Staffordshires Food and Drink Scene.

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Strong Staffordshire showing in Great Taste Awards 2019

No fewer than 40 food and drink products from Staffordshire companies made the list of winners in this year’s Great Taste Awards. The Great Taste Awards, organised by the Guild…

No fewer than 40 food and drink products from Staffordshire companies made the list of winners in this year’s Great Taste Awards.

The Great Taste Awards, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, is the acknowledged benchmark for fine food and drink. More than 500 judges, including food critics, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs, buyers, retailers and producers as well as specially trained food writers, blind-taste each of the entries in teams of three or four.

The one star award is for products judged to have fantastic flavour. Two stars mean the judges dubbed it above and beyond delicious, while the three star award means the product was described as ‘extraordinarily tasty’.

Out of 12,772 products sent in from more than 100 countries, 40 from the county received awards this year. Staffordshire producers featured range from long-established businesses like Packington Free Range and Cottage Delight (both with more than five products on the list of winners) to relative newcomers like Sead Foods, who achieved two stars for their sesame butter, and Trotting Potter Salts, whose pastis salt was also awarded two stars.

The Pie Life, based in Tean, won five awards for their luxury pies, including two stars for the roast lamb and mint. Suncream Dairies picked up five awards for various flavours of their Gelato Lusso range, while Mr Trotter, Jeyel’s Foods, Midland Snacks, Just Crisps, Zago and Judy’s House Foods were also recognised by the judges. 

Among independents previously featured in Sauce magazine, Seed Chocolate and The Good Life Meat Company also received accolades. Seed’s 75% Peruvian Yapatera dark chocolate won two stars, as did The Good Life Meat Company’s Organic Longhorn Bresaola.

Other winners include street food favourites The English Indian, for their mint and chilli mushy peas, and Stone-based Lee Walker Family Butchers, for their champion pork pie. Nelson’s Timur Gin was one of only three Staffordshire products to walk away with the coveted three stars. 

The Great Taste Awards 2019 will conclude on Sunday 1 September, when the Great Taste Golden Fork trophy winners for each region will be revealed, with final applause reserved for the Great Taste Supreme Champion 2019. 

You can view a list of all the winners on the Great Taste website.

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Have a Just Perfect evening at BEAR Stone

If you’re a fan of fizz, get yourself down to BEAR on Stone High Street this summer for an evening with an expert. BEAR have teamed up with Julia from…

If you’re a fan of fizz, get yourself down to BEAR on Stone High Street this summer for an evening with an expert.

BEAR have teamed up with Julia from Just Perfect Wines – the prosecco and sparkling wine specialists – to host their first prosecco tasting experience on Friday 9 August, starting at 7pm and running until around 9.30-10pm.

Julia, who owns Just Perfect Wines and featured in the Autumn/Winter 2018 edition of Sauce magazine, is extremely knowledgeable and keen to share her passion for prosecco and sparkling wines. She’ll be running the evening from the cosy mezzanine in BEAR’s Stone store.

Guests will receive a glass of bubbles on arrival, and then have time to settle into the mezzanine space before tasting a series of five different proseccos. Julia will talk through the origins of each and the processes that are involved in making them. Each wine will be carefully paired with a menu of special canapés made in-house by BEAR’s kitchen team.

Bottles of all the sparkling wines sampled on the evening will also be available to buy.

Tickets are priced at £25 per person and you can book your place via Eventbrite today.

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Midlands’ best restaurant launches Versus Supper Clubs

The Boat Inn at Muckley Corner, Lichfield, took Best Fine Dining Restaurant at The Midlands Food, Drink & Hospitality Awards 2019, while head chef Liam Dillon walked away with Best Chef for…

The Boat Inn at Muckley Corner, Lichfield, took Best Fine Dining Restaurant at The Midlands Food, Drink & Hospitality Awards 2019, while head chef Liam Dillon walked away with Best Chef for the second consecutive year.

Liam DillonThe fourth Midlands Food Drink & Hospitality Awards was hosted at Villa Park on Monday 24 June, and saw the movers and shakers of the food, drink and hospitality industry from across Birmingham and the rest of the Midlands come together for an evening of celebration. Liam Dillon and his restaurant were flying the flag for Staffordshire as the only representatives of the county to walk away with awards on the night.

Liam has recently launched his new Versus Supper Club series which will see guest chefs go head-to-head against him in The Boat’s open kitchen. The next event is an evening with Kray Treadwell – former head chef of Michelin-starred The Man Behind The Curtain in Leeds who was recently part of Great British Menu 2019 – on Monday 15 July.

