Category Archives: Island Food and Produce

Premier hotel on the Isle of Wight responding to what travellers want

The Royal Hotel laps it up with local award-winning producers and attractions to meet the demands of unique customer experiences.

“Travel is now increasingly viewed as a way of having experiences to enhances one’s life. As a hotel, we have to embrace the fact that we are responsible for creating a unique customer experience. One of the main reasons people travel is the thirst to discover more and by including an authentic local environment, food and cooking and wellness experiences, we hope to provide an unforgettable experience on the Island.” William Bailey, Managing Director at the Royal Hotel.

To start the year off, The Royal Hotel has paired up with the Island’s wine supplier and wine connoisseur, Tim Flint from Eurovines to create a Gourmet Wine Weekend in February. This is just one of the many events in collaboration with local producers planned for 2018.

“We at Eurovines have had the pleasure of supplying wines to The Royal Hotel for nearly 10 years now. Over this time, we have seen that we share many of the same values of quality, innovation and care for our clients. As one of the finest hotels on the Island, they provide a superb Wining, Dining and Hospitality experience.” Tim Flint, Managing Director at Eurovines Ltd.

The Royal Hotel has always been recognised as one of the best places to dine and stay for decades and in the last couple of years, the Island has seen a surge in local producers and attractions such as The Garlic Farm, Osborne, Ventnor Botanic Garden, Isle of Wight Tomato Stall, Isle of Wight Cheese Company and Wight Distillery sweeping up numerous National Awards, so what better way than to come together to showcase the strengths of the Island.

These collaborations allow The Royal to include tempting accommodation, dining and activity packages to ensure a stay at the hotel will remain an unforgettable experience.

  • During the 23th and 24th February, you can sample wines from the enchanting wine regions in Spain to some of Northern Italy’s finest wine regions. You’ll find plenty to choose from with food pairings, and tasting notes. For anyone interested in gourmet food and high-quality wine, this is not to be missed.
  • For the weekend of the 16th – 18th March try our Gastronomic Weekend tour, showing all the amazing local produce including Living larder, Wight Distillery, Isle of Wight Cheese Company, the Garlic Farm and Ventnor Botanic Garden.


If you would like more information on events, please visit for full details. If you would like to explore possibilities of collaborating with The Royal Hotel or experience and feature events at The Royal Hotel, please feel free to contact Marketing and PR manager, Shennon Slade at 01983 852186.


Generally people don’t want to be sitting in fuzzy environments any more. The food we do is quite serious and complicated, but it’s executed in a way that’s not fussy and is accessible to anybody.”

While many travellers still appreciate the finer things in life, when it comes to luxury travel, they now expect that the experience be personally enriching as well as sensually indulgent. What does this mean for hotel managers? Guests still want fine wines and rich fabric, but they want greater personalized attention. A study from global hotel consultancy HVS London found that the upcoming generation of travellers believe luxury means having unique, enriching life experiences.

Lifestyle trends that today’s guests want include an authentic local environment, food and cooking, wellness, and health.


Round up the family and join us at this year’s Isle of Wight Garlic Festival – the island’s unstoppable not-to-be-missed huge summer show, now in its 35th year.

There’s garlic galore of course, and this year’s expanded food theatre kitchen will feature BBC star chef and best-selling author, Valentine Warner, while on Sunday, we have everyone’s star baker Jane Beedle – from Britain’s hottest TV show, Great British Bake Off. Both will be demonstrating favourite recipes, signing books, chatting and maybe even posing for a selfie. They are supported all weekend by an array of local food people and talented chefs.

On the big Garlic Festival stage this year, we’ve booked classic 60’s and 70’s hitmakers, Marmalade. Their top ten hits include; Reflections of my life, Falling apart at the seams, Lovin’ things and the number one smash hit, Ob La Di Ob La Da.

As part of their nationwide tour, we have also secured the only Island date for The Quo Experience, the band that sounds and looks incredibly close to the real thing. The boys are guaranteed to have you rocking all over the Isle to your favourite Quo hits. As ever, the best of the Island’s local talent will be supporting, including our own fabulous Derek Sandy Band.

