Beer and Burger Bonanza at The Bridge Inn, Topsham – by Lauren Heath

The road between Clyst St George and Topsham holds many talented local businesses – Naturalmat, Sapphire Spaces, Amos Lighting and now even the operations for Good Game. Two more of these is the successful Darts Farm and the unique and historic The Bridge Inn pub.

On the back of some playground chat whilst dropping the kids off at school, the business minded ladies at both The Butchers at Darts and The Bridge Inn decided they should do a joint event, especially considering they are so close together. The Bridge Inn already holds ticket-only USA banjo infused music evenings and occasional evenings with Darts Farm providing the fish and chips for customers within their beautiful long brewhouse.

So on a lovely weekday summer’s eve in July, we ventured down to our favourite local pub for The Butchers at Darts Farm and The Bridge inn’s Burger and Beer evening.

It was a community feeling affair; it’s an incredible space filled with treasure, trinkets and furniture and all customers sitting together with friends as well as strangers (you know the saying – ‘arrive as strangers, leave as friends’), all chatting and wondering of the foodie delights ahead.

Caroline, the current owner, told us a bit about the history of this beautiful end of their pink pub. Their history page states:

It is thought there was a dwelling on this site as early as 1086, in the time of the Domesday Book. The stonemasons responsible for the construction of Exeter Cathedral may have lodged here.

The present building you see is substantially 16th Century, but the actual date of the different parts varies considerably. Unlike today, much building in the past was piecemeal, with new rooms added as necessary. Most of the fabric is local stone, but the old brewhouse at the rear is traditional Devon cob. This has the remains of the hop drying floor, and is adjacent to a large brewing chimney.

Great-grandfather was William John Gibbings from Clyst St. George. He moved into the Inn in 1897, and our family has been there ever since. The current licensee is Caroline Cheffers-Heard, his Great Grand-daughter. She is the fourth generation, her daughter Riannon will be the fifth, and Amelia, born in April 2008, will be the sixth generation.

Outside The Butchers at Darts were cooking up a storm on the Big Green Egg, with burgers galore; thankfully the weather was kind, gifting us a glorious Thursday evening.

Beers and burgers were paired up, with Caroline explaining each pairing as we went along and Alastair telling us about the meat and their flavours. We were served sizeable ‘mini’ burgers with generous servings of local ales:

  • Pork burger with Clyst St Mary’s very own Powderkeg Speakeasy
  • Duck burger with Jollyboat’s Thunder
  • Lamb burger with Branscombe Vale’s Summa That

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The big finale was a steak burger with Exmoor’s Beast. This mouthful was served with delightfully fresh salads, and we ventured outside at this point to sit on a bench and enjoy the end of the evening al-fresco.

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The burgers were absolutely delicious, juicy and flavoursome and of course the meat is all locally reared or sourced and expertly prepared by the Butchers at Darts.

The business is family run and based within Darts Farm; brothers Philip and Alastair are Master Butchers, which is not a common title and it means they can choose the right animal by feeling and handling it live on the farm – they even judge competitions. ‘Their knowledge and expertise of breeding, rearing, sourcing, maturing and butchering the best livestock enables us to provide you with the highest quality meat which you can trust.’ Becky, wife to Alastair, takes care of marketing side of the business and was delighted to be able to organise this event and there are plans for more so keep an eye out!

Here’s a peek inside the pub; there are two rooms indoors and both well behaved dogs and children are welcome, but noisy mobile phones are not. Don’t come here if you’re expecting lagers – this pub serves some wines and spirits but are very well known and loved for their fantastic local ales straight from the barrel with an ever changing beer menu being updated on their Facebook page each week. Food-wise they simply serve Chunk’s pasties or ploughmans with local cheese or meats.

If the weather is beautiful enough, you can be served out of the hatch (pictured top left) and sit on the benches enjoying the view!

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So keep an eye out for more joint ventures with these two brilliant examples of what makes local businesses special. If you can’t wait for an event, pop to the pub for a pint and make sure you drop in at the butchers for your burgers to cook at home!

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Caribbean Food Week Street Party Spread – by Lauren Heath

Here at EEDD HQ, as well as local food and restaurants, we like to experiment at home with both recipe books, free-for-all cooking as well as national food initiatives including the Ultimate Crisp Sandwich with a national crisp company and trying out new recipes with British leeks.

I recently got the opportunity to sign up to Caribbean Food Week (celebrated 21st to 28th August), thanks to Grace Foods, and thought – why not! Something different to try at home; I already know of some of their products from the world food aisles in supermarkets, and as we are fairly adventurous at home, thought this would be great.

So my lovely parcel turned up, filled with plenty of goodies to try as well as a token hat, flower garland and funky straws – filling me with the caribbean spirit.

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‘Caribbean Food Week was launched in 2012 by Grace Foods UK; the week presents the perfect opportunity to enjoy a taste of the Caribbean, whether it’s jerk chicken, curried goat, or a delicious Caribbean cocktail!’

Having looked at what we’d received, our menu on the eve of Caribbean Food Week was as follows:

  • Hot & Spicy Jerk Chicken – using the jerk chicken fry mix, we coated our drumsticks and thighs, and cooked them on our ProQ smoker BBQ. The skin was incredibly crispy with a lovely heat (This can, of course, be cooked in the oven or the fryer for maximum crispness). I just love crispy chicken and it keeps the meat moist.
  • Caribbean Spiced Cauliflower Dumplings – local farm shop purple and white cauliflowers (marinated in Jamaican Hot Curry Powder) coated in a spiced tempura based batter then deep fried for an amazing crunch!
  • Jamaican Seasoned Rice – boiled brown rice was then pan fried with the tin of mixed beans, finishing it off with cooked ackee and some spring onions for added texture.
  • Jerk BBQ Sauce Minute Steaks – lovely thin steak marinated in Jerk BBQ sauce and quickly cooked on the griddle – perfect for a bit of sweetness.
  • We had the Jamaican hot sauce and West Indian hot pepper sauce on the side for extra bite where needed.
  • Drinks included a Caribbean Cocktail (our own concoction!) of gin, ginger beer and smooth coconut water!

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Thanks to the unpredictable British weather, our street party spread turned more into a Sunday indoor dinner, but we didn’t mind! Hubby braved the rain (avec brollie!) and smoked our meats and potatoes on the smoker which just added that extra dimension. Our son helped to coat the jerk chicken by getting his groove on and shaking it all in a big tub to ensure it coated evenly!

 

The point is, it’s all about giving something new a go, and livening up that home cooking with easy, flavoursome products – and get family or friends involved.

“Come rain or shine, bring the taste of the Caribbean into your home this August.”

Get involved in Caribbean Food Week #CFW2017! For inspiration and events during the week of 21st – 28th August (or anytime for that matter!) visit:

Website: www.gracefood.co.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/caribbeanfoodweek

Twitter: @caribbeanfoodwk

Instagram: caribbeanfoodweek

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*Grace Foods supplied this complimentary hamper of dried goods as part of Caribbean Food Week but all cooking ideas, recipes and fresh food items were our own and all my honest opinion.

 

 

Countdown to Powderham Food Festival 2017: foodie fun for all the family

With just two months to go until Powderham Food Festival returns for a sixth celebration of local food and drink (Saturday 7th to Sunday 8th October), festival organisers Bob Small and Fiona Gofton are hoping 2017 will be the biggest, best and quite possibly the healthiest food festival they have ever hosted.

Set amid the spectacular grounds of Powderham Castle, home to Lord and Lady Devon, Powderham Food Festival is a magnet for foodies of all ages. So, with nature’s autumnal larder full to brimming with delicious fruits and vegetables, what better time to shine a light on fresh, wholesome and delicious food that the whole family can get excited about.

Charles Courtenay, 19th Earl of Devon (1)
Charles Courtenay, 19th Earl of Devon

Bob Small says, “Powderham has always prided itself on being a family-friendly food festival, but this year we wanted to give everybody food for thought on what they feed their loved ones. It is for this reason that we have teamed up with Sugar Smart to help inform and inspire families on how to cook more with fresh ingredients, less with sugar-filled processed foods and to find simple ways to lower their sugar intake.”