The chefs create rival six-course menus and guests get a score card to track whose dishes are their favourite with the winner revealed at the end of the night. Tickets for each supper club are £75 per person, with a donation from each sale going to the guest chef’s chosen charity.

The Versus Supper Club line-up for the next six months looks like this:

Kray Treadwell – Monday 15 July

Bruce Cheyne, head chef at Swinfen Hall Hotel, Lichfield – Monday 12 August

Tom Shepherd, head chef of Adam’s Restaurant, Birmingham – Monday 23 September

Will Holland, executive head chef at The Atlantic, Jersey – Monday 7 October

Matt Cheal, head chef of Cheal’s of Henley – Monday 18 November

Louisa Ellis, MasterChef finalist and private chef – Monday 9 December

 To book tickets for any of these events, go to: theboatinnlichfield.com

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New dog-friendly café opens at Armitage

The new café and boutique bed and breakfast at Tuppenhurst Barn is in a beautiful rural setting within easy reach of Lichfield, Rugeley and Cannock. It opens on 22 June….

The new café and boutique bed and breakfast at Tuppenhurst Barn is in a beautiful rural setting within easy reach of Lichfield, Rugeley and Cannock. It opens on 22 June.

24 year old Melissa Bettson’s family have lived at Tuppenhurst Farm for more than 100 years, but since her father passed away their 500 acres of land has been let to other families who farm sheep and arable crops there. After graduating with a degree in Equine Business Management – and recovering from a spine injury – Melissa moved back home from Gloucester two years ago.

Wanting to make her own mark on the place and keep the family farm sustainable, she decided to transform a disused 17th century barn into a café and luxury B&B. £1 million has been invested in the project, which has seen parts of the listed building dismantled and rebuilt brick by brick. Four dog-friendly ensuite bedrooms have been created, including an accessible room on the ground floor.

The light and airy café will be open to the public from 9:00-17:00, seven days a week, from Saturday 22 June. Serving hot and cold drinks including Lichfield Tea and Iron & Fire coffee, as well as cakes from local baker Crumb & Burrow, the café also offers breakfasts and light lunches. 

With the canal just a couple of minutes away, it’s a lovely spot to have some refreshments after your walk. And your faithful friend doesn’t have to miss out – plant-based dog treats from Melissa’s other business, Bear’s Bites, are available and so is a ‘Doggie Breakfast’ of bacon and scrambled eggs.

If you’re particularly into old engines, there’s also a museum on the farm housing some very rare specimens that you can take a look at. And if you’re into horse-riding, Melissa has created a professional equestrian arena available to hire on an hourly basis.

Tuppenhurst Farm
Tuppenhurst Lane, Rugeley, WS15 4HJ
www.tuppenhurstfarm.co.uk

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Beer Central Festival comes to the Midlands

We Are Beer are putting on a stellar food and beer line up for their first Midlands festival in Birmingham this July. Beer Central Festival will take place on Friday…

We Are Beer are putting on a stellar food and beer line up for their first Midlands festival in Birmingham this July.

Beer Central Festival will take place on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 July at 119 Floodgate Street in Digbeth. Brad Carter, Original Patty Men, Baked in Brick and Purecraft Bar & Kitchen are heading the food line-up which aims to gather together the best in beer, food and music. It promises to be a packed day out and it’s right on the doorstep for hungry (and thirsty) Staffordshire foodies.

The ‘all-in’ ticket means all beer is covered during the event, with attendees able to choose from a vast selection of beers from more than 25 local and international breweries. It’s a line up that will get any craft beer fan drooling, with the likes of Northern Monk, Purity, Siren, Cloudwater, Verdant, Wild Beer all in attendance. The ticket price includes beer and a selection of cider, wine, gin, whisky, and soft drinks as well as a glass and festival magazine. Food isn’t included.

Chef Brad CarterOn Friday and Saturday night, Brad (whose restaurant Carters of Moseley earned a Michelin star in 2016) will be grilling and smoking a variety of meat, seafood and other seasonal ingredients using two specially created grills. The ingredient-led menu has been carefully designed to pair perfectly with beers from two of his favourite breweries, The Kernel and Braybrooke.

