Devon's best food and drink experiences revealed for summer

Salcombe Brewery Co's drinks one of Devon's best food and drink experiences

Food Drink Devon, a membership of more than 350 food and drink producers, hospitality and retailer members, suggests some of the highlights from the county to enjoy this summer. Want to learn more about your favourite Devon food and drink, meet the producers, taste their creations, make your own and learn some new skills? Whatever your favourite tipple or pastime, there's a masterclass or guided tasting to suit everyone. Dip into chocolate making. Explore the spirit world. Get hands-on in the kitchen with some serious cookery skills. Dust down the barbecue and learn how to cook on fire or spend a family day planting seeds and exploring nature.

For wine lovers
Most, if not all, vineyards are delighted to show you around their little patch of heaven and take you on a guided tasting through their vines and wines. Huxbear Vineyard in Chudleigh offers a walking tour where the owner, Lucy, will talk you through the story of Huxbear, their vineyard calendar and winemaking processes. You'll learn lots in around 90 minutes, followed by a free tasting. Non-walking tours are also available on request and are suitable for people with limited mobility.

Torview Vineyard, near Beaworthy, goes a step further and lets you get hands-on at their Winemaking Days. They run a Red and a Sparking version and your experience is spread over a few days, several months apart depending on the wine. This year's Red Winemaking experience is almost sold out, but there's space on the upcoming Sparkling experience.

Heron Farm Vineyard near Honiton runs Vineyard Tours which also take in their orchards, to learn about apple juice making, and their Kitchen Garden and Gin Orchard topped off with a tasting back at the Heron Farm Kitchen & Café.

Sandridge Barton Wines, home of award-winning Sharpham Wine, near Stoke Gabriel offers several different types of tasting experience, from casual self-guided options to in-depth guided tastings and tours for those wishing to learn more about the processes they use in their sustainable vineyard and winery.

Lyme Bay Winery near Axminster offers private guided tasting sessions in their Cellar Door, where they'll talk you through each wine, where the grapes are grown, how it's made and give you a few tips for buying wine. You'll leave with Winemaker's Notes on each of the wines sampled.

Want to delve deeper into wine? South West Wine School brings together the best wine educators in the southwest to run Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) training courses at Darts Farm, near Topsham. Whether learning about different grapes for the first time or analysing a wine in a blind tasting, South West Wine School will take you on that voyage of discovery.

Beer and cider tours and tastings
Explore the world of brewing and fermenting at Sandford Orchards, near Crediton. Look behind the scenes at the Cider Works, the oldest working cider mill in the country, and see how award-winning Sandford Orchards cider is made. Round off the experience with a Q&A, and a cider-tasting flight and pizza included in the price.

Have you got a burning beer-related question? Take yourself and your fellow beer lovers down to Salcombe Brewery. Their tours include a welcome drink in the Taproom, a tour of the Brewhouse with one of the brewers, who will be very happy to answer questions, and you'll finish with a beer flight tasting back in the Taproom.

Rum experiences
Learn about the art of blending and rum distilling with the Devon Rum Co. Join the team at their waterside venue in Salcombe for a Rum Tasting Experience, complete with a welcome drink, behind-the-scenes tour of their Blending House, try your hand at bottling rum, then an in-depth tasting of their four award-winning artisan rums. Ideal for rum fans and groups of friends.

Want to see a rum distillery in action? Two Drifters near Exeter were the first distillery to make rum from scratch in the UK. They'll fix you a drink then you'll tour the carbon-negative distillery. Smell the molasses and learn how they turn this high-quality material into rum.

A visit to the Salcombe Rum School gives you the opportunity to make your own rum and take it home with you. Learn about distillation and rum production, collect your botanicals, and create your own recipe and bottle label.

Gin adventures
Go behind the scenes and make your own signature serve at Quayside Distillery, Exeter Quay. Join the gin experts in the lab for a 90-minute experience learning about the fundamentals of a well-balanced gin whilst creating your own unique gin recipe. Or opt for a 60-minute experience with a master distiller where you'll taste your way through their flagship range.

