10 top Devon foodie experiences
- Credit: Matt Austin, Sally O’Donnell and Salcombe Distilling Co
Here in Devon, we’re fiercely proud of our local produce and only too happy to share it with people who are as passionate about food as we are. CHRISSY HARRIS rounds-up 10 top foodie experiences
1. See seaweed
They have been described as the most nutritious form of vegetation on this planet. We definitely all need more seaweed in our lives and this foraging course in East Devon will help you to learn more about this seaside superfood.
Local expert Adam Reeve will show you a plethora of edible seaweeds and talk to you about when and where to collect them. The day-long trip will also help you learn about nutritional values, how to collect seaweed sustainably and compare their tastes and textures. If you’re lucky, you might even discover the elusive pepper dulse.
2. Take a tour of Brixham Fish Market
Go backstage at one of the most important fish markets in the world.
With a strong fishing tradition dating back to the 14th century, Brixham is credited with being one of the birthplaces of trawling.
Early risers will be able to experience the operational side of the daily fish auction process and see up to 40 different species of fish as they go from sea to plate.
The morning will finish with a delicious fish breakfast at Mitch Tonks’ Rockfish restaurant, right next door.
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3. Go for a forage
Join Foraging Foodie Liza Stirling on one of her guided walks to learn more about our native plants and fungi.
The relaxed and informal two-hour stroll will teach you about methods of identification, edibility and other uses, as well as some of the poisonous species to be aware of. Depending on the season, expect to see various edible plants, berries, nuts and more. Not knowing what you’re going to find is all part of the fun(gi).
4. Chocolate making at Ilfracombe Chocolate Emporium
Not many of us will need an excuse to visit a chocolate emporium. This sweet place in North Devon offers an introduction to chocolate making workshop, where you can get creative and learn more about the production process.
Participants will get to hand-dip various delicious treats, as well as make and decorate a take-home sweet snack.
The emporium also runs a family-friendly workshop for kids, teens and parents, where you’ll get to create a personalised gift.
5. Visit a cider works
Take a look behind the scenes at the oldest working cider mill in the UK. Family-run Sandford Orchards in Crediton runs regular tours and tasting events. All tickets include a tasting flight of ciders and a pizza dinner with Q&A with the experts at the end. Hic!
6. Become a cheesy expert
Want to know your Le Gruyère from your Gorgonzola? Quicke’s Academy of Cheese Level One will set you on your way to becoming an expert.
The team at Quicke's in Newton Saint Cyres, near Crediton, have been nurturing the family farm for nearly 500 years, crafting the very finest flavours around.
Their prestigious course involves a full day learning about cheese and a tour of the Quicke’s dairy.
At the end of the course (which includes some home study and an exam), you’ll have the chance to become an Associate of the Academy of Cheese.
7. Work your dough
Dragan and Penny have taught thousands of people how to bake real bread, pastries and pizza. Budding bakers, aged from eight to 80 can take part in courses at the Artisan Bakery School, based at the couple’s cottage in the village of Sparkwell, near Plymouth.
Day courses combine practical tuition, clear explanations and plenty of fun.
Course options include artisan bread for beginners and a Viennoiserie Day, where you can learn how to make and bake your own croissants, pain au chocolat, almond croissants, brioche and Danish pastries.
8. Bee happy
Some experiences are just honey sweet. Get hands-on, practical knowledge in the craft of beekeeping and enjoy a day in the North Devon countryside at Quince Honey Farm in South Molton.
As well as the chance to taste a range of honeys, you’ll get experience of dealing with a hive by our expert beekeepers.
You will be taught how to look after a colony of bees throughout the year with tips and advice for setting up your own hive.
9. Catch and cook
All aboard for a chance to catch your own fish supper. Plymouth Boat Trips will take you out for a day’s fishing and for an optional extra, you can have your catch cooked and served with salad and fries at The Boathouse Cafe on the quayside.
All equipment is provided for the three-and-a-half-hour trip, where mackerel, herring, whiting, gurnard, cod, dog fish, even pollock, pouting, ling and the infamous conger eel could well be the dish of the day.
10. Study at gin school
Here’s to an education we can all appreciate. The Gin School at Salcombe Distilling co lets you take charge of a beautiful mini copper pot still to develop and distil your very own 70cl bottle of gin. Learn about how Salcombe Gin is produced, while whilst enjoying ‘Salcombe & Tonic’.