Deli wows MPs at Commons

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A Belper deli has this week showcased its produce to more than 300 MPs at the House of Commons.

Fresh Basil, on Strutt Street, joined 15 other companies at the Derbyshire Food and Drink Fair, yesterday, April 16 - the day before Margaret Thatcher’s funeral.

The event was organised by South Derbyshire MP Heather Wheeler and Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills, with the backing of all the county’s other MPs. Among the invited guests were Chancellor George Osborne and Speaker John Bercow.

Wendy Moore, owner of Fresh Basil said before setting off for London this week she would be taking samples from local suppliers to the event and promoting them to heavyweight politicians.

Among the products she selected were beers from Shottle Farm Brewery; gold-medal award winning Franjoy Cheese, which is made in Hazelwood, and chocoloates from I Should Cocoa also on Strutt Street in Belper.

“We were extremely proud when our MP, Pauline Latham, decided to invite us along to this pretigious event,” Wendy said.

“We hope that we will do the town proud and that it will raise awareness that we have some really wonderful food being made in Belper and the rest of Derbyshire.

“It will also give us a chance to raise concerns with MPs and hopefully people like the Prime Minister will come along and find out more about us.”

More than 300 MPs were due to attend the event, even though the funeral of Margaret Thatcher is today (Wednesday April 17).

Nigel Mills MP said: “This fair offers our local producers a great chance to show members of both Houses, from across the United Kingdom, the great food and drink that we have on offer.”

The Tourist Board and Visit England will also be there to highlight sites and attractions in Derbyshire as well as national and regional press.

Tory Heather Wheeler said: “Like other Derbyshire MPs, I am proud of our local produce and hope showing it off in Parliament will help our companies flourish.”

Chatsworth House, Thorntons and Birds are among the others who attended.

A Thornton’s spokeswoman said the firm would take along its new Eton Mess chocolate bar and some of its new toffee flavours, and new chocolates in its Classics range.

Derbyshire County Council, which organises the county’s annual food and drink fair, - taking place this year at Elvaston Castle on the weekend of May 18 and 19 - also worked on the Commons event to ensure MPs saw as much produce as possible.