Food and Drink December 31, 2014
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James Martin: Hampshire & the Isle of Wight

It�s great to be able to promote all the fantastic places for eating out in the regions of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. There is an exceptional amount of talent in Hampshire and we are all so lucky to live here.

Having lived in Hampshire for over 18 years now, I know first hand how good and diverse the produce in the area is. Over the years the county has become a kind of gastronomic delight, with producers, restaurants and food alike growing at such a fast rate. Who would have thought you could buy everything from the finest fish to the best beef and beer so nearby, all in a county that now produces some of the finest mozzarella you will ever taste. Being by the coast has its advantages; fresh fish is landed on a daily basis, and sea bass, line caught off The Needles and simply cooked in salt, is one of my favourite dishes. Great wine is produced in Hampshire thanks to the rich soil and chalk � the perfect conditions for growing grapes � and mark my words, the county�s Champagne rivals that of France. North of Winchester is a place that�s placing Hampshire food firmly on the culinary map � at Laverstoke Park Farm you can buy both great vegetables and meat, beer and that mozzarella that so many chefs are using. Talking of chefs, you can have your pick of so many � working in the kitchens of everywhere from bistros and hotels to great fish and chip shops, all are taking advantage of the ingredients Hampshire has to offer.

I�ve only been given so many words to write about all that Hampshire has to offer and it�s not enough. So in short, whether you�re into watercress or garlic from the Isle of Wight, Michelin-starred meals or traditional takeaways, you will find it all here in Hampshire. So take advantage of all that our fantastic county has to offer � use it, eat it and support it. After all, without your support and the hard work of all the producers, farmers and people in the industry, the Hampshire food scene couldn�t exist, and for that I thank you. But most importantly, spread the word and put Hampshire on the food map. Enjoy.

James Martin

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