Fiona Gofton says “We all live busy lives, and I know I sometimes struggle to get inspiration for meals to feed my family that are quick, healthy and appeal to everybody’s tastes. Our new family food marquee will focus on wholesome home cooking, offering loads of useful information from Sugar Smart and associated organisations on how families can make small changes to their diet and lifestyle that will have a long-lasting effect on their health and wellbeing.”

Rachel Pinnock, a food anthropology PhD student who works part time at Exeter Cookery School and part time as a Sugar Smart ambassador, will be on hand to show children and their parents how the humble veg can be transformed into a delicious and nutritious family meal. Meanwhile, Judi Spiers will be joining the team from Home Farm Café – a Dartmoor-based farm café with 85% of its menu featuring local, seasonal produce – with demonstrations from Stella West-Harling and Nick Smith on how to create exciting and delicious dinners for week-night meal times.

Fun Kitchen will also be supporting Sugar Smart’s campaign at this year’s Powderham Food Festival, as it returns once more with its popular, messy and educational hands-on cookery classes for children. Fun Kitchen founder and Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassador, Joe Mann, is a firm believer in making cooking fun and accessible for children, and has been instrumental in teaching about food beyond the classroom as a partner of the Growing Devon Schools Partnership.

For a wondrous line-up of the region’s culinary talents, head to the Exeter Cookery School stage. Jim and Lucy Fisher, the dynamic husband and wife team who opened Exeter Cookery School in the summer of 2016, will play host to a dazzling array of cookery demonstrations for the third consecutive year. Working with the region’s very fine seasonal larder, chefs confirmed so far this year are Richard Hunt (TV chef, consultant chef & founder of Devon Scone Company), Richard Valder (head chef and co-owner of @Angela’s Restaurant), Paul Greenhead (chef and co-owner of Café Catalan), Rachel Pinnock (Exeter Cookery School) and Nila Ross-Patel (Exeter Cookery School tutor), with more chefs yet to be revealed.

Stella West-Harling (Home Farm Cafe), Judi Spiers and Lucy Fisher (Exeter Cookery School) (8)
Stella West-Harling (Home Farm Cafe), Judi Spiers & Lucy Fisher (Exeter Cookery School)

Completing the cookery demonstration areas, the ever-popular Theatre of Fire and Smoke will also be back at Powderham Food Festival to delight its loyal following. Barbecue and food smoking aficionados Simon Dyer, Marcus Bawdon and John Gower from Quiet Waters Farm, will be cooking up a storm. Meanwhile, the Clifton Chilli Club will be hosting their usual increasingly fiery chillies on members of the public in the Great Devon Chilli Challenge – for the bravest of souls (or should we say stomachs).

And if that was not all, there will be over 100 local food and drinks producers and craft stalls to explore and give you plenty to keep your tummies happy. The festival will be a fantastic family and foodie day out for all to enjoy – so make sure you put the date in your diary for the must-visit Autumn Food Festival at Powderham Castle!

Tickets for Powderham Food Festival are available to purchase online via www.powderhamfoodfestival.com with a saving of 25% for advanced purchase tickets!

 

Family Fun at the River Cottage Summer Festival

FAMILY FUN AT THE RIVER COTTAGE SUMMER FESTIVAL

Under 16s go free when accompanied by an adult

Fun galore awaits children and adults alike as the River Cottage Summer Festival draws near. Taking place across the August bank holiday weekend (26th – 27th August) the Festival offers visitors a packed schedule of family friendly activities and foodie delights. The whole family can enjoy top music acts and great children’s entertainment, all in a beautiful East Devon setting.  Children under 16 go free when accompanied by an adult making the Summer Festival a fantastic, affordable day out for the whole family and a perfect way to celebrate the end of the summer season.

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Visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities and entertainment, from watching performances by Swamp Circus and Rainbow Gecko Giant Bubbles, to getting hands on with Play Art Junk Modelling or taking a foraging tour with John Wright. Littles ones can enjoy baby massages, kids yoga, the hands-on mud kitchen, sandpit, felting and flower workshops and the Marine Monster making. Other workshops include pottery, jewellery making and clay modelling. Nature lovers can immerse themselves in the wonders of the stunning countryside with guided geology walks with local butterfly experts as well as star gazing after sunset.

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Take part in one of the masterclasses to find out how to make your own sushi or cook over a wood fire. The little ones can get stuck into pizza making or creating their own ice cream sundae masterpiece with prices starting from just £20.

When thoughts turn to food, visitors can enjoy a veritable feast of tasty homemade dishes on offer throughout the weekend with delectable street food from local artisan producers. Treat yourself to a Farmhouse Feast and immerse yourself in the River Cottage atmosphere. The two-course sit down meal is served in the iconic Farmhouse for just £20 and offers a mouthwatering menu designed using fresh, seasonal and local produce from the farm, garden and local suppliers. There will also be a selection of bars located across the Festival serving a variety of sumptuous drinks from Chase Vodka cocktails and English sparkling wine from neighboring Castlewood Vineyard to locally sourced beers, ciders, wines and seasonal cocktails.

A team of chefs and experts will be on hand to share their culinary tips throughout the two-day weekend on the Garden Stage hosted by Steven Lamb. On the Saturday, visitors can enjoy a mix of chefs, speakers and activists including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, forager John Wright, Bake-Off star Chetna Makan and herbalist Katie from Pukka Teas. On the Sunday, award-winning blogger Ed Smith will take to the stage alongside Satish Kumar, Michelin-starred Adam Byatt and Hugh.

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Festival goers can enjoy music throughout the weekend with a variety of brilliant musicians on the line-up. There is live music from midday until 10pm on both days, with entertainment for the whole family. On the Saturday, Sound of the Sirens will headline alongside The Jack Daniels Band, Them Voices Poor, Sadie Horler, Hungry Bentley, Nicky Swann and DJ Diggz. On the Sunday, visitors can enjoy music from The Travelling Band, Mr Tea and the Minions, Melissa Bel, Mark McCabe, Tori Reed and the Troubadours and DJ Diggz.

For more information and to book tickets, visit the website: www.rivercottage.net/festival/2017. River Cottage is running a free park and ride service to and from the Festival or add to the experience with VIP parking onsite available for just £5 per car.

South West Coffee Festival – by Lauren Heath

COFFEE – a need for some (a drug, some might say), a taste sensation for others. A pick me up, a relaxer, a wake up call, a bedtime warmer. Some like it hot, some like it cold – I’ll have it any which way as long as it’s not instant. Whatever your want or need, the options that are available for coffee lovers now is reaching those of ale or wine – dry, smooth, fruity, dark and more readily available in beans, grounds, bag or pod.

A new event was on the horizon to showcase this delightful drink. We’d known about the South West Coffee Festival since early in the year and I was very intrigued by what it would become – I knew it would be a boutique size event but wasn’t sure about who or what I would discover that I didn’t already know about – turns out quite a bit actually.

I did not see some of the more local coffee producers I had expected to, which I guess is a good thing as it’s always great to find something new. The event was held in a lovely barn at Powderham Castle, with plenty of room for hovering, manoeuvring and sipping coffee.

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I was delighted to discover Littlestone Coffee Roasters – a young team who are based right here in Exeter, in Marsh Barton, and who served me a strong and fruity Rubanda. They had at least 3 more types of coffee on offer.

Having heard of a chai latte, and assuming it was tea related, I have never drunk any (I like tea, but nothing more than a great strong builders brew, not these flower powery sorts of good for you teas..). So I was impressed and surprised to like Bath based Henny & Joe’s chai that was served as a milky drink – it was slightly vanilla, with all the flavours and spices perfectly balanced. I was given a bottle of the chocolate one to try at home and I look forward to giving it a road test!

Great things were on show from ecoffeecup with their natural, reusable bamboo based travel cups in a vast array of exciting designs and colours! More and more coffee shops are allowing you to use your own coffee cup, even giving a slight discount off your latte, in order to bring down the volume of cups going to landfill. These will make a great purchase for yourself or as a gift and I know they sell them in Toot Garook on Queen Street, Exeter (opposite the RAMM).

