Great British Food Magazine – June 2012
NORTH BY NORTHWEST
It’s famous for the Blackpool tower, flat caps and hotpot, but Lancashire has a lot more to offer the intrepid foodie. Tom Shingler went to the heart of the county to learn more.
Winding coastlines, beautiful stretches of rugged, untouched countryside and some of the greatest food in Britain – it’s a wonder that Lancashire isn’t a top international holiday destination! It is a county that truly encapsulates the idea of eating regionally, with people using what’s around them to produce the best food possible. Even Booths, the Lancashire-born supermarket chain that spans across the North West, is focused on sourcing as much food and drink as it can from the area, because the quality is so high. But the thing I noticed the most as I chatted to the chefs, growers, producers and shop owners, was that they all seem to know each other, despite the vast amount of England that Lancashire covers.
Crumbly, Creamy, Tasty
It would be impossible to talk about the best fare in Lancashire without mentioning its quintessential speciality – cheese! One of the most successful artisan cheesemakers is Dewlay, in Garstang, which I could easily spot from miles away thanks to the wind turbine that powers its buildings. “My father came up with the idea for the turbine at four o’ clock in the morning when he was bringing milk to the dairy and saw the wind coming in from Blackpool”, explains Nick Kenyon who now runs the business with his brother Richard. “But it was my grandfather who started it all. He always dreamed of setting up his own dairy and, as it happened, he was knocked off his motorbike by a driver in the 1950s and broke both his legs. He was awarded about £2,000 compensation and was able to realise his aspirations, which he thought was a stroke of luck!”
The three most common types of cheese made in the area are Crumbly Lancashire, Creamy Lancashire and Tasty Lancashire. While these are all household names in the county, the rest of Britain has yet to catch on. “We really need to beat the drum for our cheese”, continues Nick. “It’s so well-loved in the area but hasn’t realised its full potential in the rest of the UK. We have to put ourselves firmly on the map – it’s one of the best melting cheeses available and is great in both recipes and as a stand alone on a cheeseboard”
Patrick Beaume, who owns the Cartford Inn in Little Ecclestone with his wife Julie, is originally from France – the cheese capital of the world. But even he has to admit that Lancashire cheese is something truly special. “We cook with very local lamb and serve ales from the Bowland Brewery down the road, and, of course, Reg’s Goosnargh duck!”, he explains. “But the cheese is most representative of Lancashire. While the area’s meat and veg is fantastic, you can get the same quality in other parts of the world. The cheeses made here are really different and unique - you won’t find them anywhere else. In France we are famous for the amount of cheese we produce, but a lot of it can be similar, and in my opinion, doesn’t stand up to the stuff you get in Lancashire”. And it isn’t easy to get a Frenchman to admit that!
The above is an extract from Tom Shingler’s excellent feature, reproduced courtesy of Great British Food Magazine – June Edition www.greatbritishfoodmagazine.com
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