Staffordshires Food and Drink Scene.

Category: What’s New

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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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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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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Free school meals during half term in Staffordshire

Across the county, charities, pubs, restaurants, cafés and many more organisations are all pulling together to help families in crisis this half term. The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted vast…

Across the county, charities, pubs, restaurants, cafés and many more organisations are all pulling together to help families in crisis this half term.

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted vast swathes of the population mentally, financially and physically, but the most vulnerable people in our communities face more of a struggle than ever to keep food on the table for their children. Now that school is out for October half term, families who usually rely on free school meals to make sure their children don’t go hungry during school hours are left to their own devices, which is a monumental difficulty for those who have lost all or some of their income due to COVID-19.

We believe that no child should go hungry and no family should struggle to feed their children when their usual line of support is temporarily halted.

Below is a directory of generous Staffordshire businesses who are offering free school meals or other forms of assistance to children and families during half term.

Trentham Bakehouse, Trentham
NØRTH Kitchen + Bar, Hanley
Klay Pizzeria & Bar, Hanley
The Glost House, Longton
The Rabbit Hole Tea Room, Hanley
The White Hart Tearoom & B&B, Leek
Cup A Cha, Stafford
Kaffeine of Penkridge, Stafford
55 Bar, Lichfield
Ultimate Vegan Cafe, Lichfield
The Olde House Tearooms, Kinver
Stoke-on-Trent City Centre BID, Stoke-on-Trent
24 Market Street, Lichfield
Zest, Hanley

In addition, plenty of Staffordshire businesses and charities are urgently appealing for the support of the public. The Slamwich Club have launched ‘The Social Slam’ scheme to help support children and families of Stoke-on-Trent with meals during hard times – you can read about their initiative and donate by clicking here.

The Corner have teamed up with The Robin Hood to make 120 packed lunches to send to Men Unite, which will be distributed to their local food bank. Find out more here.

Affordable Food Stoke are accepting food donations which will directly make their way to those who need it this half term. To donate and find out more, click here.

If you think you can help vulnerable families this half term, please head over to the Alice Charity website to donate. The Alice Charity are a fantastic charity with the sole purpose of helping vulnerable families in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

If we have missed anybody from the list, please send us a message on either Facebook or Instagram and we will gladly add them to the article to spread the word.


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Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen opening in Leek

After launching Gallagher’s Home Kitchen back in March 2020, founders Jess and Chris Gallagher have now set up Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen in the heart of Leek, which is due…

After launching Gallagher’s Home Kitchen back in March 2020, founders Jess and Chris Gallagher have now set up Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen in the heart of Leek, which is due to open this week!

Gallagher’s Home Kitchen was launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, after both were due to start new jobs in the hospitality industry at the end of March. Both Jessica and Chris have an extensive background in the hospitality and food and drink industry and decided to launch their own homemade food service, to bring impeccable restaurant quality food to their customers in Cheddleton and the surrounding areas, in the comfort of their own homes.

After rocketing to success with Gallagher’s Home Kitchen, the husband-and-wife team have taken the next steps and have secured a premises at 58 St. Edward Street, Leek. Situated in a charming Grade II listed building, Jessica and Chris will be serving breakfast, lunch and hot drinks to the people of Leek, as well as supporting local artisanal producers by stocking their products in-house, such as LemonAid, ChariTEA and Bear Kombucha.

Jessica and Chris said “The aim is to create a modern British ‘grab & go’ deli, with a breakfast & lunch offering that is fresh, wholesome, and delicious. Everything will be prepared in house daily, ready for you to pick-up and enjoy in the office, at home, on site, on the school run, or even strolling about town! We are using great-quality, fresh ingredients from expert local suppliers, all coupled with sustainable plant-based packaging to create all our goods.

Running alongside, we will also be providing great coffee and stocking a wide range of fantastic deli-style items from some incredible artisan producers who are predominantly based in our very own Staffordshire; something we’re super passionate and excited about!”

Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen will be using Courtyard Coffee as their main coffee supplier, a small batch coffee roaster based in Eccleshall, who we had the pleasure of interviewing back in April 2020. You can read the interview here.

Although their daily home delivery service has come to an end to make way for their new venture, Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen have not lost sight of their original roots, and will also be offering their brand new Monthly Supper Club service for their faithful GHK supporters. They will be running a collection/delivery service on the first Thursday, Friday and Saturday of every month, so you can still get your fix at home. You can read our original review about Gallagher’s Home Kitchen here.

“It’s huge thanks to our faithful GHK supporters over the past 6 months, that we are lucky enough to be in this position, and so we are thrilled to also be continuing with a Monthly Supper Club starting early November!

