Enjoy local food at home
Bring the stunning countryside of the Chilterns AONB into your home by cooking dishes that are homegrown, with local flavours or locally sourced produce. From artisan bread to ale, venison to homegrown wine, organic cheese to delicious lamb, there is something for everyone to try.
Enjoy products that can be served straight to the table to bring the outside in, and others that will heighten flavour and texture in your cooking. You’ll also help to combat climate change, too: products that haven’t travelled far from farm to table have a lower carbon footprint than those you might find in a supermarket, transported from the continent and beyond.
There are many ways to enjoy local food and drink in the Chilterns through pubs and restaurants, farmers’ markets, farm shops, and foodie tours and experiences. We are encouraging visitors and residents alike to shop local and enjoy local produce, so that we don’t lose the independent shops which give our market towns and villages their character. We showcase our local producers and foodie market towns, and organise Chilterns Food & Drink Festivals.
The Chilterns Recipe Book: Cook excellent, local food in the comfort of your own home
Profile: Rebecca Fleckney is the author of the Chilterns Recipe Book
Rebecca Fleckney is an award-winning television producer whose passion for local and seasonal food led her and a group of volunteers into founding Wigginton Community Shop in Hertfordshire, in 2018. This ignited a fire in her to learn more about the wonderful food and drink produced in the Chilterns. As a result, she recently authored the Chilterns Recipe Book, showcasing the region’s best ingredients and the people who lovingly make them. The book highlights Rebecca’s ethos that eating locally sourced food is better for us and the planet (and often better for our wallets too!). In her spare time, Rebecca loves cooking Geoff’s Venison Bolognese (see below) and being with the family in the Chilterns’ countryside, with Ashridge, in particular, full of fond, childhood memories.More about Rebecca
Profile: Geoff Wickett is a local stalker and runs Chiltern Venison
Local deer manager, Geoff Wickett, set up Chiltern Venison to supply his local wild venison to farm shops, restaurants and businesses within the Chilterns. Lockdown reduced commuting to his day job, allowing him to expand his stalking hobby; in turn, leading to more landowners requesting his assistance and increasing his supply. Certified as a registered food establishment, with a 5-star hygiene rating, he identified ways of selling to consumers. Starting small with Henley and Marlow Farmers’ Markets, and Peterley Manor Farm, he was soon able to expand to other local shops, restaurants and charcuterie. Now, deer management is a part of his life that provides a long-term, sustainable, self-funding hobby.Learn more at Chiltern Venison
Find out more about deer management in the Chilterns.
- 1kg minced venison
- 250g-300g streaky bacon or pancetta
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 glass of red wine. (2 if you count the chef’s).
- 2 large garlic cloves finely sliced
- 1-2 carrot(s) finely diced
- 1-2 stick(s) celery finely sliced
- 400g tin of chopped plum tomatoes
- 250ml tomato passata
- 300ml beef or pork stock
- 2 bay leaves
- A few sprigs of herbs including thyme, basil, parsley, marjoram or oregano
- 1 tablespoon cream or a large knob of butter (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 500g fresh linguine, cooked then tossed in butter (optional)
- Fresh Parmesan cheese
- Chopped fresh parsley
- In a large frying pan, heat half of your olive oil to a medium heat and fry the bacon/pancetta. You are rendering some of the fat out and this will add to the texture and flavour because venison mince is so lean.
- Next add your venison mince and brown it at a medium temperature so
as not to create tight little nuggets of overcooked meat. If your pan is not big enough, then just cook it in several batches, transfer to a casserole dish when done.
- Next, deglaze the pan with the red wine and add the juices to the casserole dish.
- Wipe the frying pan clean, add the remainder of the olive oil and heat gently.
- Add the finely chopped onion, carrot and celery, ‘sweat’ (by putting a lid on) until soft and translucent. Add the garlic minutes before removing from the heat, so as to avoid browning it.
- Now add the tomatoes and passata; turn up the heat so it all bubbles merrily and stir occasionally. Once reduced and thickened, add the tomato sauce to the meat along with the stock and herbs tied in a bouquet/muslin so that they can be lifted out at the end.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for an hour, stirring occasionally. By now it should have a thick rich sauce. If so desired, for extra richness, you could stir in cream or butter at this point or leave that for glazing the pasta.
- Boil the pasta in plenty of well salted water until al dente, drain and return to the pan.
- Ladle the Bolognese over the spaghetti and mix in the casserole before serving, ensuring that the pasta is well coated. Garnish with Parmesan and chopped parsley.
Promoting sustainable tourism and business
The Chilterns AONB is one of the most popular and accessible protected landscapes in the country. Visitors benefit the local economy, support local businesses and initiatives – from cafés to craft workshops – and help care for our landscape through donations and volunteering. But too many visitors can bring pressures too. Some countryside sites are fragile habitats and sensitive to high numbers of visitors. Residents and those working in the Chilterns also feel the effects of large numbers of people arriving in the area’s ‘hot spots’.
The Chilterns Conservation Board (CCB) helps both residents and visitors to enjoy the Chilterns’ countryside, while respecting and protecting this precious landscape. We work closely with tourism organisations, businesses and communities to develop and promote sustainable tourism initiatives.