12 tastes of a Lancashire Christmas
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Where to get the best Christmas food and festive feasts from Lancashire
1. The Little Saddleworth Pie Company
Andrea Roebuck spent more than two decades in sales for newspapers in Saddleworth, Oldham and just over the Pennines as well as plastering and building work with husband Herbet and running a cleaning business. But it was a return to her love of cooking that, if you’ve seen her pies, you’ll be thankful for. A favourite with MasterChef winner Simon Wood and the Hairy Bikers, The Little Saddleworth Pie Company’s delicious pastry creations were first created for a church fair near Andrea’s home in Greenfield. They were so popular Andrea, also known as Saddleworth Pie Lady, knew she was onto something and left her cleaning business behind to make pies full time. Today, you’ll find her selling at farmers markets as well as at the much-loved Albion Farm Shop and other local delis and shops. Andrea’s oven is seldom switched off but Christmas is a particularly busy time with the 54-year-old cooking hundreds of tasty pastry creations every week. Flavours for the layered pies, which can weigh up to four kilos, range from homemade pork, chicken and gammon, feta cheese, leek and spinach and the must-try turkey, sausage and stuffing.
2. Ginger Bakers
Baking queen and mince pie marvel Lisa Smith, founder of brilliant Lakes company Ginger Bakers, will be cooking up treats beyond measure this festive season. Try the iced damson brandy fruit cake, a mature, flavoursome fruit cake, drenched in brandy with a generous helping of Lyth Valley damsons, topped with white marzipan and fondant icing. If mince pies are more your thing, you’ll want the brandy and orange mince pies packed with vine fruit, cherry and orange zest mincemeat and topped with a shortbread star.
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3. Slab Bakery
Liverpool born but now Didsbury based baker Lesley Bell is serving up gluten free and vegan heaven on a plate this Christmas. She has launched her Mulled Gin Christmas Pudding that is packed with fruit flavours of mulled gin and Christmas spices. Not keen on Christmas pudding? Try the Great Taste Award winning sticky toffee pudding, you’ll be a fan for life.
4. Bowland Food Hall
This brilliant Clitheroe food hall ’s dedication to all things local is no secret, but if you’ve never tried their Christmas offerings, there has never been a better time. While you’re there you can stock up on every Lancashire food you can think of – breads, cheeses, a deli counter you’ll struggle to pull yourself away from and an enviable range of Lancashire made beers and spirits. Not able to get to Holmes Mill, where the food hall is located, they are planning to launch an online shop to make that festive food purchase even easier. Get ready to browse.
5. Gazegill Organics
Over in Rimington, in a rural corner of the Ribble Valley, Gazegill Organics are a prime choice for your meat this Christmas, serving up that all important turkey, beef, goose, pork and organic Christmas cockerel. Some of the meat comes from animals that have been lovingly reared on the family farm, under the stewardship of Ian O’Reilly and Emma Robinson. Those animals that haven’t have come from friends and their farms to bring you a Christmas meal to remember.
6. Christmas Day delivered to you
For a Christmas spread worthy of a place on the table of any super chef, there are many local chefs cooking and boxing up dazzling dinners you can eat at home. Simon Rogan at home, the home delivery experience from the acclaimed chef behind two Michelin star L’Enclume in Cartmel is launching a festive feast, available to pre-order for delivery in the lead-up to Christmas and New Year. The menu will showcase seasonal twists on his signature style and dishes – think truffle pudding, turkey with all the trimming and a classic Christmas pudding from his executive chef, Tom Barnes. Still looking for more, there are hampers to buy too. simonroganathome.co.uk/christmas
A little further north, super chef Nina Matsunaga from the multi award-winning Black Bull in Sedbergh will be cooking up a superb Christmas day feast of celeriac, preserved veg and puffed rive, a show-stopping main of either venison or vegetarian wellington with mash, seasonal vegetables and pickled walnut ketchup and sticky toffee pudding and mince pies for a sweet finish. Want your wine sorted too? They can provide a wine flight as well as a cheese course with crackers. To order email firstname.lastname@example.org
7. Boxing Day bread
The wonderful people at Lakes-based bakers Lovingly Artisan have done it again with another brilliant bread. Planning your post-Christmas feasting, then you’ll want this Boxing Day bread from founders Aidan Monks and Catherine Connor on your shopping list. This lovely bread contains Bramley apples soaked in cinnamon – a real treat! Slather in butter for extra loveliness.
8. The big cheeses
When it’s time to hunker down on the sofa with a few nips of a port, don’t forget to add some chunks of Lancashire-made cheese to your board. Whether it’s Lancashire Crumbly, Tasty or Creamy from Dewlay in Garstang, a Lancashire Volcano (or the better-titles Bob’s Knob) from Leagram Organic in Chipping or a Lancashire Cheese Bomb (although you’ll want to try the smoked bomb perfect with a full-bodied red wine) from Goosnargh-based Andrew Shorrock, part of the family who have been making cheese for more than 25 years.
9. Johnson and Swarbrick
No Christmas table would be complete without a Goosnargh duck, turkey, goose of corn-fed chicken from this Lancashire institution. Founded by the much-loved late Reg Johnson and Bud Swarbrick, this is a business on the list of every top shop chef you can care to think of in Lancashire and across the country. Their well-cared for bronze turkeys are reared slowly to give the best taste with the mantra a happy bird is a tasty bird.
Elevate your Boxing Day dishes and turkey sandwiches with a good dollop of chutney from one of the county’s fabulous producers. Bacup-based Heritage Preserves is a good choice with a huge line of chutneys, jams and marmalades. The Lancashire pineapple chutney, made with golden beetroot, and their spiced plum chutneys are festive season essentials and their best-selling piccalilli a Boxing Day cheese platter essential.
11. Festive afternoon tea
Looking for a treat in the run up to Christmas? Many Lancashire businesses are producing show-stopping afternoon teas for that perfect festive pick-me-up. Sweet Occasions in Cleveleys serve up indulgent afternoon teas year-round but you’ll not want to miss the lovely festive afternoon tea which comes with festive filled sandwiches, homemade scones with piled high with clotted cream and jam, mince pies, Christmas cake, chocolate dipped strawberries and a mini Victoria sponge. Even better, it will be delivered straight to your door. sweet-occasions.co.uk.
Want to go out? The Wellbeing Farm at Edgworth is booking in people, lockdown dependent, where you can have a celebratory afternoon tea as well as spot their llamas and donkeys. thewellbeingfarm.co.uk
12. For a bit of everything
Can’t decide what you want, or want a bit of everything? You’ll want the Food Lovers Gift Bag from Butlers Larder. It comes brimming with nibbles from local producers – think Butler’s Cheeses Blacksticks Blue and Cumbrian air-dried ham from RB Woodall – as well as English sparkling wine, chilli jam from Lakes-based Hawkshead relish and elderflower and rose cordial from local favourite Mawsons. Still looking for inspiration, Butler’s Larder work with producers across the north west, with plenty from Lancashire and the Lake District.
There’s never been a better time to eat for Lancashire according to our food editor. Click to find out more.
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