All the latest food news, views and facts from across Hampshire


THE BIG CHEESE - Credit: Archant

Words by Elizabeth Barnett

Local cheese makers, Hampshire Cheeses, recently put the county on the map at the British Cheese Awards 2013 by winning the title of Supreme Champion for their Tunworth cheese. More than 60 judges were involved in tasting and assessing around 900 cheeses from across Britain but were wowed by Hampshire Cheese’s soft cow’s milk cheese, made in Herriard near Basingstoke.

The cheese has a creamy texture with a thin wrinkled rind and a yellow, succulent, runny interior that tastes like melted butter and wild mushroom soup with just a dash of sherry. The judges described the cheese as ‘luscious on the mouth’ and rated it top in the ‘Best Soft White’ category.

Hampshire Cheese’s Tunworth has won the accolade once before in 2006 but this year they also won ‘Best New Cheese’ with their creamy washed rind Winslade Cheese, introduced to the market earlier this year.

Stacey Hedges and Charlotte Spruce are the talented cheese makers behind Hampshire Cheeses and since setting up the business in 2006 have already received a list of impressive awards. Stacey commented on their success at this year’s awards: “I am so delighted to have won these awards. It is a fantastic achievement for a small business and I am very proud of our success.”

Hampshire Cheeses were not the only Hampshire members celebrating at this year’s awards. In the 22 categories, 12 medals were awarded between Lyburn Farmhouse Cheeses, Loosehanger Cheeses and Two Hoots.

A lot of bottle

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A brewery business has saved over a million plastic milk bottles from going to landfill – by using outdoor furniture made from recycled plastic in the grounds of its public houses. The pubs include the Jolly Sailor in Southampton, the Portsmouth Arms in Basingstoke, the Osborne View in Fareham, the Queens College Arms in Tadley, the Seven Stars in Petersfield and the Jekyll & Hyde in Hook.

Hall & Woodhouse has invested in over 550 items of outdoor furniture since 2010, including benches, seats and tables. All items are made in the UK from 100% recycled plastic and are equivalent to 1,064,492 one-litre milk cartons.

The furniture is made by a UK company, Marmax Products, at its plant in County Durham. David Hoare, Development Director, of Hall & Woodhouse, said: “We now choose recycled plastic wherever we can for outdoor furniture and all of our pubs contain at least some items,” he said. “It’s part of our on-going commitment to recycling. We were amazed to find out that we’ve saved over 1 million milk bottles from landfill so far this year – an average of 4,000 for every pub! The products are also smart and hardwearing.”

Tracey Scott of Marmax Products said: “Our outdoor furniture is very popular with the leisure and hospitality industry. Many of our clients have environmental policies in place and take these into account in their purchasing decisions. Recycled plastic is also much more hard-wearing than wood and is maintenance free, so our products are both a sustainable and cost-effective choice.”

Giving something back

A bellissimo Bellini ice cream based on the Italian cocktail made famous in Harry’s Bar in Venice will be directly helping to conserve the unique environment of the New Forest this month.

Lymington-based New Forest Ice Cream has created the brand new flavour to mark its 30th anniversary – and is donating 25p from each catering tub sold to the lovetheforest conservation scheme.

The Peach Bellini, made from cream with peach purée and including pearl sugar balls to signify the pearl anniversary of New Forest Ice Cream, is based on the drink first created at the Venice bar frequented by Ernest Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis and Orson Welles in the early part of the 20th Century.

New Forest Ice Cream Director Niki Jenman said: “What better way to mark our 30th anniversary of trading than with a new flavour that will also help this area that we all love so much. Our ice cream is sold right across the New Forest to visitors and residents alike and they, like us, are very aware of the importance of conserving this beautiful space. We are proud to support lovetheforest and the incredible work they are doing to continue to develop ways to protect the forest.”

Julie Mottisfont, Director of lovetheforest, said: “Marking 10 years of raising funds for New Forest conservation is a terrific achievement for us and we couldn’t do it without the support of organisations like New Forest Ice Cream. It is so important that we tackle issues affecting the New Forest, such as the safety of animals and protecting the trees, flora and fauna.”

Grazing menu

The Willow Tree pub in Winchester is using locally sourced beef, mutton and venison from a nature reserve right across the road at the Winnall Moors site, run by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Widlife Trust as part of their Itchen Valley Grazing Project. The partnership is a great example of quality products broadening public awareness of sustainable farming and healthy living. Be sure to visit soon to enjoy both the countryside and a great meal.

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