1,750 votes have been cast by Great Food Club Members and other local-food lovers for the inaugural GFC Awards, so the shortlist of the top three vote winners in each category for each region is ready.
I’m obviously a little biased towards the West Midlands finalists, who are;
Loaf Community Bakery, Stirchley, Birmingham
Purity Brewery, Great Alne
Talton Mill Farm (Talton Mill Farm Shop), Newbold on Stour
Duncombe Arms, Ellastone
On The Rocks at Quigleys, Rugby
Pure Bar & Kitchen, Birmingham
Jim Gough Greengrocers, Wolverhampton
Loaf Community Bakery, Stirchley
Talton Mill Farm Shop, Newbold on Stour
Congratulations to the producers and venues for making it this far, the next step is judging and I’ve been asked to go on a foodie adventure with @oshinboy to give GFC editor Matt Wright our feedback on the entries.
(Photos: Talton Mill Farm Shop Warwickshire Life, Duncombe Arms Sawdays, Pure Bar & Kitchen tripadvisor, fruit and vegetables lovefood.com)
Take your pick from this cornucopia of food and drink events in the Midlands this month.
In Warwick you can sip tea at Warwick Street Kitchen or shots of Chase Vodka at Square Wine and enjoy the next in the series of Dine with Wine evenings at High Pavement. I’ll be in town mid month for Rob Eatwell’s ‘Feather & Fur’ menu at the Rose & Crown.
Help celebrate both the Thai Festival and their 10th anniversary at Sabai Sabai restaurant in Moseley, or try a raw food evening with the Latvian supper club Two Cats Roaming at 6/8 Kafe.
Put your skills to the test and learn how to cure and smoke your own meat with Italian deli Squisito, or go the whole hog and butcher a pig with the Loaf chefs.
Get your bake on at the Cake International Show and return to the NEC for the BBC Good Food Show Winter at the end of the month.
Wine lovers can discuss vintages with Tim Atkin at Hampton Manor or stock up for the holidays at the Christmas Wine Fair.
For next year I’m planning an even bigger and better events calendar, where you can search for food and drink events by area and category. By subscribing to my blog you will automatically receive these updates.
In the UK we drink an average of 70 million a cups of coffee a day! It seems that we cannot get enough of our daily perk, with new coffee shops springing up all the time.
In Coventry you can easily avoid the bland corporate chains and enjoy a brew at independent and family run coffee shops. You can read about Italian café Meseta, vintage tearoom Loaf and Ed’s Coffee House here
Over in Brum, the city’s thriving café culture is booming with three new openings.
In the city centre, Faculty has opened in the Piccadilly Arcade. The range of fresh cakes is impressive and interesting – vegan courgette cake anyone?
Further afield in Longbridge, the intriguingly named Ashton Levi opened 14 March and is tweeting good reviews. Coming soon to Moseley is a new coffee house and deli, Damascena, which will be on Alcester Road.
Congratulations to Grants Bakeries who have won Best Small Business at the Pride of Stratford Awards. Craig Blackman started the artisan bakery in the town centre in October 2011 with only one baker, but has expanded and currently employs two full time bakers, one apprentice and two part time drivers. Being the only bakery in Stratford upon Avon, he is providing local businesses with the opportunity to source locally produced breads with locally sourced ingredients. You can also find their bread in Leamington’s Aubrey Allen store. http://www.grantsbakeries.co.uk
As it is National Bread Week, 16th – 23rd April, I’ve been looking for other local bakeries that are worth the dough.
Tom Baker (I promise I did not make that up!) at Loaf has been teaching bread making skills and making bread as part of a community based project in Birmingham since 2009. From the Stirchley Road Stores and various farmers markets in Birmingham, you can buy everything from a daily white cob loaf, to their signature two-day sourdough boule. http://www.loafonline.co.uk
After competing as a Masterchef contestant and working as a professional chef, Lucky 13 Bakehouse head baker Neil wanted get back to his roots and life-long passion for baking. Through support from the Prince’s Trust and partner Amy (who helps look after things behind the scenes) Lucky 13 got off the ground in January 2012 and now supplies bread to local businesses, including Lewis of Moseley deli, 6/8 Kafe and Brewsmiths in the city centre. http://www.lucky13bakehouse.co.uk
Gary, at Anderson & Hill deli in Birmingham, has tweeted about a new local foodie magazine. Edible Brum is written by the team behind the Warehouse Café and their first issue features Loaf’s Tom Baker and the Michelin star chef Glynn Purnell. Published online at http://issuu.com/ediblebrum/docs/issu_ediblebrum_spring12
Good news! Loaf, the social food enterprise in South Birmingham is planning to move into a new HQ later in the year (hopefully in December). In these larger premises, there will be room for a cookery school, bakery and shop that will sell both bread products from Loaf, as well as general grocery items and whole foods from South Birmingham Food Co-op. www.loafonline.co.uk