Over 40,000 votes for Cheshire’s Finest… 

DSC_0031

Organisers of the Taste Cheshire Awards have again reported a record number of votes cast in the Annual Hospitality Awards. This is the 18th year of these awards and previous winners represent the finest establishments anywhere in the UK. This year’s winners will be joining an illustrious role of honour when they are presented with their awards at the ceremony on the 19th April in the Pavilion at Chester Racecourse.

Taste Cheshire General manager, Lisa Edwards said that over 40,000 votes were cast in what was yet another amazing voting period. “Last year we exceeded 30,000 votes and we thought that would take some beating but we have again exceeded that figure with another 25% increase. People simply love to vote for their favourite place to eat, drink and buy the best the county has to offer. Now comes the hard part for our judges.

The voting process has now finished and below are listed the nominations in each category. Nominees will now be mystery dined and shopped by our judging panel with the difficult job of finding the winners. Our congratulation to every nominee, you have achieved the most important part already. The recognition by your customers that you are their favourite.”

The nominations in each category are :

Local Produce Shop of the Year

Applegates

Cheerbrook Farm Shop

The Hollies Farm Shop

The Lambing Shed Farm Shop

 

2017 Festival Sausage Competition

Cottom Foods of Widnes

Hawarden Estate Farm Shop, Hawarden

David Joinson, Chester

Ernest W Edge & Son, Handbridge

Cottom Foods of Widnes

R F Burrows, Tarporley

Pen y Lan Pork

 

Young Chef Challenge

James Higgins, South Cheshire College

Richard Postles, South Cheshire College

Matthew Evans, South Cheshire College

Melissa Brown, West Cheshire College

Family Friendly Venue of the Year

Coffee Tots Play café, Chester

The Faulkner, Hoole

Hickory’s Smokehouse, Chester

Little Tap, Tarporley

The White Horse, Chester Racecourse

 

Best Use of Local Produce in A Menu

The Chefs Table, Chester

George and Dragon, Holme Chapel

The Chester Fields

The Pheasant Inn, Tattenhall

 

Best Sandwich Shop

Bloom, Nantwich

Monks Delicatessen, Runcorn

Doorsteps, Handbridge

The Cheshire Sandwich Company, Chester

 

Best Newcomer

Elephant Bank, Neston

Machine House, Rossett

Olive Tree Brasserie, Chester

The Galley, Ellesmere Port

 

Best Deli

DeFine Food and Wine, Sandiway

Whitmore and White, Frodsham

Deli Vert, Hoole

Monks Delicatessen, Runcorn

 

Best Café

Benty Farm Tearooms, Wirral

Elephant Lounge, Parkgate

Enzo, Nantwich

Little Yellow Pig, Chester

 

Best Bar

Barlounge, Chester

Liquor and Co, Chester

The Suburbs, Hoole

Red door, Chester

The Boardroom, Chester

 

Best Pub

The Faulkner, Hoole

The Fishpool Inn, Delamere

George and Dragon, Holme Chapel

Marlborough Arms, Chester

The Pheasant Inn, Tattenhall

 

Excellence in Customer Care

Ginger’s Wine Bar, Chester

H.E. Cowards, Frodsham

Little Tap, Tarporley

Piste, Tarporley

 

Best Small Restaurant

The Chefs Table, Chester

Chime Hartford, Northwich

Cornichon at the Gunnery, Tarvin

Piste, Tarporley

The Yard, Chester

 

Best Large Restaurant

The Chester Fields, Chester

Hickory’s Smokehouse, Chester

Olive Tree Brasserie, Chester

The Royal Oak, Kelsall

George and Dragon, Holme Chapel

 

The awards dinner is a glittering affair with over 350 from the industry assembling after the Chester Food and Drink festival to find out who has won. It is the climax of the food and drink season after the Chester Food Drink and Lifestyle Festival, brought to you by Allington Hughes Law, where over 30,000 people will focus on the city for the annual event.

For more information about the Food and Drink Festival or the awards dinner go to chesterfoodanddrink.co.uk

 

WLC GOES POLO at JF Polo Academy

 

Here at WLC we like to experience as many of our advertisers products and services as possible, we want to know as much as we can about what we are promoting, so, when I organized a polo lesson with James Fielding at J F Polo Academy last week, I didn’t give much thought to the fact that a) I have never ridden a horse before and b) I have always been quite scared of horses.

