A Taste of Uttoxeter

In the wake of its first Food and Drink Festival, Clare Bampton takes a culinary tour of the town

Uttoxeter is a beautiful historic market town with a wealth of independent shops and an active Town Council, however, often people passing by don’t realise what they’re missing out on. Accessible from the M1, A38 and M6 via the A50, Uttoxeter is one of Staffordshire’s surprises. Known for its racecourse, JCB’s presence and its proximity to visitor attractions like the Peak District, Alton Towers and the National Trust’s Sudbury Hall, as well as for being named in a sketch in TV’s

One of Uttoxeter’s finest features is its dedication to good food. Whether it is independent butchers, a dedicated greengrocer or a market that you’re after, you can treat your taste buds and have a nibble of some of the region’s most tasty triumphs. Home to a vibrant outdoor market held weekly each Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at the town’s Market Place, as well as an indoor Craft and Food Market every Wednesday in the Town Hall, the Town Mayor certainly has something to be proud of!

Within a few moments walk of the markets, you’ll also find out exactly how scrumptious one of Staffordshire’s favourite market towns can be with several firm local favourites offering fabulous fodder, take the Indulgence Coffee Lounge for example. Established in 2008, and with a name that deceives you into thinking that it only serves coffee, this award-winning venue has become legendary for its lunches and its themed nights. From Burns and Titanic nights to Persian, Mexican and Moroccan evenings, owner (and modest chef) Sue works with plentiful local produce and is a huge advocate of freshly made food.

If it’s afternoon tea that you’re after, then the spectacular Vintage Tea Emporium is one quintessentially English experience you shouldn’t miss. With patrons travelling miles to enjoy the decadent selection of sandwiches and cakes, and the friendly service, you’ll be sure to have slightly wider waistlines by the time you leave! Just down the road in Carter Street, is one of Uttoxeter’s latest additions, six month old art gallery and eatery, You in Mind. This is a food establishment with a difference, with owner Michala feeding your soul as well as your stomach by ensuring qualified therapists are on hand to offer a wide range of relaxation and beauty treatments in the rooms above the eatery. With a car park, a paint-a-pot room for the creative kid in all of us, stacks of local art and delightful outdoor seating area for when the sun dares to shine, the super locally-sourced food is a bonus!

Uttoxeter’s first Food and Drink Festival, hosted at the Racecourse and featuring more than 60 food producers, proved that if you are happy to pop out of Uttoxeter’s town centre, you’ll also find an impressive array of alternative eateries. Amongst those present at the Festival was Rupert Evans of Denstone Hall Farm Shop. Voted Best Tea Room in Staffordshire for three years in a row and awarded Small Business of the Year in 2011, Rupert must be running out of places to put its trophies, particularly as one of its staff (talented 17-year-old apprentice Dylan) has just won an award for creating mustard and honey rashers, an invention that’s been deemed the best bacon in the country!

Just three miles outside Uttoxeter, you’ll find Beamhurst’s best, Restaurant Gilmore, owned and run by renowned chef, and recent BBC1 TV star, Paul Gilmore, and eight miles out you’ll find Amerton Farm, a haven for local produce and top treats, like its marvellous cake and sweet shop, Amerton Cakes. If you’re keen to learn to cook, as well as eat, then New Farm Catering & Cookery School down the road in Hanbury, will be just what you’re looking for. Offering cookery classes in a fun and friendly manner, their chefs will share some great tricks of the trade, making even the most culinary-challenged feel at ease.

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It’s clear that spending time in and around Uttoxeter will treat your taste buds, but it’s the warm welcome and super service that make this great experience something that you’ll remember. So next time you’re driving along the A50, why not take some time and treat yourself to a trip to Uttoxeter? It’ll be worth it.

Fry & Laurie, Uttoxeter is far more than a stopping off point en route to other destinations.

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