We believe in contributing to a sense of community, whilst encouraging local independent shopping within our stunning market town, especially in these strange times.”

The grab-and-go delicatessen will certainly be a welcome addition to the stunning market town, and will officially be opening on Thursday 15th October 2020.


Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen
58 St. Edward Street, Leek, ST13 5DL

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Dear Prime Minister, This is a letter from the hospitality industry with a stark message. Our industry is dying and the 10pm curfew may be the final nail in the…

Dear Prime Minister,

This is a letter from the hospitality industry with a stark message. Our industry is dying and the 10pm curfew may be the final nail in the coffin.

Up and down the country, our pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants, music venues, theatres, event spaces and all other businesses that fall under the hospitality industry’s umbrella are teetering on the edge. Some are suffering death by a thousand cuts, while others have been ignored and left to starve.

As an industry we directly employ around 10% of the working population and contribute £39billion in direct tax revenue. That doesn’t take into account the contribution from industries that rely on us, from brewers and distillers to farmers and wholesalers. If nothing changes then hundreds of thousands of people will lose their jobs, thousands of businesses will close their doors forever, billions of pounds of tax income will be lost, and the hospitality industry will never be the same again.
We have borne the brunt of the measures announced over the past fortnight. We are vilified as breeding grounds for the virus, yet Public Health England’s own figures show this is not true. In fact, the latest figures show that we have one of the lowest infection rates outside of the home.

We are doing our utmost to make our venues safe for our staff and customers, acting on each new set of guidelines as they are announced, regardless of the notice we are given. However, the measures announced over the past week are the end of the hospitality industry as we know it.

The 10pm curfew has been heralded as a measure that will help to drive down the infection rate across the country. This is patently not true when you look at the figures.

The figures for what it will cost the hospitality industry and the night-time economy are stark. It is estimated that it will cost £5.5million a day in Central London alone, and venues are reporting a 63% drop in revenue since the curfew was imposed. Thousands of venues rely on post 10pm trade, with many taking over 60% of their revenue in that time, some even more than that. These are not “non- viable businesses”, these are venues that have reopened safely since 4th July.

In fact, restaurants, pubs, bars, and everyone in between have spent thousands to become COVID- Secure. To open safely many have taken on debt despite the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over them. Prior to COVID-19 we were regularly checked by Environmental Health Officers and local authorities to ensure we were meeting rigorous standards. Since COVID, these standards have become more stringent, leading to a position where we are one of the most tightly controlled and regulated environments accessible to the general public.
A 10pm curfew drives the public from the safe environment of our venues and into areas with no regulations. From 10pm people flood the streets as seen over the weekend, overwhelming public transport and taxis, and begin to filter back to their living rooms and kitchens for “one more drink”.

We are not asking for unlimited handouts. We are asking to open our doors. To be allowed to do what we do best whilst keeping our staff and customers safe. We are asking for your permission to keep the hospitality industry alive.
Stop blaming hospitality, let us serve. #CANCELTHECURFEW

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Pumpkin Festival will go ahead at Canalside Farm

With the misty mornings and dark nights creeping in, autumn is certainly lingering just around the corner. What better way to see the new season in than heading out to…

With the misty mornings and dark nights creeping in, autumn is certainly lingering just around the corner. What better way to see the new season in than heading out to pick pumpkins with the family.

Canalside Farm, Stafford, are pleased to announce that their annual Pumpkin Festival is ploughing ahead this year – autumnal pun intended. The festival, which has been running for the last three years, has proved to be the highlight of the farm’s calendar and the owners were both excited and relieved to be able to proceed.

Co-owner of the farm, Anna Barton said:

“In order for the pumpkins to be ready for October, we had to plant them in June, so we had to take a huge leap of faith, as at that time, we were still in lockdown and weren’t sure if we’d be able to go ahead. So we are over the moon that with a little re-organising and careful planning to ensure everyone’s safety, we will be able to run the festival this October.”

Keeping customers safe during their experience is the highest priority at Canalside, and therefore the team have implemented pre-booked timed tickets this year to manage visitor numbers.

Anna explains:

“Normally our festival runs across the week of half-term and is very busy, but this year it will run across every weekend in October as well as half-term, so that the visitor numbers will be spread out. People will only be able to enter via timed tickets, which have to be pre-booked on our website, so we can keep a tight handle on the number of people that enter. All of the activities will be held outside at our pumpkin field, making it easy to social distance and our staff will be on hand at all times, to manage things.

