Why foodies should visit The National Festival of Making in Blackburn

The TOTI choux bun will be available at The National Festival of Making (c) Martin Bostock

The TOTI choux bun will be available at The National Festival of Making (c) Martin Bostock - Credit: Archant

A marquee packed full of leading producers from across Lancashire will be flying the flag for the best food and drink from the county on the weekend of 12th - 13th May. Here’s what they have in store.

Bowland Food Hall at Holmes Mill

Bowland Food Hall at Holmes Mill - Credit: Archant

Bowland Brewery and Bowland Food Hall, Holmes Mill


Housed in a once derelict textile mill in Clitheroe, Bowland Brewery and Bowland Food Hall form part of a larger rejuvenation project for the town. The mill will soon include a cinema and already hosts music and events, a bakery and ice cream parlour, food hall celebrating local produce with a new hotel. Bowland Brewery produce award-winning beers celebrating Lancashire, and in particular its wildlife. 10% of profits from sales of their Hen Harrier beer are donated to the RSPB to protect the Hen Harrier. Bowland Brewery won the Lancashire Tourism Awards, Producers and Makers Award 2016.


TOTI - Taste of the Inn Shop and Delicatessen

TOTI - Taste of the Inn Shop and Delicatessen - Credit: Archant

Calyx Drinks


The team at Calyx make delicious drinks from flowers, using natural fruit juices and spices to give unique and refreshing taste. The flowers are brewed using a natural production process to extract the healthy properties of the hibiscus flower. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins A, B and C along with phenolic phytonutrients and anthocyanins. Historically ginger has been suggested to have health benefits such as treating nausea, reducing muscle pains and improving cardiac health. The drinks were initially created in the founder’s kitchen, brewing the hibiscus on the stove and peeling the ginger by hand. The recipe was perfected and now loved by everyone who tastes it, whether your preference is to enjoy Calyx cold, hot or as a mixer with alcohol.


Paul Williams of Choc Amor

Paul Williams of Choc Amor - Credit: Archant

TOTI at The Cartford Inn

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Little Eccleston

This on-site shop and delicatessen, Taste of the Inn (TOTI), is a charming addition to the award-winning Cartford Inn in Little Eccleston, recently named on the prestigious Top 50 Gastropubs list. Food lovers can discover carefully sourced specialist ingredients, deli produce and fine food and drink as well as the inn’s own-made artisan products giving people the opportunity to recreate the flavour of the Cartford at home. A must try is the TOTI bun, a mouthwatering creation of choux pastry filled with hazelnut cream and topped with bourbon caramel.


A selection of Leagram Cheeses

A selection of Leagram Cheeses - Credit: Archant

Jeni’s Cupcakes


After baking cake for family and friends for years, Jeni decided to turn it into a business. All of the cakes are handcrafted in Dolphinholme by Jeni, who also adds all of those details and finishing touches. From amazing drip cakes and stunning wedding designs to Scottie dog cupcakes, Jeni created it all with lots of love and attention.


John and Clare Wignall of Wignalls Yallo

John and Clare Wignall of Wignalls Yallo - Credit: Archant

Choc Amor


Choc Amor is a world award-winning, Lancashire based manufacturer, retailer and wholesaler of fiendishly good chocolate. Established in 2012, they are situated at Cedar Farm in Mawdesley, just 15 minutes from junction 27 off the M6. The shop is fully stocked with their complete range of award winning chocolates, many of them with unique and imaginative flavour combinations to really inspire you and get your taste buds tingling. Choc Amor also offer a wide selection of chocolate products suited to gift purchases, including their own Gift Collections and hampers. All their chocolate is made by hand in small batches and wherever possible their ingredients are natural & free from preservatives.


Batch Brew Gin (c) Martin Bostock

Batch Brew Gin (c) Martin Bostock - Credit: Archant

Mr Fitzpatrick’s


An historic brand from Britain’s last temperance bar in Rawtenstall, Mr Fitzpatrick’s produce premium handmade cordials while staying true to the principles of the company’s heritage. Taste classic flavours including sarsaparilla, dandelion and burdock and cream soda.


Angelika Searle of Bavarian Patisserie based in Bolton

Angelika Searle of Bavarian Patisserie based in Bolton - Credit: Archant

Leagram Organic Dairy


With 30 years experience Bob Kitching created a dairy for visitors to see how cheese is made as well as producing some of the best cheeses you could have tasted. Today, daughter Faye leads the team at this little dairy set in the picture postcard village of Chipping. The many award-winning cheeses are produced under organic standards and still made in the traditional way – by hand and then finished by dipping in hot wax to seal in the texture and flavour.


Northern Whisper


Sameyness is stupid. That’s why at Northern Whisper Brewing Co. they take traditional techniques and add in a few modern twists of their own. Keeps things interesting. They love their heritage but they’re also proud of their new ideas, so by combining these two things they’ve created a truly unique range of beers. From Beltie, an absolute belter of stout (their spent grain going to feed their herd of Belted Galloway cattle), to Lady Muck raspberry sour, bright colourful with just the right amount of tartness to produce a signature sour ale – the names say it all, with an extra helping of northern humour.


Wignalls Yallo


Producer of rapeseed oil with true farm-to-fork provenance, Wignalls Yallo have the passion and expertise which goes into maintaining a sustainability-focused farm and producing top quality rapeseed products. Yallo is a single seed variety oil, sown, grown, and harvested on previously neglected land recently brought back to life and pressed on site. The sustainability story is a lesson to us all.

Yallo produce cold pressed rapeseed oil in 5lt and 500ml bottle (Great Taste Winner), and 250ml bottles with a natural infusion, Cornish sea salt & rosemary, garlic & garden herb, lemon & thyme (Great Taste winner) and habanero chilli.


Nowt Poncy Sauces

Water in Rossendale

Julian Abel and wife, Karen, make their Nowt Ponce sauces with love and care. They’re committed to making products that are low in calories, salt, fat, sugar, saturated fat and still taste amazing. Based in Water, Rossendale, the sauces created by the couple are made with great ingredients, organic where possible and sourced from small business and suppliers.


Batch Brew Gin


Anything Venice can do, Burnley can do better. Burnley’s first ever gin distillery has already gained regional and international recognition, winning a Silver Medal at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Hand-crafted using 12 botanicals, each bottle is individually numbered and signed, and whilst delicious drunk neat, it’s cracking in a Burnley Negroni with Campari, red vermouth and a thick slice of blood orange.


The Wilde Bakery


Run by Jeanette and Andy Wilde, The Wilde Bakery flapjack is a sight to behold. They have created a modern twist on this old favourite with a variety of flavours.


Pretzel & Spelt


If you love Oktoberfest, Sound of Music and apple strudel you’re in the right place with Angelika Searle, founder of Pretzel & Spelt. Experience the delicious bakes of the Bavarian baker who now lives in Bolton. The Great Taste award-winning company, the only pretzel producer in Bolton, is featured in the new BBC series Top of the Shop with Tom Kerridge and is due to open her own shop in Bolton.


The Taste Lancashire food and drink marquee is part of the Visit Lancashire campaign to raise the profile of the county as a must-visit food destination; championing locally made produce and the people who make it.

If food isn’t your thing, then there’s plenty of other things to do at the event that was attended by over 30,000 people last year. The Maker’s Market returns, featuring animal-obsessed design studio Make Like A Bandit, drawing everyone’s favourite pets to order, Fiona Wilson returns to the festival with a stunning range of risograph prints and absolutely must-have spotty-patterned, wooden vases and jewellery from Fedha Designs adds a sense of contemporary sparkle.