Tedd Walmsley takes a Porsche Boxster 718 on a tour of the Ribble Valley, seeking out the best restaurants and award-winning pubs
The Ribble Valley has a strong pedigree when it come to food and drink – it boasts a huge number of award wining pubs and restaurants and is the darling of many food critics.
In this article I will try to pick out some of those who have been recently recognised locally, regionally and on a national level. It would also be fair to say that we have countless other hidden gems across the broad spectrum of food and drink and to suit every taste and budget.
I also took the opportunity of a drive in the Porsche Boxster 718 from our good friends at Porsche Preston, which is the new home of Porsche in the North West. The state-of-the-art showroom is incredible with more than 35 new and used cars on display. What Car recently described the Boxter as ‘the finest open top sports car at its price by some distance’ – it was so much fun to drive and with that trademark engine noise and unique styling, it turned more than a few heads on my gastronomic tour of the valley.
So where to start with the tour? The Ribble Valley has been home to Northcote for more than 35 years – it has held the much-coveted Michelin star for the last 27 years and is renowned for its incredible food brought to us by Lisa Goodwin-Allen. This small luxury hotel with beautifully appointed bedrooms often plays host to gourmet weddings and celebrations in the Louis Roederer private dining rooms. The cookery school is second to none in my opinion and hugely popular with courses covering a variety of food and dishes. Recently the hotel has announced a series of development plans with the new owners looking at a range of new facilities including a spa and bistro.
Since last September we also have another Michelin star restaurant just around Pendle Hill. The White Swan at Fence is a relaxed old-fashioned style pub serving incredible food with a varied and ever-changing seasonal menu. They pride themselves on friendly service, great Timothy Taylor ales and an interesting wine list.
Another national award that sees no less than five of our local pubs recognised is the highly acclaimed Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs. The Freemasons at Wiswell tops the local list in third place with chef patron Steven Smith also crowned Chef of the Year at this year’s event. Situated off the beaten track in the tiny hamlet of Wiswell this stylish old pub is the home of an incredible gastronomic experience. It has a variety of great menus from which to choose and has recently opened a number of stunning new bedrooms. To add to the food experience, a new kitchen and the much-anticipated Mr Smith’s ‘chef’s table’ has also been launched.
We also have four other gastropubs in this distinguished line up – the Parkers Arms, the White Swan at Fence, the Cartford Inn and the Assheton Arms.
If you find yourself in and around the Ribble Valley this summer and want to sample our award-winning restaurants and pubs I truly hope you’ll support our food heroes – a warm welcome will await you.