Staffordshires Food and Drink Scene.

Staffordshire chefs join forces for charity dinner

Docket No.33, in Whitchurch, Shropshire, will be hosting a charity dinner on Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th December to raise proceeds for Hospitality Action. Chef Patron of Docket No.33 and…

Docket No.33, in Whitchurch, Shropshire, will be hosting a charity dinner on Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th December to raise proceeds for Hospitality Action.

Chef Patron of Docket No.33 and Great British Menu central region champion, Stuart Collins is joining forces with Staffordshire Chef, Matt Davies to host a charity dinner at Docket No.33 in aid of Hospitality Action.

The charity supports those who work or have worked in the hospitality industry and helps with range of challenges from physical illness or mental health issues to financial difficulty, family problems and addiction.

The duo previously worked together at The Moat House, in Acton Trussell where Matt was Executive Chef. Known as Staffordshire’s ‘Godfather’ chef, Matt worked at some of the UK’s best restaurants before suffering a life-threatening and career ending injury and more recently a mental-health battle.

Following his accident, the much-loved Michelin-listed chef turned his attention to supporting talented young chefs and now holds the prestigious post of Vice President of the British Culinary Federation.

The Hospitality Action Dinner at Docket No.33 will take place for two nights only, with the restaurant donating £15 per guest to the charity. The night will feature a charity auction, plus special guests from the hospitality who will be sharing their inspirational stories.

Stuart Collins, commented: “I am so happy to be supporting Hospitality Action and Matt for this special event. Matt is truly a phenomenal chef and dear friend and I’m really looking forward to joining forces with him for this unique dinner.”

Matt Davies, commented: “I know just how tough it can be to navigate a career in hospitality after a life changing incident. I’m a proud ambassador of Hospitality Action, which offers vital assistance to those in the industry. I can’t wait to get back in the kitchen with Stuart for what is set to be a really special night.”

The Hospitality Action Dinner with Matt is now sold out on both nights, but you can still support the charity by donating via the website:

To keep up to date with the latest news from Docket, keep an eye on its social channels or sign up to the newsletter and find out more at:

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Little Seeds reopens with new Tapas Terrace

The next milestone in England’s roadmap out of lockdown will see restrictions on indoor hospitality ease from 17 May, with six people or two larger households allowed to meet and…

The next milestone in England’s roadmap out of lockdown will see restrictions on indoor hospitality ease from 17 May, with six people or two larger households allowed to meet and dine inside for the first time since last year.

Along with many other independent venues across the county and the Midlands, Little Seeds in Stone will reopen for service on Thursday 20 May. Sauce spoke to cofounders Jake Lowndes and Sophie Hardman to find out all about their exciting new concept and what they’ve been up to since last summer.

Jake, head chef, and Sophie, who manages the front of house, have certainly not been resting on their laurels during the most recent and previous lockdowns.

“We launched Little Seeds at Home at the beginning of November during the second lockdown,” says Jake. “Obviously it was a worry about what we would do over Christmas, but in the end we supplied more customers with our dine at home boxes over the Christmas week than we would ever have been able to serve in the restaurant.”

Little Seeds’ popular dine at home boxes have offered customers a new menu every week, in the same spirit as the monthly theme nights they have hosted in the past. Each box aims to take you away for an evening through the medium of food.

“Our style is modern British using what’s in season, but it would have been fairly boring to have Jerusalem artichokes, cabbage and parsnips on the menu every week throughout the winter,” Jake explains. “So, we tried to lift people’s spirits by taking them with our menu to France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Scotland… For us, it meant we got to try different things and that’s all contributed to the new menu for our reopening. It’s been good creatively and kept us going without only relying on grants.”

So, do they have any plans to carry on with the dine-at-home offering when the restaurant is fully open again?

“We were thinking of bringing it back for special occasions – alongside the theme nights, and then maybe for Christmas,” Sophie tells Sauce. “As we said, we can only fit 30-35 covers in the restaurant so it would be a way for more people to enjoy our food.”

New Tapas Terrace opens

“It’s changing every day at the moment!” Jake laughs when I ask how Little Seeds has changed since the team last welcomed guests through the doors. “We’ve just had a new combination oven fitted, which is a piece of kit I’ve wanted since we started. All of our money went on the front of house and getting set up when we first opened, and then we had the refurb in 2019 to link with our new style. Now we’re at the stage where we can spend on equipment to take us to the next level with food and service, and also to accommodate the fact we’ve got the outside garden.”

The freshly landscaped outdoor courtyard, lined with bay trees and lavender, hopes to capture day time diners with a relaxed, Mediterranean vibe and a whole new tapas and drinks menu. It’s inspired by the likes of Simon Shaw’s El Gato Negro and Brindisa at Borough Market Kitchen.

Served outdoors only at Saturday lunchtime and all-day Sunday, the tapas menu ranges from nibbles like Gordal olives and salted Spanish almonds, to Cobble Lane Cured Meat and a mix of the finest Spanish and British cheeses. There are meat, fish, and veg dishes like pork and chorizo meatballs, pan-seared hake with Romanesco sauce and classic patatas bravas, plus desserts like crema Catalana and Basque cake with blood orange.

