The Bear and Blacksmith is all about farm to fork, and it really pays off

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The Bear and Blacksmith is all about farm to fork, and it really pays off

After nearly two years of being trapped inside and not being able to enjoy a good pub meal with friends and family, one of the main places you've missed is The Bear and Blacksmith in Chillington.

The Bear and Blacksmith brings ultra locally sourced ingredients to your plate, with really stunning comfort food and great prices all in one place.

“Behind the scenes it's all about sustainability”, said Malcolm Church, chef and landlord. “We rear our own pork, and when we can’t source it from ourselves we get it from Rose Farm at Malborough.

“Our beef comes from Jack and Jess Perry at West Down Farm, Blackawton, and our veggies come from our farm and our own pub garden.”

The vegetables are the work of Richard Smith (“I’m not green fingered, if I touch it, it dies”, laughs Malcolm). Richard is the second chef specialising in vegan and vegetarian cuisine.

Malcolm continues: “If we can’t source anything specific then we get it from Martin Berryman at South Milton, and occasionally Martin’s stuff through Westcountry if we need an urgent delivery.

“All our fish comes from one man, Rex Down, in Plymouth who runs a small fishing boat so if the weather is bad he can’t get out, and we don’t get the fish. Our regulars are getting used to knowing that the fish we can get is dependent on the weather and that is how it should be.

“Our lobster has, from the day we opened, come from Robin Steer, an 80-year-old man who still pushes his little boat out every day to check his pots at Beesands and we always sell out as soon as it comes in.”

The Bear and Blacksmith has become known for their exceptional lamb, rearing lambs every year for the pub and the The Bear and Blacksmith Butchery. They have a flock of around 200 sheep at the Bear and Blacksmith Farm, which is three miles outside Chillington in Stanborough.

“We cook local food for local prices” Malcolm explained, “I always try to play fair, I want people to be able to afford to eat locally. Our half lobster is only £20, which is a lot less than you’d get in some places!”

Malcolm is born and bred in the South Hams and has been farming “on and off” his whole life, and although it is “incredibly hard work”, he sees it as his relaxation and “down time”. He encourages all his staff to be involved in where the food comes from.

“I took our apprentice chef Georgia down to the farm the other day”, Malcolm said, “she loved it. It’s so important to know where the food comes from and understand that it’s hard work but that the end result is amazing.”

Education about the source of the food we eat is something that Malcolm is passionate about, not only in his own staff members, but society as a whole. “We need to know where it comes from and how it’s made”, he said, “it is a problem across the country.”

A bid to increase education about food is what inspired him to create the next stage in the Bear and Blacksmith masterplan, which was annoyingly delayed because of Covid but is being planned for next year: a pop-up restaurant at the Bear and Blacksmith Farm.

Malcolm said: “I want to showcase everything. We’ll have a butchery demonstration and cook out on the farm with vegetables sourced from right there and then serve dinner to customers in the top field looking down over the view of Salcombe surrounded by sheep - I think it’s going to be amazing.”

Malcolm says The Bear and Blacksmith is a little bit different to other pubs and restaurants because of their “passion for food”. “We’re not one of those places that does fancy foam things, hats off to the guys who do that, but we’re a proper pub, a boozer that does really good, tasty food, and all locally sourced.

“We do good veg and good sauces, it's comfort food - you eat at The Bear and Blacksmith and you’ll want to flake on the sofa and not do anything else for the rest of the evening, and we love that.”

Find out more about The Bear and Blacksmith at their listing at SouthHams.com or call Malcolm and his team on 01548 581171.

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