As my lesson approached on Tuesday afternoon, I remembered both these things and felt a little nervous to say the least! However, I had made a commitment and was also curious to find out how I’d get on, and of course the world of polo does seem rather sexy and glamorous – right?

James Fielding qualified as a polo player when he was just 17 so has now been riding professionally for over 10 years.  He set up JF Polo Academy in 2006 with the aim to ‘provide a quality service to individuals looking to learning polo at an affordable price’.

I arrived at the immaculate stables in Great Barrow (only 6 miles outside of Chester city centre) and James set about getting our 2 ponies ready – Izzy (also very pretty!) and Garantia – both of them incredibly well behaved and very gorgeous. Hats on and it was time to go, and after a not-so-elegant mount, I was in the saddle and feeling remarkably relaxed.

We rode into the field whilst I listened intently to James’ directions for a good half an hour; I felt happy and confident, James is patient and extremely clear – and rather importantly doesn’t make you feel like a complete idiot! It was also a beautiful crisp, sunny afternoon so my experience was already turning out to be so much better than I had nervously anticipated, I was rather enjoying myself!

We rode our ponies back into the stables for 10 minutes or so when it was time to get onto Woody (the wooden horse) for swinging practice. After a less elegant mount than before, I finally got up and James gave me some pointers. Yes, of course I missed a few times (more than a few), but I understood what I needed to do when back on the real thing, so we went and fetched our ponies and it was back in the field, this time with stick and ball.

The next 40 minutes was FABULOUS! Despite my complete novice status I had the best time ever, and with some degree of confidence I happily trotted round the field on Garantia (I think she liked me!), trying to hit the balls (which was a bit ‘hit & miss’ to be fair), thoroughly enjoying myself.

James will instruct anyone, adults, teens and children. He clearly loves what he does and enjoys sharing this amazing sport with as many people as possible.  One to one adult lessons are just £100 (Student / child £45) with everything provided, and for the experience I had, this is incredible value for money! There really is no snobbery here…

You don’t need to join an exclusive club or shell out for loads of expensive gear, this is pay-as-you-go polo for EVERYONE.

I’m booked in again next week and think this may well become my new hobby (obsession!).  I’ll keep you informed of my progress…

JF Polo Academy offer gift vouchers which, I believe, must be the very best Christmas present EVER!

http://www.welovecheshire.co.uk/profile/j-f-polo-academy/

 

Chester BID Company CH1

 

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 16.24.14

A business improvement district (BID) is a unique and exciting way for businesses to control and improve their local trading environment.  The CH1 BID is a 5-year plan that will enable local businesses to collaborate on ideas to help improve Chester’s trading environment.

BIDs are business-led. The CH1 BID will be overseen by the Chester BID Company, an independent board made up of local business representatives.  BIDs are not restricted to Chester. Over 170 towns and cities in the UK have voted in favour of a BID generating millions of pounds of private sector investment.

A BID does not replace the services carried out by the Council, Police or any other public agency. A small BID levy will pay for specific services and functions on top of the services provided by the Council. The BID levy is a specific fund to be used to invest in projects and special services identified and controlled by the businesses themselves.

These additional services will be agreed by the Board in consultation with all businesses in the Business Improvement District.  The collection of the levy could generate over £2.5 million over the next 5 years for Chester city centre. This can be spent in whatever way you and other BID levy paying businesses wish to see it being spent, to contribute to a more vibrant economic city centre.  For instance, a BID in Chester could fund:-

    • Clean and green the city centre i.e. hanging baskets, floral displays, improved street washing etc
    • Enhancements to city centre safety and security
    • Quality ‘Welcome to Chester’ programme including dedicated CH1 welcome hosts, meeters and greeters
    • More quality events and festivals
    • Quality controlled and managed street entertainment
    • Dedicated marketing campaigns for CH1 businesses
    • Genuine cost savings for all businesses in the BID area through CH1 joint purchasing deals i.e. lower utility costs, insurance costs, janitorial supply costs plus many more
    • Dedicated city wide Christmas ‘dressing’ programme
    • A leadership voice for the CH1 businesses

In mid-2014 Chester businesses will be asked to vote on whether they agree to the CH1 BID. CH1 Chester BID Company will be consulting more with all the businesses in the coming months to determine what the BID levy should be used for. A YES vote from the businesses involved in the ballot is needed in order to start seeing the activities being delivered.