Jake has aimed for authentic tapas recipes using the best of British produce, including Cobble Lane meats from London, Cornish fish from Celtic Fish and Game, and Wellocks for seasonal fruit and veg. There are certain ingredients like the olives and almonds that come from Spain, but the spirit of the menu is very much in-keeping with the Little Seeds ethos.

“We’ve also tailored the drinks menu for drinking outside, with some lighter wines for you to relax and enjoy a few glasses of alongside the tapas,” adds Sophie. “And we’ve added some Spanish sherries and now have wine available by the carafe.”

There’s a new bar outside as well, for pre- and post-dinner drinks on sunny evenings. If the weather turns and you want to move inside, there will always be space to do so and the tapas menu available. The outdoor area will likely close in October for the winter, with the menu moving to comforting Sunday roasts.

A Taste of Little Seeds

Evening service will see the à la carte and A Taste of Little Seeds menus available on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. A Taste of Little Seeds was launched back in October and ran for two weeks before lockdown 2 kicked in. It will be available every evening, and although you don’t need to specifically book the tasting menu, Jake and Sophie ask that the whole table partake if you do choose it.

“We love what the team are doing at The Boat Inn, near Lichfield, but there isn’t much in a similar format closer to Stoke or in the Stone area,” Jake tells Sauce. “The dishes on the Taste of Little Seeds menu are similar to the à la carte, but with a few extra special courses and some surprises at the start and end of the meal. Basically we’re running three new menus when we open up!”

The couple are both looking forward to seeing the whole hospitality industry back up and running after an exceptionally tough year.

“I think hospitality will be key to giving people the confidence to come out, because a lot of people are suffering anxiety about it,” says Sophie. But what they are most looking forward to is getting their team back together again. “In our industry, who you work with becomes a massive part of your social life because you work evenings and weekends, so it will be good to have everyone back. And of course we’re lucky to have lots of regular customers, so it will be good to see them and learn how to chat again; you lose the art of conversation during lockdown!”

Jake has a new chef starting in the kitchen, who has recently qualified from Stoke-on-Trent College, and Sophie is happy to have some new additions to the front of house team, too.

“We’re trying to bring some new young people into the mix,” she explains. “It’s been hard for a lot of school and college leavers, with not sitting their exams and teaching being online. We’re trying where we can to help a few young people get onto a new ladder, because they probably haven’t had many opportunities over the last few months.”

One additional change is that the restaurant will open Thursday to Sunday to give the team an extra day off, although Jake and Sophie will still be there on a Wednesday to do paperwork and prep for the week ahead.

“We want to be a progressive company and that’s another reason behind the four-day week,” Jake states. “We’ve got this small, elite team and ideally we want everyone working all the time we’re open, so it feels like everyone is in it together and pushing towards the same goal of making the restaurant the best it can be. That work-life balance is part of showing that it can be a great career, whether you want to stay here or move on eventually.

“It is a lifestyle but if you enjoy food and drink there is no better job.”

You can book your table at Little Seeds online now. The outside Tapas Terrace will be open every weekend, weather-permitting, and guests will have the choice when they arrive of whether to sit indoors or in the courtyard. Drinks on the Terrace are on a walk-in basis, no reservations.

Little Seeds
16-18 Radford Street, Stone, ST15 8DA

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White’s Coffee Bar reopens with new chef & menu

Among the hospitality businesses across Staffordshire and England who excitedly opened up for outdoor service this week was White’s Coffee Bar at Wolseley Bridge. Sauce caught up with owner Charlotte…

Among the hospitality businesses across Staffordshire and England who excitedly opened up for outdoor service this week was White’s Coffee Bar at Wolseley Bridge. Sauce caught up with owner Charlotte Dewsnap to find out what’s changed since guests were last allowed to dine there.

Based in the courtyard at Oakedge Park, which is also home to Charlotte’s father’s gun-making workshop, White’s has been around since 2016. It began as a tiny coffee counter next door to the family’s sporting goods business. When it became hugely popular, they decided to close the shop and expand the café, serving locally roasted Chartley Coffee and homemade cakes. Many of the bespoke fittings and furniture were made by Charlotte’s brother, Matthew.

Full English breakfast at White's

The quirky venue had a growing band of loyal customers when Covid-19 came on the scene and shut hospitality down last year. One of the silver linings for Charlotte and the White’s Coffee Bar team is that closure has given them the chance to expand even further, relocating the kitchen into a freshly empty unit, extending their coffee counter and increasing indoor seating options. They are not the only changes, with the team also welcoming new chef Luke to the fold.

“Molly has been with us for just over a year, and she started out baking our cakes and tray bakes. She’s got such a flair for it. I put her on an apprentice scheme, so she’s now at college one day a week and works here for the rest of the week,” says Charlotte.

“Our new chef, Luke, has just joined us and helped to set up the new kitchen, as we’ve gone from a tiny space with just a panini press to a full-on industrial kitchen. He’s been a great help and has lots of experience. They’re both real foodies and passionate about the job.”

A new chef and a new kitchen mean there’s a new menu on offer, of course. While some customer favourites from menus past have been kept on, including hearty breakfasts, there are wholesome new additions like a steak ciabatta, homemade lasagna, and chorizo and chicken skewers, as well as their new range of Gunmaker’s Boards.