The Garlic Festival arena will feature non-stop live entertainment, including the return of The Vander Brothers new Quad wheel. These acrobats delight and amaze as they walk on the outside of the human hamster wheel at death defying height. As ever, we’ll have talented animals galore, and humans, with the ever popular Garlic games. Whatever the weather, the Garlic Festival is a great day out – with loads for everyone.

And he’s back! After a three year absence, Titan-the-Robot is here on both days.

With hot or cold food of all kinds, entertainment galore, the Island’s biggest marquees full of arts, crafts, and food businesses of every kind – and of course, dozens of Island charities raising thousands of pounds – it’s no wonder everyone, including the Times and the Telegraph call this ‘One of Britain’ best food shows.

David Holmes 07813 890221


The Royal Isle of Wight Agricultural Society launches new Gardening and Outdoor Living Area at 2017 Royal Isle of Wight County Show

This year’s Royal Isle of Wight County Show on 25th June is set to be bigger and better, with the launch of a brand-new area, encouraging us all to spend more time in the great outdoors.

The Gardening & Outdoor Living Area, sponsored by Jewsons, will have something for everyone, from gardening to mountain biking, for every pace of life and lots of advice on how to get more out of life in our beautiful countryside.

Jewsons General Manager for the Isle of Wight, Ron Bowler, explained their involvement,

“With Jewsons being such a well-established business with its roots in the Island culture, we feel it’s right that we support the 2017 Royal County Show and look forward to sponsoring the Garden and Outdoor Living Area.

We are sure the work done over the past few years by a dedicated team is the springboard to placing our County Show back on the map of county shows, showcasing the Isle of Wight and all that is has to offer from business to leisure.”

Taking inspiration from the world’s best gardening shows, 10 inspirational show gardens are being planned, created by local designers, organisations and charities to showcase their skills and inspire us all with ideas to take away and recreate at home.

The Gardening & Outdoor Living Area will also house the new, County Show Theatre space, which will host the Show’s ‘Gardeners Question Time’ and throughout the day a timetable of fascinating seminars, demonstrations and workshops.

With lots of extra trade stands offering all you might need to fully enjoy this year’s season and well beyond.

Graham Biss, County Show Chairman said “this new dedicated area dovetails extremely well with the existing activities at the County Show and responds to the feedback we received after last year’s show. We hope it allows local businesses to showcase their products and services and gives visitors to the show the opportunity to learn more about particular aspects of gardening and the varied outdoor activities which take place on the Island”.

Almost an event in its own right, Gardening & Outdoor Living is set to become one of the most popular areas of the County Show, now in its 118th year, as it continues to grow with audience expectations and deliver its legacy as one of the Islands premier events.


Editor Notes

Royal Isle of Wight Agricultural Society (RIWAS).

The RIWAS is a member led registered charity that works to:

* Support Island agriculture and the conservation of the natural environment

* Raise awareness and promote understanding of rural issues to all Island residents

* Offer financial support to help Island students to further their studies in agriculture, the natural environment and related subjects.

RIWAS arranges the Royal Isle of Wight County Show, the show where cattle, sheep and poultry come first. A fantastic day out for all the family, combining entertainment and fun with the opportunity to enjoy many aspects of Island country life and farming. Proceeds from the Show support the RIWAS Rural Careers Fund – a scheme which offers financial support to people aged under 25 (and exceptionally, older) and with a strong connection to the Isle of Wight. The scheme is intended to add value to the Isle of Wight’s farming and land-based industries by offering financial support to help young people gain relevant qualifications or skills.

There are two categories of award from the Fund:

Scholarships of up to £3,000 each are awarded annually.

Bursaries of up to £200 which are considered regularly throughout the year.

Isle of Wight Brewery launch Starboard – a new golden bitter for 2017

Goddards Brewery on the Isle of Wight will be launching Starboard!, an easy drinking 4% golden session ale this March. It’s a new recipe that combines English hops with Pale Ale and Cara malt to deliver a distinctive orangey flavour and a citrus aroma, with a wonderful hoppy finish.

