Friday, 20th October saw movers and shakers of the Staffordshire culinary scene attend a glittering ceremony at Lichfield Cathedral to mark the NFU Mutual Taste of Staffordshire Good Food Awards 2017.
With Staffordshire’s biggest gastronomic gathering a little more than a week away – taking place on Westbridge Park on the 6th, 7th and 8th October - it’s worth remembering the host of events set to go on in and around Stone in the week running up to the ‘big weekend’.
Once again, local shops, pubs, restaurants and bars are organising a cornucopia of special offers, themed evenings, quizzes and tastings from Friday 29th September through to Sunday, 8th October.
The packed programme is available to browse on the festival website with comprehensive daily listings of each event taking place as part of the 2017 festival; including the Farmers’ Market which will grace the High Street on Saturday 7th, offering a bounty of fantastic local produce straight from farm to fork.
Those with a competitive nature can show off their culinary prowess and knowledge in many ways – including The Lymestone Brewery Chilli Off, which kick-starts festival week on Friday, 29th September from 7pm. Taking place at the brewery, it will see chilli lovers vie to create the most delicious spicy concoction. There are also a number of quizzes taking place over the course of the week – including The Swan’s legendary ‘big’ Food & Drink Quiz on the evening of Tuesday, 3rd October.
A taste of the Mediterranean will once again be coming to town in the form of the Stone Tapas Trail. Running on Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th October it is inspired by an event in Stafford Borough’s Spanish twin town Tarragona, and the premise is simple - pop into any participating restaurant and enjoy a tapas dish for just £3.50pp. This year’s restaurants include Granville’s, The Crown & Anchor, The Crown of India, Little Seeds and The Wheatsheaf at Oulton.
A new addition to this year’s programme takes place on the evening of Wednesday, 4th October - in the form of a Historical Tour of Stone. Guided by Steve Booth and Philip Leason of Stone Historical Society, participants will explore the town’s links with Hovis Flour, Gooseberry fairs, fish ponds, breweries and much more – just £2pp (£1 for under 16s) will all proceeds to the Stone Historical Society. The tour will leave The Star pub at 6.30pm prompt.
The ever-popular walking Real Ale Trail is back for 2017, this time offering the chance to win £50 toward a round of drinks ‘on the Festival’. Simply pick up a card from any participating – including The Pheasant; The Borehole; The Talbot; Langtry's; The Crown and Anchor; Granvilles; The Poste of Stone; The Swan Inn; The Star; The Royal Exchange; The Red Lion and The Three Crowns plus The George & Dragon at Meaford and both The Brushmaker’s Arms and The Wheatsheaf at Oulton – buy a drink and get it stamped at a minimum of 5 venues, and hand it in for the chance to win.
Stone’s canal town status is also celebrated with floating eatery the Sir Thomas Brocklebank hosting genteel afternoon teas depart daily from Mon 2nd – Sun 8th Oct plus a Charcuterie Cruise on the evenings of Fri 6th and Sat 7th - booking essential, call 07803 507658.
Whether ale, wine or spirits are your tipple of choice the wide range of tasting events taking place in town offers something for everyone – including a Fever Tree ‘perfect gin pairing’ event at Ten Green Bottles on Tue 3rd October from 6pm and Granvilles’ Belgian Beer Tasting from 8pm on Thu 5th October.
Those looking to discover global flavours, meanwhile, will be spoilt for choice when it comes to the sheer variety of cuisine on offer at various venues throughout the week! You can enjoy Mexican, Portuguese, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Greek and classic British and more.
Festival week events will start from Friday 29th September - there are simply too many to cover them all here, so head to www.stonefooddrink.org.uk and check out the programme to plan your foodie week!