Last weekend the students came to visit our market to learn more from passionate makers.
Written by Polly Howard.
It was lovely to meet such an enthusiastic bunch of food and beverage academy students at the Winchester Farmers Market yesterday morning. Part of their food produce module, they came to visit the market, meet the producers and find out more about their produce, where it comes from and how it’s made.
Leading the tour was Andy Mackenzie who has been involved with the Exclusive Hotel chain for more than thirty years. Many of you will know Andy from his days as Executive Chef at Lainston House, but he now heads up their training academies, for both chefs and front of house staff. Andy has always been a huge champion of Hampshire food, and worked closely with Hampshire Farmers Markets for many years.
Created by Andy, with the help of Chris Todd, a consultant to the Exclusive Group, this educational programme was designed for their front line teams, in order to enhance their experience so that they enjoy their job and get value from it, and also so that they can pass on the stories of the produce and the producers to improve their guests’ experience.
After a general tour of the market, the first stop was with Mrs Bee’s honey where the students learnt all about how honey is made, the difference between nectar and pollen, both of which the bees need (pollen is protein that the bees collect to feed their young, whereas the nectar is the sweet sugary liquid that is collected and the bees feed on and then becomes the honey), why honey crystallises (the amount of sucrose and fructose in the honey which is purely down to the flowers the bees choose to feast on) and much more.
Next up was a masterclass on cheese making from Mike at Lyburn Cheese, where they make a Dutch Gouda-style cheese from their own herd of 170 black and white cows. Mike explained how they pasteurise their milk (20 seconds at 73 degrees – no higher or longer or it starts to change the structure of the milk) and the ageing processes they use along with a discussion on the different rinds. We enjoyed a tasting of the Lyburn Gold, the youngest cheese, matured for around three months, and the Old Winchester which is a more granular Parmesan style cheese aged for 18 months, so a great comparison of the different styles.
The tour ended at Newhouse Game who sell a variety of game, predominantly different cuts of venison, but also pheasant, partridge and grouse in season. Catalin, owner of Newhouse Game explained that their venison is all wild and comes from fallow, sika, muntjac and roe deers from the Beaulieu and Longdown estates in the New Forest. It is also a healthy meat as it is naturally low in fat and cholesterol. Interestingly deer can also be culled out of season with a special license if they are considered to be crop damaging, or become too numerous and therefore upset the balance within the natural forest ecosystem.
Hopefully the students all enjoyed their day and felt inspired to go back and make a feast with all of the delicious produce that they bought.We are in Winchester with our markets on the second and last Sunday of each month.