Xavier Baker is the managing director of Goddards, “Balance is the key with a beer like Starboard! We had a good idea of the overall taste and what we wanted to achieve with the new recipe; aroma, body, mouthfeel, colour and strength. Within the different styles of ales, the 4% golden ale (known as a session beer) category is the biggest volume. We wanted to create a brand new exciting recipe to add to our classic range of ales. Using experience we can bring all of these together harmoniously.” The whole process was overseen by Goddards head brewer Nigel Eldridge.

Golden bitter is one of the UK’s most popular types of real ale and Starboard! will be well placed not only to satisfy this growing market, but also reflect the Isle of Wight’s long association with sailing. Sailors can be heard shouting “Starboard!” as a warning when manoeuvering at sea in close quarters with another boat. The established ‘right of way’ when under sail is given to boats on a starboard tack. The pump clip also features a starboard marker buoy which is distinguished by its flashing green light so people will see this beer coming.

Starboard! will be available locally on the Isle of Wight and across the country in cask and bottles during March.

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For any other details or questions please contact Lindsay Becker at Solent:, 01983 556844




Father’s Day delights on the Isle of Wight

It’s Father’s Day on June 19th so why not treat Dad to an overnight stay on the Isle of Wight where he can enjoy some great gift experiences?

He could learn about the restoration and maintenance of steam trains, relax and indulge in the Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea, pick up some tips on how to create the perfect coastal garden – and even dress-up as a scurvy sea-dog at the Island’s annual Shipwreck Isle celebrations!

Shipwreck Isle

Shiver me timbers and man the riggings m’hearties for Shipwreck Isle 2016! The pirate extravaga is returning to Appley Beach as part of the Festival of the Sea and will be even bigger and better than last year as Ryde seafront is transformed into ‘Shipwreck Isle’. Expect cannon demonstrations sword fighting and lots more swashbuckling adventures as the Island celebrates its nautical past with a fun-filled weekend for Dads of all ages.

Where: Appley Beach, Ryde, Isle of Wight.

When: Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June.

Cost: Free

More info:

Stay: The Royal Esplanade Hotel, pleasantly situated facing the Solent in the attractive seaside town of Ryde. Tel. 01983 562549,,

Father’s Day Workshop at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Steam trains… how do they keep going and how do we know how to repair them? Bring Dad along as the Island’s steam railway throws open its workshop doors and invites you to come and wander around and meet both the old hands and new apprentices who are being trained to do the work of a bygone era. Plus the chance to be transported by steam train through some of the Island’s countryside – and visit the Train Story Discovery Centre to see the impressive historic collection of  locomotives, Victorian and Edwardian carriages and other rare rolling stock.

Where: Isle of Wight Steam Railway, Havenstreet, near Ryde, Isle of Wight.

When: Sunday 19th June

Cost: On the gate prices: adult £13.00, child (5-15) £6.50, infant (0-4) free, family ticket £32.50 (2 Adults and 2 Children). If booked online: adult £11.50, child (5-15) £6.00, infant (0-4) free, family ticket £29.00. The prices include train rides. Please note, there is an extra charge for admission to the railway’s new Birds of Prey Centre.   More info:

Stay: Hotel Ryde Castle, the Esplanade, Ryde. Tel. 0845 6086040,

Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea

A great gift for gourmet Dads, this robust afternoon tea with a masculine slant includes Fish Finger Sandwich, Tartare Sauce, Quail Scotch Eggs, Roast Beef, Yorkie & Gravy, Pork & Apple Sausage Roll, Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Bagel, Pancetta & Potato Scone and Chicken Butter, followed by Boozy Trifle, plus a pint of George’s Brew or two halves of your choice.

Where: The George Hotel, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight.

When: Book the experience by calling the hotel for availability and they will reserve a date that suits you – note, 24 hours’ notice is required. The ‘Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea’ is served daily from 3pm to 5pm.

Cost: £26 per person, plus postage (or free e-mail voucher).

More Info: Email, tel. 01983 760331,

Stay: The George Hotel, a 17th Century townhouse enjoying a wonderful location nestling on the water’s edge between the castle and pier in the bustling harbour town of Yarmouth.

