Zack Schneider visits the Freemasons to experience dishes that represent the freshest, sweetest taste of summer

Yes, this time it’s for real and the beautiful village of Wiswell is basking in real summer weather. This delightful break from our normal damp squib summers, leaves us craving a long cold English cider or a chilled rose wine, while sitting outside the prettiest pub in the Ribble Valley, the Freemasons!

Once settled at this country pub, it’s time to reflect on how lucky we are to have one of the best pubs in the UK, also the number one in Lancashire and the North West – right here on our doorstep!

The reasons for this are many but I would like to mention that Freemasons’ chef Steve Smith has been shortlisted in the Chef of the Year and Best Pub Food categories. Taking the 18th spot at the 2018 Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards, this places the Freemasons the third highest in the north, all massive achievements and a tribute to Steve and his team in the Freemasons’ kitchens.

The team really are coming up with the goods in all departments including atmosphere, service and food. So, while you are enjoying your delicious refreshments either in the cool interior or out at the front, why not peruse the menu – which is a celebration of the summer’s finest ingredients crafted by the team into ‘Summer on a Plate’.

As Steve says: “Summer is all about taking the freshest sweetest and succulent of ingredients from the land or sea, straight to your plate.” No messing just fresh to the table!

I started with English pea soup, spiced up with a local Kick Ass Cheddar cheese – amazing flavours from very simple ingredients. Flame grilled mackerel with cool cucumber and mint was also astoundingly good, plus a courgette tempura flower filled with shellfish for the girls which set their taste buds alight and was pretty as a picture as well!

Us boys had delicious Herdwick lamb, a Lake District favourite slowly grown and full of flavours from the Cumbrian fells, French style peas with zingy fresh garden mint and new potatoes – food heaven! Rabbit pie was a popular choice – baked in brioche, with a sauce of chargrilled asparagus and buttered Jersey Royals, it was light and tasty – not a pie at all but local rabbit floating on a summer cloud!

Fish of the day, simply pan fried, with brown butter and summery Morecambe shrimps, warm sauce tartare and a summer salad – a great dish, simple and tasty – a real winner!

Delightful as the local cheese board sounded, this menu deserved its desserts! So we chose a summer tartlet with Simpsons double cream ice cream – not calorie-free but delicious! Other choices included poached peaches in Pedro Ximenez, caramel and raspberry sorbet – plus we added a touch of double cream to make sure we didn’t miss anything. Summer on a Plate was exceptional!

There’s lots happening at the Freemasons, the whole place is literally buzzing with new dishes, events, guests and produce.

It really is somewhere to enjoy a great-value Summer on a Plate experience or maybe going the whole nine yards with the amazing Tasting Menu. Where else can you get all that and such fabulous service and quality? No wonder those accolades just keep on coming. Have a great summer!

Freemasons at Wiswell
8 Vicarage Fold
Wiswell, Nr Clitheroe
Lancashire BB7 9DF
01254 822218

Steven Smith Chef & Managing Director
01254 822218 ext 2 / 07794 408887



Tedd Walmsley

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