Food and Drink October 12, 2011
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What I love about Bristol and Bath - Raymond Blanc

Since Brasserie Blanc opened in Bristol’s Quakers Friars over two years ago, it has been a busy time for me, and it was with great pride and delight that I received an honorary OBE at the end of 2010. Helping to raise awareness and appreciation of good food, healthy dishes and quality produce for British palates has been a real privilege, and I hope that I can continue to do so in 2011.

I have been excited by the South West’s enthusiasm for diversity and originality in its dining scene, and both Bristol and Bath offer huge variety when it comes to eating out. Bristolians, residents of Bath and the British public in general are inquisitive and eager to learn about food, and the huge interest in cooking at home has inspired the return of my television programme, Kitchen Secrets. I will once again share some tricks of the trade, making what appear to be complex dishes into recipes you can try in your kitchen at home. I hope that this series will inspire the chef in you.

At the Brasserie, our two-course meal with wine seemed to really capture the attention of Bristol. Without any shame at all (I am French), I can say that it is rare to find meals made with fresh produce at such competitive prices. And let’s not forget the glass of wine thrown in for good measure. We source all our French wines direct from France, and the Domaine de la Provenquière served with the Dine with Wine menu is a typical example of what you can find. Brigitte and Claude are the third generation of the Robert family making some lovely wines in Capestang near Bezier. I love the fact this is a family affair, I love the fact these are local people striving to better their wine with every year and, most importantly, I love their wine.

In the last year I have seen the 13th and 14th-Century Bakers and Cutlers Halls coming to life with even more splendour than before, with Bristolians celebrating anything from weddings to product launches, or indeed just celebrating. I’m not quite sure the monks would have approved, but it is far better than letting the buildings waste away. That would have been a crime.

So here’s to another fantastic year.

Bon appétit.


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