Design and inspiration with the Isle of Wight Coastal Gardener

Find out about which plants thrive in coastal conditions and learn how to create the best possible environment for your plants to flourish as the Coastal Gardener shares his ideas on designing and planting and offers advice about your own garden (please do bring along plans and or photographs of your garden). You will also visit his own coastal garden in Bembridge and take a short walk along the coast to see what’s thriving on the cliff edge and beach.

Where: This course will be run at the Nursery at Fakenham Farm, Eddington Road, St Helens, near Ryde, Isle of Wight.

When: Saturday 18th June 2016.10.30am to 3.30pm

Cost: £45.00 which includes all materials, equipment and seeds – please bring your own gloves if you like to wear them.
More info: To reserve your place please call/text 07977 550050 or email

Stay: The Spinnaker, a beautifully restored Edwardian hotel, set in the heart of the chic village of Bembridge. Tel. 01983 873572,

For full details about visiting the Isle of Wight, go to


For further information about The Isle of Wight, please contact:
Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight
07766 705672,


Bembridge Harbour Food Festival – Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 October 2015

Less than 3 weeks away – Feast on all that’s local from our land and sea

The first Bembridge Harbour Food Festival will be held over the weekend of Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th October 2015 with a central ‘Food Hub’ at the front of the Bembridge Sailing Club, Embankment Road, Bembridge, Isle of Wight PO35 5NR free parking is available on the Point with access to the show through the gate from the Tollgate. Many Bembridge, St Helens and Brading restaurants, pubs and cafés will be featuring  ‘Special dishes’ from their own premises, some details will be available from the Food Hub which will be open from 10:00 through to 17:00 on both Saturday and Sunday.

Sue McLagan says ‘The idea to hold a Food Festival is to showcase our area as an, all year round  destination for visitors, whether from the Island or the mainland, to extend the season. We not only have great ‘foodie’ establishments but the harbour, beaches, lovely countryside and many attractions and activities for the whole family’.

There will be Island foods for sale in the Food Hub as well as tasters prepared by local chefs, demonstrations ongoing and a bar run by Goddards Brewery and Eurovines. The Foodie establishments operating from their own premises will be promoted in the hub and a recipe/directory booklet will be available for sale with details of restaurants, special offers, recipes  etc. Visitors are encouraged to take one of the ‘trails’ around the area by foot or bike (bikes may be hired from Tacktisle Adventures) to visit Best Dressed Crab on Fisherman’s pontoon and other cafés and pubs though the area.

Entry is Free

For more information see our flyer attached.
Visit our website and Twitter – Harbour Festival @food_on_wight and Facebook – for updates and show specials.

Sue McLagan, Bembridge Harbour Food Festival, Contact: 01983 770769




The Restaurant at the Seaview Hotel, Isle of Wight awarded a coveted Michelin Bib Gourmand

The Michelin Guide 2016 has just been released and it’s very good news for the Isle of Wight as Head Chef Bruce Theobald has been won a Bib Gourmand at the Seaview Hotel. The news came via twitter when the Michelin Guide tweeted, ‘For the seafaring community a Bib Gourmand for the Seaview Hotel, Isle of Wight.’

Bruce took over as head chef in March 2014. Since then he has developed a Focus on Fish menu in the main restaurant priced at 3 courses for £28. His style is refreshingly unfussy with emphasis on creative flavour combinations, skilful preparation and delivered at a price that makes dining out affordable.

‘I believe that eating out well shouldn’t break the bank, so winning a Bib Gourmand is as good as it gets, a massive career highlight. There are so many people who are a part of this including Brian Gardener, I wish you were here to see this, and of course all our guests, where would we be without you – thank you!’

Brian Gardener sadly passed away earlier this year, his son Martin who now heads up the family business had this to say, ‘I am thrilled that Bruce and his team have been recognised by Michelin, this is an outstanding achievement and my dad would have been proud.’

Bruce is also in some very good company as Tom Kerridge won a Bib for The Coach in Marlow.