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Another sustainable and innovative stand was vegware based in Edinburgh; this company are manufacturing all sorts of takeaway packaging including beautifully defined coffee cups, all from plant based materials, that are compostable as well. I was so impressed by the visual quality too – all competitively priced versus the terrible non recyclables like polystyrene. Anyone in purchasing for large stores or restaurants and takeaways please do have a look at this company and consider using them instead.

Speaking of sustainable – I also met a lovely couple from Dorset who own Eco Roast as well as Flaming Dorset Coffee Roasters. Now, apart from their eye catching branding on their Flaming packaging, and their knockout nitro coffee, what was more interesting was how, as part of Eco Roast, they collect the coffee grounds from the companies they supply, and use this as energy to fuel the grinding of further coffee! Thanks to these ethics, clever ways, and zero waste, they supply The Eden Project with their coffee as well as it being available to customers in their retail outlet.

Still in virtual Dorset, Conker Spirit were popular, offering their gorgeously smooth and very satisfying cold brew coffee liquer – certainly a tipple worth having at home. My son took advantage of the cool chair for a rest.

Back to a Devon supplier, and Owens Coffee Roasters did the trick with a smooth flat white to finish off my visit – the boy even got a ‘babycino’. I was even more pleased to notice a bottle of Urban Brew Coffee Stout on their stand – a combination of talents between Owens and Summerskills Brewery – so I snapped one up and it’s awaiting its fate this weekend.

There was a couple of stands I didn’t get to and that was only due to having enough coffee (even by my standards) and the fact my naturally high child (no need for caffeine there!) had had enough after an hour and 15 minutes. There was cupping demo’s, some Q & A’s and music to be enjoyed too. Here’s a full list of who was there – do check them out, discover something new and support these great coffee artisans, whether from Devon or further up the country.

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Overall, a great little event that was small enough to be personal and you could really chat with the stands. Organised by Derry Tydeman, the owner of The Glorious Art House Cafe – the website already alludes to next year’s event – so watch this space!

Traders, potential sponsors or general public – sign up for further info on 2018’s event here.

Foozie is bringing the Gin Bus and Prosecco Bus to Exeter

Teaming up with 6 O’Clock Gin and Scavi & Ray, Foozie is heading to Exeter for two very special, and one-off events!

Bursting with events celebrating the popularity of gin and prosecco, Exeter has yet to experience these delicious drinks on an open-top bus! That is until Foozie, Bristol’s leading experimental ‘foodie and boozie’ events agency, decided to bring its Gin and Prosecco Bus Series to Exeter for the Summer of 2017.

After a huge success in Bristol (with 600 tickets selling in 4 hours), Foozie is venturing out of its hometown to bring the Boozie Bus Series to Exeter! With two dates in August, each event will accommodate 50 guests aboard an open-top bus. Taking them on a 2-hour long scenic tour of the city, the events are completed with gin cocktails and prosecco.

The first event will take place on the 12th August with an exciting collaboration with 6 O’Clock Gin – one of the UK’s finest gin distilleries. Based in Thornbury, Bristol, the distillery has crafted four gin-based cocktails for guests to enjoy whilst taking in the most beautiful sites around Exeter.

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Roll on 26th August and Foozie brings you Exeter’s first Prosecco Bus: The Bubble Decker. Teaming up with Italian prosecco heavyweights: Scavi & Ray, guests will be offered a drink on arrival and 5 glasses of prosecco throughout the event.

● Saturday July 22nd – The ‘Bubble Decker’ Prosecco Bus

● Saturday July 29th – The 6 O’clock Gin Bus

Foozie’s founder and food and drink fanatic, Thom Whitchurch, said of the event:

“We’re so excited to be bringing these events to Exeter. I come to the city regularly and it was the natural next step for us. The cocktails that 6 O’Clock have created are incredible, and Scavi & Ray make one of the best proseccos in the world! We can’t wait to serve these on our buses and take in the sites of the city.”

Foozie offers a free membership to ‘Club Foozie’ where members receive exclusive discounts and priority on all of their events. Guests who signed up to Club Foozie will receive a 10% discount on the Exeter Bus Series and notified 24 hours before they go on sale to the general public.

Tickets will be available to Club Foozie members on Friday 30th June and Saturday 1st July to the general public. Club Foozie members will be emailed at 10am on Friday 30th to buy tickets.

Sign up here: www.foozie.co.uk/club-foozie/

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/ 

Salcombe Crab Festival – by Lauren Heath

What a food filled weekend! On Sunday 30th April, I attended the Salcombe Crab Festival; I was not going to let our British weather make us crabby by stopping our bank holiday weekend fun, so my family and I donned the raincoats and wellies and off we drove.

Salcombe is approx. 1 hour south of Exeter, on a steady drive and boy you do know when are you nearby; the sea down below just peeking through the trees, and the lushest bright green roadsides guiding you down to the bay.

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Salcombe Crabfest is a smaller annual festival, organised by volunteers from the Rotary Club of Salcombe and sponsored by Favis of Salcombe and Coast and Country Cottages. It has music, food stalls and food related events spread throughout the town which creates a lovely festival vibe.

This year the event was being opened by Matt Tebbutt, well known for presenting Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped as well as Saturday Kitchen and a being a regular contributor for Waitrose Kitchen magazine.  He would then also be cooking up a storm (although nature had already given us one) with local food hero and seafood ambassador Mitch Tonks, the co-founder of the Rockfish restaurants and takeaways as well as The Seahorse Restaurant in Dartmouth.

The cookery demo was great, very free flowing with both of them having a good time and answering any random questions thrown at them. Mitch cooked Singapore spicy crab as well as deep fried soft shell crab rolls which made their way around the lucky few in the audience and Matt cooked crab ravioli using spring roll papers – a trick I am going to try at home! The ravioli was absolutely delicious, served in a crab broth – I was near enough to the front to be fast enough with a nearby spoon!

There was an hourly tour at Salcombe Gin Distilling Co and this was an eye opener; we got a shortened version of their new Gin School offering, so learnt a bit about how they make the gin, chose some ingredients and got to taste the final product. Do look them up for a gift for yourself or a loved one (they are award winning already too – see recent press release here) you get to create your very own flavour of gin and not only take a full bottle home, but also enjoy your drinks in their lovely bar afterwards.

We saw JB Preserves, Bell and Loxton Oils, Favis of Salcombe, Salcombe Brew Coffee, South Devon Chilli Farm, amongst others. My son loves crab so enjoyed a fresh pot full and he even tried an oyster!

Live music filled the air wherever we were, the local shops were buzzing and who can resist a view like this round every corner?

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For a free event, it’s a great day out – perhaps plan a night or two away for next year and wander around the festival enjoying the many food and drink delights on offer without having to drive home.

Look out for next years date and get it in the diary!

 

Win a Family Pass to the River Cottage Spring Food Fair!

Taking place over May Bank Holiday, River Cottage Spring Food Fair is the perfect way to celebrate this season’s foodie delights and activities, surrounded by the gorgeous East Devon countryside. Promised to be packed full of fun for all the family to enjoy, enter our competition and you could win a family pass for Monday 29th May 2017.

 

We’ve rounded up our top 10 things to do at the Spring Food Fair….

