Jane Hogan, Taste North East - A few ways you can keep it local this year

PUBLISHED: 10:04 02 January 2013 | UPDATED: 22:36 20 February 2013

Jane Hogan, Taste North East - A few ways you can keep it local this year

Jane Hogan, Taste North East - A few ways you can keep it local this year

The Taste North East chief executive suggests a few ways you can keep it local this year

Now the New Year is under way and we are all blessed with slightly more rounded tummies and our thoughts frequently return to food...

We are increasingly hearing from people who are choosing to avoid supermarket shopping altogether and to shop locally for all their food and drink. We salute you! This is not an easy thing to do because we gave up a lot of the infrastructure which provides daily fresh food and drink to our local communities a long time ago. However there are still local delivery services which specialise in local produce, and many farm shops and independent retailers stock everything you need for your weekly shop (check out where you can buy local food at www.tastenortheast.co.uk/directory).

If you arent able to be as dedicated and committed as some of our Tasties (Tasties are our Taste Club members local food enthusiasts who actively seek out and share North East food and drink) thats ok, we have some ideas about how you can get involved which will make you smile, give you a new challenge and, of course, that warm glow which comes from supporting your local community.

I asked members of Taste North East to give me some of the more unusual ways in which you can get involved with the people who make, sell and serve our regional food, why not make it your mini-mission to get stuck in?

If youre all about the glamour and glitz (but you still want those good-life credentials) how about Jamies Ministry of Food at the Alnwick Garden? A new cooking project offering cooking classes for beginners, reluctant cooks and cooks who want try something new, all products are locally sourced and meat is higher welfare.

The Budding Chefs programme starts them early from 5-13 years, The In-betweeners (14-17 years +) helps prepare teenagers for moving away from home for the first time. Dads in the Kitchen provides the opportunity for Dads to come along with their children and cook some great food together, or are you more of a Lads in the Kitchen type? a male only evening course. You can get more information at Jamies Ministry of Food The Alnwick Garden 01665 511378 or send an email to ministryoffood@alnwickgarden.com.

Looking for something a bit more earthy and real? How about a bit of cheese making? You can make cheese in Northumberland Cheeses Blagdon-based dairy which involves getting stuck in up to your elbows in a large vat, turning and breaking down cheese so that it can be put into tubs to be moulded and left to mature.

Its a rather tough (and slightly messy) job but if you or someone you know someone loves cheese, they will love this! You can experience the full cycle of how artisan cheese is made from scratch. Three months later you can come back and collect your very own truckle (thats not a euphemism, its an actual cheese-term). Find out more by contacting Monique at Northumberland Cheese at monique@northumberland-cheese.co.uk or on 01670 789798.

I couldnt finish without giving you something for the hard-core Tom and Barbaras amongst us (though I doubt Felicity Kendal has ever done anything like this! Vegetarians please look away) Dropswell Farm Shops butchery courses are not for the faint hearted. Slicing, dicing, rolling and de-boning.

If your idea of a good time is decapitation then Paul Craddock is your man. Based at Trimdon Pauls butchery courses are suitable for all levels of experience (if not all stomachs). You can book at info@dropswellfarmshop.co.uk or on 01429 880661.

We hope you will be inspired to get closer to North East food and drink this month and throughout the year, and as always let us know if youve been inspired to give it a go.

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