Award-winning burger purveyors Original Patty Men, who opened their restaurant in Digbeth in 2015 after starting out in street food, will be there, as will Baked in Brick, winner of Best Street Food Trader at the British and European Street Food Awards

In terms of music, revellers can expect a Kaiser Chiefs DJ set and a session from hip-hop turntablist DJ Yoda. Hip Hop Karaoke will be inviting people to sing some of their favourite hip hop tracks in front of a live audience. Also joining the line up are Ultimate Power, who run club nights across the UK playing hit after hit of the world’s greatest ballads.

Greg Wells, co-founder of We Are Beer, says: “We’re super excited to present a Michelin-starred chef as part of the food line-up for Beer Central. We’re super proud to host Brad and ‘Best Street Food Trader in Europe’ Lee DeSanges from Baked in Brick at the first Beer Central Festival. They along with street food kings Original Patty Men means we’ll be showcasing the breadth and best of what Birmingham’s food scene has to offer.”

You can buy tickets for Beer Central here.

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Have a foodie Father’s Day

This Father’s Day, leave the annual-new-pair-of-socks tradition in 2018 and get your dad something he really wants: good food and drink! We’ve been scouting some of the best foodie gift…

This Father’s Day, leave the annual-new-pair-of-socks tradition in 2018 and get your dad something he really wants: good food and drink! We’ve been scouting some of the best foodie gift ideas from across Staffordshire to really impress your dad this weekend.

DIY – Bradbury’s Farm Shop, Lichfield

Fancy flexing your culinary skills this Father’s Day? Nothing says ‘I love you, Dad’ quite like a home cooked meal, and if you really want to impress him, shopping local is the way to go. The family run farm shop is tucked away on the outskirts of Lichfield, and is a delightful little hidden gem for local produce. Bradbury’s Farm Shop only supply locally sourced meat from around Staffordshire and also from their own family farm which is located just a couple of miles from the farm shop. All of their traditional breed cattle and sheep are grass fed and naturally reared by father and son duo, Peter and Jake, so you are guaranteed ethical and tasty produce every time.

And what’s a Father’s Day Sunday lunch without crisp, fresh veg? Bradbury’s Farm Shop have an abundance of delicious, seasonal veggies which will perfectly complement your meat.

Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea & Canal Cruise – Georgie’s Canal Cruises, Penkridge 

Treat your Dad to a gentle two hour cruise along the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal with Georgie’s Canal Cruises at Penkridge. Not only can you enjoy the sights together and meander the Sunday afternoon away through the Staffordshire countryside, but they also offer a Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea, featuring home-cooked savoury delights. The Gentleman’s Afternoon tea features the sweet treats of the traditional Afternoon tea, but has some sumptuous savoury additions. Expect homemade onion marmalade sausage rolls, mini Cornish pasties, cheesy nachos, and to top to it all off a bottle of beer or ale. The Gentleman’s Afternoon tea is priced at £27.50 per person inclusive of the two hour cruise, and is available from 12:00-14:00 or 15:00-17:00. All aboard!

Father’s Day Sunday Lunch – The Dog & Doublet Inn, Sandon

Get the whole family together and make some memories this Father’s Day with a traditional Sunday lunch. Set in the picturesque village of Sandon, The Dog & Doublet Inn are offering a delectable three course Sunday for lunch for just £20.00 per person. The vast menu offers dishes such as poached pear and Wrekin Blue salad with candied walnuts to start, slow roast loin pork with crispy crackling and sage and onion stuffing, and to finish, rhubarb creme brûlée with shortbread fingers. Yes, please! Table reservations are filling up quickly, so get booked in now to avoid disappointment.

Brewery Tour with Live Music & Beer – Mart’s Brewhouse, Hanley

Every dad loves a beer on Father’s Day, so why not take it up a notch and get him a Brewery Tour with a Twist at Mart’s Brewhouse & Tap in Hanley’s Cultural Quarter? You and your dad can learn all about the art of local beer brewing, enjoy live music and good food, and of course, sample some of their incredible brews. We love Mart’s Dutch Letters marzipan stout and Mart’s Early Bird pale ale. This special Father’s Day tour will take place on Saturday 15 June at 11:00 for just £21.55 per person. Tickets must be booked in advance, so what are you waiting for?

