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Foodies For Thought : What are you doing when lockdown eases?

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TrendLife talks with local Three Counties foodies about life after lockdown

With a number of our favourite eateries across Beds, Bucks & Herts getting ready to open their doors (and gardens) next week, TrendLife have spoken with six of our favourite foodies to find out where they plan to visit and what they plan to do as lockdown eases across the Three Counties.

In our first of two features, we speak to local foodies Chris of @meat_with_beer, Rachel of @bucksfood and Nadia of @MyRudeFood.

@meat_with_beer

Meet With Beer - Foodies For Thought :: What are you doing when lockdown eases?

How has lockdown been for you?

Honestly I can’t complain. No one has had it easy, but I’ve got a job, I’ve not been furloughed, work’s been pretty busy, and family and friends are all safe and well.

Food and drink are social activities for me though and I love nothing more than going out with friends for drinks or to try somewhere new to eat. It’s my passion and before COVID it is what I would be doing most weekends. Obviously lockdown changed that, so instead I’ve cooked more, used some of the money saved by not commuting to upgrade my BBQ, and tried some of the great meal kits that are around now. Those really helped bring a flavour normality home.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the same but it can be fun. I’ve also tried to check out more local businesses, meaning I have come across some great places across Herts I didn’t know about before. That’s as well as supporting local places I love and want to still be there after lockdown. So generally I’ve tried to make the most of it.

Hertfordshire lockdown highlights for me have included: cheese from the Little Deli (Hitchin), beers from Beer Shop (Hitchin & St Albans), wine from Wee Vinoteca and Hedley Wright (both Hitchin), breakfast baps from The Bull (at Gosmore) and The Groundworks (Hitchin), meat from Chapman’s butchers (Baldock), plant based delights from Chia (Hitchin) and Vutie Beets (Letchworth) and desserts from Pudding Stop (St Albans) and Neighbourhood Bakes (Hitchin).

Hitchin has had some awesome hot food places open during lockdown too, like Cawsburger, Chicken George Jr and Major Crusts.

What is going to be the first drink you order at the bar?

First will be a draft beer at the Kite in April, but I’m also looking forward to sangrias at Los Reyes, wine flights at Wee Vinoteca and some IPAs at Beer Shop in May.

Where have you missed visiting the most during the lockdown?

Los Reyes and Beer Shop in Hitchin both get my top vote.

Where is the first place you plan to visit when the restrictions are lifted?

Not everywhere is opening in April, but if those that are I am looking forward to having a few beers and some food at the Kite at the Red Hart in Hitchin. I’ve got a table booked at Los Reyes in May too.


TrendLife talks with local Three Counties foodies about life after lockdown
myrudefood

How has lockdown been for you?

It’s a weird one for me, I have been living with chronic illness (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome & Adenomyosis) since 2001. Lessons of acceptance and gratitude that had already become part of my tool kit, have helped so much during lockdown. I have also improved my Skype skills, texted more and generally communicated more regularly with friends old and new.

I also attended a few distance learning courses & a couple of online seminars, which on all likely-hood I wouldn’t have done in ‘normal’ circumstances. Like many others home cooks I also grew and nurtured a “Mother” (sour dough starter) I lovingly called Birtha. Using Birtha I mastered sourdough bread making fairly successfully.

I made more banana bread and cookies than was strictly necessary. I don’t want to make light of the situation, but I am aware I was better prepared than a lot of people. The general sense of appreciating the little things, the joys that can be found in nature and music was already part of my general outlook.

Where have you missed visiting the most during the lockdown?

It’s been a mixed bag, obviously I have missed my loved ones enormously. I’ve missed going out to restaurants , pubs, shopping, just the feeling of freedom that we used to take for granted. But truly, I just feel incredibly lucky that I wasn’t directly impacted by Covid-19 and was merely inconvenienced by Lockdown.

Where is the first place you plan to visit when the restrictions are lifted?

Really looking forward to a meal at the Alford Arms in Frithsden and my sister has already got us a table booked at Prime in Chandlers Cross

What is going to be the first drink you order at the bar?

Hoping that I’ll have a fruity Pimms in a pub garden on a sunny spring afternoon.


@bucksfoodie

BucksFoodie : TrendLife talks with local Three Counties foodies about life after lockdown

How has lockdown been for you?

This latest lockdown has been hard, I think with the cold weather and the shorter days it’s been difficult for a lot of people.

I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to work full-time ( & not just working from home) as it’s meant I’m out and about & can actually finance my #TakeawayTuesday that I started at the beginning of this year! I’ve tried to spend the money that I would’ve done at restaurants on food stalls & takeaways – supporting small, local businesses where I can.

I have enjoyed the odd day working from home – it’s meant I’ve had additional time to create content & experiment. I’ve LOVED the TikTok trends that have hit the foodie community. What better way to get people into cooking! I’ve definitely tried my hand at a few – the baked feta pasta is eaten at least twice a month in our house!