  1. Enjoy a cookery masterclass – Get cooking with our adult and child masterclasses and learn the secret behind cookies and doughnuts & pasta and focaccia. If parents want to try their hand at something different then there are a range of other masterclasses to enjoy from Wild Cocktails with John Wright to Outdoor Cookery with Gill Meller
  2. Pottery Workshops – Learn how to make a seedling pot which will be yours to take away at the end of the session
  3. Falconry displays – Marvel at these beautiful birds as they fly around and catch their prey
  4. Food, food and more food! Feast on delicious fare from our local producers, pop up food stalls, try some delicious River Cottage wood fired pizza or dine in our farmhouse pop-up restaurant!
  5. Bee Area – Visit the East Devon Beekeepers and learn all about bees, you will also be able to make and take away your very own candle and take part in a fun bee-related quiz.
  6. Lucet Braiding/Felting workshops – Learn how to make textile jewellery e.g. friendship bracelet using the Lucet & 100% wool fibres or textile waste or you could learn the basic principles of needle-felting to create a delightful bumble bee brooch
  7. Enjoy spectacular large bubble displays/ get face painted
  8. Forest school – Learn how to build a shelter, whittle pegs and light a fire
  9. Animal area – Wonder around the farm and meet the River Cottage animals and other friends. Pigs, sheep, cows, chickens, alpacas, miniature ponies will all be around for you to see.
  10. Natural woodcraft workshops – Use natural resources to make you very own bug box or a beautiful wooden flower

…and if that’s not enough to tempt you, visit the website (www.rivercottage.net) to find out more or buy yourself some tickets.

To be in with the chance of winning a family pass to the Spring Food Fair on Monday 29th May, where you can enjoy all of our favourite spring delights and much more, simply enter the competition below.

Terms & Conditions

  • In order to enter please just retweet the pinned post on Twitter or like, share and comment on the pinned post on Facebook.
  • Closing date Midnight 30.04.2017
  • Prize includes two adult tickets and two child tickets to the River Cottage Spring Food Fair on Monday 29th May 2017
  • Transport is not included
  • Open to residents of the UK aged over 18
  • Prize is non-transferable or amendable
  • No cash alternative
  • Additional costs incurred are payable by the winner

 

*Featured header image courtesy of Nick Hook Photography

Foodie Fundraising Feast by Lauren Heath

Recently the wonderfully charming Andy Cooper, Editor of Devon Life magazine, lost his darling Zena warrior princess to that awful disease Cancer. Obviously nothing can bring her back or heal the wound fully but as in life one must find the good within the bad.

So apart from deciding to run the Taunton half marathon in her honour to raise funds towards his chosen charities, Bowel Cancer UK and St Mary’s Hospice, he also enlisted the help of ex-River Cottage chef and fellow Devonian, Tim Maddams.

It was to be held the same evening of the half marathon in Andy’s local village hall, with 100 seats available. So Andy would have certainly earned a feed! Tim is no stranger to pop up dinners so apart from knowing the food would be great, we thought this seemed a wonderful idea to raise funds through a foodie feast, so Stephanie of Exploring Exeter and I decided this was a worthy ticket to purchase.

There were many wonderful raffle prizes to be won on the evening thanks to many incredible businesses in Devon and Cornwall who gave generously including afternoon tea for 12, jewellery, spa days and so on.

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The hall was filled with locals and business connections, tables of friends and some tables of ‘strangers’, as ours was, but conversation soon flowed. Many of us were armed with a bottle or two of something to celebrate Zena’s memory with Andy as well as his efforts.

It wasn’t just Tim Maddams in the kitchen in the end; Robin Rea of The Rusty Pig was also there to make up a dynamic foodie duo. Not content with exceeding his steps for the day, Andy had his waiter hat on for the evening and served the guests too.

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The menu consisted of:

Starter – root vegetable and wild garlic pottage, nettle and water mint pesto.

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Meat main – slow roasted mutton, smoke rooted loin, spring greens, barley, rooting juices

Vegetarian main – Saffron polenta, purple broccoli, romesco sauce

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Pudding – rhubarb upside down cake, honey and raw milk custard.

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It was just so incredibly delicious, local hearty fare. We had a great evening.

The main reason I am writing this is not to shout about my experience but now that I have your attention, if anyone out there with a few pounds to spare, please can you donate to this very worthy cause.

So don’t delay; visit the #TeamZena fundraising page now. Let’s help stop this awful disease in its tracks or at least help those currently suffering. He has already managed just shy of £6,000!

Well done to everyone involved in #TeamZena’s memory.

5 Week Countdown to the Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink! *WIN TICKETS*

The 14th Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink is returning to the Exeter Castle Courtyard and Northernhay Gardens in the very heart of the city in just 5 weeks’ time! The 2017 Festival is running across the early May Bank Holiday weekend, from Saturday 29th April to Monday 1st May 2017.

Activities for children include interactive workshops including, Fun Kitchen cookery classes, farm animals, story-telling and craft activities. The Darts Farm ‘Food is Fun’ Teepees also host a packed schedule of informative and fun family workshops, talks on topical food and drink themes and demonstrations from local chefs.

You can find over 90 artisan producers from the region in the Food & Drink marquees, 7 Michelin-starred chefs cooking up a storm in the Festival Cookery Theatre and three evenings of music at the After Dark Music Festival (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

For your chance to win a family pass to the Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink on Monday 1st May where you can enjoy cookery demos from Michelin-starred chefs Mark Dodson from The Mason Arms and co-founder Michael Caines from Lympstone Manor, simply enter our competition below.

How many Michelin-starred chefs will be demoing at the Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink this year?

a) 3

b) 5

c) 7

For more information or to buy tickets visit: www.exeterfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk.

Terms & Conditions

  1. Closing date 14.04.2017
  2. Prize includes two adult tickets and two child tickets to the Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink on Monday 1st May 2017
  3. Access to the VIP lounge is not included
  4. Transport is not included.
  5. Open to residents of the UK aged over 18
  6. Prize is non-transferable or amendable
  7. No cash alternative
  8. Additional costs incurred are payable by the winner
  9. Enter by commenting the answer on our pinned Facebook post or by replying or retweeting the answer using our pinned Twitter post.

 

*Main featured photo copyright of Nick Hook Photography

Michelin-Starred Chef Line-Up Announced for the Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink

Tom Kerridge confirmed in chef line up!
Early May bank holiday weekend – Saturday 29 April – Monday 1 May

 An all-star line-up of chefs has been confirmed for this year’s Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink including Tom Kerridge who will join festival co-founder Michael Caines MBE in the cookery theatre on the Sunday.

Seven Michelin-starred chefs are among the line-up this year, including Tom Kerridge, Michael Caines MBE, Simon Hulstone, Paul Ainsworth, Michael Wignall, Mark Dodson and Josh Eggleton, alongside a further 30 talented chefs demonstrating. The seven award-winning chefs will be performing live demos across Sunday 30th April and Monday 1st May in the Festival Cookery Theatre.

The three-day Festival is a celebration of the South West’s Food and Drink producers and top chefs, taking place over the early May bank holiday weekend (Saturday 29th April to Monday 1st May 2017) at Exeter Castle and the surrounding Northernhay Gardens.

Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge said: “I was really pleased when Michael asked me to be part of the festival. I’m looking forward to coming down to Exeter for the bank holiday and demonstrating on the Sunday as well as sampling the amazing local produce.”

Tom Kerridge at EFF 2017

Visitors to the Festival can enjoy demonstrations in the Festival cookery theatre from Saturday morning to Monday afternoon, with demos, head-to-head competitions and the school competition taking place across the weekend.

Alongside the fantastic line-up of top chefs from the region, the 14th Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink will feature more than 90 producers, as well as BBC Radio Devon’s Festival Question Time, the Dart’s Farm ‘Food is Fun’ Teepees and demonstrations of tasty recipes in the West Country Bakery Theatre.

Throughout the weekend local musicians will entertain visitors in the Exeter Castle Courtyard. The three After Dark Music Festivals will take place on Friday 28th April (Headliner: The Locked Horns, supported by Stephens Scown’s Choir and Loose Cannons Band), Saturday 29th April (Headliner: Leigh Coleman Band, supported by Yazzy, Joanna Cooke and Celine Dos Santos) and Sunday 30th April (Headliner: Bill Ding and the Skyscrapers, supported by Alex Dobson and Roger Styles).

The Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink is supported by Exeter City Council. The festival is a not for profit event. Tickets can be booked in advance and are available online.

For more information or to buy tickets visit: www.exeterfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk.

