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Articles by Matt Wright

Everards celebrates 170 years

Iconic local business Everards of Leicestershire celebrates its 170th anniversary this month.  On October 5, 1849, William Everard bought Everards’ first brewery in Leicester with Thomas Hull, a local maltster.  Today, the brewery is owned by the fifth generation of the Everard family. Over the years, Everards has operated five breweries, with its sixth well […]

The Olive Branch in Rutland: The Story Continues

This year, The Olive Branch of Clipsham – one of the UK’s original gastropubs – celebrates its 20th birthday. The past 18 months have provided some of the toughest but most rewarding moments in its history. The Olive Branch in Clipsham, Rutland, celebrates its 20th birthday later this year. The founding trio of Ben Jones, […]

Everards’ partnership reveals opportunities for others

Ambitious independent food & drink start-ups might be interested in this. Everards of Leicestershire is continuing to invest in cafes, bakeries, microbreweries and more. Most recently it has bought an old bank in partnership with Titanic Brewery of Stoke on Trent. This former bank in Trentham, Staffs, is now called ‘Bod’ and is branded as Titanic’s own café-bar. […]

Buy local meat to help beat climate change

Great Food Club Opinion Last week’s UN report into climate change made life a bit harder for small-scale meat producers. Most media outlets picked up on the ‘eat less meat’ message but failed to distinguish between industrial farming and sustainable, small-scale producers. However, local artisan producers are not the problem – they are part of the […]

Food & drink guide to Ely, Cambridgeshire

Yesterday we scoured Ely in Cambridgeshire for independent food & drink gems. Click on the picture of Ely Cathedral in the Twitter link below to see what we found… Here’s a quick Twitter food & drink guide to Ely in Cambridgeshire based on yesterday’s tour. Thread. (pic: garden on The Almonry Restaurant & Tea Room) […]

Breakfast, lunch and dinner in Uppingham’s Market Place, punctuated by a five-mile country walk

Try this circular Rutland pub walk, with the option to eat at three recommended Uppingham venues in Market Place… Uppingham in Rutland is as pretty as a picture, especially its Market Place. Overlooking the handsome square are no less than three food-and-drink businesses that we recommend. Buzzing Don Paddy’s is perfect for breakfast or brunch. […]

Great Food Club teams up with Wasabi Creations to launch 3D Virtual Tours

We’ve teamed up with Rutland-based Wasabi Creations to bring stunning 3D Virtual Tours to our online listings. For a taste of what we mean, watch the video below. Wasabi Creations provide next-generation immersive media for web and mobile, and offer print-ready 4k photography. Basically, their videos walk you around a pub, restaurant or shop in 3D to […]

The battle of Waterloo Cottage Farm!

Building your own pesticide-free Garden of Eden near Market Harborough is a constant scrap. But the results taste magnificent… It started with two pigs: Fleur and Ruth. They were happy pigs, and they were lucky pigs because in the piggy game of life, they’d hit pay dirt. In 2007 they arrived at a tiny new five-acre farm […]

“This will be my 36th Fathers’ Day at The Bull’s Head”

In 1983, Paul Hodges – then 14 years old – moved into The Bull’s Head in Cosby with his family. His Dad, Brian, had become the new landlord of the popular Leicestershire community pub. In June that year – more than three-and-a-half decades ago – Paul and his Dad celebrated Fathers’ Day together while living […]

Ten great restaurants in the East Midlands

A meal out should be a memorable experience. Below are ten restaurants that will do the job and then some… Each of these restaurants serves excellent food, but each also provides a very different kind of experience. The George Hotel of Stamford and Falcon of Uppingham exude the pleasant feel of a classic English hotel. […]

Controversy as London ‘pub’ bans drinkers

A ‘pub’ in Shoreditch, London, has banned all drinkers of alcohol from its premises. ‘The OJ’, which offers a 100% vegan, organic menu and serves only fruit juices, uses a simple skin test to check if customers consume booze. On entering, they are asked to place a finger inside a thimble-like device connected to a […]

Where to eat and drink in Bury St Edmunds

Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk is the perfect town for a food and drink tour. It’s pretty, compact, historic and packed with excellent independent pubs, restaurants and cafés. There’s even a brewpub – and it’s nothing to do with Greene King, the UK’s biggest brewer and pub operator, which is headquartered in the town. We […]

Editor’s Blog: Latest Discoveries & Gems

Hello from Great Food Club HQ in Melton Mowbray, Last week I delivered a guest lecture about Great Food Club to final-year students at the University of Leicester Business School. It was a surprise and an honour to be asked. I explained how GFC has developed over the past nine years and how we decide […]

The Leicestershire pub that transforms lives

The White Horse in Quorn, Leicestershire, is a pub that amazes time and again through its selfless and tireless work for charity. Since 2015 it has raised approximately £80,000 for local projects through its own charitable foundation, The White Horse Wishing Well. The brothers who run The White Horse, David and Martin Keatley-Lill, set up […]

Bottle Kicking is an ancient English custom. So is cider-making. And so is drinking…

South-east Leicestershire’s Bottle Kicking Cider Company is inspired by one of maddest local rituals in Britain, discovers Great Food Club…