Everyone located within the CH1 BID area will benefit.  The return on any investment through the BID levy is far greater than the total contributed by any one business as CH1 will have much greater purchasing power and economies of scale when transacting on behalf of a city united rather than individual businesses.

http://www.ch1chesterbid.co.uk
@CH1Chester

 

tandoori rubbed salmon

Tandoori Rubbed Salmon

Feeds 2 people

Ingredients

1 tablespoon Tandoori paste
2 x 6oz salmon fillets skin on
5oz basmati rice
1oz desiccated coconut
50ml coconut milk
1oz cucumber
1 sprig of mint
150ml natural yoghurt
1 tablespoon chopped herbs (chives, coriander & parsley)
salt & pepper
Lemon wedge

  1. Take the salmon fillets and spread the tandoori paste all over except for the skin ( if the skin is covered it wont crisp up). Place the salmon on a baking tray skin side up and in to a oven at 170 degrees C for 12-14 minutes
  2. While your waiting for the salmon, place the rice & desiccated coconut in to pan with boiling water. Bring the pan back to the boil, remove from the heat and leave with a pan lid on. After 8-10 minutes remove the lid, and strain. Once strained place in a bowl, add the coconut milk, seasoning and the chopped herbs, mix together and fill a tea cup or mould and turn out on to a plate.
  3. Place the yoghurt, mint & cucumber in a container and blend, you don’t want this to go smooth, leave chunky. Season once blended, this is your riata dressing.
  4. Remove the salmon from the oven and place leaning against the rice. Drizzle the riata around the dish, garnish with the wedge of lemon and some dressed peppered rocket.

WLC reviews JAMES MARTIN MANCHESTER

 

Slow roast belly of Redhill pork, braised cheek, pickled baby apple & cider sauce

Slow roast belly of Redhill pork, braised cheek, pickled baby apple & cider sauce

 

The We Love Cheshire Team certainly love their food – from real proper pub grub to fine dining and anything super tasty in between. From an early age Madam JoJo has always had a passion for food and for me, it’s been my life and career forever!

We were kindly invited by Kat from Echo PR to head over to Manchester to review James Martin’s brand new restaurant, James Martin Manchester. Wow! Being avid fans of Saturday Kitchen, the excitement was hard to contain and I accepted the invitation immediately!

We travelled to Manchester last night in the WLC MINI amidst much foodie excitement.  We were not disappointed.

James Martin Manchester is located away from the main gaming floor of the Manchester235 Casino on its own mezzanine floor.  Once in the restaurant, you wouldn’t know that you were within a casino.  The historic Great Northern warehouse features remain such as exposed brick work and industrial chic steel girders. Combine this with dark wooden floors, rustic style fabrics and artwork, a relaxed environment and perfect lighting it all makes for an incredible dining experience.

We were greeted and seated by (the delightful) Liam, all the while taking in our surroundings – we knew we were in for a real GREAT BRITISH treat!

Unlike anything else you may have seen before, the restaurant hosts ‘The Meat Market’ – a unique, walk-in fridge with the different cuts of meat hanging on show.  The different cuts and producers are well described on the menu to help you choose the perfect steak.  (We will return to experience the Yorkshire Wagyu for sure!).

The menu was the perfect size and balance of classic, seasonal dishes of the highest quality and utilising James’ favourite local British butchers, fishmongers, game dealers, farmers and cheese makers.

We started off with sparkling Voss water and a delightful South African Chenin Blanc, reasonably priced at £15.75.  Our waiter, Christian, delivered a selection of fresh homemade crusty bread with the ever so amazing, homemade butter.

This is where we have to give a little mention to the butter!  Everyone who watches Saturday Kitchen knows that James Martin likes butter. Correction, loves butter!  The homemade butter didn’t just stop at the beginning of the evening!  Christian presented a selection of homemade butters with the main course – red wine & shallot, smoked tomato and chilli to name just two!

We were spoiled for choice with the menu but luckily James had tweeted us earlier in the day recommending the Thai crab risotto, lemon grass, kaffir lime and chilli (I chose this) and the seared west coast hand dived scallops, black pudding and a tamarind, palm sugar and ginger chutney (for Madam JoJo).