The Bib Gourmand award, created by Michelin in 1997, is given to inspectors’ favourite restaurants who offer high-quality products and services at good value for money.

There are now 155 Bib Gourmand restaurants in the UK, nearly half of which are in London. The Restaurant at the Seaview Hotel is one of 25 new entrants in England and the only Isle of Wight venue to be recognised with a Michelin award. Michelin have previously stated that Bibs are now rightly considered by readers to be as important as Stars.

The Restaurant at the Seaview Hotel is open Tuesday-Saturday throughout the winter serving A Focus on Fish menu – priced at 3 courses for £28

A set lunch is available Tuesday- Saturday priced at 2 courses for £17, 3 courses for £19.95

There are also 2 bars serving pub classics including fish and chips and the famous crab ramekin

For more information please email or call 07449054368

Downloadable picture of Head Chef Bruce Theobald

Sample Focus on Fish menu


Tourism chiefs on the Isle of Wight have unveiled a new Carousel and Taste of the Wight retail outlet at The Needles Landmark Attraction.

It’s part of a £350,000 investment by the site’s owners Heritage Great Britain plc and is being hailed as a significant boost to the Island’s tourism offer.

Improvements at the iconic landmark, which has more than half a million visitors every year, also include a refurbished Marconi monument, a new 4D film and improved signage.

Councillor Shirley Smart, Executive Member Economy and Tourism, Isle of Wight Council, said:

“We welcome this investment as a sign of confidence by the site’s owners as we look forward to welcoming a record number of visitors to the Island.

“This certainly adds to the offer and there is no doubt that the Isle of Wight is a must visit destination for tourists.”

David Thornton, Chief Executive, Visit Isle of Wight, said:

“The Needles is the most popular landmark for visitors to the Island but with many other high quality attractions, including award-winning beaches and a first class shopping offer, there really is something for everyone to enjoy.”

Marino Zanti, General Manager, The Needles Landmark Attraction, said:

“It’s been an encouraging start to the new season with some positive feedback already about all of the improvements at The Needles Landmark Attraction.

“We’re delighted to unveil the new Carousel which we hope will bring back memories of the traditional fairground and people will enjoy for many, many years to come.”

For more information about The Needles Landmark Attraction visit, follow on Twitter @VisitTheNeedles or


For further information please contact Richard Clein on 0151 362 0023 or 07803 729133.

Richard Clein MCIPR MPRCA Director

Boxed Off Communications Ltd

Box Studios, 17 Boundary Street,

Liverpool, L5 9UB

0151 362 0023 | 07803 729133

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Treat Your Mum with a Mother’s Day Weekend Getaway on The Isle of Wight

Return Wightlink car ferry travel and two night’s stay with breakfast at Eversley Hotel for £99.50 per person

Wightlink Ferries, the ferry company of choice for those travelling to and from the Isle of Wight, is offering all those yet to make Mother’s Day plans the perfect opportunity to surprise their mums with an indulgent weekend on the Isle of Wight.

Nestled within the picturesque Ventnor Park, The Eversley Hotel is the ideal accommodation option for families looking to escape the hustle and bustle of mainland life this Mother’s Day. Two nights stay (14th-15th March) and breakfast for just £99.50 per person.

To book this deal, please call 01983 852244 or email

Whilst on the Isle of Wight, there are plenty of different activities to choose from that will cater to the preferences of all mums.

For the adventurous mum…

The Isle of Wight offers an abundance of exhilarating activities. There are many cycling and walking paths sprawling across 500 miles of stunning coastline and scenic countryside. For mums after an adrenalin fuelled adventure, there is the opportunity to give kite surfing a try at Windstalker Island Kite Sports, or for those who love to complete a challenge, Goodleaf Tree Climbing presents the perfect opportunity to take on a new obstacle.

For the cultural mum…

From exploring Osborne house, the estate that was once home to Queen Victoria and her family, or Carisbrooke Castle, the fortress that resisted a siege by the French and Spanish Armada, there are many historic spots to enjoy. A stroll around Ventnor Botanic Gardens or the Island’s culture hub, Ventnor, is also ideal for those visitors looking to add a dose of culture to their getaway.