Gunmakers board with Freedom lager

“We make as much as possible ourselves and try to use local suppliers where we can, so the meat comes from Perry’s butchers, we’re getting Lowndes’ fruit and veg, and our scotch eggs are from Wissage Bakehouse.”

Outdoors there’s a brand new covered wooden canopy softened by ivy and planters, and additional tables in the courtyard, increasing White’s covers to around 80. The extension and renovations will allow Charlotte and the team to host more of their popular theme nights and live music when they’re able, and they’re also hoping to open on Friday and Saturday evenings if all goes well. Also on the cards – when hospitality venues can reopen for indoor service – are Sunday lunches.

So, what was Charlotte most looking forward to about reopening?

“I just can’t wait to see everyone. I can’t wait for all our customers to try the new food, and I think they’ll be so excited to see what we’ve done. And to get all the staff back and just be normal!

“We’ve got the most amazing neighbours here – there’s an antiques shop, beautician, hairdresser, dog groomer, and of course my dad’s gun shop,” Charlotte explains, as if visitors needed any more reason to stop by. “But also because we’re on the shooting ground, people of all ages can come and do that. There are lovely walks near here on Cannock Chase, and Shugborough Hall is literally just down the road.”

White’s Coffee Bar is open Tuesday-Friday 10:00-16:00, Saturday 9:30-16:30, and Sunday 10:00-15:00 from Tuesday 13 April for outdoor service and takeaway. You can book your table over the phone or by Facebook message.

White’s Coffee Bar
Oakedge Park, Wolseley Bridge, ST17 0XS

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Catch these local chefs on Great British Menu

The new series of Great British Menu hits our TV screens this evening – Wednesday 24 March – at 8pm on BBC Two. Following the same format as previous years,…

The new series of Great British Menu hits our TV screens this evening – Wednesday 24 March – at 8pm on BBC Two.

Following the same format as previous years, four chefs from each of eight regions of the UK will compete to cook at the prestigious finale Banquet.

The chefs representing the Central region this year are Lincolnshire-born Shannon Johnson, head chef at Hicce in Coal Drops Yard, London, and Wolverhampton-born Sabrina Gidda, who was runner-up for the Central region three years ago and is now executive chef at The AllBright.

The pair will be joined by Staffordshire chef and restaurateur Liam Dillon, of The Boat Inn near Lichfield, and Staffordshire-raised Stuart Collins, chef-patron of Docket No. 33 in Whitchurch, just across the border in Shropshire.

Liam Dillon, The Boat Inn

As Sauce readers will know, Liam has worked in some of the UK’s top kitchens, including Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, Five Fields in Chelsea and Story by Tom Sellers in Bermondsey. He’s also travelled the world with stints at Quay in Sydney, Noma in Copenhagen, and Eleven Madison Park and Gilt in New York.

In 2017, Liam returned to his hometown as chef owner of The Boat Inn. Since then he and his family have worked to convert the roadside pub into an award-winning modern British restaurant. It’s currently the only restaurant in Staffordshire to hold 3 AA rosettes. Liam’s menu for the show pays homage to local pioneers such as Lichfield-born Samuel Johnson, famous for his early Dictionary of The English Language.

“I grew up watching the programme, dreaming of being a chef so it’s a bit surreal, but also an honour, that here I am, years later, a professional on the show,” Liam told Sauce. “I enjoyed every single second. It was exciting, stressful… I was surrounded by some amazing fellow chefs…it was actually a privilege to be part of the programme.

“I am also extremely proud to be flying the flag for Staffordshire, and representing my home town of Lichfield. It’s been a tough year for everyone, especially those working in the hospitality industry. Here at The Boat Inn we’ve made many changes both to the decor and the menu. We’ve also invested heavily in outdoor dining and I and the team can’t wait to open the doors again and welcome people back.”

Liam Dillon, The Boat Inn.

Stuart Collins, Docket No. 33

Stuart Collins grew up in Wheaton Aston, near Penkridge, and has worked with household names from Gary Rhodes and Michael Caines to Gordon Ramsay over the course of his career. After a working-stage at City Rhodes, he went to Gidleigh Park and then onto Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, before helping set up Ramsay’s New York restaurants at The London NYC, where he became Head Chef at Maze.

In 2017, Stuart and his wife Frances opened their own restaurant, Docket No. 33, which has featured in the Michelin Guide GB & NI for two consecutive years. It offers a carefully curated tasting menu with a focus on local and seasonal ingredients. 

Stuart and the team have kept busy over the past few months with their ‘Docket at Home’ offer, a weekly-changing menu that guests finish at home. A sell-out every week since launch, the team plans to continue to offer the meal kits even after reopening the restaurant in May (subject to government guidelines).

“This year’s brief was really exciting and a great opportunity to learn more about the amazing innovators and inventors from the Central region,” Stuart told Sauce. “To then create dishes, using local ingredients, to represent their success is a privilege.

“There was some seriously good competition in the kitchen, showcasing the creativity and skills of the chefs from our region.”

Stuart Collins, Docket No. 33.


