Let Emsworth’s educational feast begin!

Apple pressing day in Emsworth
Apple pressing day in Emsworth

Saturday sees the start of British Food Fortnight – and there will nowhere better to celebrate it than Emsworth.

Since its foundation in 2014, Emsworth’s Food Fortnight has won national awards and become one of the most successful events of its type in the UK, celebrating local food, local people and Emsworth itself.

This year’s programme will be another opportunity to experience much of what makes Emsworth special with its largely-independent town centre and a wonderful range of restaurants, cafes and pubs.

The first few days have a fantastically diverse array of events and activities – there really is something for everyone.

They include on Saturday (Sep 23):

* Emsworth Apple Day, St Peter’s Square 10am-1pm: Emsworth Apple Day is community event and a wonderful excuse to celebrate the glorious English apple and its orchards.

The first few days have a fantastically diverse array of events and activities – there really is something for everyone.

Everyone is invited to bring as many good-quality apples as they can from their gardens to St Peter’s Square where the apples will be pressed using the village’s very own apple press and made into Emsworth Apple Presse 2017, available to take home on the day.

It will be free of charge but a small donation to Emsworth Primary and St James Primary schools would be most welcome.

Pupils at local primary schools have taken part in a competition to design the label for this year’s Presse and the winning design is by Freddie Gates from Westbourne Primary School. Entries will be displayed during the fortnight.

*Tea Tasting Masterlcasses – Hewitt’s, South Street: An exciting learning ‘journey’ exploring the story of tea, the different types, its health benefits and how it has an important place in our local area thanks to Sir George Staunton travelling to China over 200 years ago and returning to his home at Staunton in Havant with many different plants including tea.

Hosted by Chris Bailey, head horticulturalist from Staunton Farm, these talks will be the perfect way to celebrate the quintessentially British pastime. Tickets are available in advance from the Brookfield Hotel and on the day itself. They’re £3.50 to include talk, tasting and refreshments. 10am-11.30am Morning Brew session; 2.30am-4pm Afternoon Tea.

* Emsworth Library, Children’s Craft Activity suitable for four to 11-year-olds: Create Your Own Lobster, 9:30am to midday.

* Emsworth Brewery Open Days (Midday to 7pm, Saturday 23 and Sunday 24, Saturday 30 and Sunday Oct 1). Visit this micro-brewery located in the heart of Emsworth and sample their real ales. Rear of 16 West Street - free entry

* Gin Tasting – Sample a range of exquisite gins from Artisan Gin Distillers. No charge. There is no need to pre-book. Midday to 2.30pm

Portal, Dingwall & Norris Wines, 48 Main Road.

Then on Sunday...

* Curds & Preserves at Tuppenny Barn: If you have ever wanted to turn amazing tasting English fruit into gifts or something for the store cupboard, this is the workshop for you (10am to 1pm).

Other activities this weekend include:

* Grab an Emsworth British Food Fortnight 2017 canvas bag and find a surprise from Montezuma’s inside.

* The Montezuma’s Chocolate Bus will be in Emsworth on most days for tasting and chocolate chit-chat

* The start of a collection to build the Emsworth Food Mountain to be donated to the Beacon Food Bank at our open air Harvest Festival on the last day of the fortnight.

* Special menus and regional dishes in many of the restaurants, pubs and cafes.

* Meet the Emsworth Schools’ Scarecrows – made by local schools to help celebrate the harvest – they will be unveiled in the Square and some may be be in fancy dress!

This year there is some special Emsworth British Food Fortnight merchandise with aprons and The Lobster Republic of Emsworth T-shirts available to purchase. They will be available from Saturday.

A full listing of events can be found in this year’s programme, which can be download from www.emsworth.org.uk

British Food Fortnight is about the community coming together to celebrate itself through food. Three words sum up what this fortnight is all about:

* Community

* Education

* Celebration

In fact, food education becomes a bigger part of the Emsworth fortnight every year and is one of the very foundations of the event. There are food education workshops in local primary schools, students from catering colleges taking over an Emsworth restaurant and local businesses sharing their knowledge and skills with all ages through a wide variety workshops and short courses for foodies of all ages.

Food Education Workshops

Hampshire Farmers’ Market will be taking its innovative food education workshops into four local primary schools to encourage children to care about what they eat and understand where their food comes from.

Getting children interested in buying and cooking local, seasonal, healthy food is an important investment in their future health and the both Emsworth British Food Fortnight and Hampshire Farmers Market are committed to doing just that.

On Wednesday, September 27, this will take place at Westbourne Primary School; Thursday 28 at Southbourne Junior School and Friday 29 at Emsworth Primary School and St James Primary School.

Alex Hanford, HFM Business Manager, said: “Hampshire Farmers’ Markets want the next generation to grow up caring about what they eat and to know where their food comes from. Our aim is to get children interested in buying and cooking, local, seasonal and healthy food. This will improve the welfare and health of young families in Hampshire.’’ –

Erika Biddlecombe, Head Teacher, St James Primary School, said: “Our children are lucky to be raised and educated in such a special community as Emsworth. By the children being involved in events throughout the year such as Emsworth Food Fortnight we are not only reaching out to be part of our local community but also giving our children roots in that community – roots that will grow stronger as they grow older and they will grow to become even more pro-active members of their local community.”

The Great British College Lunches

The Brookfield Hotel and its Hermitage Restaurant will welcome across three separate days students from Chichester, Fareham and Highbury Colleges to cater for a restaurant filled with paying, hungry and expectant customers.

The students will devise a three-course menu, using locally-sourced ingredients where possible, then on the day prepare it and serve it in the pressure of a busy restaurant. The students are partaking in more than just a simulation of professionalism; this is food education at the sharp end. On September 27 it’s the turn of students from Highbury College to take over, the following day it’s Chichester College and on October 5, Fareham College.

Paul Rennie, lecturer in hospitality, Chichester College, said: “It’s a great opportunity for the students to work in a real work environment with customers. It will challenge their team working and timing. It will also put the skills they have learnt so far at college to the test.”

Jon Scourfield, chef at the Brookfield Hotel, said: “It’s not that long ago that many of my team were at college and so this is a wonderful opportunity for the Brookfield to put something back.

“Working with seasonal produce is very close to my heart and I have no doubt that the students will come up with some really interesting dishes using British produce and I’m really looking forward to welcoming them into my kitchen.”

There is also an amazing menu of education events aimed at people of all ages, which includes –

* A Bread Making Workshop with Lawrence Murphy, 9:30am-12:30pm Monday, September 25 - Develop your artisan culinary skills with award-winning chef Lawrence Murphy from Fat Olives. Learn how to bake an organic, brown free-form loaf and a tasty white loaf.

* Emsworth Cookery School are offering a series of educational workshops which include – Home Baking – Pre-School Cookery Classes for 2 ½ - 5 year olds – Pastry Masterlcass – British Beer Baking – Bread Masterclass.

* Bel La Cakes and Cupcakes are offering a series of themed mini cupcake workshops aimed at children.

It’s not just about hands-on education, however, at this year’s Emsworth British Food Fortnight.

Each year the organisers work with a local good cause and this year both Emsworth primary schools will benefit from funds being raised from various events during the fortnight.

All the profits from the Emsworth Community Seafood Lunch and donations from Emsworth Apple Day will go to the schools to help pupils.