The chef line up, with 6 Michelin stars between them, includes;

  • Michelin starred chef, Michael Caines, Lympstone Manor
  • Mitch Tonks, Rockfish
  • Matt Mason, The Jack in the Green
  • Matthew Peryer, Lewtrenchard Manor
  • Dez Turland, Saunton Sands
  • Darrin Hosegrove, Ashburton Cookery School
  • Peter Gorton
  • Harrison Brockington, South West Chef of the Year Winner Student/Apprentice
  • Daniel Gavriilidis, The PIG-at Combe
  • Guy Owen, The Idle Rocks
  • Michelin starred chef, Simon Hulstone, The Elephant
  • Michelin starred chef, Michael Wignall, Gidleigh Park
  • Thomas Hine, Lympstone Manor
  • Adam Little, Exeter Golf and Country Club
  • Michelin starred chef Tom Kerridge, The Hand and Flowers
  • Michelin starred chef Paul Ainsworth, at No6
  • Elly Wentworth, Lucknam Park
  • Sue Stoneman, South West Winner Home Cook
  • Neil Haydock, Watergate Bay
  • James Mason, Kentisbury Grange
  • Angus McCaig, The Holt at Honiton
  • Liam Finnegan, The Castle Hotel
  • Emily Scott, The St Trudy Inn
  • Scott Paton, Borringdon Hall
  • Ian Webber, The Five Bells Inn
  • Rob Spencer, Ashburton Cookery School
  • Jamie Coleman, South West Winner Overall & Professional
  • Timothy Kendall, South West Winner Young Professional
  • Michelin starred chef Josh Eggleton, The Pony & Trap
  • Tom Williams-Hawkes, The Salutation Inn
  • Ethan Macdonald, South West Winner Junior Category
  • Bini Ludlow, Sweet Cumin
  • Ashley Wright, The Horn of Plenty
  • Michelin starred chef Mark Dodson, The Mason Arms
  • Jean-Phillippe Bidart, The Millbrook Inn

2017 Food Festival Dates for your diary!

We are very lucky in this county and beyond, to have such wonderful food and produce – what better way to experience all of this together than at a Food Festival!

Here’s a round up of the upcoming 2017 Food Festivals in Devon as well as a couple from  Cornwall. Click on the website links for further info or read our review of the previous year’s event for a feel of what you can expect. This page will be updated constantly if other events pop-up, so do come back to double check if you’re looking for an event to visit. (Updated 15/03/2017)

April

8th: Cullompton Springfest – Check their website for further info.

A food, craft and music festival; there will be a Farmer’s Market, plus a range of food producers selling their food products as well as cooked food to sell on the day. Local restaurant, The Bakehouse, will be hosting an Indian Cuisine night and there is a special meal at The Walronds on the night (ticket only), with a celebrity chef doing the honours.

8th – 9th: Budleigh Food and Drink Festival – Check their website for further info.

A festival spread out through Budleigh Salterton, with local drinks, food, produce,music and chef demos and even a Budleigh Master Chef final live for you to watch the action in the village hall!

28th – 30th: Q’fest BBQ Competition and festival – Check their website for further info.

New to the South West and driven by the increased interest in UK BBQ’ing, smoking and outdoor cooking, this BBQ competition can be entered into if you dare! For visitors there will be camping, products, demos, bouncy castles for the kids, beer and live music in the barn as well as the opportunity to taste some of the best BBQ in the country.

29th – 30th & 1st May: Exeter Food and Drink Festival – Check their website for further info. Last years write up: Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink 2016

In our opinion, the largest event in the South West and right here in Exeter centred around Exeter Castle. An excellent festival including evening music events, live music during the day, beer tent, kids cookery and activity tents, farm animals, plenty of food to eat, producers and no shortage of tasters – come hungry! Demo kitchen, chef’s Q&A, wine tasting as well as a VIP option with an extra room full of treats and a place to rest.

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Exeter Food & Drink Festival

30th: Salcombe Crab Fest – Check out their website for further info.

A celebration of crab and seafood – with demos, crab picking tuition, commercial crab fishing talk, crab pot making, music, wine tasting and more.

May

1st: Exeter Food and Drink Festival – Check their website for further info.Last years write up: Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink 2016

See description above in April.

27th – 29th: River Cottage Spring Fair –Check their website for further info.

On the grounds of the famous River Cottage HQ at Axminster, this lovely festival is full of food, music and producers in a fantastic setting.

28th – 29th: Dartington Food Fair – Check their website for further info. Last years write up: Dartington Food Fair 2016

Held in the grounds of the Shops at Dartington, this great event includes a demo tent, large food producers tent, plenty of food to eat, along with a few kids activities. On top of that you can enjoy the deli, the kitchen shop, toy shop as well as the drinks shop! A great excuse to visit and get two in one!

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Dartington Food Fair

June

2nd – 4th: Plymouth Flavour Fest – Check their website for further info.

Quite a large food festival spread out through Plymouth city centre. Food stalls, producers, drinks marquee and chef demo tent, including this years guest appearance from 2016 Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown.

3rd: Ottery St Mary Food and Families Festival – Check their website for further info.

Now in its 5th year, this event is aimed at foodies and all the family, encouraging healthy eating and showcasing local produce and restaurants. On Friday 2nd from 6pm, there will be Tap into Tapas where you can enjoy various small plates from local eateries but all in the Food Theatre Marquee. There will be demos from The Salutation Inn, The Pig at Combe, Exeter Cookery School, and The Samosa Lady. There” be kids activities in The Library,  Tickety Boo and The Institute.

17th – 18th: Crediton Food Festival – Check their website for further info.

Now in it’s 9th year, great for food stalls, music and demos.

July

30th:  Rockfish Crab Festival, Dartmouth South Embankment

The Rockfish Crab Festival is now in its 6th year, championed by restaurateur Mitch Tonks & co-hosted by Angela Hartnett, it celebrates all that is great about our British crab. Enjoy music, local crab, children’s crabbing competition & the best-dressed table competition – that’s the table not the guests! Bring bunting, table linen, flowers, candelabra, whatever you fancy.  Guaranteed fun & guaranteed weather-proofing with a marquee!  Tickets at www.rockfishevents.co.uk

August

4th – 6th: The South West Coffee Festival –  Check their website for further info.

This inauguaral event, open to trade and baristas as well as the public and enthusiasts, the event will be held at Powderham Castle. If you love coffee…get yourself to this event! We have been given an exclusive level of discount off the already affordable ticket price:

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6th: Pen’Grillie’ BBQ Festival – Check out their website for further info.

Held at Pentillie Castle, to the east of Plymouth, last year’s inaugural festival was a great event of BBQ competition, live music, chilli eating competition, kids activity tent, food and product stalls all in a beautiful setting.

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Pen’Grillie’ 2016

September

2nd: Nourish Festival, Bovey Tracey – Check their website for further info. 2015’s write up by Editor, Chris, can be read here.

Bovey Tracey’s Fore Street gets transformed for this music, food, craft festival and Devon Street Food Awards with a new addition for 2017…Nourish Gin Festival! There will also be two evenings of concerts.

3rd: Clovelly Lobster and Crab Festival – Check their website for further info.

A unique and beautiful place, Clovelly celebrates its famous lobsters and crabs sustainably caught by its fishermen with a great day out for all the family. This year is its 10th Anniversary.

9th: Topsham Beer and Bacon Festival

This little festival is not all fancy and big – it’s perfectly formed and organised by the guys at The Pig and Pallet/Good Game. A beer tent, some bacon and pork based food stalls, a side loader truck opened up for the live music to perform on, and right in front of The Lighter Inn on Topsham Quay. If you’re local, be sure to pop down for a good time.

9th: Ashburton Food & Drink Festival – Check their Facebook page for more info.

A full day of local foodie delights and entertainment.

16th – 17th: Plymouth Seafood Festival – Check their website for further info.

The website states “The Barbican and Sutton Harbour will come alive on Saturday 16 to Sunday 17 September, with a celebration of locally sourced and sustainably caught, high quality seafood.”

With Plymouth having the second largest fish market in the UK, events spread across this harbourside city includes cookery theatre with well known regional chefs, food stalls, crabbing competition, and a cardboard boat race amongst other activities!

17th: 1st ever Rockfish Crab Festival Day at Sutton Harbour, during Seafood Week in Plymouth – Check their website for further info.