I think I’ve also found a lot more time to talk to fellow bloggers & businesses. I’ve made some truly wonderful friends like the lovely Fliss from @berkshirecollective_ but it’s all been virtual! I can’t wait to meet her & others in person! It’s a funny old thing Instagram, but I’m so grateful for the people it’s brought into my life & the relationships I’ve been able to establish with businesses, even if we’ve not seen each other face to face… yet! I won’t lie though – I’ll be glad to see the end of zoom!

What is going to be the first drink you order at the bar?

Well – definitely a STRONG cosmopolitan! I’ve missed cocktails, I just cannot seem to make good enough one’s at home. Or a G & T, hopefully with a local Gin, Bucks is bursting with amazing Gin distillers!

Where have you missed visiting the most during the lockdown?

I’ve definitely missed bars! Especially places like The Snug & Bar Botanic in High Wycombe. As well as some of my local coffee shops that haven’t been able to open at all for takeaways. That being said, I love a coffee shop in general and it’s been hard to get that ‘experience’ when you’re just picking up a takeaway coffee.

I kept my love for some restaurants alive by ordering takeaways from them – I loved the Lata Lata at Home takeaway, it was a delight to experience the brilliance of their food at home – but I’m very excited to get back to their gorgeous location. I can’t wait to sit in a restaurant, and get that buzz & excitement of reading a menu, placing your order and eagerly waiting for its arrival.

Where is the first place you plan to visit when the restrictions are lifted?

Probably my local pub – The George & Dragon in West Wycombe they’re a fantastic team and they deserve all the support possible. I’m also hoping to go to The Full Moon Pub in Little Kingshill, Lata Lata in High Wycombe and Pluma in Amersham. I’m going to stick to independents as much as I can. Besides actual venues I’d love to go to more food markets, and visit more food stalls.

Foodies For Thought : What are you doing when lockdown eases?

If you are a foodie from Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire or Hertfordshire, get in touch as we would like to hear from you. We will be working with eateries in the Three Counties this summer and have a number of opportunities for foodies and food bloggers.

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Enjoy St Albans Food & Drink Festival returns this September

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St Albans Food & Drink Festival

The St Albans Food & Drink festival, now in its 14th year, features an exciting programme of events across September including Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park, Stars at the Bars and the Oaklands Farm to Fork.

St Albans, in Hertfordshire, has a remarkable history and reputation for food and drink and the month-long event is hugely popular with locals and visitors looking for an incredible foodie experience.

There will also be a 24-hour photography challenge, pub quizzes and iconic film nights, livestock events, street food nights, Bollywood dancing, live radio events and pop-ups a plenty – it truly is a jam-packed festival with something for everyone.

Manager of St Albans Bid, Denise Parsons, said… 

“We are delighted to sponsor the festival which celebrates our food and drink heroes who have gone above and beyond during lockdown. There is something for everyone to enjoy, including live music which is hugely welcomed and adds to the vibrancy of our outdoor events.”

St Albans Food & Drink Festival

Highlights… 

Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park event on 10th-12th September in Verulamium Park brings together special chefs, artisan products and top musicians for one big party- with live music from big names such as All Saints, Basement Jaxx, Gabrielle and the Lightening Seeds.

The awards for the district’s best food and drink businesses are one of the festival highlights but due to the pandemic have been scaled down to one prestigious award this year. Nominations for the Kate D’Arcy Award, recognising an individual who has given exceptional customer service to their community during the pandemic, are open until Monday 23rd August and the nominees will be invited to a presentation event on Monday 20th September at St Michael’s Manor Hotel.

St Albans Food & Drink Festival

The festival culminates with the incredible FEASTIVAL street event on Sunday 26th September. The central streets in the town centre will be peppered with over 100 food and drink stalls, street entertainment, bars with live music, art and crafts activities, cookery demonstrations, face painting and fun for all ages.

Just 20 miles and 20 minutes by train from London St Pancras International and excellent road connections, St Albans is easily accessible, making it the perfect day or staycation destination.

Where to stay? 

Accommodation in the city centre ranges from small and intimate bed and breakfasts to large hotels including the stunning country style Manor hotel, St Michaels Manor, the luxurious Sopwell House and the Victorian Grade II listed Torrington Hall.

Find out more details about the St Albans Food & Drink Festival and where to stay at EnjoyStAlbans.com 

*NEW* 2021/2022 official St Albans Visitor Guide out now! Click here 

Foodie Related Notes: 

  • An historic inn-keeping city, St Albans has the most pubs per square mile in the country and is home to England’s Oldest pub, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, as confirmed by The Guinness Book of Records. 
  • Did you know the hot cross bun originated in St Albans. The ‘Alban Bun’ was created by Brother Thomas Rocliffe, a 14th Century Monk at St Albans Abbey, who developed the recipe and would feed the poor on Good Friday.
  • The city is famous for its café and pub culture with a fantastic range of award-winning eating and drinking establishments.

