Welcome to Rise & Shine
Here’s your weekly helping of hospitality news from the south west. We’re in the middle of the awards season so congratulations to all the recent winners from our part of the world, which must surely be the UK’s most delicious!
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Taste of the West champions announced
From a bottle of chocolate chai infusion to smoked back bacon, the winners of the 2016 Taste of the West awards were announced on the 4th October in a ceremony at Exeter Cathedral.
The Supreme Champion Product went to “The Bish” chocolates from Lick the Spoon in Wiltshire, described by the judges as “An outstandingly high quality product, and admirably demonstrates the very high level of technical expertise involved in producing this product.” Quickes Traditional Ltd, cheese makers from Devon, won the Carol Trewin Producer of the Year award. The winner of the new The No. 1 Place to Go category was Clavelshay Barn Restaurant in Somerset.
The awards are now in their 23rd year and take in both food and drink and hospitality and retail awards across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. This year, 1200 products and over 300 establishments entered. Panels of experts evaluated each product and 288 Gold, 250 Silver and 192 Highly Commended Awards were given to over 300 producers throughout the South West. On the hospitality and retail side, 188 Golds were awarded.
Over 400 people attended the ceremony including award-winning producers, top chefs, food writers and business owners. The lucky attendees were treated to a special lunch menu creating using Taste of the West Award winning products from across the region, underlining the event as a celebration of the quality of food and drink in the south west and the passion of those who produce, serve and sell it.
Mike Anderson of Hale Events, organisers of The Source Trade Show and sponsors of the Awards said “The venue was stunning, and the food as always was amazing. I always come away really pleased to have tasted so many award winning products. It’s something we talk about all the time both to colleagues, and also friends, to share the story of the region’s amazing produce.”
John Sheaves said, “We are absolutely delighted with the response by industry to our awards programme this year. With over 1200 products entered, and over 60% of these receiving an award, we are justly proud of our record for driving excellence based on our core values of Quality, Integrity and Provenance. These awards announced today underpin those values and strengthen our regional brand, a brand which is attracting considerable interest from new markets – both nationally and internationally, and is now opening up new opportunities for the region’s foodie sector. There is a real energy and excitement about our group now which is very gratifying.”
For a full list of winners go to www.tasteofthewest.co.uk
Harbour Hotels open in Bristol
The luxury hotel group open in their 13th UK location in October, with the 42 bedroom Bristol Harbour Hotel and Spa. Located in a property, designed by renowned architect William Bruce Gingell, that fuses two iconic former Lloyds Bank buildings, the new hotel will offer luxurious accommodation and a large events space in the heart of the city.
Food will be catered for in a Jetty restaurant with award-winning menus created by Harbour Hotels’ Chef Patron Alex Aitken. While the former basement bank vaults are being transformed into an indulgent Harbour Spa, opening spring 2017.
The old banking hall of the building, featuring a large skylight and opulently decorated ceiling will be able to seat up to 300 guests for weddings, award ceremonies and parties.
Room prices are from £145 per room per night, bed and breakfast based on two people sharing.
Devon hospitality sector feels Brexit jobs bounce
Thanks to the hot summer and increased consumer spending following Brexit, members of the Devon Hotels and Restaurants Association are reporting an almost unprecedented demand for new staff. Restaurant and hotel managers are looking to recruit roles across front of house, reception, housekeeping and chefs.
Craig Findleton, Chair of the Association said: “Members of the Association have been investing heavily in their hotels and restaurants over the past two years resulting in some truly exceptional accommodation, fine dining and spas for our guests to enjoy. This investment has led to an uplift in sales with hoteliers and restaurateurs across the county reporting a rise in profits. This is great news for the local economy and we are doing what we can to promote the region to talented hospitality individuals. There are some very exciting opportunities available here and the message is overwhelmingly: Devon business is booming!”
The Association thinks the arrival of luxury hotel groups to the areas, like Hotel du Vin in Exeter, THE PIG at Combe near Honiton and Peter de Savary’s multi-million pound investment in the Cary Arms in Babbacombe Bay have put Devon firmly on the map for hospitality. There’s also the imminent opening of Lympstone Manor by Michelin starred Devon chef Michael Caines MBE. He said: “Devon is being seen increasingly now by leading hoteliers and chefs as the place to set up their businesses as highlighted recently by the high profile openings. We have an impressive heritage when it comes to exceptional food and drink; resident and visitors alike want the best and expect exciting, unpretentious fine dining – Devon is delivering but demand is high and we need more talented chefs, waiters and front of house to join us.”
For more details on the opportunities available visit www.devonhotels.com.
Koh Thai coming to Lymington
The Koh Thai group continue their rapid expansion by revealing their plan to open in Lymington, Hampshire in December. This will be their 12th site after launching in Winchester and Romsey this summer, and Salisbury earlier in the year.