This year Great British Menu will celebrate British innovation, with 2021 marking the 30th anniversary of Sir Timothy Berners-Lee’s invention of the World Wide Web and Helen Sharman becoming the first British astronaut to go into space. Former judge Andi Oliver will be presenting, with Rachel Khoo taking her place on the panel. We hope you’ll be joining us in cheering on our local chefs!

To book The Boat Inn or order from their Heat at Home menu, go to:

To book Docket No. 33 or Docket at Home, please visit:

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Treat the Queen in your life this Mother’s Day

Although Mother’s Day might be a little different this year, food and drink businesses across the county are still pulling out all the stops to make sure that special lady…

Although Mother’s Day might be a little different this year, food and drink businesses across the county are still pulling out all the stops to make sure that special lady in your life is treated like the absolute queen she is. Take a look at the list below for some Mother’s Day gifting inspo.

Tea-LC from The Slamwich Club 

The Tea-LC Mother’s Day Box from The Slamwich Club is the perfect foodie bundle to show her you’re thinking of her – or if you’re lucky enough to live under the same roof, you can indulge together! Featuring a selection of sandwiches, savouries, sweets and tipples, for just £45 this is the perfect gift for mums who love a little indulgence. The box is also presented in stunning packaging and tied with a pretty bow, so it’s ready to drop off on their doorstep. Collection only from The Slamwich Club between 11am and 12pm on Sunday 14th March.


Gift vouchers from Whitmore Tea Rooms 

Whitmore Tea Rooms outside Newcastle-under-Lyme have sold out of their popular Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea this year, but fear not. The team have introduced gift vouchers so that you can celebrate with mum a little later in the year. From traditional afternoon tea, to something with a little bit of *fizz*, these make the perfect last minute gift for that special woman in your life. Available for collection or sent via post. Call 01782 680433 to order.


Buckets of love from Just Perfect Wines

Just Perfect Wines, based in Stoke-on-Trent, specialise in premium prosecco, sparkling wines and spirits from artisan Italian and English producers. In addition, they sell the most fabulous gift sets, handcrafted chocolates from Noble and Stance, and handmade ceramic gifts by Dimbleby Ceramics of Stoke-on-Trent. Our favourite Mother’s Day gift is the Fitz Pink Sparkling English Wine Ice Bucket Hamper, and we’re absolutely positive that your mum will love it too.


The best of Staffordshire from Canalside Farm

Treat your mum to a luxurious hamper full of her favourite food and drink with the Canalside Staffordshire Hamper, available in medium or large. Featuring Staffordshire-made products such as Mrs Povey’s jam, Grove Estate Wine, Staffordshire honey and Just Crisps to name a few, this will make the perfect gift for mums who love local, quality produce. Alternatively, get in touch with the team and they will be able to help you select the perfect individual gifts for that special someone, pictured below. Plus, beautiful hand-tied bouquets will be available to purchase from Friday 12th March. Head over to the website to place your hamper orders and choose your collection date, or call 01889 881747.

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Fine dining at home

It’s no secret that we are all missing our favourite restaurants. There’s nothing quite like getting all dressed up and heading out to eat amazing food with our family and…

It’s no secret that we are all missing our favourite restaurants. There’s nothing quite like getting all dressed up and heading out to eat amazing food with our family and friends. Although there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel, we aren’t there just yet. So in the meantime, why not bring that restaurant experience right to your doorstep and enjoy quality, fine food at home. Hey, you could even coordinate your deliveries with your family and friends and host a virtual dinner party on Zoom!


Sauce Supper Club – Lichfield, Staffordshire

Sauce Supper Club’s Dine at Home food boxes are the epitome of bringing sumptuous food to your doorstep. Each box contains three luxuriously prepared dishes by chef Tom Shepherd, ready for you to stir, bake and re-heat at home. It includes a detailed set of instructions so you can perfectly prepare your dishes in your kitchen. Tom changes his menu weekly and uses only local, seasonal produce.

Plus, you’re in for a treat if you order in time for the 26th and 27th February as Masterchef 2020 Winner, Bart Van Der Lee, takes over the Sauce Supper Club kitchen to create two stunning menus (meat and veggie).

The Dine at Home food boxes are available every Friday and Saturday, and offer local and nationwide delivery. Head over to the website here to order.


Aktar at Home – Birmingham

Aktar at Home is the new eat at home service by Michelin-starred chef Aktar Islam, from the renowned Opheem restaurant. Enjoy a choice of Indian traditional curries, a classic British Sunday roast, or even sample a selection of world class ingredients with the brand-new Meat Box.

UK-wide deliveries are taking place every Thursday, so make sure you place your orders by the end of Wednesday to get it in the same week. Visit the website here for more information.


Little Seeds at Home – Stone, Staffordshire

Experience flavours from around the globe with Little Seeds at Home. Every week, chef Jake Lowndes and his partner Sophie Hardman develop the most sensational, three-course themed menus to bring the delicious taste of far-away lands right to your doorstep. So far, they’ve done Nordic, Italian and Portuguese cuisine to name a few, so keep an eye on their socials to see where in the world your tastebuds will travel next!

To order, choose your menu (meat or veggie) and order by noon on Wednesdays. Your food box will then be ready to collect on the Friday or Saturday. They also offer local delivery to select postcodes. For more information and to order your next ‘virtual trip’ across the globe, click here.


