Hampshire Fare celebrates 25 years in style
Hampshire is home to a wealth of talented producers committed to rearing, growing and making quality local food and drink. Over the last 25 years these producers and the venues that sell and serve their products have benefited from the invaluable support and expertise of Hampshire Fare.
The food group was set up in 1991 by a handful of local farmers keen to work together to spread the message about the high quality local food available across the county. Hampshire Fare now works closely with over 370 members involved in all stages of the local food network. On Friday 18th March Hampshire Fare came together with these members and sponsors to begin the 25th anniversary celebrations at a private ticketed dinner held at Lainston House Hotel.
The unique evening brought together three of Hampshire’s finest chefs; Luke Holder, Luke Matthews and Olly Rouse. Luke from Hartnett & Holder at Lime Wood Hotel created and a mouth-watering Chalk Stream trout dish incorporating. Luke from Chewton Glen Hotel served a pork and black pudding dish with meat from Newlyns Farm and Laverstoke Park Farm. Olly Rouse from Lainston House Hotel served a rhubarb cheesecake incorporating ingredients from the kitchen garden.
Guests enjoyed sparkling wine from Hattingley Valley vineyard and a list of wines matched by Berry Bros. & Rudd. The meal culminated in a delicious local cheeseboard featuring Old Winchester, Barkham Blue and Tunworth served with Golden Bullace liqueur from Wessex Wild Plum. Handmade chocolates from Winchester Cococa included a Twisted Nose gin and grapefruit and a Red Cat porter beer caramel.
Mike Wright, Chairman of Hampshire Fare, reflected on the evening: “Tonight is really all about our members and sponsors. We feel privileged to be able to work so closely with such an inspiring and hardworking group of people. We are really lucky in Hampshire to have so much delicious fresh produce on our doorstep, with such diverse countryside incorporating land, forest and sea we really do have it all. Hampshire Fare continues to go from strength to strength and has lots more to offer it members in terms of ideas and support, so here’s to the next 25 years!”
Hampshire Fare is only able to work so effectively with local producers thanks to the support of its sponsors. The Southern Co-operative was one of the first companies to come on board as a corporate partner of Hampshire Fare. Kate Hibbert, Local Sourcing Manager at The Southern Co-operative commented on Hampshire Fare’s 25 year landmark:
"As a regional retailer with a passion for local sourcing it is crucial we stay in touch with suppliers and abreast of movement within the food producing communities within which we trade. Being part of Hampshire Fare enables us to do all of this.....and more! It is a vibrant food group, working tirelessly for the good of Hampshire; producers, suppliers, growers and hospitality members alike. When so much funding across the food sector is being cut, it says a lot for the Hampshire Fare team and the county of Hampshire that Hampshire Fare has not only survived but improved, grown and been strengthened by increased membership. The Southern Co-operative is proud to be one of the longest standing corporate partners and I am proud to be a Hampshire Fare Director. Congratulations on their 25th Anniversary!"
The evening ended with a prize draw with lucky winners taking home a bottle of Exton Park Vineyard’s Rose Vintage 2011, a bottle of Hattingley Valley Classic Cuvée and a bottle of Wessex Wild Plum liqueur.
The members’ dinner was the first of many events taking place throughout 2016 to mark the 25th anniversary. On Saturday 21st May Hampshire Fare will be bringing a Taste of Hampshire to Sparsholt’s Countryside Day with chefs’ demos, local producers and more foodie fun, visit www.sparsholt.ac.uk for more information.