Live music, magic, a special crab menu for the day, all hosted by restaurateur and chef Mitch Tonks. We’ll also be distilling the first ever Plymouth Uni Gin, a recipe made jointly with students at from Plymouth University’s Hospitality and Catering Department – we’ll have a VW campervan parked outside distilling the gin throughout the day so be there for a historic first taste! No tickets for this event but pre-booking tables advised.

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25th – 31st: Taste of the Teign and Teignmouth Harbour Festival – Check their website for further info.

A week long food event that will include Smokeinteignhead, a newly added BBQ competition. Various events are held and venues and include Tea on the Teign, jam making workshops, an evening in the orchard, Fry Up Friday, street food market, farmers market and culminating with a food fair.

October

1st – Taste of the Teign

See above info in September.

7th – 8th: Powderham Food Festival Check their website for further info.

Last years write up: Powderham Food Festival 2016.

Held inside Powderham Castle and around the beautiful grounds, this fabulous festival includes a Theatre of Fire and Smoke, food stalls, producers, drinks, items for sale, free cookery classes for kids by Fun Kitchen, demo kitchen with local great chefs and some live music.

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Powderham Food Festival

20th – 22nd: Dartmouth Food Festival. Check their website for further details.

Held all along the harbour with plenty of food stalls, products and demos to be enjoyed as well as special offers in restaurants.

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Some of the above events we have visited and some we haven’t so it’s a mix of knowledge, opinion and information gathered from the websites. Please check websites or organisers directly regarding prices, parking and accessibility. If you know of any events that we have missed, please feel free to tweet or DM us on Twitter and Facebook.

Laithwaites Wine Tasting in Exeter on 25th March – Mercure Rougemont

Here at Eating Exeter, we like wine.  We prefer tasting it and exploring new varieties than drinking it in any great quantity (not that the editor is a lightweight…honesty) so when a wine tasting event visits our fair city, it always causes a great deal of excitement.

I recommend you read through the post if you’re a wine fan. We also have a little Eating Exeter exclusive deal on tickets!

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Family owned wine merchant Laithwaites Wine will make their annual trip to Exeter, on the 25th March at the Rougemont Hotel – hosting two wine tasting events, pouring a range of over 30 wines in the heart of the city.

Laithwaite’s Wine was founded in 1969, when Tony Laithwaite drove a van of Bordeaux wine to England to share with family and friends. Laithwaite’s has grown to become the UK’s largest home-delivery wine merchant, yet remains family owned and still gives pride of place to smaller producers.

The Laithwaite’s wine team tastes over 40,000 wines a year before selecting the best buys for customers. Laithwaite’s offers 1,500 wines from 22 countries, ranging in price from £4.99 up to £1,200 a bottle and all covered by a 100% guarantee of enjoyment.

Laithwaite’s Wine is the only UK wine merchant to win the ServiceMark accreditation from the Institute of Customer Service and offers a complimentary Wine Advisor service.

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There will be the latest customer favourites and new discoveries from around the world. Taste big reds, crisp whites and refreshing roses as well as a selection of sparkling and even a few dessert wines.

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Event ticket includes:

–  A glass of chilled sparkling wine on arrival – the perfect way to begin your tasting!

–   Taste over 30 delicious wines from around the world.

–    It’s a chance to meet the passionate producers who will be happy to share their stories behind the bottles.

–    Educated guidance from our friendly team who will be on hand to help pour and answer any questions you may have.

–    All orders placed at the tasting will benefit from an exclusive event discount and FREE delivery, when you order more than 6 bottles!

Tickets are just £25 per person and include all of your wine samples, exclusive tasting glass and wine brochure listing all the wines on taste that will be sent in advance.

What is involved in this price?

A ticket to the Laithwaites Exeter tasting includes opportunities to taste and re-taste over 30 wines and a chance to chat to many of the producers of the wines on show as well as our knowledgeable Laithwaites staff who are always keen to talk about their products!  Guests will also be sent a comprehensive programme with a list of the wines and tasting notes for each of them prior to the event. They will also be given a tasting glass on arrival which is theirs to keep and use throughout the session. On top of all of this we also have event exclusive offers for them to take advantage of if they order wine at the event such as free delivery (usually £7.99), discounts on the wines plus free gifts when ordering a certain number of bottles.

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What’s the itinerary for the day?

We will be hosting two sessions, one from 1.30pm – 3.30pm and another from 6.00pm – 8.00pm. Both sessions will have the same wine selection and features but the timings aim to suit customer’s plans. Some chose to come along to the earlier session and head off to enjoy the rest of the day whereas others chose to come along to evening session to start of an evening possibly heading off for dinner or further plans afterwards.

The format is very informal and relaxed. Customers are given a tasting glass on arrival and are then free to make their way around the tables in any order that they like, returning to any that they wish to. We also like to get them involved in voting for their favourite wine of the show, which is announced at the end of the session as well as a prize draw.

This event will also include the opportunity to take a virtual reality tour of our very own winery in Bordeaux, Le Chai au Quai. Customers can pop on the headset and be transported to the banks of the Dordogne to hear from Tony Laithwaite himself and winemaker Mark Hoddy about the wine making process.

Will there be any special guests attending the event?

We will be joined by representatives from wineries across the globe including; Bodegas Manzanos from Rioja in Spain, famous Penfolds from Australia, Insight Wines of New Zealand who specialise in single vineyard varieties as well as world-renowned Laurent Perrier who will be offering a selection of show-stopping Champagne.

As well as wine we will also be welcoming local food producers Somerset Charcuterie who will have a selection of produce to sample and purchase.

And to top it all off we will be joined by jazz band ‘So What’ who will be providing the perfect background music to the event.

To book your tickets, call 03330 148 200 or visit laithwaites.co.uk/exeter today.

Enter the code EXETER241 when you select tickets in multiples of two and to get 50% off the cost.

 

 

 

Private Dining at The Pig at Combe – by Lauren Heath

The Pig at Combe is far from the dusty, muddy, snorty (but intelligent) animal it is named after, it does however embody the essence of countryside. As you drive towards it from the a30 and through the villages, you see this warm glow illuminating in the distance, calling you into its warm belly.

I have heard many many things about the Pig at Combe- all positive; and having seen plenty of lovely pictures, have wandered what it would be like to dine there. Editor Chris visited late last year and thoroughly enjoyed himself with their 25 mile ethos, you can read his write up here.

On this occasion I was invited to enjoy their private dining option along with some other press. I was really looking forward to it and had not just my foodie/social hat on but also my corporate hat – as in my day job as a PA, it is good to have places to book for meetings or events as well as to add to my pool of knowledge to recommend to others.

To start the evening, I was led underground to the cellar. I was immediately taken aback by the cosy yet elegant atmosphere; white brick walls, stone flooring, wood, and loads of candles creating a sense of warmth. We enjoyed bubbly and canapés whilst chatting with other guests. Canapés included mushroom samosas, scotch eggs, pork crackling, lamb koftas, and fried kale with prawn salt. Everything was just delicious – little taste sensations.

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We were then led up to the Georgian Kitchen; a hunting lodge type kitchen (could almost be in a National Trust house) with large aga/wood burning stove across the back wall and a scullery off the back left. A grand wooden table surround by 12 chairs awaited us, with more ambient lighting and candles. A few stags heads adorned the walls along with a dresser of country house crockery – nothing forced or kitch, just everything naturally belonging.

Rather than having a menu of individual dishes to choose from, the ethos is about sharing –  an option I loved. I struggle to choose from a menu when I could quite frankly eat it all – so to have a bit of everything is right up my piggin’ street!

Don’t for one minute think this is buffet style…it is banquet dinner style.  Wooden boards arrived adorned with starters of smoked organic salmon, cured meats, toast topped with mussels, crab and exmoor caviar as well as garden leek and blue cheese tarts.

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For mains we enjoyed a whole cod with foraged sea veg, roasted and slow braised Dartmoor lamb and hay smoked BBQ Pipers Farm chicken – all meaty, succulent and cooked to perfection. Big knives landed into them, ready for serving the troops. On the side, our mighty feast was compimented by creamy layered potato, roast celeriac and lemon thyme, glasshouse leaves, foraged herbs and garden greens.

