazzy vintage patterned carpet – we were shown to our seat and given a menu.  We were served by the lovely Felix throughout the evening.

The menu is straight forward, there are no bells or whistles with a firm focus on the food and the quality.  We were both taken with how the whole menu encompassed a range of tastes and expectations, it wasn’t eclectic but it catered for a wide spectrum of diners.

For starters I kicked off with a starter of Wild Mushroom Risotto served with parmesan crisp and pickled mushroom.  Tori kicked off with Pan Fried Scallops which she has developed quite a taste for since being introduced to them by Chef Tom Williams a couple of years ago at the Food Magazine Festival of Food and Design.

It was moist and mushroomy – can you see why I’m not a professional food writer? – I ruminated on the words that I needed to describe this dish and the best I could come up with was mushroomy.  Earthy, savory and exceptionally moist.

For main course we both went for Pan Fried Duck Fillet served with celeriac, rhubarb and five spice. Full marks for quirky presentation, slightly post-modernist but an attractive arrangement none-the-less.  The duck was beautifully cooked, moist and full of taste as you would imagine from a restaurant with an AA Rosette.

The contrast with the duck and the rhubarb was weirdly nice, bitterness contrasted with the savory of the duck meat was a palette that I hadn’t experienced before.

Our final chapter of the meal was the dessert and for me this was particularly memorable.  I opted for the Pina Colada (pineapple sorbet, coconut panna cotta, chilli poached pineapple and lime gel)  and Tori went for the usual chocolate option which was Black Forest (dark chocolate mousse, which chocolate mirror glaze, brandy poached cherries, cherry gel, cherry jelly, chocolate soil, vanilla and cherry macaroon).

Pina Colada has so many connections, not all of them are positive.  I think of Pina Colada and think of naff cocktails and package holidays.  But something drew me to it, some sort of inner need for a classic cocktail told me to have this dessert.  I had no idea really what to expect but the whole thing was gorgeous.  It had a real summer taste, sitting on a coconut panna cotta plate, the elements were arranged like a little beach scene (I didn’t have to use my imagination too much) which gave me a very summery glow.  It was rich, sweet and coconutty, like coconut scented sun cream, it really evoked an inner feeling.

We finished off the meal with a lovely coffee and a stroll down The Strand to breathe in some fresh sea air, reflecting on an incredibly enjoyable meal.

The next morning we rose earlier than we normally would on a Sunday to get down to breakfast.  There is a helpful chart in the lift that shows peak times for breakfast, and the best time to get down.  This is great if you’re a super early riser, but like most people, we are not.

So there were two queues. One queue for being seated and one queue for the breakfast buffet – they merged in to one which was quite confusing.   But it was fine as a waiter appeared and seated us in a position where we could watch what happens at Breakfast time.

Unfortunately I feel The Grand Hotel suffers a bit with breakfast because there were long periods where certain things would run out at the breakfast buffet and then there would be a period of diners standing around waiting for certain things to come out.  Naturally if we had come down earlier, this is unlikely a problem when there are less bodies, but the sudden peak of diners seemed to throw the service and possibly the kitchen.

Given this we ended up waiting a bit for the queue to die down.  When we realised that the queue wasn’t going away, I sucked it up and joined in.

In the end, after a little more waiting, I was able to get most of the items we wanted for breakfast apart from Bacon.  And here is the ultimate test of any establishment, how are they going to resolve the problem?  What happens when someone wants bacon?

The resolution was perfect.  One of the waiters advised me to go and sit down at the table and he would bring over the bacon, and within a few minutes four slices of thick bacon appeared, appeasing any bacon based disappointment.

We were approaching the end of breakfast service so that was it for the bacon for the day, the staff went above and beyond; we went away feeling incredibly happy that we managed to get bacon.

Our stay at The Grand Hotel was a welcome break from the life and everything else.  The service was attentive and eager to please, the hotel itself was unconventionally homely and echoed a heritage that still draws guests back regularly.

Please note that this stay and dinner was paid for by Richardson Group.

The Flat, 142 Fore St – Vegetarian/Vegan Pizzeria by Chris Gower

https://www.theflatexeter.co.uk/ –  I: @TheFlatExeter F: TheFlatExeter

Edit: Previous version of this review stated that gluten-free and vegan mozzarella was default, in fact these are options.

