5 Tips for Eating Local in Somerset
PUBLISHED: 16:46 21 September 2016 | UPDATED: 16:46 21 September 2016
The reasons for keeping it local when it comes to sourcing your food and produce are plentiful; locally-produced food has been shown to be better for the environment, your health and your overall lifestyle. But it can be hard to know where and how to source the best local produce that Somerset has to offer.
The team at The Pilgrims Restaurant in Somerset source 90% of their food locally, creating unique and seasonal dishes all year round for customers; from the cheese to the ducks, the carrots to the steak, almost everything on the plate at The Pilgrims comes from within 30 miles, and you can really taste the difference. Here the team share their tips and tricks for getting the most out of Somerset’s local produce.
1. Know your suppliers.
There’s a difference between knowing that your seabass comes from a fishmonger and knowing a fishmonger so well that you have them on speed dial. The Pilgrims works closely with local fishmonger Samways who works to ensure that The Pilgrims always receives the catch of the day. Get to know your local suppliers – they really know their stuff and if they see you’re passionate about eating locally, they might even do you some tidy deals on their best stuff.
2. Research what’s in season.
It’s generally accepted that seasonal ingredients tend to taste better, but it’s worth noting that they also tend to be cheaper as they haven’t had to travel halfway across the world. Even the scientific evidence supports eating seasonally; the human body has been shown to crave seasonal foods throughout the year, so really learn to trust your gut. Autumn/Winter is the time for hearty root vegetables like potatoes and pumpkin and in the Spring/Summer you can stock up on tomatoes, salad and vibrant fruits.
3. Attend the local markets.
Farmer’s Markets are becoming a regular fixture in the parks and fields of Somerset and they are a fantastic way to see what’s in season in the region. Here you can meet your local makers and suppliers in person; from butchers to cheese makers and green growers, they’re all there. Ask them about what they have on offer, what they recommend and what would complement your favourite dishes.
4. Keep it simple.
At The Pilgrims, it is a firm belief that food needn’t be overcomplicated. Keeping things simple both when cooking and on the plate is a must. There is great belief in letting the food do the talking and when the correct, most flavoursome local ingredients are used, there is no need to make things too technical. An example of this is a favourite at The Pilgrims, fillet steak and chips with steamed seasonal vegetables. When cooked to the liking of the diner, this dish can delight the taste buds whilst keeping things calm in the kitchen.
5. Savour the results.
Now that you have your fresh, organic ingredients on hand, along with an idea of what you’re going to make, it’s time to get cooking! When you serve up your show-stopping supper, you’ll be able to tell your captivated guests the story of every ingredient on their plate. The ultimate pleasure for both cook and food-loving guests alike.
The Pilgrims Restaurant in Lovington is open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday, for lunch Friday and Saturday and for The Ultimate Sunday Lunch on the last Sunday of each month. The menu changes regularly in keeping with the season. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay they also have attractive, comfortable rooms in a converted cider barn. For more information and to make a booking, call 01963 240 600, or see their latest local menu at www.pilgrimsrestaurant.co.uk.