2008 will see a historic mill building at Oswaldtwistle Mills undergo extensive regeneration – transforming it into a 14,000 square foot specialist Food Hall and Restaurant. The development will incorporate a striking stone-built glass-fronted orangery and spacious vaulted interior and will bring over twenty new jobs to the area and generate £3 million annual turnover for the region.
Since 2006, visitors to Oswaldtwistle Mills have experienced the ‘Northern Ingredient Taste Test’ – with their focus on quality, locally sourced products, the dedicated family-run businesses have impressed gourmets the region over. ‘The plan’, says Boyd Hargreaves, Director of Oswaldtwistle Mills, ‘was always to develop The Northern Ingredient into a unique gourmet visitor attraction. We look forward to welcoming the new and exciting enterprises into their specially-built Food Hall.’
In addition to the already treasured Crumbly Cheese Deli, Ye Olde Sausage Shop (recently celebrated on Granada Tonight) and wine and beer experts Rainhall Drinks Company – what can you expect to find in The Northern Ingredient Food Hall? Picture this; an on site bakery, a smoothie bar, fruiterer, artisan smoked fish, speciality fudge and chocolates, a rotisserie, sandwich deli and fruit vinegars and exquisite oils from the cask provided by the internationally renowned Vom Fass (often called a sweet shop for grown-ups) and previously only available in Selfridges and Harrods. And, yes, all with tasting and sampling areas.
What about the eye-catching orangery – this will house an award-winning regional foods bistro, opening both day and evening. ‘Thyme’ Restaurant has already won the accolade of ‘Best Restaurant in Lancashire’ as voted for by the Hi-Life Diners Club. Sourcing 90% of their produce locally, they are keen to bring the best of the County to Oswaldtwistle Mills. ‘Thyme’ will host gourmet evenings and foodies will be delighted to know that customer tables will be placed in the kitchen, so you can eat, ‘behind the scenes.’
At the hub of this celebration of local produce will be a cookery demonstration theatre which will host cooking competitions, courses and food exhibition road shows. Philippa James, regular guest on BBC Radio Lancashire and self-confessed ‘crazy about good food,’ will bring her lively, inspiring enthusiasm to the Food Hall in a series of cookery school events.
2008 is a great year for local food – it has been designated The Year of Food and Drink, Taste 08, by the Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board. Oswaldtwistle Mills plans to take the baton of food tourism and run with it – during and long after 2008.
‘With over a million visitors through our doors last year, we’ve come a long way since we sold detergent as ‘The Bubble Factory’ back in 1991,’ comments Boyd Hargreaves, this exciting new development also gives us a great opportunity to improve our existing site.’
Proposed improvements include a new main entrance for visitors, an Information Point; improved parking; a pedestrian zebra crossing and a mini roundabout to calm traffic speeds. Extensive new landscaping completes the picture.
The Food Hall is an important part of the ‘real food revival’; food with less ingredients and more taste, locally sourced, freshly and simply prepared. In short, the Northern Ingredient Food Hall will offer all this – it will be Lancashire’s seven-day-a-week food-lovers paradise!