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Discover the hidden delights of Wiltshire. 

Our members represent a rich community of independent local businesses providing quality and unique products and experiences.

Find local artisan food & drink, original products, art, local shops, events, local accommodation & experiences.

  • The Outside Chance

    When Howard Spooner first visited the pub in Manton he was told he couldn’t bring his dog inside....»

  • Strong Natural Paints

    Barnaby Strong has had a decorating company in London for over a decade and since moving out to Wiltshire with his wife Melissa, he has used this considerable experience...»

  • Woodborough Garden Centre

    When Claire Rourke bought Woodborough Garden Centre in 2010, her aim was to make it much more than a place to buy plants “I wanted it to be a destination...»

  • Grove Farm Woodland BushCraft & Hawk Centre

    Simon Keith spent many years as a herd manager before travelling the world and retraining as a behavioural therapist. ...»

  • Buckerfields Barn

    Buckerfields Barn Apartments in Ogbourne St George adjoin The Ridgeway, Europe’s oldest thoroughfare,...»

  • Marlborough College Summer School

    In 1978, thanks to an air traffic controller’s strike, the presenters from the BBC “Holiday” programme had to cancel their planned trip to Spain ...»

  • Marlborough College Summer School

    In 1978, thanks to an air traffic controller’s strike, the presenters from the BBC “Holiday” programme had to cancel their planned trip to Spain...»

Michelin Starred local pub

Sam Bertram

2 October 2015

The Red Lion East Chisenbury have retained their Michelin star and are the Good Food Guide’s 4th best pub in the country. Guy and Brittany Manning met while working at Per Se in New York when it was the 6th best restaurant in the world on the Pellegrino list.  The Red Lion is definitely a pub rather than a restaurant and welcomes drinkers, kids and dogs – they love it when the locals come in and are open for coffee from 8.30am. Their Michelin star is due to the fact they do pub food extremely well. Local Uncovered went to meet Brittany in her busy day between running The Red Lion, doing school runs with Max and Mini and walking their dog, Stowford. What were your earliest memories of cooking? ‘I remember baking a lot when I was younger but mostly watching my grandmother cook. She was an excellent baker and I was always fascinated in doing it too. Guy fell into cooking – he went to University to study Medical Informatics and after a gap year decided he wanted to cook.’ What do you enjoy most about being a chef? ‘Most chefs are humble, lovely people who just want to make people happy. The TV chef is not reflective of how most chefs actually are. We never tire of getting a dish spot on and seeing someone enjoy it.’ Have either of you cooked for anyone famous? ‘Most of the famous people were at Per Se in New York – when we were there they had their highest ranking on the Pellegrino list ever. Every day there was another celebrity in the restaurant - Robert De Niro, Gordon Ramsay, David and Victoria Beckham, Leonardo Di Caprio and Giselle Bundchen. Prince Harry has been to The Red Lion with his regiment and a few actors and famous chefs.’ What is your favourite dish to cook? ‘There’s no favourite – the best part about cooking is to highlight the changing ingredients and use what you’ve got in a clever way – really do them justice.’ What do you cook at home? ‘Guy loves to cook everything on his big green egg which is like a ceramic BBQ. If it fits inside he’ll cook in there, even in winter. I love doing Italian/American stuff that my grandmother used to do.  My father’s side of the family were Italian whereas my mother’s family were a mix of Irish, Welsh etc and weren’t the best cooks! Our son Max is showing a real interest too.’ Which chefs do you most admire? ‘Guy worked in Chez Bruce in London and we both love Bruce Poole’s style. He does big hearty plates of refined food but it has roots and character rather than being poncy and superficial.  He just does things that work well together and are delicious. Bruce now has 3 restaurants and visits The Red Lion from time to time. My mentor at Per Se was Sebastian Rouxel who was the head pastry chef and had a huge impact on me. I saw him in the States over the summer. We often go to check out other places and it’s a really supportive industry where chefs do all they can to support and treat each other well. In the summer in New York I went to Eleven Madison Park which is currently 4th on the Pellegrino list and everything was perfect.  We’ve been all over the world to eat – Nomu in Copenhagen and El Cellar de Can Roca in Spain.’ Tell us a bit about your staff and why you make a good team ‘We’ve got great staff - we call them our team and when we eat it’s a family meal. It’s taken years to assemble the right team but what we’ve got at the moment is remarkable for our location. We’ve just appointed a head chef for the first time, Dan, who is brilliant.  We’d also love to get another place in Wiltshire and constantly have our eye out for the right one. Some of our team recently ran a half marathon for Wiltshire Air Ambulance and raised £2.5k.’ What are some of your favourite local products that you use in your cooking? ‘We’ll try and use everything we see in walking distance. At the moment we have a lot of good game from Everleigh and Henge Honey from Wilsford.’ Which is your favourite time of year for local produce and the things you can cook with it? ‘Summer and autumn when berries are out and food is ready for harvesting. Winter’s pretty hard from a pastry point of view as there’s nothing you can use so you need to go tropical or neutral. We love to keep pigs; we have chickens and grow berries and other produce out the back which changes every year. It can’t sustain our needs but it’s fun to use bits and the kids can go out and pick the berries.’ What are your plans for the future? ‘The most exciting development is the private dining room we’re putting in upstairs that will seat 16 people. It will be a modern rustic & cosy room with a little window looking into the prep kitchen – mostly glass with big arm chairs and an oval table. We hope it’ll be finished mid-November and open for parties in December. If it’s free and we have no tables downstairs we’ll ask people to sit up there too. It’s going to be a prefect space for shoot parties, birthday dinners – even meetings.’ As you’re a local pub what local activities do you do? We’re running an October Fest on Sunday 25th October. Everyone can bring apples and we’ll chop them up and press them so people can take juice home or we’ll ferment them for cider.  It’ll be through the afternoon and evening and there’ll be live music all day and bouncy castle, face painting and balloons for the kids, bbq and different beers and ciders to try. We also run a quiz on Christmas Eve and our doors are always open for drinkers and anyone who fancies a game of darts.’ What special food events have you got planned? We did a tasting menu on Wednesday night and have a thanksgiving themed one on Wednesday, 24th November.  Our New Year’s Eve tasting menu always sells out really quickly. Our Christmas menus are out too so get booking! http://www.redlionfreehouse.com/    


