Emsworth food fortnight will be tastier than ever

Bottling apple juice at last year's Apple Pressing event were John Coombs and Jenny Edgell / Picture: Allan Hutchings
Bottling apple juice at last year's Apple Pressing event were John Coombs and Jenny Edgell / Picture: Allan Hutchings
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Emsworth will once again be participating in British Food Fortnight this year - and organisers are hungry for it to be the best and tastiest festival yet.

From September 17 to October 2, it will be a wonderful opportunity for Emsworth to showcase its food heritage. But it’s also about the community coming together to celebrate itself through food.

Three words sum up what this fortnight is all about – community, education, celebration.

Organisers say there is an amazing programme of events and activities over the fortnight from local producer markets to Apple Pressing Day, from a community seafood lunch on the Quay to a traditional pie masterclass and much more.

Emsworth businesses will be pushing the boat out this year too with tastings, demonstrations and special offers.

Once again the town is working with local primary schools – don’t miss their scarecrows around the village – colleges of further education and supporting the Beacon Food Bank.

We are so excited about this year’s Emsworth British Food Fortnight, we were determined to build on last year’s success and are so grateful to the partners we have been able to involve.

Alistair Gibson

Main events include -

* Emsworth Market Day with Hampshire Farmers’ Market - Saturday, September 17

* The ‘Great British Menu’ College Lunches - three local catering colleges take over the Brookfield Hotel and design, prepare and serve a ‘Great British Menu’ (Fareham College, Highbury College, South Downs College)

* Emsworth Apple Pressing Day – Sunday, September 18 - A real community event. Local apples grown by residents producing ‘Emsworth Apple Presse 2016’ in The Square. The label for this year will be unveiled on the day, designed by a local primary school pupil. This event also supports Stonepillow.

* Hampshire Farmers’ Market Awards Dinner – Brookfield Hotel - Tuesday, September 20 - A celebration of everything that is fabulous about Hampshire’s food and drink industry, think the BAFTA’s for local producers. Four course meal and a glass of Hampshire fizz.

* The Emsworth Wine Fair - Saturday, September 24 - Organised by the area’s four local independent wine merchants, this is a wonderful opportunity to taste more than 40 wines and spirits, together with local cheeses and artisan foods. While focussing on award-winning English wines, which will include amongst others Hambledon Vineyard, Chapel Down, Albourne Estate and Wickham Wines, there will also be some fantastic wines from other regions from Rioja to Stellenbosch. However its not just wine, on offer, British gins and other spirits will also be available to taste.

* Emsworth Community Seafood Lunch - Sunday, September 25 - Emsworth can trace much of its heritage back to its maritime history and although in the main the fishing boats and its once famous oyster industry may have gone, Emsworth, unlike so many similar communities has still managed to maintain its sense of place.

This was celebrated last December with the Lobster Pot Christmas tree, a source of great pride and enjoyment for the whole community.

The Emsworth Community Seafood lunch will once again celebrate this heritage; the lunch will be served on the Quay, on long communal tables and will be prepared by four of the areas leading chefs, Lawrence Murphy (Fat Olives Restaurant), Giles Babb (Blue Bell Inn), Gary Pearce (Restaurant 36 on the Quay) and Jon Scourfield (Brookfield Hotel).

The lunch will see the launch of this year’s Emsworth’s Lobster Pot Christmas Tree and all profits from the lunch will go to Stonepillow.

* Emsworth’s First British Beer and Cider Festival - Friday, September 30 to Sunday, October 2 - Enjoy up to 30 great British beers, both local and from further afield, combined with some great English wines and cider, as well as live entertainment and local food producers.

* A Thought for Food Local Showcase Market - Saturday, October 1 - The A Thought For Food Market will be back for a third year. Created to enable local food and drink producers from West Sussex and Hampshire to come together and showcase their products in Emsworth, this outdoor market has proved a big hit with both visitors and producers.

There will be live music, poetry and creative writing readings, The Portsmouth Shanty Men, food safaris and food demonstrations throughout the day so this market should have something to appeal to just about everyone!

* Taking the Harvest to Primary Schools - In conjunction with Hampshire Farmers’ Market taking food education into local primary schools with Food workshops for pupils.

* A Boost of Kindness - Working with The Beacon Food Bank to build a food mountain, culminating on Sunday, October 2.

* A Special Community Harvest Festival Service in St Peter’s Square, Sunday, October 2, 11.30am

The final programme will be released next Thursday with a full listing of more than 75 food related activities that both residents and visitors can take part in.

Alistair Gibson, Emsworth Business Association, said: “We are so excited about this year’s Emsworth British Food Fortnight, we were determined to build on last year’s success and are so grateful to the partners we have been able to involve, particularly our headline sponsor’s Montezumas Chocolate.

“Their support will enable us to invest more in food education and awareness as well as allowing the range and breadth of events to increase. I can’t wait to see Emsworth celebrating this year’s harvest.”

Helen Pattinson, Co-founder & Director, Montezuma’s Chocolates, said: “At Montezuma’s, we are really excited to be supporting the Emsworth British Food Fortnight this year.  Producing all of our chocolate just a few miles away, the Fortnight is a fantastic forum for us to get as many people to try Montezuma’s as possible and showcase our products to such an interested audience.  The Fortnight provides so many opportunities to discover and enjoy local food so I will also be attending many events for my own enjoyment!” 

Amanda Thomas, General Manager, The Brookfield Hotel, said: “The Brookfield Hotel is proud to be a sponsor of this year’s Emsworth British Food Fortnight. We are so excited to share in the passion that Emsworth has in promoting our community, to live and work in. This is a real celebration of all the very best of seasonal and local produce as well as all that is great about Emsworth.”

Garry Farne, Retail Business Manager for The Southern Co-operative, Emsworth, said: “Being actively involved in our local communities and supporting the rural economy across the south of England is really important to The Southern Co-operative.

“The feelgood factor generated by last year’s British Food Fortnight in Emsworth was outstanding, so it is a pleasure to be involved again this year; sponsoring the ‘A Thought for Food’ Local Showcase Market on Saturday 1st October. British Food Fortnight is a real opportunity to celebrate the people behind our fabulous local food, including those who supply our own Local Flavours range in store.”

For more on the British Food Fortnight in Emsworth visit www.Emsworth.org.uk