Agriculture and Food
Warning – this article may make you very hungry: Cotswolds venues fly the flag for British Food Fortnight
Despite a miserly economic climate for those in the sector Cotswolds businesses in the hospitality sector are determined to support their own.
And while it lasts, British Food Fortnight has given them a chance to shout about just that, and given us here at The Raikes Journal a good enough excuse to give them a platform to do so.
And the busines we give much of this article over to, Relish, is also part of the hard-hit events industry, a sector which tonight highlights its plight with a nationwide campaign which will see public buildings lit red.
But there is also a tantalising glimpse into the world of The Bathurst Arms in North Cerney, which takes ‘local supplier’ to a whole new level.
The Relish Group operates multiple venues across the Cotswolds, including The Gateway Café and Waterside Kitchen & Bar at The Cotswolds Water Park, The Old Prison in Northleach, Sally Pussey’s Inn at Royal Wootton Bassett, Jack’s Kitchen and Tearooms and the pub Somewhere Else, both in Cirencester.
Pictured: Rob Goves and James Martin at The Game Fair
Rob Goves, director of Relish, said: “We use local seasonal British produce wherever possible in our locations and are obsessed about supporting our excellent suppliers and the local community.
“A policy that never disappoints as this always leads to delicious responsible food that is fully sustainable and traceable.
“We work with Shipton Mill in Tetbury for our flour, source bread from Hobbs House Bakery, and meats from Jesse Smiths Butchers.
“New Wave supply our wet fish who in turn support the Responsible Fishing Scheme. Local cheeses like Great Rollright, Hereford Hop and Cerney Ash Goat’s Cheese often feature on our menus.
“Pork products from Kelmscott Country Pork, Paddock Farm for our Tamworth rare breed Sausage Rolls, and binding it all together our greengrocer Bramley’s deliver our asparagus and strawberries from Hereford along with all our salad leaves from the nurseries in Evesham - that is when Roz from down the road can’t grow enough in her small garden enterprise.
“Dolcetti’s Artisan Italian Gelato, a premium product produced in Cirencester using local organic milk, have been supporting us for years installing Ice Cream parlours into each of our locations serving his their epic Gelato as well as Shakes and Refreshers.”
The Bathurst Arms in North Cerney, Gloucestershire, uses vegetables so local they are less than 80 steps from the famous pink pub.
The Bathurst Estate, that owns a lot of the land in the Cirencester area, has a series of allotments situated in the village of North Cerney.
The pubs manager, Jordan Pelly, and chef Michal Wlodarcyk have struck up a friendship with some of those using the allotment plots and are receiving regular boxes of courgettes, runner beans and petite pan squashes, which have recently been used as vegetables to accompany the pubs summer Sunday roasts.
Cathy and John Martin are one of the couples to have a Bathurst allotment. They grow over 200 different fruits and vegetables over the course of a year, and in the winter, if their family do not take it all, Cathy and John will be happy to see their vegetables cooked at their local pub in one of their show stopping dishes.
These might include leeks, Desiree and King Edward potatoes, beets, sprouts, sprouting broccoli and chef Michal’s favourite – celeriac. Fran and Spike Robins are another couple that have a patch and have brought some of their fresh vegetables and fruit, like Swiss chard, apples and pears down to the popular Cotswold pub.
Jordan, 27, said: “It has been a revelation to find such great produce within a stone’s throw of the pub.”
“We have huge support from Rowie (Mears) from Purton House Organics, who bring us some of their own finest beef and pork as well as locally reared lamb and not to mention their selection of fresh fruit and vegetables.
“As well as great local vegetables Daylesford Farm Organic also provide some of the best cheese in the area, Adlestrop , a personal favourite.”
The Bathurst Arms is taking part in British Food Fortnight and is showcasing the best of British produce on their menu of small plate dishes through to October 3.
Mr Goves said: “I can’t urge people enough to go out this autumn and cook with the ingredients at their fingertips, this is hands down my favourite time of year for Great British produce – there is a simple delicious reason these foods are at their best at this time of year.
“Think to yourselves: roast partridge with pears and blackberries or salt baked beets with whipped goats cheese, hazelnuts, figs and honey.
“Maybe squeeze one more barbeque in this year and get some beautiful mackerel on those coals; just a squeeze of lemon will do with that.
“As we head toward October search out some variety squashes – there are loads to choose from each with a distinct flavour – we love the Crown Prince squash roasted and made into a velvety soup and topped with brown butter, crispy sage and crème fraiche.”
As well as supporting and sourcing their ingredients from local suppliers, Relish said it actively looked for new menu ideas and inspiration from within their team to discover old-time British favourites that may have been handed down through the generations.
Chief baker Wendy Daye whose great grandparents handed down a recipe from her maternal line is now a firm favourite at Jacks Kitchen and Tearooms.
The Holmes (her maiden name), Amarena Cherry Bakewell, is a twist on the traditional Bakewell Tart which has a shortbread base, not pastry and is always a winner in the café.
One of the British things Relish are most proud of endorsing during this Covid period is their collaboration with Open Kitchen to support much in demand food programme.
Relish, pledged to raise over £11,000 to provide 6,000 meals to those who can’t access a delicious home-cooked dinner during these currently difficult and challenging times.
Their head kitchen opened the production line in June and although they initially pledged 6,000 meals in total, they have since promised to keep cooking as long as the donations keep coming.
Donating is simple – they have a Just Giving page and updates on how they are getting on can be found on their Facebook and Instagram posts.