Tag Archives: Levanter Fine Foods

New Friends and Old

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song as much as hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world” J.R.R. Tolkein

What a lovely weekend.  Aided by the fact that I had Friday off so it was longer than normal but largely due to all the lovely people who me and @TheHungryMrs bumped into on our travels – most of them food related, which was, as always, a bit of a bonus.

Foodies Festival – Tatton Park
The weather was appalling on Friday but with the day booked off work and tickets bought in advance we were not to be deterred.  Turning up at Tatton it was a little annoying to be charged extra to park but I suspect this was more the Park coining in rather than anything else but added to that was the fact that the over eager money collectors stopped everyone just inside the gate causing a queue out on to the road – perhaps collecting the parking charge at the car park well inside the gates might lead to less congestion? 

Anyhow – since the weather was not going to put us off we were definitely not going to be stopped by this.

Now in all honesty we didn’t try a huge amount of food on offer – largely because there weren’t really samples to be had (in our experience).  That isn’t to say that all we were looking for were freebies, more that I’d have preferred to have been able to sample little bits of what was there instead of having to take full portions.  So instead we took in a couple of Masterclasses.  One from Laurence Tottingham of Aumbry and then a Bordeaux Wine session from Charles Metcalfe

Mackerel from Laurence Tottingham

Having eaten at Aumbry recently I was chuffed to hear from Laurence.  His obvious love of what he does came across superbly and the dish of smoked mackerel fillet with poached rhubarb, rye toast and mustard cream was a picture in itself.  “It’s as easy as that” he declared after creating the plate, and, while not easy I’m sure it is now less daunting to perhaps try something similar at home.

Knowledge from Charles

As for Charles and his wine, again the knowledge on show was very impressive and while not all the wines were to my liking (there was a red loaded with tannins and a very sweet white) the overall presentation was great

A food stall we did stop at was Churros Susannas.  I was heading for pancakes (I always struggle to resist) when I saw the stall.  I’m honest enough to say that I’d never tried these bread based, doughnutty offerings and when someone asks “May I take your Churros virginity?” even in a Brummie accent, I thought it’d be rude to say no.  Sprinkled in sugar and dipped in chocolate they were a lovely little afternoon treat. And a darn site easier to accommodate whilst battling with an umbrella.

Saturday – Heatons &
Peering around the curtain we were greeted with a bright light in the sky.  Rumoured to have buggered off for the year, the sun had decided to grace us with its presence.  So off we went for our first trip to Heaton Moor Market.  A much more intimate affair than Tatton – and for me, all the better for it.  Everyone seemed to know each other and were making recommendations for other stall holders and as a result within an hour we were laden with a selection of goodies from old favourites Levanter Fine Foods, an untried chutney from FatJax, bread and delicious scotch eggs from The Handmade Feast plus cakes and puddings from Pixie Bakery and Glamourpuds respectively. My no carb weekdays quickly disappearing into the mists of ancient history.

Then Northwards, to Huntleys Foods to gather ingredients for Sunday dinner and also to meet Jane at Barrica Wines.  Well even though I’m not the biggest tennis fan in the world if certain players exploits sent Jane temporarily insane enough to sell a gorgeous prosecco for just £7 a bottle I wasn’t about to miss out.  She also made a great recommendation for the wine for Sunday. Cheers Jane.

Long slow mutton
Sunday was a comparatively lazy day.  A quick dash to Booths to pick up a late night Saturday recommended Womersley Blackcurrant & Rosemary vinegar.  Then back to prepare a shoulder of mutton from Cockerham Salt Marsh Lamb  to eat that evening.  If you want to know more, see here.

So all in all a fantastic weekend chatting to people who know and love their produce and their craft. Topped off by trying a meat I’ve not had before.  However, having bought a piece of meat which was clearly too big for the two of us (ooops, silly me) I am already looking forward to a mutton curry.

Thanks to you all and please keep it up




Levanter Fine Foods

From the mountains of Spain to the hills of Lancashire.

I did not mean to write this post. Yet here I am. Writing.

I’m not complaining though, in fact, quite the opposite.  I am very happy to be writing this post

So I’ll crack on.

Levanter Fine Foods, a husband and wife team from Haslingden – the “Valley of the Hazels”, notable for quarried stone and “The Big Lamp” but not, you’d think, for quality Spanish produce.

But this is exactly what Joe & Fiona Botham are sourcing and sharing with us.

I first met them at Turton Tower near Blackburn during that little hot spell we had (remember it?).  The sight of a full ham glistening in the sun while being expertly sliced by hand was certainly enough to pique my interest and grab my attention. This was their Serrano Curado Bodega, cured for 14 months 3,000ft above sea level by artisan producers. The heat of the sun made the meat sweet, tender and after a sample both myself and The Kitchen Assistant were hooked.

So home we went, returning to The Hungry Mrs with ham, a morcillo sausage and some Manchego Gran Reserva to savour in the sun with some fresh bread and a crisp white wine.  The morcillo was simply fried off and the combination of sweet ham, creamy cheese and hot spicy sausage was absolutely spot on.

The next time I saw the duo was in Preston.  TKA instantly spotting the ham and standing doe-eyed by the stall, reminiscent of Dickens’ Oliver awaiting “more”.  Cheeky as ever but Joe was happy to oblige.

Chorizo was the order of the day and the Bothams talked me through the different varieties and helped me to choose which would work best for a batch of Chorizo Stuffing. And once again they were bang on.  The stuffing being used this time in a loin of pork for my mums birthday.

The last meeting was at Accrington Town Hall for the Lancashire Food Festival.

At this point I would like to point out to them and you that I am not stalking Levanter Fine Foods – promise.

And so – as I approached the stall this time there was something different.  A rugby ball shaped orangey-red mass that I didn’t recognise. I was patiently but enthusiastically introduced to Sobrassada.  After a sample my limited powers of description came up with “mmmm – it’s like a spreadable chorizo” but I’ll stick with that. Apparently it is a favourite simply spread on some toast and placed under the grill but I am yet to try this.  Instead – off I went with my portion without really knowing what I was going to do with it.

After sleeping on it I decided I’d use the Sobrassada to offer a slight twist to the common all garden scotch egg.

So having tried a variety of their products I can honestly say that I am a fan.  The Serrano Curado Bodega would be enough to keep me coming back but all of those I’ve tried have been delicious and somehow imbued with an authenticity that is almost impossible to replicate.  But products aside, Joe and Fiona are knowledgeable, enthusiastic and a pleasure to chat to.

Now I just need to catch Joe playing the guitar!!

Normally I’d say good luck to them at this point but with goods like these it isn’t a matter of luck.

So if you’re out and about in the Northwest and happen to catch the name Levanter at a food event then get yourself over to their stall and tell ’em The Hungry Manc sent you.

But stop for more than just a sample – OK?

Via con dios,