A Taste of Northumbria in Alnwick is leading the way when it comes to showing food producers across the county how to celebrate Northumbrian produce as part of Northumberland Day.
The winners of the Northumberland Day ‘Northumbie’ Award for ‘Best Foodie Event or Initiative’ 2018, are determined not to let their title go, but are also throwing themselves into the celebrations to inspire other local food and drink producers and retailers to do the same.
The shop, in the centre of Alnwick, has already planned four food launches for the week leading up to Northumberland Day and on the day itself, which falls on May 26 this year.
The first launch will be that of new chocolates, created by the business behind Moo Moo’s steakhouse in Ashington. These are “proper Belgian chocolates” according to A Taste of Northumbria’ and they should know, as Jannick Genouw, who is planning the launch is Belgian himself. What will be different about these chocolates is the fact that they will contain Alnwick Rum, making them exceptional in the extreme.
There will also be a launch of a new beer named Oswald’s Whiteblade, named after seventh century warlord, Oswald, whose banner inspired the Northumberland flag. This hoppy beer will be available for tasting at the shop in Alnwick.
The third launch, staged on Saturday May 25, will be of a brand-new gin, the details of which are top secret for now, but which promises to have extremely interesting botanicals. This will be available for tasting both in A Taste of Northumbria’s shop, but also on Alnwick Market that day.
Then, for Northumberland Day itself, there will be the launch of a new mead named Blød, celebrating Northumberland’s Viking heritage and the landing of the first Vikings in the county.
A Taste of Northumbria has pushed some of these ranges through production at its Holy Island distillery, so they are specifically ready for the Northumberland Day celebrations. It has also gone all out to create eye-catching labels that demonstrate the spirits’ links to Northumberland history
And it is not done there, as it is also planning to bring in other food producers, so there is a full week of food-based activity in the shop.
Jannick Genouw says: “We had a great time celebrating Northumberland Day last year and had a busy shop all week. We are going all out this year and want to encourage other food producers to do the same. Tourists want to buy food that they know is local and what better way to show them that than to create tastings, samplings and launches around Northumberland Day. It starts conversations and those conversations lead to sales.
“But it’s not all about food and I am trying to encourage other businesses – in Alnwick and elsewhere – to realise what a great thing Northumberland Day is and why we should all be doing something to celebrate it. It brings a buzz and the feel-good factor and that has to be good for business.”
Northumberland Day organiser, Jane Hunt, says: “We are in awe of what A Taste of Northumbria is planning and cannot thank them enough for their support. They are showing true Northumbrian spirit in every sense and are a real inspiration to others.
“We have had a week in which we have been touched and truly proud of what individual participants, schools, communities and some businesses are doing to celebrate Northumberland Day and to place our initiatives at the heart of communities. All we now need are businesses who can sponsor some activities, recognising the goodwill that comes from being seen to be supportive of the communities from which a business generates its income.”
The organisers are promising other announcements in the coming fortnight, as the momentum behind Northumberland Day 2019 builds and underpins what is shaping up to be a great occasion.