Father’s Day Hamper – Canalside Farm and Shop, Great Haywood

If your dad can’t resist some good quality farm shop produce, then this is the gift for him. Canalside Farm Shop is offering traditional hampers packed full of delicious food and drink, and you can choose from four different structures. If you know your dad’s fave foodie treats like the back of your hand, call into the farm shop and select your hamper contents from Canalside’s array of quality produce. If you would rather leave it to the experts, the lovely folks at Canalside have been creating hampers for over thirty years and will select the products you. You just need to tell them a little bit about your dad’s tastes and interests, and they will construct the perfect gift. If Father’s Day has completely slipped your mind this year and you need a last minute gift, there are ready made hampers in store which are available to pick up straight away. And finally, if your dad is a real advocate of local Staffordshire produce, Canalside also offer a hamper which showcases the very best of Staffordshire’s food and drink. Give them a call in advance for this hamper, and they will handpick the products the day before you collect.

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Charity dinner with Matt Davies x Sauce Supper Club

Clear your diary on 24 June, because Sauce Supper Club and well-known Staffordshire chef Matt Davies are joining forces to host an exclusive, one-off dining experience at University College Birmingham,…

Clear your diary on 24 June, because Sauce Supper Club and well-known Staffordshire chef Matt Davies are joining forces to host an exclusive, one-off dining experience at University College Birmingham, in order to raise funds for local hospitals and specialist departments.

Matt Davies delighted the people of Staffordshire with his exquisite culinary skills for over thirty years. He began his incredible career in 1984 as a stagiaire at The Savoy in London, after previously spending eight years training under the wing of Michelin starred chef Andreas Antona of Simpsons Restaurant, Birmingham.

Prior to a life changing accident, the former Chairman and now Vice President of the British Culinary Federation was responsible for an 80-strong kitchen brigade spread across six Michelin-listed and multi-Rosette fine dining outlets in Staffordshire. Matt managed a thousand daily covers, encompassing everything from fine and modern UK and European cuisine, all the way through to gourmet burgers and classic country cooking.

“After suffering life changing trauma, I would like to thank some very special people and their corresponding charities by holding a Charity Dinner to raise much needed funds to carry on helping other people in the future,” says Matt, whose enlightened outlook on being a chef is that it is not just a profession, but rather a passion and a way of life that has you striving to be the best you can.

“I am humbled to introduce to you some of my dear friends, who have given up their personal time to produce a very special six-course Charity Dinner at the UCB Birmingham.”

This special event on Monday 24 June will bring together some of the most celebrated chefs in the country to raise money for causes that are close to Matt’s heart: Mind, UHNM Charity, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity, and Hospitality Action. 

Guests will be treated to six courses from Tom Brown (Cornerstone, Hackney Wick), Glynn Purnell (Purnells Restaurant), Luke Tipping (Simpsons of Edgbaston), Jonathan Howe (Lumiere Restaurant), Aktar Islam (Opheem Restaurant), and Adam Bennett (The Cross at Kenilworth) assisted by Andreas Antona (Simpsons of Edgbaston).

Tickets are available to purchase here from Sauce Supper Club.

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Candid Beer opening Good Friday

Good Friday just got even better, with Candid Beer’s bottle shop and taproom set to open in Woodings Yard at 12 noon on 19 April, just in time for Easter…

Good Friday just got even better, with Candid Beer’s bottle shop and taproom set to open in Woodings Yard at 12 noon on 19 April, just in time for Easter weekend.

Stafford’s latest addition champions craft beer from small independent breweries across the county and beyond, with suppliers selected by owner Mark Bamping to complement Candid’s relaxed and community-focused ethos.

Relax and have a beer with your friends in the new taproom, or purchase your cans and bottles to take away – perfect if you’re planning a cheeky spring barbecue. Some of the names you can expect to see lining the shelves are Loka Polly, Northern Monk, Marble Beers, Cloudwater, Six°North and Pomona Island Brew Co.

If delicious craft beer isn’t your thing, don’t panic. Candid Beer will be serving Staffordshire Gin, local wines from Halfpenny Green Wine Estate, Hasbean and Ethical Addictions coffee, loose leaf tea from Birdhouse, soft drinks and bar snacks. 

Candid Beer also doubles as a creative workspace for those who need to get out of the office, or for those who don’t have an office. ‘Can-Do-Er’ membership, which includes come-and-go-as-you-like access to their shared working space in the taproom or quiet breakout space, unlimited tea and coffee, WiFi and the much needed buzz of co-working company, is available at £65 per month.

Upstairs, Candid will offer ‘Creative Space’ hire suitable for everything from team away-days to weekly book clubs. The space is fully equipped with display and audio equipment as well as access to tea and coffee facilities. Future plans also include the opening of a nano-brewery on-site.

