On the Isle of Wight, you’re never far from wonderful local produce.
Celebrated for its garlic, tomatoes, asparagus, seafood and honey, the island has a host of weekly farmers’ markets and food shows and festivals throughout the year.
The Island is home to a working water mill, three breweries, two vineyards and a distillery, and a host of independent producers and artisans create everything from oils and liqueurs to cheeses and award-winning ice cream.
Seafood: With more than 60 miles of coastline, crab, lobster, prawns, dover sole, plaice, bass and skate are all available when in season, and a lot is sold right where it’s landed. At Ventnor Haven Fishery, the Blake family have been fishing the seas for decades and serve up a selection of daily catches that vary with the seasons. The island is also known for its crab pasties – try one at the Crab Shed at the beautiful Steephill Cove in Ventnor.
Tomatoes: The Tomato Stall at Arreton has been growing award-winning Isle of Wight tomatoes since 2007 and creates a delicious range of juices, sauces and roasted tomatoes. They trade at a range of farm shops, delis, bars and restaurants on the island, across the south, and at London’s Borough Market.
Family concerns: Family company Minghella (son Anthony is the Oscar winning film director) makes more than 230 flavours of ice creams and sorbets, and Pink’s – founded by E & T Pink in the late 1880s – is today run by Fiona Pink and produces an award-winning range of chilli jellies, pesto and chutneys.
Garlic: The Isle of Wight is the home of UK garlic, and The Garlic Farm & Farm Shop in Newchurch is overflowing with garlic used in everything from chutney and relish to beer and a black garlic ice cream sundae layered with chocolate brownie and chocolate sauce.
Cheese: Ever heard of Gallybagger? It’s an incredible unpasteurised cheese made using only Isle of Wight milk. The Isle of Wight Cheese Company makes three types of cheese made from this milk – Isle of Wight Blue, Isle of Wight Soft, and the wonderfully-named Gallybagger. The Royal Hotel in Ventnor serves towering Gallybagger souffles with a white onion puree that have developed a cult following.
Honey: Plenty of honey is produced on the island, and award-winning artisan bakery The Island Bakers makes doughnuts stuffed with salted honeycomb crème and chunks of golden honeycomb.