Peel’s on Wheels – Hampton-in-Arden, Solihull

Enjoy the Michelin Star experience from the comfort of your own home. Peel’s Restaurant at Hampton Manor have introduced their new Peel’s on Wheels delivery service, bringing you a three course Michelin-starred experience for you to enjoy in your own kitchen or dining room.

The three-course meal box will arrive on your doorstep on Friday, ready for the weekend. Simply heat up your meal in the oven and warm the sauce in the pan. Nationwide delivery is available, so no matter where you are in the UK, you can enjoy the Peel’s experience at home. Click here to order and finalise your Friday night plans.


Docket No. 33 – Whitchurch, Shropshire 

Enjoy a changing, weekly three-course set dinner menu and an impressive selection of wines from Docket at Home. Chef Stuart Collins creates the most sensational menus using only the best local and seasonal produce, to ensure perfect quality in every meal. Docket No. 33’s impeccable dinners are served chilled, along with simple instructions, ready for you to re-heat or cook, to ensure the best possible quality.

As well as wine and food, cocktail lovers needn’t be disappointed as their stunning pre-made cocktails are available to order too!

Docket at Home is available for collection from their premises in Whitchurch every Friday and Saturday. Place your orders online here.


Lighthouse Restaurant – Ashbourne, Staffordshire

Chef Proprietor, Jon Hardy, continues to produce incredible three-course ‘heat at home’ meals for you to enjoy in the comfort of your own kitchen at just £25 per person. Meals must be pre-ordered and can be collected at a later date that suits you. Kept under wraps for the ultimate suspense, the Lighthouse Restaurant releases their exclusive menus each week via email, so join their exclusive mailing list here for a delightful surprise in your inbox:

Give Jon a call on 07545 565496 to order and arrange your pick-up date.


Elite at Home – Chester, Cheshire 

Elite Bistros have recently launched their brand new ‘Elite Bistros at Home’ experience, meaning you can sit back, relax and enjoy luxurious fine food from your favourite restaurants. The Elite Bistros brand encompasses restaurants across Cheshire, including the Sticky Walnut in Chester, Wreckfish in Liverpool and just slightly further afield, Kala in Manchester, to name a few.

Elite Bistros deliver every Friday via courier throughout the UK. Orders are open every week from 9am on Fridays until 10am on Tuesdays, with all orders being delivered on the following Friday. Browse the menu and place your order here.


Antona at Home – Birmingham

Enjoy the full Michelin experience at home with the Antona at Home dining experience, brought to you by chef Andreas Antona, from the renowned Simpsons Restaurant in Birmingham. Using only seasonal and sustainably sourced ingredients, the dishes on offer are the true definition of quality fine food. You can also order exclusive wine to pair with your meal to make your experience extra special.

To browse the menu and place your orders, click here.

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Cosy night in for two?

We all need a little extra love in lockdown 3.0, so why not make Valentine’s Day extra special this year and celebrate the only way we can… with a cosy…

We all need a little extra love in lockdown 3.0, so why not make Valentine’s Day extra special this year and celebrate the only way we can… with a cosy night in!

Clover Café, Stone

Sweet or savoury? Clover Café have introduced two delightful Valentine’s Boxes for you and your sweetheart to enjoy at home. The ‘Pie Only Have Eyes For You’ Sweet Box, which includes delicious sweet treats such as Brownie Bites, Mississippi Mud Pie Bombs and Oreo Kisses, is just £20 for two people. Or, for those who can’t resist savoury treats, choose the ‘Wrapped In Clover’ Savoury Box which is £35 for two people, and includes Charcuterie, Cheeses, Dips and Crackers to name a few of the scrummy items on the menu! The lovely team at Clover Café have also made veggie, vegan and allergy friendly options too, so get in touch to make your requests. To order, drop them a line on Facebook here or give them a call on 01785 747950.

The deadline for ordering your Valentine’s Boxes is Tuesday 9th February, and all boxes will be ready for collection on Saturday 13th February between 3pm and 5pm. Payments must be made in advance.


The Duncombe Arms, Ashbourne

Crank up the heat this Valentine’s Day and enjoy The Duncombe Arms’ new ‘Heat at Home’ Valentines Menu with your other half. The Duncombe Arms have really pulled out the stops with this luxurious menu, featuring dishes such as Smoked haddock soufflé & chive butter sauce, Whole steamed lobster with new potatoes and aiolo, and to finish, Apple tarte Tatin and toffee sauce. There are other options to suit all tastes, so take a look at the menu here to find your perfect combination. Each order will include a few simple steps to finish off your meal at home.

Pre-order any time before 12pm on Wednesday 10th February. All orders will be available to collect from The Duncombe Arms between 2pm & 6pm on the 12th, 13th or 14th February. Give the team a call on 01335 324275 to place your orders.


Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen, Leek

If you want to really impress your partner this Valentines Day, but don’t want to spend hours and hours over a hot stove, why not order from Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen and have them do all the hard work for you? Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen are offering a beautifully constructed four course menu this Valentine’s Day for just £70 for two. All you have to do is follow a few simple steps to finish off at home, light your candles, pop your bubbly and enjoy a cosy evening with your love. With dishes such as Baked Queen Scallops with Herb Breadcrumbs and Pickled Grapes, and Melting Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Ice Cream, Honeycomb and Blackcurrants, you will earn some serious brownie points!