“We are really excited to embark on this new venture and to bring Candid Beer to Stafford,” says Mark. “Our aim is to take the best bits of a pub, a bar, a café, an office, and a studio and bring them together under one roof in what we’re describing as a community hub. We’re looking forward to opening our doors on Friday 19 April 2019 at 12 noon and welcoming the community of Stafford into our new home.”

Easter weekend opening times:

Friday 19 April 12:00-18:00
Saturday 20 April 11:00-21:00
Sunday 21 April CLOSED
Monday 22 April 12:00-18:00

Candid Beer
candidbeer.co.uk
Units 4 & 5, Woodings Yard, Stafford, ST17 4BG

Photo credit: Matt Winnington

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Roots Larder to open zero plastic shop

This Saturday, 6 April, sees the opening of Roots Larder’s permanent presence in Stafford. After spending its first 6 months as a mobile service, eco-friendly business Roots Larder is now…

This Saturday, 6 April, sees the opening of Roots Larder’s permanent presence in Stafford.

After spending its first 6 months as a mobile service, eco-friendly business Roots Larder is now planting its roots within Tranquility, off Newport Road close to Stafford train station.

The local business offers bulk wholefoods including a range of spices, herbs, grains, pulses, cereals, dried fruits, nuts and loose leaf teas, all without unnecessary plastic packaging. All are sold by weight, so you can buy as much or as little as you need to cut down on waste, and customers are invited to bring their own containers to fill.

Until now, Roots Larder has operated at local markets from a trusty transit van as well as offering a click and collect service from Stafford, Eccleshall, Stone or Uttoxeter. To enable the shop to carry more stock and offer a wider range of goods that fit in with the ethical approach, owner Nigel has decided a permanent shop space is needed.

Along with the selection of store cupboard essentials and plastic free toiletries and kitchen wares that Roots Larder has become known for, Nigel will also be introducing Fair Trade silver jewellery, Rawsome bars, fresh bread, natural incense, stained and fused glass items, and handmade dog accessories.

The shop will be open from 10:00-15:00 on Saturday for the launch event. Meanwhile on Friday 5 April, small business owners are invited to share what they do and chat reducing single use plastic at a pre-opening networking event in store from 18:30-20:30.

Normal opening hours for the shop will be:

Wednesday 13:00-19:00
Thursday 10:00-16:00
Saturday 10:00-15:00

Roots Larder
www.rootslarder.com
Castlefields, Off Newport Road, Stafford, ST16 1BQ

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The Boat Inn puts Staffordshire on the Top 50 Gastropubs map

The Boat Inn at Lichfield fought off tough competition to put Staffordshire on the map at Estrella Damm’s Top 50 Gastropubs awards ceremony earlier this week. The judges praised chef-patron Liam…

The Boat Inn at Lichfield fought off tough competition to put Staffordshire on the map at Estrella Damm’s Top 50 Gastropubs awards ceremony earlier this week.

The judges praised chef-patron Liam Dillon for transforming The Boat into a ‘very special venue’ and a worthy winner of the Newcomer of the Year title for 2019.

“Liam’s menus boast maturity, uniqueness and, above all, skill and great balance of flavour,” according to the panel of industry experts – including The Good Food Guide editor Elizabeth Carter and Managing Director of Inn Places, David Hancock – who awarded the Best Newcomer prize. “He has created a gastropub that delivers on all fronts, from excellent service the moment you walk through the door, to outstanding dishes.”

The award was presented in a ceremony at Lillibrooke Manor in Maidenhead on Monday.

“It was a great day and a fantastic achievement,” Liam told Sauce. “The team are over the moon with the award and we have all been working very hard to put The Boat Inn where it deserves to be. We are all honoured to be in the same bracket as the amazing establishments in the Top 50 list.”

Liam worked for Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley in London after graduating with a degree in the culinary arts from Birmingham College of Food in 2006. Thus began a decade of striving to work in the best kitchens in the world, starting off in Sydney at Quay before taking in Eleven Madison Park and Noma in Copenhagen, among others. Since opening The Boat, he’s gone on to win Best Chef at the Midlands Food, Drink & Hospitality Awards last year and the venue picked up Best Independent Restaurant at the Taste of Staffordshire Awards 2018. 

Look out for our interview with Liam in the Spring edition of Sauce, out in March.

The Boat Inn
Walsall Road, Lichfield, WS14 0BU
www.theboatinnlichfield.com

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