Food Fortnight is to everyone’s taste in Emsworth

James Walker enjoys Emsworth's apple press day / Photo by Habibur Rahman

James Walker enjoys Emsworth's apple press day / Photo by Habibur Rahman

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We’re almost halfway through Emsworth’s Food Fortnight and it’s proving massively popular. Local people have flocked to events staged in its first few days - and there’s lot of foodie fun still to come.

Here’s a round-up of what’s been drawing food fans so far and what’s on the menu in the next few days.

Opening weekend highlights

Mayors often have plenty of pressing political issues and engagements to tackle.

But for Havant’s own first lady, Councillor Faith Ponsonby, the chance to press home her civic role by crushing gallons of tasty apples was a first that she simply could not refuse.

Wearing her golden chain, the mayor got her hands on a large apple press in Emsworth town centre yesterday.

Everybody is interested in food – it’s an international language, we all speak food.

It was all part of the opening weekend of the British Food Fortnight, which will see the town celebrating everything food and drink.

Watched by dozens of people in St Peter’s Square, the mayor tried her hands at apple pressing and using the large mulching machine to crush the fruit into pulp – a physical task which proved tricky.

“That was really tough,” she admitted. “I had to let my husband Michael take over for me on that one.’

Hundreds of apples were donated by locals to be crushed down into homemade juice, in aid of the Chichester-based homelessness charity Stonepillow.

The spectacle was staged by the Emsworth Business Association and supported by Havant Rotary Club, whose army of volunteers helped to pour the juice into bottles.

It followed on from Saturday’s packed Hampshire Farmers’ Market in the South Street car park.

Alistair Gibson, of Emsworth Business Association, is one of the organisers of the two-week festival.

He said it was the perfect chance to showcase the area’s rich food heritage and the companies and people who support the industry locally.

He said: “Everybody is interested in food – it’s an international language, we all speak food.

“So a festival like this is the perfect chance to show off Emsworth’s foodie traditions and foodie heritage.”

Cllr Ponsonby said the festival helped to boost trade in the town and that she was looking forward to the next week of events.

She added: “It’s going to be marvellous.”

Report above by Tom Cotterill for The News

Great British College Lunches

One of the most successful events since the inception of the Emsworth British Food Fortnight has been was the Great British College Lunches, which in many ways demonstrates all that Emsworth, wants to promote during the fortnight.

Community. Education. Celebration.

Emsworth is fortunate to be situated near to some outstanding Colleges of Further Education which are attended by many of the young people in the community and so with that in mind the Emsworth British Food Fortnight, in association with the Brookfield Hotel is delighted to support ‘The Great British Menu College Lunches”.

The initiative gives catering students at the three colleges the opportunity to work for a day in the kitchen and restaurant at the Brookfield Hotel – devising, preparing and serving a three-course “Great British Menu”.

This is a wonderful opportunity for the catering stars of the future and a unique experience for visitors to Emsworth British Food Fortnight – it’s a real a celebration of young people and their skills and passion for the food industry they are joining.

The lunches are always hugely popular and are now almost sold out but those lucky enough to attend will have another treat in store with Montezuma’s supplying chocolate truffles to finish the meal in real style.

This year’s opening lunch was on Tuesday run by students from Fareham College. Others will be staged next Thursday, September 29 (Highbury College) and Friday 30 (South Down’s College).

Oonagh Taylor, Programme Manager for Hospitality and Travel at Fareham College, said: “Fareham College are thrilled to be invited to take part in Emsworth British Food Fortnight – any opportunity we can give our learners to demonstrate all the skills learnt at college and transfer their employability skills in the industry is so important.”

Paul Mansfield, from Hospitality and Catering, South Downs College, added: “I am delighted that our catering and hospitality students will be participating in the Great British Menu College Lunch event again this year. The event gives them a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate both their culinary and customer service skills to discerning customers at the Brookfield Hotel.”

Giles Babb, chairman of Emsworth Business Association, said: “I was a catering student once, at South Downs College, and so these lunches are particularly close to my heart.

“For young people, making there way in their chosen profession to have this sort of experience is a wonderful opportunity. Our thanks to the Brookfield Hotel and good luck to all the students taking part.”

Jon Scourfield, Head Chef at Brookfield Hotel, added: “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 am really looking forward to welcoming them into my kitchen.”

This weekend’s events

Saturday, September 24

* A celebration of Emsworth’s Great British High Street. .

* Montezuma’s Chocolate will be in St Peter’s Square offering samples of their fabulous chocolate.

* Meet the Emsworth Schools ‘Scarecrows’ – made by local schools to help celebrate the harvest

* Local shops and business will be offering a range of special offers – look for the yellow balloons and pick up a leaflet on the day.

* Grab an Emsworth British Food Fortnight 2016 canvas bag and find a little surprise from Montezuma’s inside. Spot prizes for the most imaginative ‘shopping bags’

* The Devils Jumps Clog – performing in St Peter’s Square

* Chocolate Heaven – A Chocolate inspired Afternoon Tea served in St.Peters’ Square – tickets £5

* Drop-in Craft Activity in Emsworth Library – scarecrow-themed!

* Emsworth Wine Fair – 11am-3.30pm Hewitts, South Street. Over 40 wine to taste, blind wine tasting competition, chocolate and wine matching, cheese and artisan pock pie tastings. £2

* Special Menus and regional dishes in many of the restaurants, pubs and cafes – including the famous Emsworth Beef, Oyster and Ale Pie.

The continuation of oa collection to help 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.

Sunday, September 25

* The Emsworth Community Seafood Lunch –Emsworth Quay.

A Celebration of Emsworth’s fishing heritage set on the historic Emsworth Quay and prepared by four of the Emsworth’s leading restaurants. It sold out within a few hours of tickets going on sale.

Guests will be seated at two long communal tables and enjoy a three-course seafood lunch and those lucky enough to have tickets will be also be able to bid for a Lobster Pot which will help build this year’s Emsworth Lobster Pot Christmas Tree.

This has never been attempted before and it promises to be a truly memorable occasion. All profits will go to Stonepillow.

Emsworth British Food Fortnight; September 17 to October 2. For more info– www.emsworth.org.uk

For more info on British Food Fortnight – www.lovebritishfood.co.uk

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