New gourmet tours promote Cheshire produce to foodies

Chester Cheese Shop

Chester Cheese Shop - Credit: not Archant

New tours are offering shoppers a chance to meet the people who make some of the county’s finest foods. Paul Mackenzie reports.

Carol Wilson

Carol Wilson - Credit: not Archant

Lincolnshire has its sausages, Yorkshire has its puddings and Lancashire has its hot pot and they – and other parts of the country – also have tourists keen to sample these regional delicacies.

Food tourism is big business and a food writer from Cheshire wants to make sure we don’t miss out. Carol Wilson and her friend, beef farmer Alison Davies, have launched a series of tours taking in some of the county’s finest food and drink producers.

Cheshire may be noted nationally for its cheese, but there’s so much more on the county menu. ‘There’s a lot of wonderful dairy products, not just the cheese, and there are superb meats and lots more besides,’ Carol said.

‘Other counties really push their food and we have an awful lot to offer in Cheshire and I think we should make more of the fact that we have so many wonderful food producers in the county.’

Alison Davies and some of the Hereford stock...

Alison Davies and some of the Hereford stock... - Credit: Archant

Carol is a food writer and restaurant inspector who has written several cookbooks and has a particular interest in food history. Alison, farms a small herd of Herefords at Frodsham and the pair met at a farmers’ market. They struck up a friendship and began selling their hand-made sausages at markets around the county. The interaction this gave them with the buying public planted a seed. ‘There is a lot of interest in food and people are keen to see food being made,’ Carol said.

‘People will always shop in the supermarket but there are hand-made products available that you won’t find in a supermarket and that taste so much better. We wanted to bring these products more to people’s attention and we found that although people offer tours like these in other areas, no-one was doing it here.

‘I spoke to producers and they were keen but they’re not always great at marketing themselves so we take small groups – a maximum of eight people – and introduce them to producers. They get to see how the food is made and to have a really nice lunch.’

Gourmet Food Trails are working with ten companies around Cheshire so far, producing a range of foods from flour to edible flowers. ‘There’s a wide range, but we are happy to hear from other producers who want to get involved,’ Carol added. ‘A day’s tour will take in two or three producers, we don’t want it to be rushed. If someone wants a particular theme we can arrange that. It’s good for people with an interest in food, but also as corporate events for companies and for groups like the WI or Rotary who want to try something different.’ w

Mornflake Oats

Mornflake Oats - Credit: not Archant

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