Harvesting the best from the West with a Great Bath feast

20th Jul 2012
Harvesting the best from the West with a Great Bath feast

Bath is going all foodie this autumn with a new festival ‘The Great Bath Feast.’ Taking place in October, the month long programme will feature celebrity chefs, street food, specialist producers, celebrity book signings, high profile guest appearances in well-known delis and wine tasting in glamorous venues.

Bath is going all foodie this autumn with a new festival ‘The Great Bath Feast.’ Taking place in October, the month long programme will feature celebrity chefs, street food, specialist producers, celebrity book signings, high profile guest appearances in well-known delis and wine tasting in glamorous venues. The essence of the event is to indulge and enjoy food and drink in a city which has been offering hospitality for hundreds of years.

Organised by Bath Tourism Plus and the Business Improvement District (BID) to celebrate the region’s local produce, the festival will highlight events scheduled throughout the city - details of which can be found on www.greatbathfeast.co.uk

Nick Brooks-Sykes, Chief Executive of Bath Tourism Plus said: “Bath offers an enormous variety of great food and drink and we are blessed with many wonderful local producers.  There cannot be many places where you pass the fields where the food is grown as you arrive and then eat the vegetables that are harvested on the same evening.”

Throughout the month, the city’s restaurants will be giving prominence to seasonal and local ingredients by serving up ‘Bath on a Plate’ and a ‘Bath Taste Trail’ which will flag up interesting foodie shops to visit and sample.


Often called ‘the larder of England,’ the West Country has an abundance of the finest produce and a tradition of spawning innovative foodie businesses. Ann Marie Dyas is the ‘big cheese’ behind the Fine Cheese Co. which she set up in Bath 21 years ago, a successful retailer and wholesaler of British cheeses exporting to 35 countries.  The FineCheese Co. Festival at Milsom Place to be held on Saturday 27th October will provide an opportunity to share some of her passion for cheese, talk to many of the artisan producers and taste their cheese.

For those planning a break in Bath to hone their cooking skills, The Bertinet Kitchen owned by the French chef and baker Richard Bertinet, offers relaxed and fun courses for food lovers across a wide range of cuisines. Richard also imparts his culinary skills and provides specialist baking and bread-making courses. The programme over the festival will include guest chefs such as Mark Hix on Friday 5th October and Angela Hartnett on Friday 12th October.

But there are many rising stars cooking in Bath and Rachel Demuth who has run Demuths Vegetarian restaurant for 25 years will be seeking out the ‘Young Vegetarian Chef of the Year,’ encouraging teenagers to think about what they are eating and select healthy options. She will also conduct a series of fascinating events at her Vegetarian Cookery school including the opportunity to forage and cook with Christopher Robbins on Thursday 18th October.

The Bath food scene is supported by an independent spirit. Charlie Digney who owns the King William and the Garrick’s Head says: “My menus change from week to week as the produce changes to reflect what’s in season.  For that reason, Bath is a fantastic place to be for local food.” Charlie cherry picks local suppliers who bring him the best and freshest produce and he will join other pubs and restaurants in the city as part of the Bath on a Plate programme which flags up daily specials using local and seasonal ingredients.

Not to be left out, many of Bath’s hotels and independent guest houses who already source locally to create the freshest and tastiest ‘full English,’ will partake in the Great Bath Breakfast; making it the ideal start to a day visiting the sites of the World Heritage city or indulging in some spa or retail therapy.

Bath has a vibrant deli scene with high quality independents. The latest addition to the foodie scene is [email protected] Italian at Milsom Place, a brand new concept. Jamie Oliver said: “This is such an exciting development for Jamie’s Italian and Bath is one of our most beautiful restaurants so I’m really happy we’re launching there.” Jamie’s deli will provide the chance to sample some treats as you explore the city by following the Bath Taste Trail which can lead to discovering the famous Bath Sausage shop and more.

Distinctive to the city, visitors can sample two of its local delicacies, one being the famous Bath Bun which became notorious at the Great Exhibition of 1851 when nearly a million were consumed. Today’s bun is made from sweet yeast dough sprinkled with crushed sugar and should not be confused with the other well-known bun, the Sally Lunn bun,  which is larger and airier with a brioche like dough and served up in the oldest house in Bath.  The Sally Lunn bun won Gold at the recent Taste of the West awards.

For something a little stronger Bath has many wonderful hostelries such as the Old Green Tree and the Star dating from the Eighteenth Century. Check out Bath’s Victorian history as a hive of industry when beer was brewed on an industrial scale at the Bath at Work Museum.  On a more intimate scale, Bath Ales offers brewery tours and there are great micro breweries in the region like the Box Steam Brewery. Somerset is synonymous with cider and many speciality ciders are served in Bath pubs. Great Western Wine is one of the UK’s top wine merchants shipping 800 wines from some of the world’s best winemakers and their Portfolio tasting is planned for Thursday 25th October at the Assembly Rooms.

A challenge by Bath’s latest publishing success – ‘Crumbs’ -  plans to enter the spirit of The Great Bath Feast by inviting local chefs to test drive great gadgets and gizmos. The best kit for the kitchen will be put through their paces by Chefs and Editors. Bath has several specialist retailers like Kitchens, an independent shop with every imaginable gadget, or Rossiters, often called ‘the Liberty of the West.’

“There are many speciality and independent food retailers in Bath” commented Andrew Cooper, Bath Business Improvement District Manager who is organising the festival with Bath Tourism Plus. “The partnership approach, working with Bath businesses means that we can create an event and a campaign that will raise the profile of the city in the autumn. The Great Bath Feast has something for everyone whether they call Bath home or are visiting the city.”

Before the start of The Great Bath Feast, the Bath Good Food Awards take place to find the Best Chef, Wine List and Restaurant in Bath as well seeking out top producers and a special award for ‘The One to Watch.’ The winners will be announced at a Bath Good Food Awards Gala Dinner held at the historic Guildhall on the 23rd September. As part of the build up, a day of food-related events will be staged in and around the Egg Theatre at the Theatre Royal. Plans include cooking demonstrations and tastings, a Food & Wine Question Time and celebrity chefs appearances alongside a local producers market.


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