Salcombe Gin School Take charge of a beautiful mini copper pot still to develop and distil your own 70cl signature bottle. Learn about how they produce Salcombe Gin and what it takes to produce a balanced and harmonious gin whilst enjoying a 'Salcombe & Tonic'.

At Gotland Gi in Beaworthy, the experience begins in their outside bar with a G&T or soft drink before heading into the nano-distillery to see how Gotland Gin is produced. Next, meet their flock of Gotland sheep and lambs during lambing season, then relax back in the bar and learn all about the botanicals while enjoying a few more tasters.

Devon Rum Co. Cocktail Masterclass
Head to Salcombe to mix, muddle, and shake your way through a hands-on cocktail-making session. You'll take charge of your own fully stocked cocktail station, have an introduction to mixology, and then make (and drink) up to four unique rum-based cocktails.

Devon Cove Cocktail Masterclasses - perfect for a fun night out with friends or to celebrate a special occasion. Hosted by an expert mixologist, you'll learn how to make a range of delicious cocktails in the Kingsbridge Tasting Room. Try their award-winning spirits, learn the history of cocktails and play a few games.

Bar Buoy 'Cocktail Compass'. A one-off Tour, Talk and Tasting Event at the home of the Bar Buoy hand-crafted, ready-mixed cocktails in Exmouth on Thursday, September 21, from 7 pm until l9:00 pm.

For coffee lovers
Take your barista skills to the next level at Owens Coffee in Ivybridge where you can enjoy the Latte Art Essentials Workshop. A two-hour course to awaken your inner barista and take your love of coffee to the next level. This isn't your ordinary coffee class – it's an experience that's all about having fun, unleashing your creativity, and elevating your coffee game. Several other coffee tastings, brewing and barista courses are on offer at Owens too.

Learn cookery, fire and baking skills
From the correct way to chop an onion, to cooking over coals, to the perfect sourdough, visit High Grange, Axminister where you'll learn plenty to apply in your own garden at this bespoke barbecue school which covers the full gambit of outdoor cookery. At the Fire School, you'll cover a variety of outdoor fire cooking and barbecue techniques and butchery with chef and food writer, Luke MacKay. Enjoy what you've just cooked, around the big oak table for lunch. Other masterclasses are available too.

Ashburton Cookery School is one of the UK's top cookery schools offering inspirational cookery courses taught by a team of expert chefs. With more than 40 cookery courses to choose from, designed to suit beginners as well as advanced home cooks, they'll teach you to cook with imagination, passion and enjoyment.

One Mile Bakery Boudicca Woodland runs One Mile Bakery in Exeter, making and delivering delicious homemade bread, soups and preserves by bike within one mile of a home mile, She also teaches sourdough and other breadmaking classes in her Breadshed Microbakery. Her classes fill up so get in quick!

Sweet treats
Indulge in chocolate heaven at Ilfracombe Chocolate Emporium which offers an Introduction to Chocolate Making. This tasty workshop session includes a talk on chocolate, learn the process of turning a bean into the chocolate you recognise whilst the chocolatier demonstrates how to hand-craft, hand-dip and decorate chocolates. They also run a 'Short & Sweet Tutorial' ideal for children and parents.

Visit the Salcombe Dairy Chocolate Factory Experience for the sights, sounds and aromas of bean-to-bar chocolate being made and packaged onsite thanks to full-height glass dividing walls between the factory and the shop.

Pop into Flapjackery on Southside Street to pick up a free children's trail which takes you around the sights and sounds of Plymouth's historic Barbican. Chocolate treats for children who complete the Barbican Trail.

Growing and foraging
Learn more about working with nature to produce food more sustainably at The Husbandry School near Ashburton. If you're interested in growing more of the food you eat and wish to do so in a natural and sustainable way then Husbandry Skills courses are ideal.

Or take the family and spend the day exploring nature and picking great things to eat at Taw Valley Microgreens Lunch & Learn, a hands-on introduction to growing your own microgreens. Learn about producing food sustainably, enjoy a tasty lunch, walk in the meadow and return home with a freshly picked microgreen punnet.

Visit The Pig at Combe and dig a little deeper into THE PIG's 'plot to plate' ethos with their free Kitchen Garden tours every last Friday of the month.

For more information on any of these experiences visit

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