A foodie guide to what's hot in Devon



Every year the Dartmouth Food Festival attracts over 120 exhibitors – the vast majority of which are from the West Country. As it’s just under a month now until the festival begins I thought I would take a look at some of the new exhibitors that are coming to town.

Until recently I wasn’t a huge fan of peanut butter but it turns out I just hadn’t been buying the right type. All it takes to make a delicious nutty spread is nuts and a sprinkle of sea salt – something which Jeni Reeve found out after a couple of years developing her range. Butter Bike Co. is so called because Jeni got fed up of being stuck in traffic delivering her wares so decided to travel by pedal power instead. I tried the Rugged version as I like a bit of bite and loved the chunks of nut you get in each mouthful. It was also beautifully creamy in texture and not overly salty. I was intrigued by the Cinnamon & Raisin so splashed out on a jar of this as well – I wasn’t sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised as she’s got the balance just right – try it on a hot buttered bagel … you won’t be disappointed.

Seaweed seems to the the superfood of the moment, popping up on many restaurant menus. If you don’t fancy donning your wellies and foraging for your own then this product may be for you. Seaspoon is a range of easy to use, edible seaweed blends and is the brainchild of childhood friends Tim & Kate. I’d already tried the Seaweed Seasoning as it’s supplied in Mitch Tonk’s Rockfish restaurants an alternative to table salt. So, I thought I’d give the Seaweed Umami* Blend a go, which is a mix of their original Seaweed Boost with a number of umami flavours such as mushrooms thrown in. I followed one of the recipes for marinated salmon that they provide on their website and it did seem to give the dish an extra depth of flavour. I also used some in a lamb casserole instead of stock powder and it worked pretty well here too. Seaspoon is a great way of adding flavour and boosting the vitamin & mineral content of your food whilst reducing the salt level, but do check out their website for all the scientific and nutritional information.

*Umami is one of the five basic tastes and describes foods with an inherent savoriness. It has been described as brothy or meaty.

To me there’s nothing better after a bracing walk than putting your feet up with a cup of tea, piece of homemade cake and opening the latest edition of your favourite magazine. And I think that this new publication could definitely become a favourite. Walnut is the brainchild of Dermot (a Devon based art director) and Emma (who is a nutritionist, health writer and holistic therapist). ​Split into three sections – health, food and people – it’s packed with fascinating articles and delicious looking recipes (couldn’t resist trying the Rhubarb & Yogurt cake which was scrummy). Where else would you find in one magazine features ranging from Goat Rearing, Biodynamic wine making and Gut Health to Soul Midwifery ! It’s quite contemporary in design which really makes it stand out from other magazines and with beautiful photography and illustrations to boot makes it one to “keep, collect and cherish”.

Now I do like a gin … and I am also quite partial to a glass of liqueur after a meal. So imagine my delight when I heard about a drink combining both these elements! The South Devon Liqueur Co. is a relatively new company based a few miles up from Bantham Beach. Run by husband and wife team Kate & Chris, their aim is simple : to create fruit infused gin liqueurs which are quite simply superior to any other. Having just won a Gold Taste of the West Award for their new Raspberry & Elderflower version they are well on their way to achieving their goal …

And finally a shout to our local Dartmouth Butchers who for the first time will be bringing their trailer mounted BBQ and smoker to the festival. Hopefully they will be cooking some of their amazing home-made sausages.

To check out all the Exhibitors new and old at this year’s Dartmouth Food Festival take a look HERE.