B is for blueberry.
C is for biscuit.
Hang on, that’s not quite right. Let me try again.
C is for houmous. Fudge? How about coffee? Okay, C is for coffee.
D is for coffee. No, we’ve had that one. Ice cream? Beer! D is for beer.
What, you may ask with mild exasperation and no small amount of confusion, am I going on about? Surely a 32 year old man should know his way through the alphabet by now. But this is no ordinary jaunt through the alphabet. This is my Devon A-Z challenge and today, as I prepare to enter the final furlong of the challenge, we look back at a year of letter-based eating and drinking.
But let’s start at the start; what was the challenge all about?
Just over a year ago I decided that I wanted to find out more about the local food and drink industry in Devon. By ‘find out’, what I really meant was that I wanted to try all sorts of food and drink products that are made and sold in the place where I live. The tagline up at the top of this blog should probably have led you fairly swiftly to a conclusion about the sort of research methods I would employ.
It was decided that I should try at least one thing for each letter of the alphabet, and the name of the company that produced the product would determine which letter it counted against. So, for example, Ashridge Cider slotted in under A. The Blueberry Brothers gave me a B, and Continental Crumb biscuits were my first C. Some letters have only one entry against them (Isca Ales are sat all on their own under I), but most letters offered up a range of different things to try. H, for example, gave me three different breweries, a burger restaurant and a company that makes accompaniments for cheese. S has provided a cheese producer, a chilli farm, two breweries, a fudge-maker, a cider producer, a vineyard and a fruit orchard. Which is something slightly spectacular, when you think about it.
I set myself the challenge of finding something for every letter of the alphabet within 12 months. Or there abouts. Even then, I was building in a little bit of contingency and that has turned out to be a good move. The year has come and gone and, although I have a page full of food and drink, I am still missing two letters. Not V, that was tricky but I now have two entries under that letter. Nor is it Y. That proved problematic until I tried some Yarde’s ice cream. Q could have tripped me up if it weren’t for Devon’s Quercus brewery; strangely it was Q’s sidekick U that gave me a few headaches. They were solved when we went to the Ullacombe Farm cafe and farm shop.
No, the two that remain are the usual suspects: step up X and Z.
Before you start racking your brains though, I have good news. I will very shortly be unveiling the final two letters of the alphabet. Okay, you already know the letters. But I will be unveiling the products that go with those two letters. While you wait you are welcome to meander across to the Devon A-Z page where you will find details of all of the things I have tried over the last year.
And returning, finally, to the tagline at the top of this page, it is important to remember that every entry in this Devon A-Z challenge has exacted a cost. Each item eaten, every drop drunk, they all meant that I needed to work a little harder. They all had to be earned.
So I should probably go for a run then, I guess.