Food and Drink October 12, 2011
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Alan Hills take on Derbyshires many delights

I am delighted to be writing the foreword for the 2011 Peak District & Derbyshire Food & Drink Guide. 2010 was a busy yet rewarding year for me, with an exciting 12 months for Devonshire Hotels & Restaurants – we celebrated the Dowager Duchess’ 90th birthday in March, followed shortly after by the re-opening of The Devonshire Arms at Pilsley in July.

The next big event for The Devonshire Arms at Pilsley will be the Pilsley Beer Festival in April 2011, which will showcase local beers and is sponsored by Peak District Ales. We are thrilled to add to the many fantastic food and drink events that happen in our beautiful county; the biggest, of course, being the Derbyshire Food and Drink Fair in May, or Bakewell Farmers’ Market on the last Saturday of every month. Both of these offer something for all the family, but for chefs like me and at-home cooks alike, they provide a fantastic opportunity to meet suppliers and look out for new products.

There are so many fantastic local suppliers in Derbyshire, but one of my favourites is Jaquest Food Specialist, a traditional smoke-house in Bolsover who supply flavoursome oak, beech and applewood-smoked fish. Another hidden gem is our cleaner at Beeley, who raises chickens and provides the pubs with the freshest free-range eggs. If I had to choose, my absolute favourite ingredient has to be bacon from the Chatsworth Farm Shop; we know exactly where it has come from on the estate and how it has been reared – and best of all it tastes amazing.

Local ingredients and suppliers feature heavily on our menus at both pubs, as they do across the county. The most important reason is the taste, but another big factor is the impact on the environment. Led by Lord Burlington, Devonshire Hotels & Restaurants are making huge efforts to be ‘green’, minimising food waste and recycling as much as possible. This new campaign has resulted in the opening of The Devonshire Arms at Beeley’s kitchen garden, with an aim to grow heritage crops and traditional vegetables such as cauliflowers, broccoli, garlic and courgettes.

I look forward to welcoming you to one of our inns very soon, and in the meantime I urge you to take advantage of all the wonderful flavours, events and hospitality that Derbyshire has to offer.


hillL


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