Last Thursday, I was asked to come and talk to the finalists of the Carol Trewin Young Food Writers award.
Carol Trewin, was the much loved and brilliant Food and Farming Editor of The Western Morning News, a BBC presenter, broadcaster and producer, and writer of the acclaimed publication, ‘The Devon Food Book’ published posthumously. Carol was diagnosed with acute leukaemia in 2006 and sadly passed away in 2009. During her illness she continued to work and help food producers with great kindness and intelligence. The Carol Trewin Young Food Writers Award was set up to “keep her values and work ethic alive amongst a new generation of food writers, to encourage and support a new generation of aspiring young writers who are living, working or connected with the West Country.” The organisers, Marc Millon, food and wine writer, and James Crowden, author and publisher, announced the finalists at the launch of the Exeter Festival. They wrote a 500 word piece to get this far and to win, they have to write a 1500 word piece for the Western Morning News. We can’t wait to see what they will come up with.
Stephanie Metcalf, Clare Hornby, Fleur Tucker, Karen Christian, Sadie Phillips and Anna-Marie Julyan
Earlier in the day, we met for coffee in Pebblebed Tasting Cellar, Topsham. This is a vineyard tasting cellar located in an old warehouse on the riverside near the Quay in Topsham. It’s like those great cellar bars you find on the wine roads of Europe, that Marc has written many books about and it’s a wonderful Devon secret that you should not miss.
In the cellar, they offer Pebblebed wines (grown and made in Devon) wines from other Devon Vineyards and select wines from around the world imported by their associated organisation Vino and Topsham Wines. They also serve delicious local cured meat selections, fabulous local cheese boards, and other tasty tapas. And watch out for Marc’s unforgettably fabulous pop up restaurant nights. Book now, it is well worth the visit!
We took them on a visit to Country Cheeses – one of the best cheese shops in the UK – with an opportunity to interview Gary, the owner. I bought a selection of six for supper for a mere tenner and I left with not only a huge amount, but the heavenly experience of eating them all later, slowly, taking our time, mmm. I couldn’t resist buying Montgomery Cheddar, which is ,in my opinion, the best cheddar in the world, without doubt, and five others that were new to me. Little Stinky was particularly delish. Gary has a shop in Topsham and Tavistock and is always on the look out for new small producers, so there are always suprises. Then, we went on to a West Country lunch at Route 2 Café Bar with Liz Hodges and James Clark (Travelling Cookery School) where James treated us to a fantastic lunch of spring vegetable risotto with fresh crab, the tenderest lamb that had been cooked at 45 degrees for six hours and a super lemon tart.
They day ended with the Launch of Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink and the Festival After Dark party where the shortlist had a wine tasting at the Pebblebed van
followed by half an hour with Michelin starred chef Michael Caines, who went out of his way, again, to support young people interested in food.