Sept & Oct 2016 food bites

Pheasant 2

Pheasant flying high

A pub near Bridgnorth that’s owned by the local community has scooped a coveted national award. The Pheasant at Neenton, a dining pub with rooms, has won the Community Pub award for 2016/7 in Alistair Sawday’s Special Places pub guide. The Pheasant was selected from nearly 800 pubs that are included in the upmarket guide.

The Pheasant’s John Pickup says, “To be selected for this award only 18 months after opening is a huge accolade. It reflects terrific credit on our managers Mark and Sarah and their staff for the great reputation they’re earning the Pheasant for a friendly welcome, superb food and wine, and as a really special place to stay.”

Ludlow’s foodie heaven

With workshops and activities for children, Ludlow’s food festival takes place from 9 to 11 September in venues around the town; masterclasses this year include Make Your Own Sushi, while Kidzkitchen presents cooking classes for younger chefs. Prices vary from £8 for a day ticket to £14 for the weekend, with family tickets priced at £20. Go to to find out more.


Ale for all

Shropshire’s summer comes to a riotous end with beer festivals around the region. Shrewsbury’s Morris Hall will be throwing its doors to fans of beer, cider and perry from Thursday 22 to Saturday 24 September. Entry is £2.50 – CAMRA members are free. Visit for details.

Telford Oktoberfest takes place at the Crown in Oakengates and the Elephant and Castle in Dawley from Thursday 29 September to Monday 3 October – find the Crown on Facebook for details.

The second Shifnal Beer Festival is pencilled in for Thursday 20 until Saturday 22 October at the War Memorial Club, Shifnal. For more details, see the Telford and East Shropshire CAMRA website at

Further afield, from October 27 to 29 the Birmingham Beer Festival arrives at the New Bingley Hall, bringing 300 beers and ciders as well as music and entertainment – visit for details.


College’s AA commendation

Students and staff at Shrewsbury College are delighted to have been awarded highly commended by the AA College Rosette scheme for their Origins Restaurant. The AA College Rosette Scheme recognises restaurants with a clear commitment to students and the industry, where food is prepared and served with care and understanding to a standard which stands out in the local area. Inspectors dined at Origins and concluded: ‘The team here are very professional and service is structured and well-paced. All the team were immaculate in their presentation, giving a professional impression in line with industry standards.’

Chef Lecturer Dan Gibbons says, “It’s a great honour to be one of only a few colleges nationally to receive this award. The students have shown great commitment and attention to detail, which sets them apart from the crowd. They deserve this recognition.”


Bridgnorth duo score nomination

A Bridgnorth-based catering duo have been nominated as Best Vegan Caterer at the VegfestUK Awards 2016. Mex It Up, who are husband-and-wife team Marc and Sarah Nelson, create mouthwatering food inspired by Mexico and south-western USA.

The nomination comes on the back of a win for Best Vegan Restaurant/Caterer at last month’s Vegan Awards UK in Sheffield. Marc says, “We’re still in shock at our recent win and feel honoured to have been nominated again. We owe a great deal of gratitude to our wonderful customers for the fantastic support we’ve had since we formed in June 2015.”


Great Taste for Shropshire firms

Two local businesses are celebrating successes in the annual Great Taste Awards. Ludlow Food Centre collected five stars for products made in its butchery, bakery, dairy, coffee and deli departments. MD Jon Edwards says, “A massive congratulations goes to our departments for their hard work – and a special ‘well done’ goes to our coffee roaster, Julie, whose Espresso Blend No. 3 has been awarded a Gold Star for the third year in a row.”

One of the Food Centre’s suppliers, Flower & White, also collected multiple awards for their Merangz; they received two stars for Chocolate and also for White Chocolate and Raspberry and one star for Mocha. Flower & White’s Leanne Crowther says, “We’re really pleased to have received not only the awards themselves but a collection of really positive comments… it’s particularly rewarding to hear that the experts have enjoyed our Merangz.”

Organised by the Guild of Fine Food, 2016’s Great Taste competition accepted 10,000 entries from the UK and beyond. Over 49 days, 400 expert judges decided which products were worthy of this year’s stars.


Wenlock markets continue

Much Wenlock’s food markets are set to carry on through autumn and winter. The markets feature a range of local producers such as Heather’s Harvest and their award-winning jams and chutneys, and extra produce at The Raven’s Market Place, which offers fresh local vegetables, fish and seafood, and a range of homemade pastries and tarts. The markets next take place on Saturdays 10 September and 8 October. Visit for details.


Gin is a hit

A Shropshire gin that was launched at the start of this year is building up a reputation as one of the country’s best. Gin is a hot property at the moment, Tiger Gin, created by Shropshire businessman JJ Lawrence, is proving to be one of the best of them.
JJ says, “In addition to being recognised by the International Spirit Awards as being one of the best Gins in the world, I’ve just been awarded the silver medal in the Ultra Premium category of The Gin Master’s 2016!”
Tiger Gin is now being stocked from Glasgow to Plymouth, and JJ has over 60,000 followers on social media. The gin is available locally at Tanners in Bridgnorth and Shrewsbury.


Telford dairy show to go ahead

Telford Dairy Day is set to take place at the International Centre on Wednesday 14 September. Organisers say they plan to stage the popular event despite a rival livestock event now taking place in Birmingham around the same time.

The Dairy Day brings around 7,000 dairy industry members to the town to see trade stands, find out about new innovations, and to share knowledge before farming decision are taken for the winter season – and there’s also a cow painting demo for a bit of light relief. This year’s event takes place against the backdrop of continuing problems for the county’s dairy farmers, with dairy giant Müller keeping its milk prices stable despite protests from farmers.
Visit for details.



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