Round Corner Brewing wins gold at the International Brewing Awards 2019

A little more than three months since the launch of its brewery-taproom in the heart of Melton Mowbray, the East Midlands’ own Round Corner Brewing has walked away with a gold medal in the 2019 International Brewing Awards for its iconic black lager, Gunmetal. It also won a silver medal for its Frisby Lager. The […]

Magical culinary tour of the East Midlands

An edited version of a feature by Matt Wright published in the September 2012 issue of Countryfile Magazine…

Editor’s Update: February 8, 2019

Did I feel spring in the air the other day? I’m sure I caught a fleeting aroma of roast lamb. Or maybe it was an hallucination…

This business does NOT serve great food… but we want to thank them anyway

This business does NOT serve great food. Some of their boss’s packed lunches are only fit for the swine at the local Tuesday cattle market. Happily, in this case it doesn’t matter because I’m talking about NFU Mutual Melton Mowbray, one of Great Food Club’s major long-term sponsors. GFC would not exist without supporters like […]

Opinion: The barrier between guests and staff has got too big. Let’s break it down

Things are not getting any easier for pubs, cafés and restaurants. Good chefs and kitchen staff are increasingly hard to find and cook under intense pressure. Front-of-housers and bartenders work long hours for small financial rewards, while their career choices are seen as second-class options by much of the public. Meanwhile, customers’ expectations are sky […]

Discoveries of the Weekend – January 21, 2019: The Four Bells at Woodborough and other fantastic finds

A road trip around rural Nottinghamshire kicked off the weekend. Two highlights were within a stone’s throw of each other. The Four Bells at Woodborough is a unique and beautiful pub built in the late 1920s in a faux Tudor, faintly gothic style. Inside it’s furnished simply but stylishly, cosy and atmospheric – fire roaring […]

Discoveries of the Weekend – January 15, 2019

A trip to Dickies ‘Butchery & Farm Dining’ in Plungar, Vale of Belvoir, on the Leicestershire/Nottinghamshire border, was a good way to start the weekend. This on-farm butchery/cafe/restaurant (bring your own) with its open kitchen is enjoyably rustic and homespun – the sort of ambience that chains try to create artificially but never quite manage. We […]

Discoveries of the Weekend – January 8, 2019

“Discoveries of the Weekend”. It’s a simple feature idea I’ve nicked from one of my favourite blogs – Boak & Bailey. The idea is to share some of the good things we’ve enjoyed over the weekend. Friday saw us venture to Apteekki for a late lunch. Melton Mowbray’s new vegan restaurant has been very professionally and neatly put together by […]

Introducing Round Corner Brewing, Melton Mowbray’s new state-of-the-art brewery

Located in the heart of Melton Mowbray’s iconic agricultural market, Round Corner Brewing is the newest addition to the East Midlands’ food and drink scene that you’ve got to see for yourself. It’s the culmination of a 15-year vision shared by two life-long friends, internationally acclaimed brewer Colin Paige and City director Combie Cryan. They’ve always dreamed […]

The Great Food Club Awards 2018/19: Final Results

Judging the finalists in the Great Food Club Awards 2018/19 has been as rewarding as it has been fascinating and enjoyable. Our judges have eaten – anonymously – at every pub, cafe and restaurant on the shortlist. We’ve also chatted to each of the producers and shop owners, trying our hardest to get under the […]

A new chapter at The Olive Branch in Clipsham

The Olive Branch has appointed Nick Evans executive head chef. Nick arrives from Michelin-starred Northcote near Blackburn in Lancashire, where he was head chef working closely with executive chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen and chef patron Nigel Howarth. Ben Jones, co-owner of The Olive Branch, said: “Nick will create his own ‘Olive Branch’ dishes and menus, while […]

Why “no shows” are so damaging to independent pubs and restaurants

“No shows” is a hot topic at the moment. The number of people booking restaurant tables and not turning up without cancelling is rising. I was chatting to Ben Jones, owner of The Olive Branch in Clipsham recently, who told me: “Sadly, we are seeing an increasing number of no shows. Pubs and restaurant like […]

Nibble, bite, eat, chew: Taste the Difference at Tamworth Food Gusto Food & Drink Festival 2018

If you are a foodie and love great food and drink, the Tamworth Food Gusto Festival on September 8 and 9 is the place to be! Food Gusto have lined up over 70 of the region’s best food & drink producers, all hand picked to set your taste buds on fire. All producers are passionate […]

Harker’s Farm Shop’s impressive refurbishment gives foodies even more reasons to visit this Nottinghamshire gem

Harker’s Farm Shop in Clipston-on-the-Wolds, Nottinghamshire, has never looked better. A summer refurbishment has resulted in a gleaming new butchery counter packed with Harker’s biggest draw –fresh home-reared meat. There’s also a new maturing fridge and a new deli counter full of local cheeses, patés and cooked meats. These improvements are underpinned by new floors […]

We visit Fen Farm Venison, Horbling Fen, Lincolnshire

Driving through the scorched Lincolnshire Fens in late July, we find Fen Farm Venison down a battered farm track. Peter and Jane Wesley, along with Peter’s mother Janet, are in the prep kitchen, where the three-strong team (which becomes four when Janet’s husband Brian gets involved, which he does often) are busy getting their venison […]