Celebrating Wiltshire Cuisine

Sam Bertram

9 September 2015

With British Food Fortnight kicking off on 19th September, it’s only right to take a look at some of the traditional dishes that have come out of Wiltshire. Pork has been synonymous with Wiltshire since Saxon times when people settled on the downs to raise their pigs.  Swindon originally means ‘Swine Down’ or ‘Pig hill’ and everyone kept pigs - pork, bacon and offal were all consumed.  Ham and bacon were generally reserved for the gentry but most cooked any part of the pig possible – Chitterlings were small intestines turned inside out, cleaned, plaited and boiled, blood was used to make black puddings and Bacon Fraise which dates back to the 15th Century was bacon fried with egg batter and then baked. Two dishes stand out as the most famous of Wiltshire’s cuisine – and while one is savoury and the other sweet they both use pork products.  Wiltshire Ham is probably the most famous; its cure has molasses added to give its sweet taste.  However Lardy Cake (pictured) which used bread dough, sugar and dried fruit traditionally used fat left over from the pork. There are also Wiltshire pork pies and Bradenham hams – the cure of molasses, coriander and juniper berries is said to be created by Lord Bradenham. The joint is left to mature for at least six months until it has a black exterior.  Devizes pie has pork, lamb, veal, tongue and vegetables and Wiltshire Market Day Dinner was a traditional west-country slow cooked casserole made of pork, onions, apple, potato and sage.  Calne is famous for the Harris pork curing factory which was started in the second half of the 18th Century but shut in the early 1980s and provided much of the employment in Calne during that period. It was started because pigs reared in Ireland were landed at Bristol and then herded to Smithfields in London via Calne. But it’s not all about pork.  Wiltshire Cheese was popular in the 18th Century but dairy farmers stopped making it when milk was more profitable. The Wiltshire Cheese loaf has a mellow flavour, slightly nutty and with a crumbly texture.  Wiltshire tatties are baked potatoes filled with chicken, butter and lemon mixture with nutmeg. And there are plenty of sweet things on offer. Marlborough Cake is a traditional sponge flavoured with caraway seeds and baked and dredged with sugar. There’s the Druid Cake, Wiltshire buttermilk cake and Malmesbury pudding, a form of well pudding, suet pastry filled with a butter, sugar and lemon mixture.  Many will know the Mop fairs – a favourite at these was Wiltshire Fairings; similar to a flat brandy snap they were made from syrup sugar and butter and flavoured with spices. Today there is a wealth of food and drink available in Wiltshire. British Food Fornight is the biggest annual, national celebration of British food and drink. It promotes the benefits of buying and eating from our home produced British larder so be sure to get out and enjoy all the food and drink Wiltshire has to offer.  Eat and cook regional food, eat in local pubs and restaurants and buy from local shops.          


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