To order, email or send a message on Facebook or Instagram. Collection will be available between 2pm and 6pm on Saturday 13th or Sunday 14th February.


Little Seeds, Stone

If you’re feeling extra indulgent this Valentine’s Day, why not try Little Seeds at Home Valentine’s Day Meat Box? With six stunning courses of Bread, Starter, Fish, Main, Dessert and a Little Treat, plus a bottle of prosecco, you’ll certainly impress your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day. To browse the menu and place your orders, head over to the Little Seeds At Home website here.

The Valentine’s Boxes are priced at £45 per person, and two boxes must be purchased on one order to include the bottle of prosecco. Please place your orders by 6pm on Wednesday 10th February. Boxes are available for collection on Friday 12th February between 12pm and 2pm, or on Saturday 13th February between 10am and 12pm. Delivery is also available for selected postcodes in North Staffordshire for just £5 (check out the website for details).


Staffordshire Oatcake Company, Stoke-on-Trent

Fancy trying something different this Valentine’s Day? Enjoy a romantic and fun cooking session together and try your hand at making your own oatcakes! The Staffordshire Oatcake company produce traditional, pre-made oatcake mixes for you to make your very own oatcakes at home with a few simple steps. For just £4.95, the oatcake mix makes approximately 12 oatcakes, so you can have a traditional Staffordshire feast with your partner! The only thing left to decide is which fillings you’re going to enjoy with them. Head over to the website here to place your order.


Moorlands Graze Box, Staffordshire Moorlands

The Moorlands Graze are rising to the occasion of love with a stunning Valentine’s Graze board! The Valentine’s Grazer board, ‘Brie Mine’, hints towards a delectable spread of cheese and will be launching soon*. Moorlands Graze also have other stunning options such as the #MoorlandsVeggie, #SmokeandSpice and the #StaffordshireKnotBruncher to name a few. Head over to the website here to browse their excellent selection of Grazer Boards.

*Update: The Valentine’s Graze board, ‘Brie Mine’, is now live and available to purchase here.


Smoke & Rye, Stone

The Smoke & Rye Valentine’s Banquet Box is the perfect way to treat your own King or Queen this Valentine’s Day. For two people, the box is £69.95 and includes 14 items including Slow smoked beef short rib, Smoked pulled pork sliders, Buttermilk Slaw and Chocolate & Bourbon cherry cookie dough to name a few. Check out the menu here.

The Valentine’s Banquet Box will be available to collect between 4pm and 10pm on Sunday 14th February, and must be pre-ordered. Availability is limited, so get in touch on 01785 501254 or email them at to place your order now.

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Staffordshire Christmas Gifting Guide

There’s three weeks to go until Santa Claus comes to town, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to get your skates on and start Christmas shopping! After a devastating…

There’s three weeks to go until Santa Claus comes to town, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to get your skates on and start Christmas shopping! After a devastating year, local businesses across Staffordshire need your support more than ever this Christmas, so take a look through our Staffordshire Christmas Gifting Guide for all the inspiration you need!

Couture Bakehouse

What’s Christmas without beautiful, buttery shortbread? Jenny, founder of Couture Bakehouse, discovered her Granny Gwen’s traditional shortbread recipe in a handwritten recipe book years after she passed away. Jenny decided to give it a try for herself and it has since become a firm favourite with her customers. The whole slab of shortbread – yes, that’s right, a whole slab – is 7” x 5” and is perfect for sharing with family and friends as you binge watch Christmas films! It also makes a beautiful stocking filler gift, as it is wrapped in cellophane and tied with a pretty red bow.

The shortbread slab is £9.95 inclusive of postage costs, and is sent first class with Royal Mail. They are posted out weekly on Wednesdays and Jenny can also include a bespoke message to your recipient. The last Wednesday for posting will be 16th December, before she takes a well earned break for Christmas. As well as shortbread slabs, Couture Bakehouse also has brownie and shortbread gift vouchers available to purchase.

To order, email or text, call or WhatsApp 07794 497491.


The Good Life Meat Company

Give the gift of quality charcuterie this Christmas with The Good Life Meat Company. Their Charcuterie Platter Christmas Gift Bags will certainly ensure that your recipients (or yourself!) have the best dressed festive grazing table. Helen and Andy have teamed up with other local businesses to bring you two sensational gift bags this Christmas.

The medium gift bag contains two packs of The Good Life Meat Company’s award winning charcuterie, a pack of Moyden’s cheese* and a jar of Stokes pickle*. Priced at £18 plus postage, this truly is the perfect gift for foodies! The large gift bag features three charcuterie packs, a spicy spreadable n’duja, two packs of Moyden’s cheese* and a jar of Stokes pickle*. The large gift bag is priced at £30 and the impressive spread really will steal the show at Christmas parties!