Although we’ve been operating our PYO for over 35 years, we only started growing pumpkins in 2017. We were delighted by the reaction we had in our first year, so planted even more pumpkins and are hoping for around 10,000 this year! Children love the ‘Pumpkin Patch’ and it allows them to see first-hand how this spectacular fruit is grown (yes pumpkins are a fruit not a vegetable!) They seem to really enjoy going into the field and picking their own pumpkin, and it’s a really safe, fun activity for everyone.”

Canalside’s Pumpkin Festival will be running every weekend in October and in half term from 10:00-15:00 between 10 and 31 October 2020. Tickets must be purchased in advance on their website for just £2 per person (under 3s go free). Tickets will be released on the Wednesday for the following weekend, so regularly check the website and keep your eyes peeled to avoid disappointment.


Canalside Farm Shop and Café
Mill Lane, Great Haywood, Stafford, ST18 0RQ 


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Gift ideas for a foodie Father’s Day

Just because the pubs are closed this Father’s Day doesn’t mean you can’t treat your dad to his favourite food and drink. We’ve been busy scouting out the best Father’s…

Just because the pubs are closed this Father’s Day doesn’t mean you can’t treat your dad to his favourite food and drink. We’ve been busy scouting out the best Father’s Day ideas across the Staffordshire food and drink scene so you can sit back, relax and simply enjoy some time with dad over a good meal (at an appropriate distance, of course)… without worrying about which pair of novelty slippers he’d like best.

Denstone Hall Farm Shop Father's Day Hamper

Denstone Hall Farm Shop & Cafe
If your dad is a lover of local Staffordshire produce, then this is the gift for him. The team at Denstone Hall Farm & Shop have released their ‘Staffordshire Father’s Day’ hamper, packed with local, homemade and artisan produce all sourced from Staffordshire. Expect Staffordshire Cheese Co., homemade pork pies and Cottage Delight treats. Order here: or email


Candid Beer gift set

Candid Beer
Is it even Father’s Day without beer? Candid Beer, Stafford, have constructed the perfect gift this Father’s Day for craft beer lovers. Treat dad to a canister of four 440ml beers and a special Candid Beer glass. Choose from pale, dark, lager or mixed beers. Shop here:

Misco's box of chocolates

Misco’s Chocolate and Truffles
If your dad has a sweet tooth, he would love some delicious chocolatey treats from Misco’s Chocolates and Truffles, Leek. Their shop is now open (yessss!), so call in on Thursday, Friday or Saturday to pick up your dad’s favourite homemade chocolates and earn some brownie points this Father’s Day.

Dunwood Farm meat box

Dunwood Farm
Treat the King of the BBQ to a quality meat box from Dunwood Farm. Whether your dad is the chef or if you’re treating him to a day off and cooking for him, he will love the incredible quality of Dunwood’s high welfare meat. Head over to the online shop here: or pop into The Village Butchers, Ipstones, to pick up your meat box.

Three Horseshoes Inn
Al fresco steak night, a bottle of wine and breathtaking views of the Peak District? Yes please! Although The Three Horseshoes Inn isn’t quite open yet, you can still treat your dad to their quality steak at a future date. The Three Horseshoes are offering a Steak Night for Two with a Bottle of Wine gift voucher, so you can treat dad a little later in the year. Head over to their online shop to purchase:

Bank Coffeehouse Alrewas afternoon tea

The Bank Coffeehouse
Nothing is better than a quintessential Afternoon Tea in the sun, especially with the ones you love. The Bank Coffeehouse are offering a Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea this Father’s Day. Enjoy a selection of sandwiches with salad, a fruit scone with homemade jam and clotted cream, a selection of cakes and a bottle of Spilsbury & Jones craft beer. You can also have the choice to swap out the sandwiches, scone or cake for a Peter Coates pork pie on request. Delivery in Alrewas or you can collect. Call or text 07722 891696 or email to order.

Clive’s Wines
The lovely team at Clive’s Wines have crafted the perfect hampers for Father’s Day this year! Choose from five different hampers, including the Cider Curry Set and the Personalised Wine Gift Set set to name a couple. Head over to their website to find the perfect gift for your dad:

World of Wedgwood cheese scones, chilli jam, Dovedale blue butter

World of Wedgwood
Head Chef Richard has been busy behind the scenes at World of Wedgwood, cooking up the ultimate treat for dad this Father’s Day… savoury scones with homemade chilli jam and Dovedale blue butter. If you want to flex your culinary skills and impress dad with a homemade treat, this is the recipe for you:

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What’s in season?

