We're hosting the launch breakfast of the Melksham Food and Drink Festival, 2010, on Thursday morning. We're a business hotel and training centre, and we've espoused the policy of providing a healthy breakfast, using local produce where possible, rather than providing a style traditional English Breakfast.
Why do we serve such a breakfast?
The Traditional English Breakfast was a high fat / high energy day starter for us when we were mostly manual workers - a coal miner could burn around 5000 calories per day [ref]
, where I need (according to a calculator at walking.about.com
) just over 2000 calories, and others in sedetary jobs may need as few as 1500. So to serve such a menu to guests who regularly spend a lot of time staying at places such as Well House Manor
would be doing them something of a dis-service. I know from my own (personal) viewpoint that a fryup is nice occasionally, but day in, day out when away it's just too much ... and it leaves me languid and lethargic when I should be on my peak form giving training courses. Our guests do need a good breakfast to set them up well for the morning - and we provide that - but they do not need something that's going to push them to overeating and obesity, and feel they have to eat it every day because someone has gone to the trouble to prepare it, and because they have paid for it!
Locally grown, locally produced and locally supplied products are great for three reasons. Firstly, because locally grown and produced products tend to have a lower transportation carbon footprint than products which come halfway around the world. Secondly, local products help other local businesses, and the people who work for them - we would much rather support someone in Melksham rather than someone in Bristol, someone in the South West rather than someone elsewhere in the UK, someone working in Great Britain rather than someone from overseas, and where products have to be imported (and to provide a good selection of fruit in the winter, for example, that is something we have to do) we would far rather it came from the near Continent by lorry than be flown intercontinental to us. Thirdly, because local food reaches us quicker and will be fresher - and fresh food retains its goodness and taste!
For the Food Festival launch, we're not going out of our way to serve things that we wouldn't serve to regular hotel or course guests. We want to show businesses who haven't used us in the past what their visitors can expect if they stay with us, and we want to show people from Melksham what guests at their special events who stay with us will get. The scale on Thursday will be rather larger, and that will lead to a somewhat wider than normal choice; there's a difference between catering for 8 and for 30!
So ... very local suppliers for this breakfast are from Bromham, Broughton Gifford, Hilperton, Melksham and Warminster. And products originate from Wiltshire, Somerset, Hampshire and Dorset amongst other places.
(written 2010-01-19, updated 2010-01-22)
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