Postage costs are £8 for one gift bag of any size, or £10 for 2-3 gift bags. If you’re local, you can also collect directly from their premises near Sugnall Walled Garden, or receive delivery if you’re within 5 miles of Eccleshall. All parcels will be posted out for next day delivery on Monday 14th December. Orders can be placed by contacting Helen at helen@goodlifemeat or give her a call on 07720 638410. You can also visit the website to order. *Please note that some varieties may differ from those pictured. For more details, contact Helen.



All I want for Christmas is a sweet treat box from Scrumbles Cake Shop, *drools*. Sarah and Beth have really pulled out all the stops with their luxurious Christmas treat boxes for the festive season, and we really hope we find one of these under the tree on Christmas Day!

They’ve created four different cakes boxes for all tastes. First up is the Children’s Treat Box, which is £10 and includes a Christmas tree brownie, a Rudolph hot chocolate cone, a stained glass window gingerbread tree decoration, a ‘build your own’ mini gingerbread house kit, a candy cane, chocolate coins and a chocolate Santa Claus!

A delightful twist on the traditional mince pie are Scrumbles’ Mince Pie Cookie Cups, priced at £8 for a box of four. So if you’re not a fan of pastry but would love to try mincemeat encased in a gorgeous spiced cookie, these are the perfect choice.

Brownie lovers! For £12, you can indulge in Scrumbles’ Brownie Box… or give it as a gift, of course. This box has six wonderfully festive flavours of brownies, including ginger and salted caramel, marzipan, tiramisu, Baileys, chocolate orange and After Eight. We think we are in love!

Last but not least, there is the Blondie Box. For those who don’t like the chocolate overload of traditional brownies (are you mad!?), blondies still offer that gooey, fudgey goodness but with a light vanilla flavour. Scrumbles’ Blondie Box is £12 and offers six Christmassy varieties including gingerbread, white Toblerone, eggnog, mince pie, white chocolate orange and Lindt.

You can purchase your boxes online and collect them from Scrumbles Cake Shop in Leek. If you just can’t make up your mind about which box to get for your loved ones, Scrumbles sell gift vouchers over the counter. Head over to their website here to order your treat boxes.


Just Perfect Wines

A glass of fizz is an absolute must at Christmas, but a bottle is even better! Just Perfect Wines have created the ultimate Christmas Prosecco Treat Bag for fizz lovers, filled with fabulous treats. It includes: two mini bottles of prosecco DOC made by artisan winery Furlan; a 50ml bottle of cherry brandy liqueur which pairs beautifully with the prosecco for a festive cherry fizz; a box of exquisite prosecco truffles which are lovingly handcrafted by the artisan chocolatiers Noble and Stace of West Sussex; and a box of sensational cranberry rocky road chocolates, handmade by Langley’s Rocky Road in Cornwall. All packaged up in a jute bag, tied with a ‘Merry Christmas’ ribbon and priced at just £23.95 plus £4.95 postage, this really is the perfect gift for prosecco lovers.

As well as their Christmas Prosecco Treat Bag, Just Perfect Wines have a virtual ‘Christmas Gift Shop’ on their website so you can browse their other festive best buys including the Christmas Whinberry Gin Treat Bag and wine gift sets to name a couple. Plus, if you spend over £60, shipping is free!

To get your hands on their fabulous gifts, head over to the website here and place your orders. Please note that the last day for orders to arrive before Christmas is 17th December.


Dalton’s Dairy

Dalton’s Dairy in Staffordshire are famous for their impeccable ice cream… you really can’t beat relaxing in the sunshine with a tub in the summer! But did you know that the family run business also produce their own butter, milk, cheese, honey and jam?

Nestled on the outskirts of the southern Peak District, the family pride themselves on the quality of the milk produced by their happy cows, and no Christmas Day is complete without their produce. A bacon sandwich on Christmas morning slathered in Dalton’s salted butter, traditional bread sauce made with Dalton’s whole milk for Christmas dinner, Dalton’s luxury ice cream for dessert, and of course, a cheese board featuring their amazing Staffordshire cheese (made in Cheddleton by Staffordshire Cheese Co using only milk from Dalton’s cows) as you nestle down and watch Christmas films with the family in the evening.

And if you want to give the gift of quality dairy produce to your loved ones, Dalton’s Dairy also have gift vouchers available to purchase on their online shop.


F & B Bakes

Keen foodies Beth and Fumbi specialise in creating luxury brownies with unique flavour combinations, perfect for grown ups. Fumbi was a quarter-finalist in MasterChef 2017 and continues with his passion of making delectable desserts which are inspired by his travels around the world. As well as their usual brownie flavours, such as pistachio crunch, cherry, and triple chocolate to name a few, the duo have incorporated festive additions to their usual collection this Christmas, featuring Baileys, spiced nuts and espresso flavoured brownies! These scrumptious brownies will certainly turn heads this Christmas, and would pair perfectly with a festive liqueur by the fire.

F & B Bakes offer boxes of 3 (£6), boxes of 9 (£16) and boxes of 16 (£22), all including any three flavours of your choice, so you can mix and match your favourites. These prices are inclusive of local delivery charges around Stafford. Your final ordering date is 21st December, and they will be delivered to you on the 23rd December.

If you’re a little further afield, they also offer UK wide 1st class postage for their box of 3 (£10), and their box of 9 (£20). The final ordering date is the 18th December and they will be delivered on or around the 21st December.

