The Dispensary Kitchen is a modern venue tucked away just behind Boots, next to Dinghams and backing onto the Cathedral grounds in Winchester. I once stumbled across it with my son and thought I must return one day. My husband and I stopped by for dinner and were 'delighted' with our choice. The environment is trendy and clean, the staff are quirky and approachable, the proprietor and chef ‘Vanity’ is knowledgeable and friendly and the food was out of this world. They change the menu every Sunday for the subsequent week. Vanity informed us that staff are taken out on Sundays to discuss the following week’s menu, a testament to the observable rapport between all staff. The dishes are smaller and it is recommended you have 2-3 each (wish I could have had them all). We tasted the following (and I cannot wait to go back and taste another weeks menu – I think it's great and fresh that it's ever changing!!!!)

 

Thrive Cafe and Wellbeing is vegetarian and vegan cafe located at Olivers Battery,in the suburbs of Winchester. It was set up by founder Amanda Ridgley, a Yoga Therapist and Mindfulness Teacher with a passion for nutritious food that supports a balanced healthy diet. The majority of the menu is made fresh on the premises every morning using some of the best local ingredients. The cafe only uses organic milk, has a no refined sugar policy and engages with the community by way of cooking with supplies from local allotment holders and locally foraged ingredients. Community is one of the cafe's main objectives as Amanda believes wellbeing is not only achieved through great food but also having a place with which to connect and meet like-minded people in the community. Thrive Cafe and Wellbeing is making a real statement about what we should be eating, making healthier food more accessible and catering for a growing population with intolerances and specific dietary needs. The cafe also has a programme of wellbeing workshops, creative and music events and is available for hire.

Barlow's have been our family butcher for years and I have no need to look elsewhere.
Whilst I am a vegetarian, my family are not. I am not a self-righteous vegetarian and actually advocate a little meat in the diet if it suits the individual. However, I do believe it is vital to know 'where' your meat is from and how the animals are reared. Edwin is so helpful when I ask questions. He has looked into sulphite/nitrate free sausages for me and even looked up and wrote down the vegetarian cheeses they stock. I have yet to broach the topic of 'vegan' cheese but I have no doubt he will embrace the question in good spirit. Barlow's are exceptional butchers with extensive knowledge, immaculate premises and a sense of humour. Be sure to mention me when you pop in (not because I'm on commission or anything but merely because they deserve the recognition and your custom!)

     

Winchester Farmers Market is one of the largest farmers’ markets in the country. Held in the heart of this historic cathedral city, there are often over 80 producers attending this twice monthly market selling meat, game, goat meat, veal and buffalo meat, cheese, milk, cream, ice cream, honey, breads, cakes, fresh and smoked fish and MOST IMPORTANTLY a large variety of SEASONAL and LOCAL fruits and vegetables.    

Winchester Farmers' Market takes place on the second and final Sunday of each month with the addition of some Saturdays a year in Winchester Cathedral Close. It is officially the largest Farmers' Market in the UK (95 stalls) and was voted best in the country by the Guardian Food Magazine.

You have to be organised with your weekly menu to fully make the most of the fresh seasonal produce but once you have discovered your favourite stalls and traders you will be sure to make that extra effort.

Fee's bees are our local honey producer based in Olivers Battery. Fiona and her husband Jason began bee keeping as a hobby and have progressed to produce the finest honey ( in my opinion) in the area. Local honey is an excellent support for hay fever sufferers. The theory behind it is similar to that of immunotherapy. It is assumed that local bees are exposed to the same air born pollen as we are and therefore an element of it goes into the honey they produce. Consuming this over time reduces your immune system's tendency to overreact to the allergen.