The new restaurant will bring its authentic Thai cusine to the Grade II, former home of Spanish restaurant, La Vina in a 100 cover site with seating for 80 alfresco diners in the garden space.
“The vibrant and bustling coastal port town of Lymington has been in our sights for some time now and we are delighted with the acquisition,” said Andrew Lennox, Koh Thai Tapas CEO and founder.
“We know that our loyal Lymington fans who travel regularly to get their KTT fix at our Ringwood and Christchurch branches, will be excited to hear of our opening. The site itself is extraordinary, with bags of character and an outdoor space which will set us apart from competitors in the town centre,” added Lennox.
Cheltenham’s Lumière wins AA Restaurant of the Year
The independent Cheltenham restaurant Lumière were crowned the best in England at the 2016 AA Hospitality Awards, held at London’s Grosvenor House on Monday 26 September 2016.
The three-AA Rosette restaurant, run by chef Jon Howe and his wife Helen, opened just off The Promenade in the spa town in 2009. It offers “the very best in British, seasonal food with distinctive and imaginative twists.”
South west pub heritage preserved by community buy-outs
The successful community purchase of the Packhorse in Southstoke, near Bath was the latest in a trend for pubs threatened with closure being saved by local people. The pub was saved after it was declared an asset of community value by Bath and North East Somerset Council under the 2011 Localism Act.
The Bell, also in Bath, and the Fleece in Hillesley, Gloucestershire, have both been bought by community cooperatives and shareholder groups. The landmark Muddy Duck in Monkton Farleigh is being let to the villagers until a new landlord is found.
Simon Wells, a hotels director at hospitality specialist Colliers International, believes the trend is likely to continue as the UK pub sector fights back against a combination of rising prices and falling footfall.
He said: “Like so many community pubs, the campaign to save the Packhorse has suffered more than its fair share of ups and downs.
“The community stakeholders who have kept the light burning for the Packhorse may have negotiated the fundraising and legal hurdles against all the odds but they are not out of the woods yet – they still need to refurbish the old building before re-launching to the public.
“But it’s great to see another of our legendary watering holes has been saved for the community. As well as preserving a valuable community resource, our research tells us having a good pub in your locality can add up to 10 per cent on to the value of your home.”
Colliers International’s Peter Brunt concluded: “Whether owned by individuals or run by community groups, as at the Packhorse, pubs must ensure they appeal to today’s typically demanding customer.
“A good website is essential to bring the customers in. Smart, tidy and contemporary facilities are a must and a traditional real fire welcome from landlord and staff helps ensure customers will be back for more.”
Wessex pub crowned CAMRA’s National Cider Pub of the Year
The Unicorn Inn, in Bayford near Wincanton, is the best place to drink real cider in the UK, according to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).
The pub on the road from London to Plymouth has been a pillar of the community for more than two centuries, dating back to 1789.
Landlords Richard Cummins and Jayne Wallace have been in charge for nine years and are responsible for turning it back into a true cider pub. The Unicorn is now renowned for its real cider which is made purely from apples with no additives and served naturally still, unlike commercially produced cider which is artificially carbonated to give it fizz.
Sarah Newson, the organiser of the Cider Pub of the Year competition had this to say about the Unicorn Inn, “The Unicorn is a wonderful showcase for some of the finest Somerset ciders and perries, although an occasional ‘foreign’ cider such as one from Devon may make a guest appearance! It is fitting that at last we have a national winner from what most people consider to be the heartland of traditional cider. The licensee Richard promotes the real ciders and perries he sells, with a great passion. He is genuinely interested in their provenance and knows many of his local producers well. The quality of the carefully chosen products are also top-notch, being kept at a constant cellar temperature. He has been trying to keep improving his offering and it has now certainly paid dividends.”
CAMRA members voted to widen the definition of real cider to include versions produced with natural added fruits and spices, such as the popular ‘blush‘ ciders which have raspberries added after fermentation giving both a unique flavour and colour to the cider.
FOOD & DRINK NEWS
Toffee Apple is latest flavour from New Forest Ice Cream
The award-winning ice cream maker is set to spice up seasonal menus with their new Dairy Toffee Apple flavour that offers a taste of autumn.
It features a creamy dairy apple base, cut with toffee ripples and toffee pieces in each scoop. The recipe uses fresh whole milk, double cream, real apple puree, authentic toffee and burnt sugar caramel to give a distinctive seasonal taste without artificial flavourings.
Christina Veal, Director at New Forest Ice Cream said: “Toffee Apple is one of those evocative flavours that bring back childhood memories of fireworks, halloween and general autumn festivities. The perfect addition to a seasonal menu, this new ice cream is set to be a big hit with customers of all ages.”
