Food and Drink March 16, 2010
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James Martin on Hampshire

I am proud to introduce this guide, which will steer you through all the culinary wonders that Hampshire holds. This is a county of contrasts. From bountiful valleys and the beautiful New Forest to the southern coasts and northern heaths, a wealth of fantastic produce is being grown, reared, caught and created. A huge amount of Hampshire’s harvest is cultivated in the New Forest, and chefs such as myself know that, by choosing produce with the New Forest Marque, they are buying quality goods that haven’t had to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to reach their diners’ plates. Whether preparing New Forest venison, pheasant, partridge, pigeons or rabbit in the winter, or scrumptious organic fruit in the summer, we can keep the region special by selecting local food that is fresh and in season, supporting local farmers and small businesses.

The joy of our British seasons is being able to cook different ingredients and various types of dishes to suit everybody’s mood – summer treats such as fresh organic fruit, refreshing ice creams and sorbets, potted jams and chilled wine made from home-grown grapes; or cold-weather favourites like pumpkins, parsnips and potatoes, cod and mussels, goose and beef with sherry or a good warming port. Even in the colder months, I take pleasure in the fabulous fare available. The magic of holidays such as Christmas took hold of me as a kid and never really left me, but now, as a chef, the real magic of winter lies in the food we eat. Salty baked potatoes, warming winter stews, comforting roast beef with Yorkshire puds – you can’t beat it. It’s not that winter festivals like bonfire night or summery parties in the garden have lost their power to excite me, it’s just that the thing I like best about them is the food. There is always something different to try – another wonderful thing about cooking all these things – and always new local and quality sources from which to reap all the mouth-watering ingredients.

Many of the delights from the natural food store of Hampshire, as well as from further afield, can be sampled and taken home from my delicatessen, Cadogan & James, in Winchester. Delicious hampers make the perfect gift whatever the occasion, and you may find some unusual delicacies you’ve never tried before – we look forward to welcoming you soon. This guide is a wonderful treasure trove of ideas and tastes waiting to be explored, and I hope it aids you in enjoying all of this year’s celebrations and festivities as you did when you were young – and in making the most of all the excellent produce that Hampshire has to offer.  


jm2


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