Treat your taste buds: foodie days out
Kent is a food lover’s paradise. Not only is there fresh and varied produce everywhere for the eating, but there are a number of fantastic venues and places to visit that will keep even the fussiest of eaters happy too. On top of that, Kent is the ideal place to learn about food; after all, eating is only one part of the foodie experience. There are dozens of venues and opportunities all across the county offering you the chance to find out what food really is all about – it’s time to give your taste buds a treat and gain some gastro-knowledge while you’re at it.
The Cheese Room // Rochester // www.thecheeseroomrochester.co.uk
Owners Julie and Chris had a fine dining restaurant, it’s where they honed their skills and where they discovered that more and more people were asking about British cheeses. They started to offer a British cheese board, ensuring that everything was seasonal and exciting, which became so popular that the fine dining restaurant became a cheese tasting paradise. Today, you can pop in for a cheese board, a meat platter and a drink from the bar to round everything off.
Taste your way around the cheeses and create your own unique and personal cheese board for a dinner party or just because. When it comes to cheese, there doesn’t need to be a reason to indulge.
The Old Kent Market // Margate
There is nothing quite like a market for a true foodie experience. The Old Kent Market in Margate is one of the best around, offering a huge range of food and drink (as well as plenty of other goodies) that can be sampled and bought as you wander round. Even if you aren’t in a buying mood, the smells and the colourful stalls will give your senses something to savour.
Brogdale Collections and Festivals // Faversham // www.brogdalecollections.co.uk
At Brogdale it’s possible to partake in a guided tour or a self-guided walk through the orchards themselves. Stroll through the most gorgeous surroundings with an expert at hand to answer all of your questions and give you the history of each type of fruit. You’re welcome to try the fruit that you find, so it’s a great opportunity to experience new and delicious flavours.
Throughout the year, Brogdale hosts various festivals and events. Coming up in June is the popular Strawberry and Vintage Fair that celebrates strawberries in all shapes, sizes and guises, as well as plenty of entertainment and a vintage shopping fair for everyone to enjoy.
Temper Temper Chocolate // Southborough // www.tempertemperchocolate.co.uk
If you’re a chocolate lover, the idea of learning about the history of chocolate, tasting chocolate, then making your own chocolate to take home with you is certainly going to appeal. And that’s exactly what you can do at Temper Temper Chocolate in Southborough.
You will be able to make a delicious variety of chocolates, pouring and moulding the treats in a real chocolate factory with experienced chocolatiers overseeing everything and ensuring you have a wonderful time while doing so.
Rosemary Shrager Cooking School // Tunbridge Wells // www.rosemaryshrager.com
Rosemary Shrager – world-renowned chef – has a superb cookery school in Tunbridge Wells that caters for every skill level from beginner to expert. The courses are run by Rosemary herself, head chef Iain More and chef tutor Shenley Moore, and there is something that will appeal to every budding cook. Courses include ‘fantastic fish’, ‘cook yourself healthy’, ‘French classics with Rosemary Shrager’ and ‘American baking’. There are even classes for children and teenagers from ages eight to 13 to give them the knowledge they need to be great cooks from a young age.
Chapel Down // www.chapeldown.com
At Chapel Down Winery you can experience a fun and interesting guided tour during which you will learn not only about how wine is made and what goes into producing the perfect bottle, but also about the history of Chapel Down itself, from humble beginnings to the world-renowned wine makers they are today. And of course you will be able to taste the wines that are made here with experts on hand to guide you through. After your tour, why not indulge in one of the fabulous foodie packages available? You can enjoy a three-course lunch and a glass of Chapel Down sparkling wine in the vineyard’s very own restaurant, The Swan at Chapel Down. If you prefer, you could even have afternoon tea instead – a fitting end to a wonderful day.
Belle’s Thai Kitchen // Tenterden // www.bellesthaikitchen.com
Thai food is flavoursome, fragrant and totally gorgeous, and at Belle’s Thai Kitchen you can learn how to create some of the most iconic Thai dishes of all. The lessons are taught by Belle (or Kanoknart as she is known in Thailand) who learned all of her skills from her mother, starting to cook at a very young age.
All of the cookery classes are extremely hands on and all the food prepared is done using fresh ingredients. It makes no difference whether you are a beginner, a more advanced cook, or whether you no nothing about Thai food at all. You will learn how to balance flavours perfectly and you will even be taught how to substitute authentic ingredients for those that can be found in your local supermarket.
Shepherd Neame Brewery // Faversham // www.shepherdneame.co.uk
If beer is your tipple then a visit to the Shepherd Neame Brewery in Faversham should certainly be on your to-do list. Famous beers such as Spitfire and Bishop’s Finger are brewed here, and you can go behind the scenes to discover exactly how it’s done. Tours run at various times during the day and throughout the evening too, and you can combine a wonderful freshly cooked meal with your tasting tour. If you choose this option, you’ll have the fabulous 80-minute guided tour including a tutored tasting followed by a two-course supper. Everything is locally sourced and home cooked for that true Kentish flavour.
The Little Sugar Box // Ashford // www.thelittlesugarbox.com
The Little Sugar Box offers fantastic cake decorating classes so that you can learn the finer points of sugarcraft, ensuring that any cake you make in the future is going to look stunning.
Sugarcraft is a difficult skill to get just right, but the classes at The Little Sugar Box are aimed at complete beginners, so you can start from scratch and end up with a wonderful looking cake decoration.
As a bonus, you can also taste many of the cakes that are on offer at The Little Sugar Box. Get to know more about your favourite flavours, or try something you’ve not tried before.
Bore Place // Chiddingstone // www.boreplace.org
Bore Place is set in 500 acres of countryside encompassing an organic dairy farm, organic market gardens, conference centre and an environmental education centre, and offers programmes to provide opportunities for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people too.
Bore Place in Chiddingstone near Edenbridge offers a fascinating range of classes and courses about all subject matters from astronomy to bats. Yet it’s the cookery classes that are often the most popular of all and with such a varied range it’s not hard to see why.
Choose from artisan bread making, vegan cookery lessons, baking, an introduction to fermenting and pickling, and even pizza making, as well as many more pop-up classes throughout the year.
Kent Wine School // Tunbridge Wells // www.kentwineschool.com
There is a true skill to being able to pair wine and food correctly, and it’s a skill that is taught in a variety of different classes at the Kent Wine School. The aim is to use simple ingredients and great wines so that you can easily replicate the experience at home, but you will also learn about some rather surprising combinations that you wouldn’t ever guess would work, but somehow do.
Try a traditional wine and cheese evening, or try something different such as a steam and wine evening, Spanish wine and tapas, or – for those with a sweeter tooth – a chocolate and wine pairing class.
Kent Cookery School // Ashford // www.kentcookeryschool.co.uk
No matter what kind of food makes your taste buds happy, there is sure to be a course covering it at the Kent Cookery School. Try European cookery, baking, meat and fish, Indian and Asian, Weber barbecue cooking, street food and specialist dietary courses too.
Whatever you choose, you will be taught by expert tutors who have plenty of experience in the kitchen and who love to pass on their ideas and skills to others.
It’s not just cooking that takes place at the Kent Cookery School, you can dine there as well, enjoying memorable meals at the chef’s table, or at a banquet sampling event. Rest assured, the food is going to be good, it’s going to be different, and you might just come home with some new ideas when it comes to creative cooking in your own kitchen.