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TV wine expert Olly Smith creates a stir
A WONDERFUL Hampshire banquet – that was how top TV wine expert Olly Smith described the launch of this year’s Hampshire Food Festival, which took place held at Newlyns Farm Shop and Cookery School.
Olly was special guest at the launch event, where four of the county’s top chefs – Adam Fargin, of Basingstoke’s Audleys Wood Hotel, Cyrille Pannier, of Four Seasons Hampshire Hotel, in Dogmersfield, Damian Brown, of Winchester’s Chesil Rectory, and Andy McKenzie, of Winchester’s Lainston House Hotel – impressed guests with demonstrations of how to prepare signature Hampshire dishes.
Guests also tucked into canapés prepared by Newlyns, using Hampshire ingredients, served with wine and apple juice from some of the county’s top producers, as well as lager and real ale from Andwell Brewing Company, based between Old Basing and Hook.
Before the reception, guests enjoyed a tractor-trail tour of the 500-acre Lodge Farm, where the shop and cookery school are based, in North Warnborough.
Organised by Hampshire Fare and backed by Hampshire County Council, the festival – which is supported by Gazette Newspapers’ parent company Newsquest, Basingstoke’s Festival Place and other sponsors – runs throughout July with more than 70 events across the county.
Olly, who has written the foreword to this year’s free festival programme, described the launch as an amazing evening.
He said: “I have met some incredibly passionate producers of great food – some star chefs and the quality of the flavours that I sampled whether it was from my plate or glass has quite frankly been amazing. I could not be more excited about the Hampshire Food Festival.”
A regular on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen, Olly has been attending Hampshire Food fair events at Festival Place over the past four years.
“I’ve loved every single one of them,” he said. “And I would love to keep coming back because I honestly think Hampshire is a county that has such a breadth and diversity of flavours.
“Without great produce our chefs can’t make great food and I think some of the producers are incredible. The chefs at this launch have made some amazing dishes – I’ve had fantastic risotto, incredible Hampshire trout laced with a lovely watercress crust, and I’ve had amazing pork and outstanding lamb produced on the farm here – it’s been a wonderful Hampshire banquet.”
Hampshire Fare chairman Mike Wright said: “It is fantastic that the county has such fine producers and hospitality venues who put on this scale of events for the festival.
“Hampshire consistently produces outstanding, high-quality food and drink, and this is proven by the sheer number of awards that our producers win each year in national and regional competitions.”
Call 01962 846509 for a Hampshire Food Festival programme or visit hampshirefare.co.uk/foodfestival.