Last year Exeter lost two great pizza restaurants.  The Base & Barley became The Book Cover and Pizza Stein turned into Bierkeller, leaving diners in Exeter without a central place to grab hand-made thrown pizza.  Yes, there are plenty of little Italian places that do good pizza but nothing in the city centre.

Enter ‘The Flat’, a vegetarian/vegan pizzeria set-up and run independently located in the heart of Exeter’s quirky and wonderful West Quarter on Fore Street.

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I had heard rumours about the launch of this restaurant for a few months from multiple sources, so to finally see it in full and set up ready for business was very exciting.

I never normally visit restaurants within days of the opening, it isn’t fair to review a restaurant when things are being tweaked and they are bedding in, but we were anticipating great things so we couldn’t wait.

So Tori and myself headed down with our good friend Lewis, owner of Exeter’s premier comic book shop to give Exeter’s newest restaurant a test-run.

Great things happen when pizza is met with passion, and here is a restaurant that produces some delicious pizza.  There is a strong desire to accommodate those with particular dietary requirements and they offer gluten free bases and optional vegan mozzarella which I might add, is home made!  The interior of the restaurant is simple and unassuming with exposed utilities following the trend for modernist, exposed ducts and dark woods.

We hit the evening off with Beavertown Session Neck Oil IPA which was reasonably priced given the way drink prices are going at the moment for £3.75.  Then a Garlic Focaccia (£3.50) for starters, which wasn’t technically focaccia but we ignored this fact, as it was moreso Garlic Flatbread which is just as nice!

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There was three of us so this was a perfect for nibbles size but for those with a bigger appetite, this would feed one person comfortably.

The selection of pizzas is concise but includes a well thought-out range of different tastes. All the bases are gluten free, and everything is hand-made and hand stretched.

Tori went for the Garlicky (£9.50 10 inch), I went for the Smoked (£10.50 10 inch) and Lewis went for the Olive Tree (£9.00 10 inch).

The pace of the restaurant tonight was distinctively European.  It had a relaxed atmosphere which was only enhanced by a large gathering of Italians on the next table – I could close my eyes and be somewhere in Florence or Rome.  It also makes you realise what a fantastically diverse city we live in.

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The Smoked was a lovely hand-made pizza, full of flavour and covered in delicious Smoked Halloumi.  Tori’s Garlicky was covered in veg and looked colourful, Lewis’ Olive Tree was well topped and tasted very nice, we were told.

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We finished off procedings with a long espresso and some people watching from the big windows that look out over Fore Street.

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One of the things that Fore Street lacks is a good evening destination.  The Flat joins The Jasmine Thai restaurant a little further up, a few kebab shops and Angela’s at the bottom. There have been drives to market the West Quarter and get shoppers down from the High Street beyond South Street.

This will always be a challenge, but I like to think that the more restaurants that open at this end of Exeter will add that little bit more to the Many Reasons To Visit Fore Street.

I am stoked that this is a Pizzeria in the centre of Exeter and I am chuffed that this is a vegetarian/vegan establishment that is joining other similiar places in Exeter like Herbies, The Plant Cafe and Rabbit up near Sidwell Street.

To add to it the pizza is nice, it is cheap (Beer and Pizza potentially for under £15) and their ethos is in line with my own.

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Exeter Food Festival: A quick round-up by Chris Gower

The Exeter Food Festival is a massive part of the culinary calendar for foodies in this wonderful city.  Each year Eating Exeter has written about it and attended dutifully, watched the demos, tweeted and blogged about the experience enjoying the wealth of talented producers and chefs that our region produce.

This year myself and Steve Heath (Chilli Head Chef) had the honour of being part of the action in more ways than one.  Not only was I part of the Question and Answer panel in the BBC Radio Devon Tent, but I was an ‘official’ (ish) photographer and Steve took co-hosted a demo with South Devon Chilli Farm in the Dart’s Farm Teepee.

The festival started off with a photo-call where we were able to snap some newspaper worthy photos in the presence of the great MC himself.

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It was a very informal meeting, where Michael proved that having an Otter Valley ice-cream for breakfast was part of living the dream!