For the main course, Christian was very helpful and recommended the rib-eye for JoJo (with proper chips and onion rings) and the most divine sauce we have ever tasted – bone marrow and black truffle. The steak was cooked to perfection and it was sheer indulgence to dip a fat, proper chip into the amazing sauce – heavenly!

I opted for the slow roast belly of Redhill pork, braised cheek, pickled baby apple and cider sauce.  The presentation of this dish was stunning and the belly pork was a perfect combination of melt in the mouth meat with incredible crackling on top.  I absolutely LOVED the pickled baby apples that accompanied this dish, truly inspirational.

Even though we were both rather full at this point, we know that Chef Martin is a proper pudding man, so we had to try them out. JoJo opted for Vanilla Panna Cotta, warm doughnuts, apple and blackberries. I went for his signature pud, (hot) sticky toffee pudding, toffee sauce and condensed milk ice cream.  I can only describe it as a ‘cuddle on a spoon’!  Amazing!

We had just enough room for a coffee served with homemade sweet treats before heading home.

The price point at James Martin Manchester is just right, this is fabulous British food with Starters ranging from £6.95 to £10.50 and Mains from £12.25.  If you are in the mood to spoil yourself there is the 8oz Wagyu fillet for £49, great value too. Wine starts at £15.75 a bottle.

All in all, we had an excellent experience with both food and service. For those looking for a strictly classic British menu in the heart of Manchester we recommend a visit to James Martin Manchester. We will definitely be back!

LINKS:

jamesmartinmanchester.co.uk
@JamesMartinMCR

welovecheshire.co.uk
@welovecheshire @izzygrey

echo-pr.co.uk
@
echo_pr

halliwelljoneschestermini.co.uk
@
HJMINI

Parrots-6

Chester Zoo is sending an expedition to search for a rare parrot.

In just a few days’ time a team of 10, including experienced conservationists, bird and horticultural experts, will survey the remote Cerro Blanco Forest in South West Ecuador.

Their aim is to track and collect vital data on the Ecuador Amazon parrot – a bird that has been newly recognised as a species in its own right.

Until recently, the Ecuador Amazon parrot was considered to be part of a group not seen as a conservation priority.

But years of research by the zoo’s director general Dr Mark Pilgrim has led to its reclassification and a conservation action-plan is now being put in place.

Dr Pilgrim, who is leading the expedition, said:

“Previously, the Ecuador Amazon parrot was considered to be one of four subspecies, which has an estimated population of about five million birds. As a result of the size of the population, it did not rank among conservationists priorities.

“However now that we’ve identified just how important this parrot is – that it is in fact a full species – it means it can now get some protection. And it’s vital that that happens now as we fear there could be as few as just 600 left.

“The Chester Zoo team is therefore going out to South America to try and resolve as many of the unanswered questions that surround this species as possible. We need to know what trees the parrots prefer to nest in, how many of those trees are left, what they feed on and what else may compete for that food in the forest. Once we have more information, we can then look at how we can raise the level of protection of Cerro Blanco and for the parrots.

“Ultimately the work and research the team will do is essential for the survival of this species in the wild. It could potentially help save these parrots from becoming extinct.”

Despite the protected status of Cerro Blanco forest and the nearby mangroves of the Bosque’s El Salado Reserve – between which the parrots make daily flights – the Ecuador Amazon faces continued threats from the destruction of mangroves for urban expansion, the cutting of trees for charcoal production and use in construction and their capture for the pet trade.
Follow the team’s progress through blogs, updates and photos via the zoo’s conservation website at www.actforwildlife.org.uk  and www.facebook.com/actforwildlife

 

 

It Can Only Be Boodles

 

Boodles Wonderland collection takes its inspiration from the fabulous and unique jewels of the past and creates stunning collectors pieces for the future.

Although every suite has its own very individual feel, the collection is linked together and inspired by a world of fantasy and storytelling, quests and travel to far off lands. The Wonderland collection aims to celebrate what is now possible in fine jewellery design and to reveal a spectacular combination of remarkable and exquisite precious stones in imaginative and beautiful settings.

