Raymond Blanc OBE and the world’s most prestigious hotel club, Relais & Châteaux, visited Darts Farm earlier this week. The group was hosted by Michael Caines MBE from neighbouring Lympstone Manor and was welcomed by the Dart brothers who proudly showcased the region’s exquisite artisan produce in their award-winning farm shop.
This impressive visit follows an announcement that Darts Farm has been shortlisted for the Guild of Fine Food ‘Shop of the Year’ Award 2019. The finalist will be announced on 11th March.
Michael Dart, Director of Darts Farm, comments: “We were thrilled to welcome so many high calibre chefs to Darts Farm. There was so much passion, expertise and prestige in one place!” He continues: “The West Country is a hotspot for innovative artisan food producers who are attracted by our two coasts, pastures for livestock, alluvial valleys and a mild climate influenced by the Atlantic. It is such a vibrant community of entrepreneurs and those dedicated to creating the absolute best produce. We’re also honoured to be shortlisted during our 25th year, alongside so many other brilliant independent retailers across the country, for the Guild of Fine Food ‘Shop of the Year’ Award.”
Some of Darts Farm’s key suppliers were present at the event including; Salcombe Gin, Lyme Bay Winery, Sharpham Wine & Cheese, Sandford Orchards, Darts Farm Master Butchers and The Fish Shed at Darts Farm.
James Dart, Director of Darts Farm says: “The chefs experienced a real taste of Devon during their visit starting with a tour of our historic cider press, formerly run by Green Valley Cider and recently handed over to Sandford Orchards. Tastings of St Louis Dry Hopped Cider (Supreme Champion at the Taste of the West Awards 2018) were served to the guests. Dave Kerley, of the Fish Shed at Darts Farm, then presented Raymond Blanc with a side of plaice, fresh from the dayboat from Exmouth that day, cooked on the Big Green Egg and served with local samphire.”
Commenting on behalf of Relais & Châteaux, Chairman Malcolm Lewis says: “Our recent visit to Darts Farm really opened our eyes to the wealth of outstanding products being produced in the West Country. At Relais & Châteaux we’re dedicated to promoting the richness and diversity of the world’s cuisine and traditions of hospitality. We can see that Devon shares our ethos and commitment to preserving local heritage and the environment.”
Established in 1954, Relais & Châteaux is an association of more than 550 landmark hotels and restaurants operated by independent innkeepers, chefs, and owners who share a passion for their businesses and a desire for authenticity in their relationships with their clientele. Relais & Châteaux is established around the globe, from the Napa Valley vineyards and French Provence to the beaches of the Indian Ocean. It offers an introduction to a lifestyle inspired by local culture and a unique dip into human history.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Darts Farm remains a family business run by the three Dart brothers; the retail looked after by Michael and James and the farm by Paul. The family business is, at its core, still a working farm, and sells all of its home-grown produce directly through the farm shop.
Darts Farm showcases the best food and drink the region has to offer and is home to a selection of handpicked specialist retailers. These include The AGA Shop, Fired Earth, Orange Tree, Cotswold, RSPB, Energy Hair and the Treatment Loft.
Further information about Darts Farm visit www.dartsfarm.co.uk, call 01392 878205, follow on Twitter @dartsfarm or ‘like’ on Facebook.