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The Festivities of Food
Cornwall has its pasties, Devon pride’s itself on cream teas, Somerset likes its cider….yet Hampshire just seems proud of its food in general!
I’m a big fan of using as many local producers as possible to buy food. I attend Farmers Markets as often as possible and head straight to the local food counters in the local shops. If I’m looking for a place to eat out, whether for a slap up meal, or just a coffee and a cake, I’ll always try to find a quirky, individual place that really epitomises the local area. If we can’t look after people on our doorstep, what would the world come to?
Wherever I travel, I’ve yet to find a County so proud of the food its land and people produce. Nowhere consistently celebrates ‘grub’ like Hampshire – and I like to celebrate it as much as possible by munching away!
Having just flicked through the brochure for the Hampshire Food Festival, held every July, it is quite unbelievable to see how many organisations and businesses are taking part. From tours of farms, through to tasting days at local shops and special menus, there’s a certain pride in the county as people present their produce, which just isn’t seen anywhere else in the country.
In fact, with all this going on why would you want to visit a supermarket? Apart from the toilet rolls and deodorants, I can’t see a good reason not to keep your pound in the county.
It’s been particularly pleasing to see a few new individual coffee shops open in Winchester too. By visiting the new Lead & Bean on Stockbridge Road last Saturday, I got a really good feeling – being part of the local community, saying hello to residents and visitors popping by for a quick espresso, and talking to the new owners who are working really hard to make the business a success, whilst supporting local food producers as much as possible.
But I’m careful to overly praise all these endeavours. If we become a County that can turn every coffee house, shop and restaurant into somewhere that becomes primarily a place for local food producers – we’ll just take them for granted, and give visitors too wide a choice of places to visit.
But for now, I’m happy munching on my Watercress bought from Alresford, in my bread made by the local hotel, drinking apple juice from East Hampshire.
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