Buckfast Abbey Summer Food & Craft Fair


Located just half a mile from the busy A38 Expressway, midway between Exeter and Plymouth, Buckfast Abbey sits amid a tranquil area of breathtaking natural beauty on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. This hospitable community of Benedictine monks has a long tradition of locally sourced food, producing their own food to enable them to live self-sufficiently.

Honey produced from Buckfast Abbey’s very own collection of beehives is a firm favourite with the Monastery’s resident monks. Indeed, there is a long history of supporting bee populations, with resident monk and head beekeeper at Buckfast Abbey from 1919 to 1991, Brother Adam, becoming world renowned for his work in developing a hardier breed of bee than its predecessors with a better temperament – the Buckfast BeeTM. Today, Buckfast Abbey has a gentle approach to sustaining its bee populations, focusing on bee welfare and producing a small amount of honey for the monastery’s community, alongside teaching bee keepers how to manage their hives with care and a gentle hand.

The lavender garden, one of three themed gardens at the monastery and often abuzz with bees going about their daily tasks, is home to a unique collection of over 100 varieties of the highly fragranced plant. Lavender also has many culinary uses, but remember, a little goes a long way if you don’t want your food to be overly fragranced and end up tasting like soap!

Synonymous with offering a warm welcome and serving high quality, home-cooked food using local ingredients, the Grange Restaurant and Tea Room at Buckfast Abbey is also the headquarters of the Summer Food and Craft Fair. Taking place on Saturday 6th July 2019, visitors can savour a wonderful array of locally produced food, including fudge, tea, cheese, chillies, gin, cakes and much more.

While you’re there, why not take the chance to hear from some of the region’s top chefs and learn some tips to give you culinary inspiration for cooking at home? Hosted by Michelin-starred chef, Peter Gorton, the programme of demonstrations runs from 10.30am to 3.30pm. Make sure you don’t miss our very own Jim Fisher, Head Chef / Tutor and Co-owner of Exeter Cookery School, who will be on stage at 11.15am giving an entertaining demonstration of how to make fresh pasta.

If you’ve always wanted to give pasta making a try – and may even have been gifted a pasta machine that is now sitting idle, gathering dust at the top of a kitchen cupboard – why not book onto one of Exeter Cookery School’s popular half day pasta making courses – where you can learn how to create a filled ravioli worthy of a Masterchef appearance. However, if you really mean business, you can now learn how to make perfect pasta with none other than the renowned TV Chef and authentic Italian Cookery expert, Valentina Harris.

Valentina is the youngest of a large Anglo-Italian family of gourmets dating back hundreds of years, who has written over 40 books on Italian food. She has a passion for seasonal local produce served in the true Italian way – stripping away any fuss and taking the very best care of high-quality ingredients. We are very happy she will be teaching courses not just on pasta, but also on Venetian, Tuscan and Sicilian cuisine, rice, gnocchi and Christmas gift making.

The scent of lavender may well transport Jim and his wife Lucy back to their first cookery school in the Dordogne, home to plains of lavender fields. When their daughter Jenny was 8, they took the plunge and moved to France, taking their time to find the perfect spot for their school. The locals were more than a little bemused at the idea of an Englishman teaching people to cook in France, but this didn’t stop Jim and Lucy building their dream school. Cook In France taught students from all over the world, and when after 15 years the family decided it was time to come home, it gave them strong foundations for their new venture, Exeter Cookery School.

Situated in a beautifully converted warehouse on Exeter quayside, the sophisticated waterside venue offers a wide range of cookery courses developed from Jim’s experience cooking alongside Rick Stein in Padstow, Alistair Little in Notting Hill, Tony Tobin of Ready, Steady, Cook fame, and reaching the semi-finals of Masterchef. He enjoys nothing more than helping other people become confident cooks, and will be demystifying how to make pasta during his demo at Buckfast Abbey. Jim’s style is fun and relaxed with cheffy tips and tricks thrown in… he can’t resist getting into the chemistry of cooking to help you understand what works and (perhaps just as importantly) what doesn’t.

For full details on all of the courses on offer at Exeter Cookery School visit our course calendar. We look forward to welcoming you soon.