To order, head over to their Instagram page and send them a message, or email

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The friends connecting their community through food

Thus autumn, before Lockdown 2.0, Sauce met Amanda Turner and Gemma Heath, co-founders of Collective Skills Project, to find out more about their projects building community through food in Hartshill…

Thus autumn, before Lockdown 2.0, Sauce met Amanda Turner and Gemma Heath, co-founders of Collective Skills Project, to find out more about their projects building community through food in Hartshill and Penkhull.

Firm friends Amanda and Gemma met through their work for a Thames river boat event company, and launched their community interest company (CIC) Collective Skills Project in 2019. Their aim is reducing loneliness and isolation by bringing people in their local communities together to develop and share key life skills.

This December, Collective Skills Project have launched their latest project in collaboration with Feasted and Sanctuary Ale House, with funding and support from Hartshill and Harpfields Residents’ Association Events and The Community Foundation for Staffordshire. The Teatime Tuesday project aims to help Hartshill residents who are struggling financially due to the impact of COVID-19. The team will be distributing free meal bags containing all of the ingredients to make a hearty, healthy meal from scratch – enough to feed up to four for one meal.

With recipes written by local chef and educator Cris Cohen of Feasted, the bags will contain cards with instructions to create simple, comforting vegetarian dishes including lentil & vegetable cottage pie and broccoli & cauliflower macaroni cheese. Every Tuesday in December and on Tuesday 5 January, there will be 40 bags available on a first come, first served basis from Sanctuary Ale House between 15:00-17:00, but a delivery service is on offer for over 60s who are unable to leave the house.

Teatime Tuesday follows on from Amanda and Gemma’s main autumn project. Through ‘Fallen from the Tree’ they collect unwanted or excess fruit each year from private gardens, allotments and public spaces to be redistributed for free. They ask fruit donors across Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme to join them in combating fruit waste, and have been creating a database of gardens, orchards, public and private spaces with surplus or unwanted fruit that can be donated.

This year Gemma and Amanda have done most of the collection runs themselves, as coordinating volunteers has been complicated during the coronavirus pandemic, but the pair are hopeful that next year they will be able to reach more fruit trees and give out more fruit. In spite of the pandemic, they received donations of all sorts of fruit from apples and pears to plums, damsons and sloes – even some walnuts. The produce was given out for free at community stalls and at the first Newcastle-under-Lyme Artisan Market on 18 November. One donors’ apples went to local charitable association Helping Angels, who made a slow cooker apple crumble.

And Collective Skills Project not only connects the community through food. During the first lockdown, Amanda and Gemma coordinated a Community Clay project, delivering 300 packs of clay to households in Hartshill and encouraging people to make decorations that were then hung along the main road to create a pop-up outdoor gallery that all residents could enjoy.

You can follow the Collective Skills Project on Facebook or Instagram to stay up-to-date and find out how you could get involved.

Collective Skills Project

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Which Wine When?

Released in August 2020, Which Wine When is the first book from Staffordshire-born sommelier and food and drink consultant Bert Blaize and chef, writer and marketer Claire Strickett. At first…

Released in August 2020, Which Wine When is the first book from Staffordshire-born sommelier and food and drink consultant Bert Blaize and chef, writer and marketer Claire Strickett.

At first glance it might seem like one of those novelty books a well-meaning but ultimately bamboozled relative buys for your birthday, which you thank them for profusely and never pick up again. But it is absolutely not one of those. 

This is a true reference book and one that if you’re a regular wine drinker it would be wise to have within arm’s reach when you’re planning meals and doing the weekly shop online. It’s a springboard to being able to talk about the experience of drinking wine and understanding which wine to choose when, exactly as it says on the tin.

Which Wine When doesn’t just explain what to pair with venison or roast pheasant (although these bases are covered, of course). It has pairings for everything from chicken nuggets and cheese puffs to Chinese takeaway. And what’s more, Blaize and Strickett very clearly explain not only which wine will work best, but why each pairing works, following up with alternative suggestions under the heading ‘If you can’t get this, ask for…’ and a generic last resort under ‘If all else fails, ask for…’. 

Picking the right wine to complement what you’re eating isn’t some dark and mysterious art with this book to hand – it’s as easy and natural as making spaghetti and meatballs and sitting down in front of Netflix. For which, incidentally, you’ll want a nice Chianti.

It’s written and structured in a way that’s accessible and genuinely useful. It feels long overdue, but the authors seem to be aiming to democratise wine in the same way that a new generation of young chefs have democratised fine dining. Self-consciously anti-snobbish and un-stuffy, the book has a sense of humour backed up by some serious knowledge and an abundantly clear passion for the grape.  

It would make a great Christmas gift for someone who enjoys and is curious about wine but doesn’t take it (or themselves) too seriously. If it’s for someone really special to you, you could even consult the book before giving it alongside a bottle of something that will pair perfectly with their favourite meal. This is one they’ll enjoy reading through on a wintry afternoon and then referring back to for years to come.  

Which Wine When by Bert Blaize and Claire Strickett (Ebury Press) is available to buy online and from all major booksellers. 

Look out for our upcoming Sauce: The Podcast episode with Bert Blaize.

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