The Year in Review (Highlights of 2015)
2015 was a momentous year here at The Cartford Inn and one that will be remembered fondly for many special moments, occasions and successes. The year seemed to get better and better as we completed several developments on-site to improve the overall experience for visitors and we continued to receive recognition for our food, drink and hospitality with the receipt of several prestigious awards and in the press too. The kitchen was also as vibrant as ever; using the best local produce they created more exciting dishes than ever before and we went out around Lancashire, to food festivals and shows, to showcase these and further contribute to the region’s thriving food and drink culture.
From what was such an eventful year, it’s difficult to pick out just few highlights to list here. Nevertheless, we’ve settled on these as our five favourite moments of 2015:
5. Special Events in the River House
Admittedly not one, but several special events, each hosted in our new two-floor facility for private and corporate events: The River House, overlooking the outside dining areas and with views of the riverscape and countryside beyond. Last year we organised a collection of popular events including wine tastings, a fish, chips and Champagne dinner and an evening celebrating the music and food of Spain with internationally acclaimed Flamenco guitarist Samuel Moore.
These events were particularly memorable as our first forays into using the recently opened River House for our own exciting events. The popularity and success of these events means that we'll be hosting more in 2016. So make sure you look out for upcoming events throughout the year.
For more information on the River House and private and corporate events, click here.
4. The Lancashire Game and Country Festival
Throughout 2015 we attended many regional food and drink festivals and shows. Together, Patrick and head-chef Chris impressed audiences by cooking dishes that wouldn’t be out of place on the menu here at The Cartford Inn, offering advice to people wishing to replicate the results at home. It was repeatedly thrilling for them to demonstrate newly created recipes, often devised to showcase particularly outstanding seasonal ingredients. We were frequently billed alongside top regional and celebrity chefs too; notably at the Great British Food Festival at Stonyhurst college and at Great Eccleston’s own annual show.
The pinnacle of these events for us, however, was The Lancashire Game and Country Festival. The festival, celebrating Lancashire’s rural heritage and game sports culture, took place for the first time near Scorton over one weekend at the end of summer and significantly, we organised the festival’s ‘Theatre of Food’. This included a demonstrations theatre, where we showcased a multitude of game recipes alongside our butchers Honeywell’s, who showed crowds how to expertly butcher and prepare a variety of game.
In addition to the ‘Theatre of Food’, we also had a food tent and pop-up bar where we sold hot and cold take-away food, appropriately including venison stew, hand-raised game pies and fresh oysters too. And you could enjoy these with a pint of Giddy Kipper, a glass of Champagne or one of our a home-made fruit sodas.
The festival itself was well attended, impressively well organised and benefitted from largely pleasant weather throughout the weekend. The success of this event for us means that we’ll be doing lots of similar events throughout 2016.
3. Tourism Pub of The Year at The Lancashire Tourism Awards
In November of last year we were again a finalist at the Lancashire Tourism Awards, organised annually by Marketing Lancashire. We were shortlisted for a second consecutive year in the ‘Tourism Pub of The Year Category’. This time however, we were delighted to be awarded the title!
We were particularly honoured to win this award (in such a competitive category) as it recognises our contributions to Lancashire’s vibrant food and drink culture and the affect this has on boosting the region’s valuable tourism sector.
Winning this award means that we now have the chance to compete for a national title at the Visit England Awards for Excellence later in the year. Wish us luck!
2. Leisure Business of The Year at The BIBAs
One of our greatest achievements this year was being named Leisure Business of The Year at Lancashire’s most prestigious business awards: The ‘BIBAs’.
The awards, organised by the North and Western Chamber of Commerce, are known for their rigorous judging process. Progressing to the finals involved an initial application, followed by a panel interview, followed by a visit to the business by the judges. Along with the long-established BIBAs brand, this makes them Lancashire’s most coveted business awards - ‘the one everyone wants to win’. This made winning the award feel like a particularly significant accomplishment.
The glittering ceremony, held in September at Blackpool Tower ballroom, was attended by a team of staff members and winning the award ensured it was one of the best nights of the year. Learn more about the BIBAs by visiting: http://www.thebibas.co.uk
Probably the most significant event of our year was the launch of our new on-site delicatessen ‘TOTI’. In case you didn’t know TOTI stands for Taste Of The Inn and it was created by transforming a previously disused building next to the inn’s outside dining areas with characteristic style.
TOTI is the realisation of a big idea and the result of many months planning and work. It aims to be one place where you can find outstanding quality deli ingredients, speciality foods, excellent wines and other things of gastronomic interest, all carefully chosen by The Cartford team, alongside our own bakery and patisserie items and hot and cold foods to take away.
The plan is that TOTI will develop and grow continuously. So over the next year expect to see the shelves filled with more exciting produce, more of our own freshly prepared food and more help and inspiration for recreating a taste of the inn at home.
For more information about TOTI click here and keep up to date by following our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.