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Neither Lauren or I could make the Saturday, but we definitely had Sunday and Monday covered!  This wasn’t the only thing that was covered, because it was a good thing the majority of the food festival was covered as it rained pretty much solidly on both these days.

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But across the board, this was the only dampener on a fantastic event that constantly draws a large and eclectic array of people from across the region.  The Northernhay Gardens is Britain’s oldest public space having been laid out originally in 1612, the gardens curve around the base of Exeter Castle which makes this the ideal space for holding an event like this, and with the inclusion of the Castle as part of the Festival too, not only can festival-goers experience the best food and drink, they are treated to a walk through history at the same time.

I genuinely love this festival.  The structured program of events, the vast range of activities and goings on, the producers, the after-dark parties and the sheer number of organisations and businesses make me proud to be in a county that takes as much pride in its food & drink as ours does.

Now know that this post is completely bias.  It is also mostly made up of photos so please scroll down for more images of the Sunday that I attended.

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The first stop for us was the Beer Tent.  I had pre-radio nerves and needed some liquid assistance.  As usual I go for Otter Brewery Otter Bright and Tori went for her Dartmoor Ale favourite Jail Ale which was very much needed.

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Being invited to speak on the radio was a great honour.  I was lucky enough to share the stage with my foodie friends Tara (Tara’s Busy Kitchen) and Harry who was standing in for Nick Hook who is Mr Devon Food Hour.

Thirty minutes passed like five, and before you know it, its over.  We had a blast talking about writing a food blog and the fun that it can be, also how easy it is just to start writing.

In no-time at all we were sat waiting for the highlight of the day in the Question Tent, Paul Ainsworth, Michael Caines, Tom Kerridge and Michael Wignall answering questions.

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It was fascinating to see into the minds of these great chefs, what a rare opportunity to have four of the UK’s best in one place!

Then it was time to hot-foot it down to the Cookery Theatre to see the mighty Tom Kerridge demo a classic British favourite.

But before that, we were lucky to catch Michael Caines and Adam Little’s demo.  Adam is a fantastic chef and is Head Chef at the Exeter Golf and Country Club that we reviewed a while back; it was great to see Adam taking the stage even though he was going back later for evening service!

After Adam and Michael’s demonstration finished, the crowd swelled in readiness for the main event.  Tom Kerridge, chef-owner of the Hands and Flowers which has two Michelin Stars demonstrated essentially Steak and Chips, a perfect accompaniment to the Otter Ale that was being served at the VIP guest table.

It was quite awe-inspiring to see the master at work, and even more of an honour given the photos that I ended up taking were some of the best (imho) of my dubious photography career.

I was also thrilled see the legendary Paul Ainsworth’s demo towards the end of the day as well, I have never seen a man handle a lime with so much ease and grace!  Joking aside, I really enjoyed his demonstration – he explained everything carefully and really engaged the room.

The come-down from seeing these demos needed food and by the time we had got our fill of chefs doing magical things with meat, we needed food badly.

I had my eye on a couple of vendors but I was particularly taken with The Guildable Manor, a fresh import from Borough Market in London and we met the lovely affable Dan who introduced us to his lovely sausage-kebab creations with his scratch made sauces and fresh baguettes.

By the end of the day we had run out of time, so we didn’t really get to look at the producers this year.  We did enjoy a small glass of Crispy Pig before we left, but our day was tiring and it was definitely time to go home.

Had we made it to Monday as well we would have seen one of my favourite food bloggers, who coincidentally happens to also be the husband of Co-Editor Lauren, the Chilli Head Chef Steve Heath take part in a demo with South Devon Chilli Farm along with another one of my favourite food bloggers, Mr Marcus Bawdon (in the Hawaiian shirt)!

Steve co-hosted with Phil of SDCF and answered questions from the public.  Steve also helped out with the chilli sauce eating competition with James Dart of Dart’s Farm compering, and Marcus cooked some meat in one of SDCF’s newest sauces.

Exeter Food Festival will always be my favourite food festival.  We are lucky enough to live in a county with a reputation for exquisite and epic food producers and culinary creators, and the festival is a gleaming example of how to celebrate this.  Next year the fun repeats with big names and awesome events  – Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink returns for its 15th year on 5th, 6th and 7th May – the early May Bank Holiday 2018.

http://www.exeterfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk/