Taste of Chilterns reaches the House of Commons
AS WITH any public building, the House of Commons hosts mini-exhibitions from time to time. Temporary display boards pop up so that MPs and visitors alike can learn about the work of many organisations, both within the UK and worldwide.
I was really pleased to be asked to co-host a Chilterns and Aylesbury Vale day in the House of Commons, along with my parliamentary colleague Rt Hon David Lidington MP and with the welcome support of Mr Speaker, Rt Hon John Bercow MP.
The idea of the event was to showcase the fantastic food and drink which is produced within our area.
From the Chesham & Amersham constituency, I invited Nick and Jenny Watson, from Malt the Brewery, in Prestwood; Richard and Beverly Waller, who produce Aylesbury ducks at Long Grove Wood Farm, Chesham; and Evert and Franca Donker of Chiltern Ridge, in Chartridge.
I have written before about Malt the Brewery but their enterprise is going from strength to strength, with some great news. Last month, Nick Watson was awarded a Gold Star for his beers by the Great Taste Awards – wider recognition indeed for the brewery which is very popular with local residents.
They also won a gold at the Society of Independent Brewers’ Midlands competition, the week before the parliamentary day, and brought along the trophy! What is more, this thriving business is now employing an apprentice. Angus Wallbank began his apprenticeship in August and is helping to increase the output to meet the demand for Malt’s beer.
Turning to Long Grove Wood Farm, this is the only farm now producing the Aylesbury ducks which were once found throughout Buckinghamshire. Richard Waller’s family has been producing these ducks for generations and I can say as a customer that Aylesbury ducklings are very special.
The farm is often featured on TV programmes about British foods and we can be proud that the traditional Aylesbury duckling is still bred, reared and available for sale in our county.
Chiltern Ridge is a family run business in Old Sax Lane, Chartridge. Mr and Mrs Donker provide bed and breakfast accommodation, as well as wonderful Chilterns produce. I was delighted to see their delicious range of pasteurised apple juice. In addition they sell lamb, pork and keep free range chickens for their eggs.
All these businesses are producing food and drink of extremely high quality and I am glad that my fellow MPs had the opportunity on 14 October to experience a taste of the Chilterns.
Cheryl Gillan MP for Chesham & Amersham