Lancashire Gastropubs Awards Success

Five of Lancashire's top eateries on Estralla Damm Top 50 Gastropubs list

The 10th anniversary of the “Estrella Damm” Top 50 Gastropub Awards, which took place (January 28) at Lillibrooke Manor, Maidenhead, Berkshire, produced an amazing result for Lancashire where it claimed top spot over its northern county rivals in seeing no less than five of its top eateries winning a place on the elite list. 

Chosen each year by a poll of hundreds of top foodies and industry experts, which includes: Chefs, food writers, pubco chiefs, pub-guide editors and suppliers – the “Estrella Damm” Top 50 Gastropub Awards celebrates the very best the UK has to offer in pub dining establishments.


Steven Smith, Chef Patron at the Freemasons at Wiswell with front of house manager, Aga

2019 is already proving to be a particularly good year for Steven Smith. His gastropub, the Freemasons at Wiswell, Clitheroe, has occupied a spot in the top five for several years but this year rose into the top three for the very first time. To top this off, Steven also came away with the title for ‘Gastropub Chef of the Year’.  His pub serves modern British style cooking, taking dishes and flavour combinations traditionally associated with pub food and reinventing them, often with playful and unexpected results.

Next on the list for Lancashire and enjoying their second year in the list’s Top 20, Parkers Arms, also near Clitheroe, claimed 16th place. Chef Patron, Stosi Madi continues to wow with her locally sourced menu and draws well-informed foodies from far and wide.

Also making it into the Top 20 is The White Swan. A lively local pub, situated in the village of Fence, where Chef Tom Parker has recently secured the White Swan its first Michelin star.

Next up is 17th century coaching inn, The Cartford Inn. Situated at an historic crossing on the River Wyre, they use local and seasonal ingredients to produce classic British dishes, alongside French inflected cooking.

Making it onto the list at No 45, it’s a first-time Top 50 Gastropubs award placing for the Assheton Arms. An eatery that fits under The Seafood Pub Company banner and, again, near Clitheroe. They serve light and fresh seafood dishes alongside hearty, classic meat dishes.

The only eatery from Cumbria to make it onto the list of Top 50 Gastropubs, and coming in at No 46, is The Drunken Duck Inn. They provide stunning Lake District views from their elevated position above Ambleside and serve an interesting selection of food influenced by Cumbrian produce.

Not for a listing on the Gastropubs list, but still worthy of a mention, congratulations to The Punch Bowl Inn, Crosthwaite for winning ‘Front of House Team of the Year’.

Other northern county eateries making it onto the Top 50 Gastropubs, are: The Star Inn, York (4) – The Pipe and Glass Inn, South Dalton (9) – The Staith House, North Shields (11) – The Rat Inn, Hexham (17) – The Broad Chare, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (27) – The Angel at Hetton, Skipton (50)

Dales Butchers – Best Pie in the Land

the Diamond Cold Savoury Award - Presented to Dales Traditional Butchers at The World Championship Scotch Pie Awards 2019
Ira Collier of Dales Butchers collecting their diamond award for best cold savoury at The World Championship Scotch Pie Awards 2019

Top Award for Pork & Chilli Jam Pie

Local butcher, Dales Traditional Butchers of Kirkby Lonsdale has scooped the top award for best cold savoury at the World Championship Scotch Pie Awards 2019

The winning pie was their Pork and Chilli Jam Pie, a traditional pork pie that’s flavoured with Mr Vikkis chilli jam injected into the filling.

Collecting the award from Carol Smillie, on behalf of Dales Butchers, is team-member Ira Collier.  Mark Duckworth of Dales Traditional Butchers Ltd said “I am delighted with the result here today. To take the prize for the best Cold Savoury in the land is a huge honour and we are proud to take our trophy home to share with our team and our customers. I am really looking forward to the year ahead and to selling more of our champion pies than ever.”

Dales Butchers were certainly up against some stiff competition at the World Championship Scotch Pie Awards with over 450 products submitted by more than 80 of the nation’s best butchers and bakers. These were judged by 50 industry experts and professionals, but ONLY ONE ‘cold savoury’ was crowned overall winner!


In addition to the best cold savoury award, Dales Butchers also won a Gold Award for their delicious pork sausage roll

The World Championship Scotch Pie Awards presented to Dales Traditional Butchers of Kirkby Lonsdale

Food & Drink Producers Celebrate Lancashire Day

Lancashire Day celebrations at The House of Commons

iPaul Williams of Choc Amor representing Lancashire for Lancashire Day at the House of Commons

Lancashire Day celebrated at The House of Commons

Food & Drink Producers Celebrate Lancashire Day – the delegation of fourteen Lancashire food and drink producers made the journey down to The House of Commons to represent Lancashire for Lancashire Day (November 27th).

Lancashire Day is a celebratory day. The name is from 1295 – when the first elected representatives from Lancashire were called to Westminster by King Edward I. This is what later became known as “The Model Parliament”.