By now you will have felt that change in the air that means warmer weather is on the way. The days are getting longer and you’re finding yourself craving lighter…

By now you will have felt that change in the air that means warmer weather is on the way. The days are getting longer and you’re finding yourself craving lighter foods and fresher flavours.

From spring, as the first new shoots of wild garlic appear, through the long bright days of summer, our hedgerows, valleys, fields and farms are at their most productive and there are rich pickings for the keen foodie. In this issue, we’re highlighting one of the most versatile harbingers of the English summer and a statuesque Mediterranean native.


The elder is a large deciduous shrub which prefers to grow in untended hedgerows, sheltered from the wind and bathed by the sun. Its masses of frothy white, fragrant flowers are hard to miss in late spring and early summer if you’re walking, riding or driving around the English countryside. By late August their juicy, black-purple berries are ripe, and the birds will happily tuck in.

One of the classic wild foods of late May and early June, the sweetly scented flower heads are best picked on a bright, sunny morning when they first open. Once picked, elderflowers must be used or preserved quickly before they turn brown. Although uncooked elderberries are mildly poisonous, both the flowers and the berries have long been put to use in the kitchen. First and foremost, the flowers have been used for cordial and the berries for wine, but traditional medicine uses extracts of both as a remedy for coughs, colds and fever.

The flower heads are delightful simply dipped in a light batter and fried until crisp. Elderflower’s delicate flavour is perfectly suited to light desserts like fools or jellies, pairing particularly well with tart gooseberries, lemon or rhubarb. It also works well in summery cakes, tarts and trifles. Making your own cordial is easy enough to do, by infusing freshly gathered elderflowers with lemons, sugar, water and citric acid. Ideal for summer entertaining, it makes a sophisticated alternative to alcohol or, indeed, a refreshing addition to cocktails. To really get the party started, you can also infuse spirits like gin or vodka with elderflower.

Get yours from…

Forage for it
Because they have such a short shelf-life once picked, you’ll be hard pressed to find elderflowers for sale anywhere. If you’re happy to follow the countryside code and use your common sense, you can forage for your own on a sunny morning in late May or early June. Elder can often be found thriving alongside canal tow paths and old railway lines, of which there are many across the county. Make sure you get the landowners’ permission if you’re picking from fields or woodland edges and corners and only use foraged ingredients if you’re certain you’ve identified them correctly.

Elderflower - Sambucus nigra

Globe artichoke

The globe artichoke is one of the largest members of the thistle family and, somewhat confusingly, no relation of the potato-like Jerusalem artichoke. Introduced to England by the Dutch, artichokes were said to have been grown in Henry VIII’s garden at New Hall – also known as Beaulieu – in the 16th century. With one of the highest levels of antioxidant capacity of any vegetable, glboe artichokes are at their best from June all the way through to November.

The part of the plant you can eat is the flower bud before the flower comes into bloom. It’s the tender ends of the leaves and the fleshy base – the ‘heart’ – that are edible, unlike the tough outer leaves and furry choke. In smaller artichokes the leaves are more tender, but larger specimens tend to have bigger hearts. It’s best to choose those with tightly packed leaves showing a slight bloom. Some varieties have beautiful purple leaves, while others are a crisp green.

Eating globe artichoke has to be one of the simple pleasures of summer. All you need to do is boil or steam the whole flower head before pulling off the leaves and dipping them – they’re delicious with vinaigrette, hollandaise, garlic butter, mayonnaise or aioli. Draw the leaf through your teeth to remove the tender flesh and discard anything that’s tough. They can also be barbecued or grilled. Just slice in half lengthways, remove the fluffy choke, brush with olive oil and grill until tender.

Stuffed artichoke recipes are really popular, too. Start by boiling and then pulling out the central leaves and choke. In Italy, its common to stuff them with a mixture of bread crumbs, garlic, oregano, parsley, grated cheese, and prosciutto or sausage. Throughout North Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, and Armenia, ground lamb is a favourite filling. Then it’s simply a case of drizzling with olive oil and baking in the oven.

Get yours from…

Gerald Harrison Greengrocer
8 Market Place, Leek, ST13 8HH

A family run greengrocer for the past 45 years and counting, you’ll find Gerald Harrison’s right next door to the Market Place entrance to Leek’s historic Buttermarket. This traditional grocers is open from 7:30 every morning with the exception of Sundays (unless the Totally Locally Sunday Supplement is on), offering a huge range of fresh seasonal fruit and veg from across the UK and Europe. That includes globe artichoke when the timing’s right. Plus using your local greengrocer is one way to avoid all that unnecessary plastic you end up taking home from the supermarket – just make sure you’re prepared with your bag or basket.

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