What with all the summer festivals, and the summer holidays fast approaching, we had a look at Ali Ray’s Pitch Up Eat Local book. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was sent this book, but what it contains is much more than just recipes.
To give it its full title Pitch Up and Eat Local, this book is part navigational guide and part recipe book. It contains details of campsites from each region, and where to go to source local ingredients. Then it also tells you how to cook them, with mouthwatering suggestions around the country. There are also one or two suggestions for eating out around the country. These focus on places serving fresh local produce.
Recipes focus on using local produce collected from farm shops or farmer’s markets near where you’re staying, and include some camping classics like corn on the cob, as well as some edgier and more interesting ideas like scallop, chorizo and Welshmen’s caviar butty, or crab linguine. Assuming that readers are well prepared campers who bring everything necessary with them, it does give a few words of advice in the intro, regarding which types of barbecue to use, and using gas cookers.
If you were purchasing this book, I’d like to think you were pretty serious about camping or caravanning, which I can’t say I am these days. That said, when we do go away for weekends it’ll be a useful directory of places to visit.
The book is divided into regions, starting with the south west and working up to the highlands. Each region is broken down into counties, and some of the county’s top campsites. These may have been selected for their views, or for their high standards, but each one has been visited, and Ali Ray gives pretty honest accounts of them. For example, “Being just a flat campsite in a field may mean that [this site] doesn’t have the bells and whistles of other sites, but what it does have is very high standards.”
Within each county, there is a list of farmer’s markets, attractions and places that serve very good local food. The team have obviously worked hard to find out about the places offering the most fresh, organic and clean living food, which is no mean feat. Each market, pick your own site or attraction gets at least a paragraph, explaining what they do that makes them special, so you can make an informed decision.
Some places are reputed to have friendly locals with whom you can chat and get to know more about the produce, which demonstrates that Ali Ray and the team have actually been there.
Finding locally sourced produce is really important to me, as I am a die hard supporter of Cornwall. However, when we recently visited Dorset we were amazed at the excellent price we got on the crab claws from the beach at Lulworth Cove. This local knowledge can be hard to find, and Pitch Up Eat Local has it all in one handy guide.
Published by AA Publishing, this book came out in May, and is available to buy in local bookshops (RRP £16.99) or on Amazon for £14.88. A kindle version is also available on Amazon for £9.99.
Suited to people who regularly camp, travel or enjoy locally sourced food, aside from its overall premise, this book has some finger lickin’ recipes and excellent photography. So if getting around the UK is your thing, and being true to local food and provenance is important, Pitch Up Eat Local is suited to you.