Leffe launches search for the best gourmet bar snack in the country
Michelin-starred chef Kevin Love judges competition and shares his own recipes
Pubs have upped their game in recent years. Gone is the era when a pub's 'range' consisted of bitter, lager and - for something a bit unusual - cider. Instead, you'll frequently find a wide selection of high-quality draught and bottled beers from all over Europe available as a matter of course.
Food to accompany these beers has been upgraded too. Bar Snacks 2.0 is essentially northern European version of Spanish pincho and tapas cuisine, and while you'll still find bar staples such as pork pies and roasted nuts, these days they're all freshly prepared on the premises and are served in a dish, not eaten from a packet. It's called progress.
Illustrating how far we've come is the fact that the phrase 'Michelin-starred pub' even exists. One such place is The Hinds Head in Bray, Berkshire, where Head Chef Kevin Love has teamed up with Leffe to provide a behind-the-scenes look at his recipes, all available on Leffe UK's YouTube channel along with details on sourcing the ingredients, including his take on beer nuts, scampi tails and the king of pub snacks: The Scotch Egg. His Belgian variation on the classic spherical delicacy (invented by Fortnum and Mason in 1738) might well involve quail eggs, fennel, endives and a mustard mayonnaise dip, but it still ends up in the deep fat fryer, the only kitchen device capable of locking in the energy required for the most impassioned pub conversation. The rules may have changed, but the principles remain the same. For many, food is as intrinsic to the pub experience as beer.
In light of this development, Kevin Love has embarked on a search for the best gourmet bar snacks in the country by calling Leffe Stockists across the UK to enter a competition where their gastro snacks will be tasted by Kevin Love himself. The five winners will be announced in June and showcased, along with their recipes, at the Leffe Gastro Bite Awards on the 25th June.
You can watch all his recipes and shop for the ingredients on the Leffe UK YouTube channel.