Apple day is sweet success... now for cheese and wine (and beer)

A pressing engagement in Emsworth / Picture by John Tweddell
A pressing engagement in Emsworth / Picture by John Tweddell

Emsworth Food Fortnight began in sweet style as the good old English apple took centre stage.

Friends, families and volunteers all joined in pressing homegrown apples and creating a unique local juice using a traditional apple press.

The day was organised by Emsworth Community Project, in association with Havant Rotary Club, Emsworth Business Association and others.

Richard Hitchcock from Greening Westbourne helps to look after a community orchard in Hampshire Farm Meadows and was part of the fun, saying: “We have 33 trees in the orchard, which have grown some delicious apples. We have been selling some apple doughnuts from Westbourne Bakery and have some apple bobbing for youngsters to have a go at.

“The main purpose was to raise awareness of the community orchard – which all started with the humble apple.”

Havant councillor Jackie Branson, volunteering with Havant Rotary Club, said: “We ran out of bottles for the apple juice, which goes to show just how popular it was. I think everybody has had a good day, and we have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves too. To have a traditional presse here too is just wonderful.’

Everybody has brought along some apples which all go into one bucket to create the juice. It is a real team effort and I think everybody is feeling quite proud to have contributed.

Alistair Gibson

Alistair Gibson, who has helped organise the food fortnight, said: “The first pressing started at 10am and we have never sold out of bottles before, so it went remarkably well.

“We have pressed 200 litres of apple juice which is a great statistic to have. We raised £300 for charity too. From a food perspective, apples are a brilliant way for the whole community to share.

“Everybody has brought along some apples which all go into one bucket to create the juice. It is a real team effort and I think everybody is feeling quite proud to have contributed.”

The apple-pressing was one of the highlights of a busy opening weekend for Emsworth’s fourth Food Fortnight – and the event continues apace for another ten days.

- DAVID GEORGE

The middle weekend of this year’s Emsworth British Food Fortnight promises something for everyone.

Friday, September 29

* Emsworth British Beer and Cider Festival, Emsworth Community Centre: Returns this year with more than 30 local and award-winning ales – chosen to include several of the class-winners at this year’s Great British Beer Festival, including Gold Winner (Best Bitters) ‘Cwtch’ from Wales, Silver Winner ‘Jarl’ from Scotland (Golden Ales), and joint-bronze winner (Golden Ales) ‘Citra’ from East Anglia.

There is also a special selection of Somerset Ciders, Meet the Brewer sessions and live music from Reaver’s Rant and Mark Handley’s Bone Idols. Locally-sourced food including Jake’s celebrated pork pies, and Sue Treagust’s excellent scotch eggs keeps the British food theme going. The Emsworth Beer and Cider Festival continues on Saturday and Sunday.

Premium Session tickets are £25 per person – gives you unlimited access to try as many ales as you wish, limited to 30 people. Other tickets are £10 per session including souvenir glass, programme and drinks tokens. Tickets available in Emsworth from Bookends, Harbour Records, The Newsagents & also www.wegottickets.com

* British Cheese and Wine Tasting – Enjoy a welcome drink with snacks & olives and then taste eight British cheeses and eight carefully paired wines. Tasting notes will provided. 7pm-10pm, Emsworth Delicatessan, 2 West Street, Emsworth, 01243 389181, www.emsworthdeli.co.uk – £25 per person. Pre-booking essential. Call 01243 389181 or visit the Deli to reserve a place

Saturday, September 30

* The Emsworth Wine Fair, Hewitts, South Street, 11am-4pm. Organised by four local independent wine merchants who are also joined by Hambledon Vineyard and Winchester Distillery.

While focussing on award winning English wines, which will include among others, Sixteen Ridges, Albourne Estate and Ridgeview, there will also be some fantastic wines from other regions; from Rioja to Stellenbosch this is a wonderful opportunity to taste more than 40 wines including many which are organic. But it’s not just wine, there will be a range of British Gins and the English Whiskey Company will be there and available to taste.

There will also be a ‘Blind Wine Tasting’ Competition with some marvellous bottles to be won, and that’s not all, in conjunction with Montezuma’s, there will be a Chocolate and Wine tasting experience for tasters to discover just how many wines really do work with chocolate. All visitors will also receive a limited souvenir tasting glass to use and take home afterwards.

Tickets are £5, available on the door, and this includes tasting of over 40 wines and spirits, a souvenir limited edition tasting glass to take home, a chocolate and wine tasting experience, blind wine tasting competition and the opportunity to stock up on your favourite bottles many at Food Fortnight Prices.

* Hampshire Farmers Market, St Peters’ Square 10am to 2pm. A special British Food Fortnight Hampshire Farmers Market with more than 20 producers from all round Hampshire showing just what wonderful produce is grown and made not very far from our front doors.

Montezuma’s Chocolate will also be in the Square with their Chocolate Bus with tasters and general chocolate chitchat. Visitors will also be able pick up this years Emsworth British Food Fortnight canvas shopping bag being given out free.

* Emsworth Brewery open days, midday to 7pm (Saturday and Sunday). Visit this micro-brewery located in the heart of Emsworth and sample their real ales. Rear of 16 West Street - free entry

Sunday, October 1

* The Emsworth Community Seafood Lunch, 12.15pm-12.45pm, Emsworth Quay. The Emsworth Community Seafood lunch will once again celebrate Emsworth’s fishing heritage as well as its now famous Lobster Pot Christmas, the lunch will be served on the Quay, on long communal tables and will be prepared by five of the areas leading chefs: Lawrence Murphy, Fat Olives Restaurant; Gary Pearce, Restaurant 36 on the Quay; Giles Babb, Blue Bell Inn; Jon Scourfield, Brookfield Hotel; Barbara Crick, Emsworth Cookery School.

The lunch is already sold out and all profits from the lunch will be donated to Emsworth Primary School and St James Primary School – both supported this year by the Emsworth Business Association.

BUT... one pair of tickets has just been made available – the highest bid by midday Friday, September 29 will receive these highly sort after tickets. Bid via Twitter @Emsworthfood

Also this weekend, special menus and regional dishes will be available in many of the restaurants, pubs and cafes and you can again meet the Emsworth Schools ‘Scarecrows’ – made by local schools to help celebrate the harvest.

See continuing coverage from the Food Fortnight in the Chichester Observer and The News and on this website