Could you get all your Christmas food and drink from Devon producers?
- Credit: Archant
Kath Hope takes up the challenge to reduce her festive food miles and source her Christmas food and drink from within our bountiful county
It’s my turn to host Christmas this year and the guests will be travelling from far and wide. So I have set myself the challenge of counterbalancing their travel miles by reducing my festive food miles.
By avoiding the temptation to get one big supermarket shop delivered I will also have the opportunity to impress the visitors with the incredible produce from our verdant county, but can Devon supply all the ingredients for my festive feast?
The obvious place to start my quest is with the turkey and here in Devon we are lucky enough to have a number of award-winning butchers who are passionate about provenance and are delighted to share their wealth of knowledge.
One stop shopping
I know that my butcher, Aune Valley Meat, will be able to supply me with turkey, sausages, sausage meat and bacon, all locally reared and butchered. If you don’t have a butcher on your doorstep then Eversfield Organic’s fantastic online shop offers you the most amazing regional produce delivered to you at the click of a button.
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Their turkeys are sourced within just a few miles of their farm in Dartmoor National Park and are renowned for their succulence and depth of flavour.
So, on to the vegetables and I know we grow potatoes in Devon as I see them rolling off the back of trailers as I drive around the country lanes and it turns out that Brussels sprouts are also grown in this greenfingered county.
Andrea Wilson at Pretty Local, which has just won Food Drink Devon’s Online Retailer Award, tells me that they will be stocking sprouts from South Milton and potatoes from just outside Kingsbridge.
Now when it comes to the roast potato, using the right oil is all-important and I think cold-pressed rapeseed oil gets fantastic results. Fortunately, Bell & Loxton happen to be award-winning producers, churning out the golden stuff near Kingsbridge, so Devon comes up trumps again.
I always think that it’s the accompaniments that bring out the best in the bird. My family love cranberry sauce and I don’t have to try too hard to discover that once again their is a delicious Devon option; Cranberry & Port Jelly, hand made in Cullompton by Otter Vale.
When it comes to dessert, it has to be Figgy’s handmade, traditional Christmas pudding, which recently won a Platinum Award from Food Drink Devon, to add to its growing collection of accolades. These puds are made in small batches in an artisan bakery near Exeter using cider brandy and CAMRA-award-winning Port Stout from Devon-based Hanlons Brewery.
It’s so good it really doesn’t need any sauce but I have decided to pick up some tempting clotted cream from Langage Farm, Plympton and some sumptuous clotted cream vanilla ice cream from Salcombe Dairy too.
With the food pretty much sorted, my thoughts turn to the liquid refreshments, and I already know that Devon more than holds its own in this department. It wouldn’t be a party without my favourite Devon drinks duo, a Salcombe Gin and Luscombe tonic.
For wine, this year I will resist the temptations of France and further afield and treat my guests to Sharpham Barrel Fermented to perfectly accompany the turkey. I am going to shun Champagne and Prosecco and impress everyone with a glass of Lyme Bay Winery’s Classic Cuvée for the toasts.
For the non-drinkers I will stock up on Luscombe’s Damascene Rose Bubbly and for the beer-drinkers it has to be Salcombe Brewery’s yuletide ale, Christmas Tide, a lovely warm seasonal ale which boasts a chocolatey malt base and a bittersweet finish.
There are plenty of exceptional alcohol-free options created in the county and Luscombe Drinks’ Cranberry Crush is a favourite with my kids. I am also a secret cider drinker and am rather partial to a bottle of Hunt’s Andsome Bay, which recently won a Food Drink Devon Gold Award, so will make sure I have a little stash of those too.
In fact it seems that Devon is overflowing with fabulous produce fit for my festive feast. Let’s just hope the cooking and presentation does the produce justice. No pressure!