The pudding offering sent us all into ‘kids in a sweet shop’ mode. The most comforting and delicious rice pudding I’ve ever had, clear and wobbly gin and tonic jelly with tongue tingling lemon sorbet, a smooth ice cream parfait, sticky toffee pudding, apple and blackberry crumble and a trifle that would put your grandmother’s to shame.

 

For coffee we wandered across the path to the Folly. This was a lovely outhouse restaurant, candlelit once more, giant wicker woven lampshades hanging down, it had an African/ethnic feel for me. Coffee and ‘piggy fours’ were served whilst we admired the pizza oven and outside seating, complimented by firepits. This space is open, serving more casual food and dining and can be hired for private parties. Ceiling height sash windows can be opened to let the outside in if the weather permits.

We had enjoyed the evening thoroughly and all the spaces we had been in worked well for their purpose. The Pig at Combe really is a flexible venue, and I can assure you they will be able to cater for your private dining or casual party needs.

It was hunting lodge elegance..big food, beautifully cooked, subtle service. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed such casual, comfortable yet sophisticated dining, with professional and effortless hosting. I look forward to returning, and sending everyone I know!

Check your diary and find an excuse now – you’d be a silly little piggy not to; pigs are one of my favourite animals and this beauty is no different. A great venue for family dining, a couples treat, corporate entertaining or getting down to serious business – you still gotta eat, a deal can’t be done on an empty stomach right?! As a restaurant with rooms you could of course stay over and be happy as a pig in…well, bed.

Time for this little piggy to go wee wee wee all the way home.

Find them on wheels: The Pig at Combe, Gittisham, Honiton, Devon, EX14 3AD

Find them online:Facebook, Twitter or on their website

*Dinner in the Georgian Kitchen can be for up to 14 people,

priced at £32 each for a 3 course family-style sharing menu.*

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Seahorse Guest Chefs Big Line-Up For 2017

Every year Mitch Tonks and Mat Prowse, who run the award-winning Seahorse in Dartmouth, invite a few great friends in the restaurant world to cook and host the restaurant with them. This year’s stella line up kicks off with Richard Turner from Hawksmoor followed by Spanish Legend Jose Pizarro, Angela Hartnett & Neil Borthwick, seafood superstar Nathan Outlaw and legendary Tuscan butcher Dario Cecchini.  Dates for further great names including Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver, Mark Hix, Nieves Barragan-Mohaco & TV presenter Matt Tebbut will be announced shortly.

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Mitch Tonks, Angela Hartnett, Mat Prowse

Events this year will start in the newly opened Joe’s Bar at the Seahorse before a fantastic night of food, wine and great spirit. Sommelier Tim McLaughlin-Green will run the room on these evenings matching special wines to every menu. The full line up will be added to our website and bookings can be made direct with the restaurant as they are released.

Mitch Said “The Seahorse has a wonderful spirit and we love having our friends join us and bring their own special magic to the restaurant.  I’m convinced they leave a little of their magic behind which is one of the reasons the room is so special to us and to many of our guests. We all do these events for the enjoyment of it, every one of them is like a dinner party with everyone just chatting away and enjoying great food, wine and great company, what could be better!”

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The Seahorse, Dartmouth

In addition to these events the Seahorse head chef, Jake Bridgwood, has opened the doors on the last Sunday of each month for lunch with a menu specially created for each one. Aperitivos will be served at 1230 in Joe’s bar followed by lunch at 1 – wonderful family occasions and guests are invited to bring their own wines to enjoy with just £10 corkage.

Full event listings can be found at www.seahorserestaurant.co.uk

Source Food and Drink Show – by Lauren Heath

Where does time go? I recall fully, last year when my husband Steve attended a nearby trade show, that he said he’d had the best time trying lots of local produce and meeting lots of great people. It was called Source Food and Drink Show, held at Westpoint Showground. “Better than lots of food festivals” he said. So to see what all the fuss was about, I booked a day off work to attend and hoped it would be worthit. And here we were, tickets printed, ready for 2017.

As I write this, a week has flown by already before I’ve even managed to put fingertips to keyboard and we’re in the latter end of February.

I could really write a full walkthrough but you dont want that – you want to hear of some great things we found, don’t you?

Well, the usual suspects, and what lovely suspects they are; Good Game were there in all their glory, a fantastic display with all their charcuterie goods on show. They also own The Pig and Pallet in Topsham, and if  you haven’t been yet – I urge you to go! My first ever review for EE was their breakfast offering, which you can read here. They of course also serve lunch and dinner. I digress…

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Also our foodie mate Eat the Smoke was opposite them – we honestly go through a bottle or two of his BBQ sauce a month, it’s astounding – get some if you havent already! His smokin’ 10 Q&A & product review can be found here.

Ebb Tides, who harvest seaweed and were also a ‘victim’ of our 10 Q&A were in the newbie bit, enjoying some great exposure. Tony has another new product on the market, and his seaweed in bags and in grinders are so very easy to use for dips, marinades and extra oomph to flavour and your diet..

We enjoyed cider from both Somerset based Sheppy’s and Honiton based Norcotts, ales from Dartmoor Brewery, whose Jail Ale we love, and family owned Black Tor Brewery (who occassionally do a lovely porter) – ‘mummy’ Black Tor must be commended, she was helping out on the day and was really delightful to talk to, very proud of the business and such a welcoming smile.

Koppert Cress were very interesting – we tasted lots of their herbs and plants; local business contact but items grown in Norway I believe. He gave us a layered handful of selected items which we rolled up and ate as a whole – dubbed Vegetarian Oyster, and boy was it seashore flavoured!

We saw 2016 South West Chef, Jamie Coleman, cook up some delights in the kitchen.

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We stumbled across Chococo owner Claire and manageress Michelle having a wander round, and Michelle indulged in some insect eating with my husband Steve (who now has his own product blog Chilli Head Chef). On the count of 5 this ‘up for it’ duo downed a handful of Cornish Edible Insects with gusto.

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We enjoyed some further charcuterie delights from Ottery St Mary’s The Rusty Pig and ended our day with a fantastic coffee from Steve of Exe Coffee Roasters who produces his own coffee for sale for trade and home use as well as enjoying in his coffee shop.

Of course this show is a trade show after all and is intended for buyers to come along and find new products to stock or use in their outlets.  So many fantastic stands haven’t been mentioned who fed us something or other including fudge, chilli sauces, ethical pony meat, seafood, ice creams, pasties and so on.

We’re very lucky here in the South West to have such amazing variety of produce as well as the people behind these businesses.  Well done to the Hale Events and main sponsor Taste of the West for a fantastic show, it really is one of the best we have attended.

I can’t wait to attend next year!

 

Food & Drink Devon Awards 2017 Launched

Entries are now open for the prestigious Food & Drink Devon Awards 2017, following 2016’s record-breaking year. These awards celebrate the very best Devon has to offer by recognising the county’s most respected, influential and passionate artisan food and drink producers and establishments.

The awards, currently in their seventh year, continue to grow with 2016 recording the highest number of entries to date as well as boasting a glittering sell out awards evening. Last year the judges tasted 200 of the finest products and visited dozens of establishments across Devon to select the pick of the crop for a shortlist of just 60.

Barbara King, a proud champion of Devon’s producers and chair of the board of directors for Food & Drink Devon, comments: “Devon continues to create a name for itself as a must visit food and drink destination. We are privileged to have so many dynamic and innovative local producers and purveyors and these awards give us the chance to recognise their success and contributions to this vibrant industry. Last year saw the number and standard of entries go through the roof and we’re expecting even greater things this year.”

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Barbara King

The awards cover a broad spectrum of categories across the Devon food and drink scene. The Retail awards on offer include ‘Best Producer’, ‘Best Packaging’, ‘Best Retailer’ and ‘Best Online Retailer’. Whilst the Hospitality sector is also acknowledged with a number of highly sought after awards including ‘Best Fine Dining Restaurant’, ‘Best Hotel Restaurant’, ‘Best Restaurant’, ‘Best Bistro’ and ‘Best Takeaway’. This year, to reflect the growth of some key areas within the industry, we have added three new categories, ‘Best Street Food’, ‘Best Farmers’ Market’ and ‘Best Cookery School’.

