SOME of Dorset’s finest food and drink producers joined forces to showcase their wares for the first time at the Hotel and Catering Show in Bournemouth.

A new market trade area was created specially for members of Dorset Food and Drink at the annual exhibition held at the BIC.

Katharine Wright of Dorset Food & Drink said: “We already have 70 members on our books – there is just so much variety of produce in Dorset.

“We have such a wide and varied landscape that we don’t just do one type of sausage or one type of cheese. There is nothing we don’t do, and not many counties can say that.”

Lee Moreton of the Dorset Charcuterie who gave a demonstration on how to make a black pudding with chocolate, said it was the best Bournemouth show so far.

“The chef’s demo theatre was a big hit. It was a bit like Ready, Steady, Cook. Chefs were just using whatever ingredients they could lay their hands on.

“The organisers of Dorset Food and Drink have been very helpful – it has been a fantastic opportunity to network with other local chefs too.”

Tracey Collins of Ajar who makes jams and chutneys agreed.

She added: “The show has really exceeded my expectations. If everyone who has asked for information places an order I shall be in my kitchen all year.

“The secret is to use good quality local ingredients where possible.”

Christine Willis of Christine’s Puddings, who makes gluten free puddings, said: “It was nice to get to know other local producers - I didn’t realise so much wonderful food was produced locally.”

Dorset Food and Drink, which was launched last year, includes artisan producers to world class brands and local tea shops to Michelin-starred restaurants.

'New innovations' put local producers on the map

THE two-day Hotel and Catering Show included exhibitors ranging from cheese producers to point of sale systems engineers.

Mandy Payne, president of Bournemouth Chamber of Trade and Commerce (BCTC), who visited the exhibitors, said: “It really is fantastic that this event attracts such a wide cross section of interest.

“Local hoteliers and restaurateurs benefit hugely from meeting new suppliers and discovering new innovations for them to adapt in their venues.”

She added: “Our town has one of the country’s highest ratio of hotels and restaurants per capita and we are immensely lucky to benefit from some incredible local produce, grown right here on our Dorset doorstep.”

The show also featured industry figures including Tom Aikens, Sam Moody and Richard Davies, as well as pupils from Bournemouth and Poole College – all of whom took part in live cooking demonstrations, mixology displays and food and wine pairing workshops.

Seminars in business operations, customer behaviour and marketing, sales and innovation were held throughout the show.