About St Albans: 

  • St Albans is one of the best-kept secrets in UK tourism. A historic gem of an English Cathedral City just 20 miles and 20 minutes by train from London is easily accessible by road with links to the M25, M1 and A1(M).
  • The city’s colourful history and heritage can be seen in the Roman remains and the beautiful medieval architecture and picturesque buildings that look spectacular all year round.
  • A fabulous shopping destination, St Albans is home to an array of innovative independent retailers and well-known chains.
  • There are lots of green, open spaces and parks, making St Albans a family-friendly destination.   

*NEW* 2021/2022 official St Albans Visitor Guide out now! Click here. Find out more details about the St Albans Food & Drink Festival and where to stay at EnjoyStAlbans.com 

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German Doner Kebab opens in High Wycombe with dine-in & takeaway

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German Doner Kebab opens in High Wycombe

German Doner Kebab has opened its doors in High Wycombe, bringing a new fast-casual dining experience to the town. The restaurant is located at 27-31 White Hart Street and opened on August 2nd, creating in the region of 40 new jobs in High Wycombe. German Doner Kebab High Wycombe will offer a full Dine-In experience, plus Takeaway with Click & Collect and Delivery coming soon.

German Doner Kebab is revolutionising the kebab in the UK, bringing a fresh, high-quality taste sensation that has made it the number one spot to enjoy a kebab.

Freshly prepared in front of customers, the game-changing kebabs are made using premium, lean, succulent meats and fresh local vegetables, served in handmade toasted breads with unique signature sauces.

The brand has recently confirmed its position as the UK’s fastest-growing restaurant chain after announcing that it will open 47 new restaurants in the UK during 2021.

The new restaurant in High Wycombe is the brand’s 67th site in the UK as it continues to bring the GDK experience to more locations throughout the country.

Daniel Bunce, GDK MD for UK and Europe, said: “We’re delighted to officially open and bring the German Doner Kebab experience to High Wycombe.

“Our game-changing kebabs are revolutionising the kebab in the UK and we are excited to be bringing a new fast-casual experience to the area, offering great tasting fresh food in a relaxed and modern setting.”

As part of its commitment to exploring new products that excite and capture the imagination of its loyal customers, the brand recently launched the new Boss Box to consumers across the UK.

German Doner Kebab opens in High Wycombe

Conceived during Lockdown initially for Delivery and Click & Collect, the Boss Box is proving to be a huge hit with customers throughout the country.

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Love Brownies opens new cafe and shop in St Albans

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Love Brownies opens in new cafe and shop in St Albans

Love Brownies, a Yorkshire Dales-inspired chocolate brownie company, is to open a beautiful café and brownie shop in the heart of St Albans,creating a number of jobs and adding a premium brand to St Albans’ bustling high street.

Established in 2009, Love Brownies is known for its decadent brownies and delicious seasonal menus. Originating in the Yorkshire Dales, the brand has a growing network of brownie shops and cafés, with St Albans being the fifteenth to open in the UK. So what makes Love Brownies so outrageously delicious? It’s no secret: they bake each one individually, by hand, using the best ingredients possible.

The Love Brownies Range

The new Love Brownies shop in St Albans will offer a mouth watering menu of indulgent handmade chocolate brownies in a variety of tempting flavours, magnificent brownie milkshakes (with vegan alternatives), a range of premium, freshly-brewed coffees and the bold flavours of Northern Bloc ice cream.

Love Brownies’ Head Baker and Owner, Chantal Teal said: “The St Albans shop will be our first to open in Hertfordshire and we’re so excited to bring our award-winning brownies and delicious Dales-inspired menu to a brand new audience. 

Inside Love Brownies St Albans

The inside of a Love Brownies is a unique blend of a cafe and shop. St Albans residents can pop in to the cafe for a drink and one of their fabulous brownies. Love Brownies merchandise and products can also be purchased in store. These include Love Brownies tea towels, Love Brownies mugs and Love Brownies aprons.

For those on the go, a delicious ‘Dales Kitchen’ breakfast and lunch menu with pastries and jam-packed sandwiches will also be available for St Albans residents.

Love Brownies opens in new cafe and shop in St Albans

Love Brownies’ Head Baker and Owner, Chantal Teal also said “The shop is in a fantastic location and we’re anticipating a busy summer! We’re so pleased to be bringing business into the area during a time that has been so difficult for so many and can’t wait to be a part of the St Albans community.”

Where to find Love Brownies in St Albans?

The new Love Brownies café will be located at Number 1, Market Place and will open to the public at 8am on Wednesday 21 July. For more information about Love Brownies or to see a sample menu visit www.lovebrownies.co.uk or follow @lovebrowniesbakery on Facebook and Instagram.

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