Luscombe Drinks is sponsoring the restaurant categories and has done so since the awards first launched. Founder and owner of this leading Devon organic soft drinks company, Gabriel David, says:  “Since the inception of the Awards, Luscombe Drinks have been key sponsors.  Food & Drink Devon’s profile has grown enormously since and these Awards are seen as a champion of great taste and service in Devon, attracting a national audience. We are very pleased to sponsor again in 2017.”

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Closing date for entries is Friday 21st April. Judging will be carried out by a panel of experts, including a number of celebrated names from the industry, and will take place over the following three months. All entrants will be able to benefit from invaluable product feedback provided by the panel. The winners will be invited to collect their awards at a dazzling black tie ceremony in October.

Kind sponsors of this year’s Awards include Luscombe Drinks, Stephens Scown Solicitors, Peplows Accountants, RAW PR & Marketing, Thornes Farm Shop, InkREADible Labels, Hedgerow Print, Black & White Asset Finance and Taste Buds magazine.

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Nigel Barden, BBC Radio 2

Food & Drink Devon works tirelessly to increase the county’s profile, both nationally and internationally.  Food & Drink Devon – ‘Love the Flavour’ represents a membership of like-minded businesses, dedicated to providing good quality local food and drink.  The Food & Drink Devon association is committed to continuously achieving its mission – to make ‘Love the Flavour’ a nationally recognised brand for outstanding sustainable food and drink.

For more information on Food & Drink Devon please visit www.foodanddrinkdevon.co.uk  and follow @lovetheflavour on Twitter.  For further information about the Awards or to enter please contact Ali Neagle on 07789 666064 or email awards@foodanddrinkdevon.co.uk.

Main Award Categories

  • Devon Producer Taste Awards– for individual items produced by primary and secondary producers.
  • Overall best Devon Producer Award– for primary and secondary producers.
  • Devon Producer Packaging Award– for primary and secondary producers.
  • Taste of Devon Hospitality– for restaurants, cafés, bistros, pubs and street food.
  • Devon Retailer– for farm shops, delis, food halls, other food shops and online retailers.
  • Best Farmers Market– open to all Farmers Markets across Devon.
  • Best Cookery School – open to all Cookery School across Devon.

Guest Chef Days Announced at Manna From Devon Cooking School

Manna from Devon Cooking School is delighted to announce the dates for the 2017 Guest Chef Classes: a series of celebrity chefs and foodie experts will be running classes at the school from March until September.

These guest days only pop up once a month and usually book up pretty quickly, a true reflection on the talent and reputation of each chef. This year’s Guest Chef classes are being hosted by Peter Greig of Pipers Farm, Mitch Tonks of Rockfish and The Seahorse, Romy Gill MBE from Romy’s Kitchen and food writer Charlotte Pike with another two hosts in the pipeline.

David, co-owner of Manna from Devon comments on the Guest Chef programme: “Holly and I are really excited to confirm we’ve got some of our best foodie friends joining us in 2017- we hope you can join us too! It’s important for us to involve other chefs and experts here at Manna from Devon, as we’re all about the community aspect of cooking; connecting lots of people through food and drawing on the array of amazing chefs and talent in the area.”

Peter masterminds Pipers Farm in Cullompton and he and his team produce the most amazing meats, raising their animals from birth and selling them through their own butchery and online shop. Peter will be bringing one of his lamb carcasses to butcher on Saturday 11th March and will be cooking up some of his fabulous meats in the wood fired ovens as well as discussing the Pipers Farm way of farming and how important it is to him; a true expert in his field.

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Peter Grieg

Mitch Tonks is an old friend of David and Holly’s. His knowledge and passion for fish and the fishing industry is inspiring and his fish dishes are truly delicious. As well as his chain of Rockfish restaurants in South Devon he runs The Seahorse restaurant in Dartmouth so Manna from Devon are delighted to have him hosting what will be a fabulously convivial day of some outstanding fish and seafood recipes on Friday 7th April.

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Mitch Tonks

Romy Gill MBE will be hosting her class on Sunday 7th May and will be cooking some of her amazing Indian food from her restaurant, Romy’s Kitchen – traditional flavours with a light and contemporary twist. David and Holly have been friends with Romy for a long time and love hearing her tell our guests stories of growing up in India and her determination to open her restaurant in Thornbury, just outside of Bristol. If you like Indian cooking, this is a day not to be missed.

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Romy Gill

Food writer Charlotte Pike will be joining David and Holly at the school on Sunday 4th June – passionate about smoking food, she will be creating some amazing dishes, passing on lots of tips and discussing how the enthusiasm for this kind of cooking is growing. David and Holly discovered “low & slow” smoking on their road trip in America so are keen to compare notes with Charlotte.

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Charlotte Pike

Classes will take place at Manna from Devon Cooking School in Kingswear and run from 10am – 4pm. All are limited to just 12 students and cost £175 per person.

To book one of the Guest Chef Classes visit http://www.mannafromdevon.com/cookery-courses/guest-chefs/ or call 01803 752943.

Follow Manna from Devon on:

Twitter (@mannafromdevon)

Facebook (facebook.com/mannafromdevon)

Instagram (mannafdevon)

Experience Valentine’s Day at South Sands Hotel

Salcombe’s South Sands Hotel is offering guests an exclusive dinner experience this Valentine’s Day as Head Chef Allister Bishop has prepared a romantic six course feast for lovers on this special night. Wherever possible, Allister uses local ingredients and integrates foraged food as demonstrated in this mouthwatering menu:

Beetroot soup

Liquorice & peppermint cured salmon, liquorice gel, soft herbs
or
Heritage tomato textures, Devon goat’s cheese mousse

Steamed local lemon sole fillet, hazelnut crust, wilted baby spinach
or
Sautéed gurnard, salsify purée, sprouting broccoli

8 hour slow cooked Dartmoor reared beef cheeks, heritage carrots & purée, soft mash
or
Pan fried guinea fowl, red quinoa, roasted shallot purée, grilled baby leeks

Sharing chocolate assiette plate
or
Oven roasted compressed rum scented pineapple tart tatin, lemon grass ice cream

or
Selection of West Country cheeses

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Encouraged by the knowing lure of fresh beach side produce and divine country living, Allister brings with him decades of experience having been based in London, working at some of the most reputable establishments the city has to offer – Harrods, Le Meridien and Hilton to name but a few.

Head chef Allister Bishop comments on the Valentines menu: “We look forward to welcoming our Valentine’s diners who are looking for something extra special – not just with the tasting menu but also with the wine, cocktails and surroundings. Wherever possible at South Sands we use local ingredients and integrate foraged food into both the food and the drinks menu. We’ve tried to create a sensational and ultimately romantic dining experience combined with the unparalleled views overlooking the Salcombe Estuary.”

The Valetine’s Dinner menu is complimented by a wine flight curated by sommelier Richard Coulson who recently joined the hotel from Gidleigh Park bringing with him 24 years of knowledge of the wine business.

Bar Manager Will Neal has created two Valentines cocktails, both are based on a warming and seasonal blend of white rum and honey with a sparkling splash of Lyme Bay Brut. The ‘Stupid Cupid’ includes beetroot powder and a touch of lemon juice and ‘Cold Black Heart’ incorporates activated charcoal.

The team are also hosting a South Sands Lunch Club from Monday to Saturday, 12-14.30, offering two courses for £14.95 or three courses for £19.95. This ends March 31st so don’t miss out on this sumptuous Winter treat!

The Valentine’s Day Dinner costs £65 pp or £95 pp with wine pairing and is bookable here or by calling 01548 845 900.

Whether it’s a first-rate dining experience, a romantic escape, a wedding or a corporate event space required, South Sands Hotel is the destination to treat your loved ones in 2017. Doubles cost from £170.