Swan suite

This awe-inspiring suite was inspired by Tchaikovsky’s ballet, Swan Lake. The necklace consists of soft diamond feathers set in platinum, which link together seamlessly and perfectly reflect the beauty and fluidity of this mythical creature. Plunging down from the Swan’s body are two triple drapes of round-brilliant cut diamonds and the whole piece is brought together by a feather collar. A beautiful bracelet and ring accompany this piece to complete a truly breath-taking suite.

Ocean suite

No voyage is complete without a trip on the wild and tempestuous ocean and this suite of jewellery conjures up the power of this force of nature.  Diamond encrusted Oriental wave motifs are linked to faceted and cabochon cut tanzanites, which capture the different depths of colour in the deep sea.  The collection includes a necklace, drop earrings and large bracelet and a stunning ring.

Kyoto suite

This enchanting and delicate suite was inspired by the intricate and magical illustrations of a tree growing by a sparkling river. The branches of the tree are laden with blossom and they hang down over the rippling, blue water.

The suite has been created in platinum and is set with remarkable marquise cut Santa Maria Aquamarine stones. This feminine hue is complimented by brilliant and briolette cut diamonds that create the buds and mini delicate blooms of an exquisite tree.

Boodles
52 Eastgate Street
Chester
CH1 1ES
Tel: 01244 326666
www.boodles.com
facebook.com/Boodles
twitter @Boodles

 

 

Christmas in Chester 2014 with Visit Chester

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 13.56.02

WINTER WONDERLAND
Chester Racecourse 14th November till 24th December 2014
A magical festive fantasyland filled with fun for all the family. Visit Santa and his reindeer, get your skates on to enjoy our spectacular ice rink, chill out in the Vodka Ice Bar, and much more.
See more here

CHRISTMAS WALKING TOURS 
20th November till 13th December
Enjoy a Christmassy tour of Chester ending with seasonal refreshments at the Christmas Market. Thursdays and Sundays.
Tickets £10 per person including mulled wine and mince pie
Tel: 0845 6477868
See more here

CHESTER CHRISTMAS MARKET
20th November till 14th December
Chester’s Christmas Market aims to bring a traditional, high quality market to the city centre, with focus on local traders, crafts people and food and drink producers. Admission is FREE.
See more here

CHESTER CATHEDRAL SERVICES
Throughout December
All are welcome to join us for services throughout the Advent and Christmas period.
See more here

CHRISTMAS TREE FESTIVAL AND THE LION, THE WITCH & THE WARDROBE
29th November till 6th January 2015
The festival will feature more than 40 majestic Christmas trees, creating astonishing tree-lines winter walkways in the cathedral cloisters. Visitors will also be taken on an exciting journey to the magical land of Narnia, as spaces within the cathedral are transformed to bring CS Lewis’s classic take to life. FREE ENTRY.
See more here

WINTER WATCH PARADE
4th & 11th December
Karamba Samba as the ‘ghost band’ lead a fun parade of skeletons, Christmas cooks, angels and devils as they celebrate the winter solstice.
See more here

LANTERN MAGIC AT CHESTER ZOO
Journey through our magical gardens, try out your lantern making skills, visit the elephant house and fruit bat forest, meet our friendly festive characters and sample some of our deliciously tasty treats.
See more here

ALICE
Theatre in the Quarter present a magical music play for Christmas, based on the classic Lewis Carroll take.
See more here

KIDSMAS FAMILY FILM SCREENINGS
6th till 21st December at Grosvenor Museum
Come and join in some family fun with our screenings of family movies. Prizes for Best Dressed Fancy Dress!
Saturday 6th December – 11am – Elf
Sunday 7th December – 2pm – The Polar Express
Saturday 13th December – 11am  - Sing-Along-Frozen
Saturday 13th December – 2pm – Arthur Christmas
Sunday 14th December – 2pm - Sing-Along-Frozen
Saturday 20th December – 11am – The Muppet Christmas Carol
Saturday 20th December – 2pm – Home Alone
Sunday 21st December – 2pm – The Polar Express
Book here

CHESTER SANTA DASH
Sunday 7th December 10am
Finishing in Bridge Street
Chester will be filled with Santa’s dashing through the streets to raise money for The Countess of Chester Hospital.
See more here

SATURNALIA PARADE
18th December 7pm City Centre
Chester is back in Roman control for the night as as the Roman legion light up the streets with a march of torches.
See more here