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Lancashire's International Food Award

Wednesday, 21st October 2009

Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board (LBTB), chose an internationally diverse cluster of recently accredited restaurants in Rossendale for the launch of Taste Lancashire International, a brand new category in its successful Taste Lancashire Quality accreditation scheme.

Taste Lancashire is a quality marque awarded to places to eat which provide a consistently high quality dining experience and show a commitment to the use of local produce. The scheme was developed by LBTB in partnership with Quality in Tourism, the assessors for the national accommodation quality scheme, and now boasts around 120 members ranging from cafes and pubs to fine dining restaurants. All businesses receive a certificate and plaque to inform customers of their award and are also eligible for a package of marketing benefits through being part of the scheme.

There are two types of award - Highest Quality Assured is awarded to businesses which achieve an overall score of 80% or above; Quality Assured is awarded to businesses which achieve an overall score of 60%-79%. The assessment is made through a mystery visit from an assessor who scores the business on a number of factors including, cleanliness, friendliness, service and food quality.

Mike Wilkinson, Chief Executive of Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board said, “Visitors want to make sure that they are spending their hard earned money on quality leisure activities, which is why LBTB actively promotes award-winning places to eat where this level of quality and service is assured.

“The importance of food and drink to the economy was shown by the success of our Taste Lancashire 08 Year of Food and Drink which generated over £2 million of visitor spend in the county and prompted 68% of visitors to say that the promotion of food and drink would encourage them to return to Lancashire.

“The next logical step is to broaden this to the extensive range of world food establishments that have built their businesses in Lancashire, making our offer more diverse and appealing to the visitor.”

Taste Lancashire International is a new category in the scheme designed for places to eat which provide international cuisine. This category celebrates the local diversity of cuisine in Lancashire, recognising all types from Indian to Italian, Spanish to Mexican.  Although consideration is given to ingredients which cannot be locally grown such as spices and herbs these businesses are encouraged to source produce locally where possible.

Rossendale in Lancashire, already famous for the World Gravy Wrestling Championships, is the first place in Britain to have a cluster of restaurants with the Taste Lancashire International award. There are five in all; Nino’s Italian Restaurant has achieved Taste Lancashire Highest Quality Assured;  Mario’s, Casa Tapas, Ashoka and Red Chilli restaurants have all achieved Taste Lancashire Quality Assured.

Nicky Mulvihill  from Nino’s  said “The Taste Lancashire International award is a superb award for us to achieve, not only does it reflect on the excellent food, it also recognises the hard work and effort of the staff in making sure all our customers enjoy the experience from the time they arrive at the restaurant to when they leave”.

The Taste Quality Scheme, pioneered in Lancashire, is now being rolled out in Cheshire and Merseyside. Discussions with VisitEngland are ongoing about adopting the scheme as the nationally recognised quality marque for places to eat in the country.

Jason Freezer, VisitEngland’s Sustainability Project Manager, said “Visitors are increasingly being reminded of England’s tradition of good quality, home-grown food and drink. Regions like Lancashire where the distinctiveness and quality of local produce is celebrated and promoted are benefiting from an increase in food-savvy visitors to their foodie destinations.

“Following the success of the Taste Lancashire Quality Scheme we are delighted to be working with Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board on developing this new, exciting initiative.”

For a full list of all Taste Lancashire accredited establishments click here

<<ENDS>>

Media enquiries: Anna Izza, Communications Executive, Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board on 01257 226614 or aizza@lbtbltd.com.

Picture shows: LBTB Chair, Lesley Lloyd with recipients of the new Taste Lancashire Award

LtoR Ashoka, Nino’s, Casa Tapas. Rossendale

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For more information, practical advice and support, call Marketing Lancashire on:

01772 426450.