For the pampered mum…

Mums in need of some well-deserved relaxation can head to one of the Island’s many spas to indulge in a variety of beauty treatments. From delighting in a massage at the Lakeside Park Hotel, to enjoying the hot tub and sauna at Utopia spa, there are many tranquil havens to choose from that would make mum’s feel well and truly pampered.

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, there is no better time to book this getaway and show appreciation to mums in need of a weekend full of indulgence. And with Wightlink’s frequent car ferry service taking car passengers from Portsmouth or Lymington to the Isle of Wight in just over 40 minutes, families don’t have to travel far to feel miles away this Mother’s Day.


More information can be found at

For more information about Wightlink Ferries, please contact:
Sophy Norris 01392 248 934
Belinda Hallworth 0207 886 8456
Nadia Fidler 0207 886 8457

Wightlink – Part of Island Life

Wightlink is the leading cross-Solent ferry operator carrying almost five million holidaymakers and Islanders across the Solent to the Isle of Wight every year. Nine ferries on three routes provide Island-wide coverage and complete 48,000 sailings a year giving Islanders an easy and frequent service to the mainland, and tourists an accessible way to enjoy a taste of Island life.

You can step off the train from London, hop on a Wightlink catamaran and be on the Island in just 22 minutes, the car ferries take around 40 minutes from Portsmouth and Lymington and sailings between Portsmouth and Fishbourne run 24 hours a day. On board, passengers and drivers alike can relax in the lounges and enjoy some refreshments before arriving on the Island to enjoy the range of attractions, events and experiences that make the Isle of Wight a leading destination for tourists.

The opening of the Hindhead Tunnel in Surrey has cut journey times to Portsmouth from Greater London. By contrast, Wightlink’s port at Lymington is reached by an attractive drive through the scenic New Forest.

Wightlink has a long and proud history of supporting holidaymakers and local people alike. It works closely with the tourism organisation Visit Isle of Wight to promote the Island as one of the UK’s top visitor attractions. Closer to home, the company backs Island charities, arts groups and sports teams to the tune of £350,000 a year.


Day Return: Car + 7 passengers from £39.90*
Short Breaks (2-4 nights): Car + 7 passengers from £54.50*
*Terms & Conditions apply, subject to availability, valid for sailings 08:00 – 09:59 and 17:01 – 19:00

Day Return: Car + 7 passengers from £39.00*
Short Breaks (2-4 nights): Car + 7 passengers from £54.50*
*Terms & Conditions apply, subject to availability, valid for sailings 08:00 – 09:59 and 17:01 – 19:00

Book Early, Be Flexible, Save Money

More information can be found at

For more information about Wightlink Ferries, please contact:
Sophy Norris 01392 248 934
Belinda Hallworth 0207 886 8456
Nadia Fidler 0207 886 8457


As part of Taste of the Wight’s ( new partnership with Visit Isle of Wight, Solent Co will be publishing a new food and drink blog on,the Island’s most high profile website.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said: “Local food and drink from the Island are becoming an increasingly important part of our overall marketing and promotion. A recent press visit we organised with Jamie magazine and subsequent feature really highlighted the abundance and variety of what’s on offer to our visitors. Working with Taste of the Wight will provide higher quality content to the hundreds of thousands of visitors that use our website before and during their visit to the Isle of Wight.”

Lindsay Becker, editor of Taste of the Wight said: “We are delighted to announce an exciting new partnership with Visit Isle of Wight, the Island’s official marketing organisation. As well as working together at exciting events such as the recent ‘Wightminster’ showcase for Island food, at the Palace of Westminster, all advertisers will now benefit from a premium online listing on – the website that has been topping records for online audiences.”

In future, Visit Isle of Wight will be collaborating with Taste of the Wight to provide higher quality content to thousands of visitors that use its website. The team at Taste are in the process of reviewing and updating the website’s existing listings and features, as well as producing a regular food and drink news stories.

Click here ( to see the latest blog news from Taste of the Wight. If you would like to submit your news and contributions, please contact Lindsay at [].