Eating, drinking and buying local produce is seen as an important part of appreciating the flavour and distinctiveness of an area. The North Wessex Downs is fortunate in having some very high quality food producers who supply local restaurants, pubs and shops. Most of the market towns including Marlborough, Hungerford, Devizes and Wantage have their own community or farmers markets which showcase local produce and are great places just to visit.
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Farmland of the North Wessex Downs helps to rear some high quality meat. You can source wonderful sausages from pork reared at Welford Park or Brunskill beef from Francombe Farm. Family owned butchers like Walter Rose in Devizes, Bastable Brothers of Kintbury, Sumblers in Marlborough and Three Trees Farm at Chiseldon serve the best cuts. Many pubs and restaurants are known for sourcing local meat, especially the Pot Kiln in Frilsham where TV Chef Mike Robinson even runs a game and wild food cookery school.
Bread and Cakes
Award winning flour is milled at Doves Farm, Clarks of Wantage and also at the historic Wilton Windmill. Wonderful cakes and pastries can be found at small bakeries such as Marshalls of Pewsey and the Old Farmhouse Bakery in Kintbury.
Why not try Lardy Cake, a Wiltshire speciality, or the Marlborough Bun. To unleash your creative side, Cakes by Cocochoux offers cake baking and decorating courses. www.cocochoux.co.uk
A Tipple (or Two!)
There are vineyards in Littleton Parnell, Laverstoke Park Farm and Brightwell that are open to tours. Try cider and apple juice from producers like Ciderniks, the Lambourn Valley Cider Co., and Tutts Clump. A revival in real ale is good news for Butts, Ramsbury, Three Castles, Plain Ales, Wadworths and West Berks breweries. It is also notable that the chalk geology of the North Wessex Downs is remarkably similar to that of the Champagne region in France, so who knows if we may hear the popping of corks someday?