A taste of Tideswell’s winning ways

Louise Sharpe of Vanilla Kitchen with her awards
Louise Sharpe of Vanilla Kitchen with her awards
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The Peak village of Tideswell will step into the national spotlight next week, when it stars in the BBC’s Village SOS series.

Locals are hoping the exposure will help to secure the future of the Taste Tideswell project, as TV viewers queue up to experience their cookery school in the heart of the countryside.

But the publicity looks set to have a knock-on benefit for other local businesses too: “We’re very busy – and there are definitely more people visiting since news got out about the filming,” says Ken Sharpe, who runs Vanilla Kitchen café with wife Louise. They have double reason to celebrate, having just won honours in the prestigious Great Taste Awards, run by the Guild of Fine Foods.

Vanilla Kitchen was awarded a two-star gold for its gluten-free triple chocolate brownies and a one-star gold for its scented lemon and cardamom biscuits.

Louise said: “I’m delighted! It’s given me a real sense of achievement.”

She didn’t enter the awards last year, but took a one-star gold for her brownies in 2009. Gluten-free and vegetarian foods are a speciality at the café.

Louise developed her love of baking as a child, helping her mum. She went on to work in the catering and hotel trade, but fulfilled a long-held dream in 2005 when she and Ken moved to Tideswell and opened Vanilla Kitchen.

The café offers a regularly-changing menu of meals and snacks made with Tideswell produce – including bread from the local bakery and sausages and black pudding from the butchers over the road. They also sell their own range of chutneys and marmalades.

l Taste Tideswell features in Village SOS on BBC1, Wednesday Sept 7, 8pm.