Food news and views from around Hampshire

Back in business

Back in business - Credit: Archant

The latest food news from all across Hampshire (June 2014 magazine)

Champagne by the sea

Champagne by the sea - Credit: Archant

Champagne by the sea

Hampshire based champagne specialists, The Real Champagne Company, have recently announced a unique affiliation with Escape Yachting, a luxury yacht charter company based in Lymington. The two independent companies have put together cruise packages, taking guests out on private yachts, cruising in the Solent, whilst sampling exclusive boutique champagnes and canapés. The cruises are set to take place from June this year and run on select dates throughout July and August.

Guests will not only get to enjoy the fabulous views of the New Forest and the Isle of Wight from the water, they will also get to sample up to six small producer champagnes, previously unavailable elsewhere in the UK, along with matching canapés. They will learn about the origins of the champagnes, the winemaker and the distinctive characteristics of the “terroir” from which each has been produced. Half day cruise guests will be treated to a two course lunch or dinner, freshly prepared by the Escape Yachting crew.

The champagne cruises will start from Sunday 15th June (in time for Father’s Day) with a half day cruise (6-hours), including a two course lunch and six boutique champagnes. £125 per person. To find out more visit

A feast in the forest

If you’ve got a spare sunny day this month then New Forest VW Camper Hire’s new Picnic Days would be the perfect trip out. Spend the day in one of their retro camper vans and cruise around the New Forest and the South Coast before stopping off for a gourmet picnic lunch. Each picnic day is supplied with a vintage, wicker hamper loaded with delicious goodies sourced from local New Forest suppliers. Cutlery, crockery, a picnic rug, portable BBQ and fridge are all catered for on board as well as a sink and running water. Days cost £195 and can be booked on 01590 675555 or at

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Fizz Friday

We recently had a fantastic evening down at Hambledon Vineyard on their first Sparkling Wine Workshop. Nestled on the edge of the South Downs on the same Newhaven chalk formation as that of the best Chardonnay areas of the Côtes des Blancs in Champagne, Hambledon’s sparkling wine offering is up there as being one of the most exciting English sparkling wines around at the moment. With their 2010 Mill Down Brut establishing itself as a pretty decent fizz. The new Hambledon cuvee, about to go in to Berry Bros. & Rudd in Basingstoke, is set to raise a few eyebrows.

After a tour of the winery, a fascinating insight in to the art of making sparkling wine, we settled in for a tasting hosted by wine connoisseur Joe Wadsack. Our evening was made when we were given the chance to make our own bottle of Hambledon Sparkling Wine, a fantastic treat for all lovers of fizz.

If you’re looking for somewhere close by to stay, then The Hampshire Hog in Clanfield is about 10 minutes away. Serving up good pub grub and with comfortable rooms, it is the perfect place to stop over to make the most of the vineyards wares! The next workshop will take place on July 25 at £66 per person including your bottle of fizz. Visit for more information. Rooms at The Hampshire Hog start from £95, visit to book.

Back in business

Following the devastating storms that ripped through Milford on Sea on Valentine’s Day, The Marine Restaurant is once again opening its doors to customers, with a little help from Nationwide Windows.

Fierce winds caused shingle from the beach to crash into the restaurant’s windows at such a force that they smashed the glass, allowing water to penetrate the building. Luckily nobody was hurt, and the army, emergency services and restaurant owners themselves were praised for their quick actions in evacuating diners.

Nationwide Windows has been integral to ensuring the restaurant was not closed for any longer than necessary, supplying glass to replace all of the damaged windows. Richard Thompson, owner of The Marine explains: “When I designed and built The Marine in 2008, Nationwide provided me with the windows. You could say I already knew the company well, as it was I who set it up in 1986, so when I decided to start my life by the sea, they pulled out all the stops to make sure they had the windows ready for me by the time I left.

“When it came to the repair work it made sense to approach NationwidE. The frames they supplied are still standing despite the storm, but the glass has now been replaced with a much tougher laminated 6.8mm pane.

“Once again Nationwide really pulled out all the stops to ensure we had as little downtime as possible. We’re thrilled to now be open to the public once again.

Coffee creations

Award winning coffee shop and food store - Caracoli’s head barista Dhan Tamang was crowned the best latte art barista in the UK for the second year in a row following his win at the UK Latte Art Championships, held during the London Coffee Festival.

Nepalese Tamang, 28 years of age, was one of 13 finalists competing and wowed the judges with his flair and stylish latte designs to win a coveted place to represent the UK in the World Latte Art Championships to be held in Melbourne, Australia at the end of June. Good luck Dhan.

English Wine Week

English Wine Producers are gearing up for English Wine Week, a national campaign which takes place from 24th May to 1st June across the UK.

Designed to raise awareness and availability of English wine across the country in both the off-trade (retailers) and the on-trade (hotels, pubs, bars, restaurants), the week will be offering events and promotions to encourage people who have never tried English wine to give it a go. Several major retailers are already on board, including Waitrose and Laithwaites, both strong supporters of English wine, who will be running special offers, themed tastings and events.

Rebecca Hull MW, Wine Buyer for Waitrose says: “We will be supporting English Wine Week with some special offers and ‘Buyer’s Choice’ recommendations in-store and online. We have just launched a new Waitrose English Dry White as well as our own Leckford Estate 2011 Brut which is very exciting.”

Independent retailers are also keen to get involved. Jon Crouch, owner of The Cave, a retailer and wine bar in the New Forest says: “We already stock a wide selection of English wines, which are very popular. We’re looking forward to introducing new customers to some top wines from Hampshire, Dorset and Sussex, with a number of special events during English Wine Week.”

To find out more about events in your area visit

Community food for the environment

Slow Food® is a globally recognised not-for-profit grass roots organisation in 150 countries linking the pleasure of good, tasty, nutritious food with a commitment to the community and the environment.

Run by and for local people, your local Volunteer Group ‘Slow Food Solent’ (see for further info) will have a stall at the Petersfield Food Festival on 14th & 15th June 2014.

Go along and visit them to find out more about the International Slow Food movement and the projects they are planning this year in Hampshire.

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