Andrew Stephenson, MP for Pendle, said: “I’m proud to be hosting a celebration of all that is great about Lancashire. From its strong business and investment proposition to its collection of some of the country’s leading food and drink producers.”

The food and drink business representing Lancashire were: Atkinsons Coffee (Lancaster), Batch Brew (Burnley), Black Powder Gin (Weeton), Calyx Drinks (Burnley), Choc Amor (Mawdesley), Cuckoo Gin (Brindle), Dewlay Cheese (Garstang), Farmhouse Biscuits (Nelson), Heritage Kitchen (Bacup), L’Escargotiere Bowland (Waddington), Mr Fitzpatricks (Rawtenstall), Piemezzanae (Blackburn), Red Bank Cider (Radcliffe) and Wignall’s Yallo (Standish).

Image credits to Marketing Lancashire and Choc Amor

Dales Butchers Make Scotch Pie Awards Shortlist

President of the Scottish bakers Ronnie Miles at the judging for the 20th annual World Championship Scotch Pie Awards in Dunfermline.
President of the Scottish bakers Ronnie Miles. Pictured at the judging for the 20th annual World Championship Scotch Pie Awards in Dunfermline.

20th World Championship Scotch Pie Awards

Bite Network member, Dales Butchers of Kirkby Lonsdale has made it onto the Scotch Pie Awards shortlist!

The judging for the shortlist of the 20th World Championship Scotch Pie Awards took place in Dunfermline. A panel of more than 50 professional judges were presented with almost 500 products, which had been entered into 11 categories.

The producers were assessed on appearance, quality, consistency and taste. The finalists have now been decided. The winners will be announced on January 15th 2019 when the awards lunch takes place at the Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld.

“The World Championship Scotch Pie Awards is the only competition of its kind, recognising excellence in the preparation of a perfect pie. The competition is now a regular fixture on the calendar. Butchers and bakers throughout the land vie for pie supremacy, and the boost to their business that always comes with such a sought after title.”

Alasdair Smith, Chief Executive of Scottish Bakers


Sourdough September


Sourdough bread is one of the best types of bread you can eat, especially as it both tastes amazing and boasts many health benefits.


Health benefits

For people with digestive intolerances such as IBS, sourdough can be a great choice, as the combination of bacteria and yeast in the dough helps to predigest some of the starches in the grain and flour, meaning there’s less work for your body to do! Another great health benefit of eating sourdough is that it naturally preserves itself through acetic acid. This develops during the process of making a loaf. So, rather than consuming the toxic preservatives often found in bought bread,  sourdough will self-preserve. No added chemicals, it does it itself!





Eat the real stuff

The health benefits of sourdough only stand when you’re eating an authentic loaf. Generally, one bought from a bakery local to you is the safest way to guarantee you’re eating authentic bread. Real sourdough requires only flour, water, and salt. When you purchase ‘sourdough mixes’ from the supermarket,  the mix can have up to 20 different ingredients in them. The Real Bread Campaign runs a campaign every September encouraging people to ‘say no to #sourfaux’ which the campaign describes as any product which uses the following ingredients to masquerade as authentic sourdough: commercial yeast, yoghurt, vinegar – or other added acidifiers, flavourings, and preservatives.




Go local

Sourdough September encourages people to shop local, supporting their local bakers to buy delicious, authentic bread to enjoy the many health benefits it offers. By shopping local, you’ll be directly putting money back into local businesses. This will help to build a strong economy near you – especially important in times of recession. In addition, you’ll also be building relationships in your local community. This will allow a better understanding more about the food you’re eating, where the ingredients are from, and the process of your sourdough being made. Once you’ve eaten delicious, locally bought sourdough, you’ll no doubt be ready to bake your own!



Our Great Taste Winners

We Have Great Taste in the North West!

Organised by the Guild of Fine Food, the Great Taste Awards are an annual celebration of amazing food and drink. Described as the Oscars of food, the Great Taste logo is therefore a sign of a product definitely worth trying. 

Throughout the 65 days of judging this year over 500 judges, 12,634 products were blind-tasted. Of these, 4,653 came away winners: 3 Star – 192 | 2 Star – 1,207 | 1 Star – 3,254.  Of course, some of the winning entries were from the North West. We’re delighted to say, a few of these are Bite Network members and a big shout out to…

Choc Amor has won a 2 Star award for their Brown Butter and Cocoa Nib. Plus a 1 Star award for Tonka Bean, Smoked Sea Salt and Cocoa Nib!

Crave has won a 2 Star award for Karen’s Spicy Sugar Free Spicy Marinade and 1 Star for Spicy Marinade!

Holden’s & Co ‘scooped’ two 2 Star awards, one for their Original Dairy Ice Cream and another for Pink Grapefruit and Champagne Sorbet!

Williams Hand Baked came away with two 1 Star awards, one for their Ginger and Lemon Biscuits and another for Ginger Biscuits!

A huge congratulations to all the producers who managed to come away with awards this year. You can find a full run down of the winners here.

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