Controversial critic Sitwell hails Northamptonshire as the food capital of the UK

Northamptonshire's own William Sitwell has hailed the county as the food capital of the UK.
Northamptonshire's own William Sitwell has hailed the county as the food capital of the UK.

The controversial restaurant critic known for his turns on Masterchef and views on vegans has hailed Northamptonshire as the country's "most foodie county".

William Sitwell has said that his home county has a greater combination of ingredients, producers and food businesses than anywhere else in the country - even Cornwall.

Never one to shy away from controversy, Mr Sitwell recently resigned from his post as editor of Waitrose Food magazine after suggesting it run a series on "killing vegans".

Today his comments turned a few heads at the launch of the Northamptonshire Year of Food and Drink campaign - aimed at promoting the county as the country's premier food location.

"Cornwall has great pasties, Lincolnshire has sausages and Yorkshire has rhubarb," he said at the event at Rockingham Castle.

"Derbyshire boasts its Bakewell Tart, there are Melton Mowbray pies in Leicestershire and great cheeses in Somerset, while counties like Kent and Hampshire produce wonderful wines.

"Across Britain, we are becoming a fabulous nation of food and drink. But when you analyse the output of the food and drink sector of Northamptonshire – from the 3.5 billion biscuits made each year by Weetabix to the fact that 95 per cent of British householders own a product containing a herb or spice from British Pepper & Spice – not to mention hundreds of great pubs, restaurants, small producers and drinks firms in between - you can see that Northamptonshire wins the food Battle of Britain."

At the launch, the restaurant critic pointed out a series of facts about Northamptonshire to back up his claim.

Weetabix makes 70 million biscuits a week at its Burton Latimer factory with one box sold every second.

Warner’s, the internationally award-winning craft gin distillers founded in 2012, started on the family farm in Harrington with just one gin and now proudly produces eight flavours. The brand is largely accredited with starting the 'pink gin craze'.

And guests at The Ritz and The Savoy tuck into chocolates made in Brackley by Belflair Chocolates.

The county also boasts over 20 food and drink festivals and fairs throughout the year – attracting tens of thousands of visitors to the county from across the country.

The ‘Northamptonshire Year of Food and Drink’ is part of the Northamptonshire, Britain’s Best Surprise campaign, which launched in 2017 to promote the county as a tourist destination.

The food initiative will take the form of a new web campaign promoting dining venues, producers and food festivals in the county. It will be coupled with a new loyalty card scheme, enabling supporters of local food and drink to take advantage of discounts at participating venues.

For more details on the ‘Northamptonshire Year of Food and Drink’, including registering for the loyalty card, visit www.northamptonshiresurprise.com/food