Available in 4ltr catering tubs and 4.75ltr Napoli Tubs, visit www.newforesticecream.com for more details.
Dorset sparkling wine producer predicts a vintage 2016
Langham Wine Estate believes the 2016 vintage could be their best to date, following three months of near-perfect ripening weather.
Owner of Langham Wine Estate, Justin Langham, comments “Although the 2016 season got off to a slow start, with spring frosts and cool temperatures during late April and May, the past few months have been ideal. Here in the middle of Dorset we’ve experienced high levels of sunshine and warmth combined with low rainfall, meaning everything is in place for a fantastic vintage”.
Daniel Ham, Langham’s winemaker continues “The 2016 harvest is shaping up to be the best for many years. The grapes are showing fantastic physiological ripeness with near perfect levels of sugar and acid.”
Langham’s 2011 Classic Cuvée Reserve was recently awarded ‘Most Outstanding English Sparkling Wine’ at the UKVA wine awards for the second year running, and Daniel believes that this years’ harvest could be as good as or even better than in 2011.
Visit www.langhamwine.co.uk for more information.
New cut glass ranges from Artis
Artis are introducing and extended their ranges for cut-glass style glassware as demand for vintage-look glasses continues to grow.
They have three ranges: Healey for cocktails and spirits, Radiant for water, whisky and cocktails and Hobstar, their first ever cut-glass range which now has a 30cl wine glass added to it.
List prices start at £2.67 for the Healey hi ball. Go to www.artis-uk.com/glassware for more details.
“Seafood Week is an annual campaign aimed at getting more people to eat more fish more often. Seafish runs the eight-day celebration every October. To help us promote and share what you are doing for Seafood Week just simply tell us and we’ll include your business on our Seafood Week map.”
Tourism Management Institute Annual Convention
The TMI Annual Convention is the annual gathering and conference for all those working in destination management across the UK.
Monday, 17th October
The Ham Yard Hotel, London
“The forum will present an exciting programme of specialist speakers together with panel debate from key leaders within the hospitality sector. The forum focuses on the future of technology, online platforms and social media within independent and multisite operators across the sector.”
National Coastal Tourism Academy: Annual Coastal Tourism Forum
Church House, Westminster, London
“This event breaks new ground for everyone involved in the business of coastal tourism. At this Forum we’ll be unveiling new research, identifying national trends and highlighting new markets. We will be sharing our Vision for the Coast but we need your expertise to help shape and deliver it.”
Independent Hotel Show
18th – 19th October
“Inspiring and Informative, the Independent Hotel Show, is the UK’s largest and best established business event in support of the luxury, boutique and independent hotel sector.”
Institute of Hospitality Southern Branch “Wake Up & Smell the Coffee” Event
Winchester Coffee School, Winchester. SO23 7QN
The evening will include a talk and theory about coffee beans, choosing of the beans and grounding, the practical aspect of using a barista and making coffee. Hand-made food to taste whilst enjoying the coffee! Members & non-members welcome.
South West Chef of the Year Annual Awards Dinner
Monday 24th October
Exeter Golf & Country Club
“A lavish award ceremony and dinner hosted by the judges including Michael Caines MBE. The awards dinner is a culinary feast comprising courses prepared by three top chefs from the region.”
New Forest Food Festival
31st Oct – 6th Nov
New Forest, Hampshire
“A week of culinary events, produce, tastes, dishes and activities for every foodie. 15 themes with amazing Headline Events hosted by leading Forest venues & producers all with a special twist. Tasting menus, celebrity chef evenings, tea parties – there’s something for everyone.”
Gin For Breakfast at Chewton Glen’s Festival Business Event
Tuesday 1st November: 07:30-09:30am
Chewton Glen, Hampshire
“Business men and women from across the New Forest and beyond will meet for a New Forest Breakfast on Tuesday 1 November. The addition of gin is not a sign of the times – but an introduction to one of the Forest’s latest and most exciting businesses.”
Getting in hot water
Men. Prepare for any distain you have for the concept of spas to dissolve like rose essence in an aromatherapy diffuser. The latest trend is for hotel spas offering man-friendly pampering sessions. Four Seasons Vali in the US have introduced three new treatments – ‘From Boots to Booze Men’s Pedicure’, ‘Bourbon Cowboy’ and ‘Men’s Cut and a Cold One’, all of which feature FarmHouse Fresh Bourbon Bubbler scrub which is a heady blend of brown sugar and real Kentucky whiskey. The options on this side of the Atlantic might be less bourbon based but the Four Seasons Hampshire has several spa “experiences” tailored to “men’s skin and body needs.” and Carey’s Manor in the New Forest has a range of treatments for men. And why not? You’re worth it.