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Taste Lancashire 2017 celebrates the Lancashire food industry

PUBLISHED: 00:00 01 November 2017

Taste Lancashire

Taste Lancashire

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The inaugural Taste Lancashire conference united the county’s food industry

Lancashire is a place that packs a foodie punch. The pull is so powerful we are attracting diners from across the country with producers, chefs and retailers out to make a positive impression.

Admittedly we’re biased at Lancashire Life but we’re not the only ones who celebrate food from the county. Jay Rayner was recently flying the flag for Lancashire food at Taste Lancashire 2017, the county’s first food and drink conference.

It brought together food entrepreneurs, retails bosses, agricultural leaders, international trade experts and influencers from the hospitality industry at Holmes Mill, in Clitheroe.

The renowned food writer and broadcaster was joined by an expert panel including Northcote chef Nigel Haworth, Alastair Sawday of Sawday’s Travel, food consultant Helen Colley, also the founder of Ribble Valley business Farmhouse Fare and travel-writer and blogger Zoe Dawes. They discussed everything from Brexit and branding to food marketing and exporting.

Food and drink is worth around £734 million to Lancashire’s visitor economy, an area that has grown £129 million over the last six years. The sector is one of Lancashire’s key strengths and a leading theme in the county’s Visitor Economy Strategy to grow annual visitor numbers to 70 million by 2020.

The event is part of an ongoing successful campaign from conference organisers Marketing Lancashire to bring the quality of our county’s food to a much wider audience and, in turn, enhance the region’s reputation for food tourism. It’s a campaign that Lancashire Life has been pleased to support.

‘Taste Lancashire 2017 brought together the county’s food and drink community for an inspiring, thought-provoking and very rewarding day,’ said Ruth Connor, chief executive of Marketing Lancashire. ‘Conversations, collaborations and new deals were struck at the conference with Marketing Lancashire reaffirming our commitment to establishing Lancashire as a must-visit food destination.

‘We’ve certainly succeeded in amplifying messages of quality and excellence across the sector, taking Lancashire to London for Lancashire Day in 2016 and now, creating the first Taste Lancashire food and drink conference.

‘There is a step change occurring in the Lancashire food scene and we are proud to champion food and drink businesses across this great county and look forward to working with many more.’

The conference was an opportunity for some of the county’s top producers and restaurateurs to come up with new ideas and strategies as well as meet like-minded people.

Paul Williams, founder of artisan chocolatiers Choc Amor based at Cedar Farm in Mawdesley, was a producer who presented his inspiring case study on his business.

He turned his situation around from being made redundant to the thriving business he now runs. He has become the go-to name for sweet treats in Lancashire and his products have won many prestigious awards, including several Great Taste Awards, several wins at the International Chocolate Awards and Chocolatier of the Year at the UK Enterprise Awards.

‘Lancashire has many fantastic local artisan producers and events like this help to showcase the level of quality in the county,’ said Paul.

‘These producers contribute to the local economy, help create employment and put Lancashire on the world map.

‘For us, the encouragement and support we’ve had from regular customers, staff and peers helps keep us inspired and working hard to make Choc Amor a meaningful part of the Lancashire producers community.

‘Taste Lancashire 2017 was so well put together and to hear so many different views all within the county made us realise that we are doing it right.’

Taste Lancashire 2017 was produced in association with BOOST, Lancashire’s business growth hub and Burnley-based Coolkit. The event was supported by Holmes Mill, part of the James’ Places Group.

James Warburton, owner of James’ Places, said: ‘We were delighted to host this important event.

‘The vision for the Bowland Food Hall is for it to be a fabulous place to shop, taste and enjoy the best produce the county has to offer.

‘The Taste Lancashire event brought together producers, suppliers and influencers in media and policy giving us the opportunity to showcase what we’ve achieved so far. And importantly for us, to make new contacts so that we can continue to develop and improve.’

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