Whitehall funding is helping FFB to direct its energies to regional producers hit by foot and mouth British regional and speciality food and drink has the biggest and strongest presence ever at Food & Drink Expo 2002, thanks to Food from Britain's sponsorship of the British Speciality pavilion. More than 70 high quality producers from all over the UK will be exhibiting within the pavilion, many belonging to the regional food groups with which FFB works closely to promote British regional food and drink. FFB's enhanced presence at Food & Drink Expo is part of its Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs funded foot and mouth disease recovery campaign, to help regain sales for regional and speciality producers hit by foot and mouth. FFB will be promoting all the regional food groups within the pavilion, although Heart of England Fine Foods, Taste of the West and Yorkshire Pantry will have their own branded presence within the British pavilion, where they will be hosting producers from their respective regions. To attract a broad range of visitors, FFB has carried out extensive pre-show marketing, including a dedicated website www.foodfrombritain/foodanddrinkexpo featuring exhibitor details and FFB events during the show. It has also produced an exhibitors catalogue for buyers. At the show, FFB is hosting a buyers lounge adjacent to the pavilion to provide a relaxing environment in which to do business and enjoy refreshments sourced from exhibitors. It will be the venue of an FFB hosted reception on Monday, March 18, at 4.30pm to launch FFB's newly updated British Regional Food and Drink Guide, and the British Cheese Directory. The British pavilion will contain a huge spread of local, regional and traditional specialities. Many producers will launch new products, among them Hill Station which is giving a first airing to a new gourmet dark roast coffee flavour ice cream made from real espresso coffee. Edgmond Foods has a new quiche range, and Thorncroft is presenting Detox and Kombucha cordials. Cornish Country Larder will be revealing two additions to its Cornish Babies cheese range; Thursday Cottage will unveil new jams and jellies, and House of Dorchester a Jubilee range of chocolates. Building and increasing brand awareness in international markets is a crucial element of exhibiting at Food and Drink Expo. While some companies, such as coulis and dessert sauce producer The Best of Taste Co,hope to further expand export business, others such as Ridings, bakers of tray bakes and loaf cakes, are keen to attract international business for the first time. Others are more focused on increasing UK retail business, such as Lyme Bay Winery, which makes high quality traditional liqueurs, wines and ciders in Devon; Lancashire cheesemaker Dew-Lay; and Tipsage Farm Fruit Gins, a producer of fruit gins based on an old family recipe. Organic food and drink also features prominently within the pavilion. Exhibitors include September Organic Dairy, a Herefordshire producer of luxury organic dairy ice cream with flavours such as brown bread and elderflower cream, and Kitchen Garden Preserves, an award-winning producer of organic jams, chutneys and marmalades, which is is showcasing a new range of meat accompaniments. Image on Food will present its new organic gingerbread farm range; Belvoir Fruit Farms will display its organic cordial selection; and Shropshire Spice Company will feature its gourmet organic and additive free stuffing ranges, gift box spice infusions, and powdered dips. The wide variety of products on show is reflected by Chiman's and Curry Cuisine which specialise in the increasingly popular ethnic sector, the former exhibiting spice mixes for authentic Indian meals, and the latter its handmade vegetarian curry sauces and accompaniments. The Tracklement Co is featuring its extensive selection of sauces, mustards, jellies and chutneys. Added value speciality food and drink will be abundant in the pavilion. Salad Garden is exhibiting its range of more than 50 chilled sandwich fillers, over 30 salad varieties, and filled luxury jacket potatoes, and Burts Potato Crisps is launching a 40g bag of salt and black pepper potato chips. Despite being badly hit by foot and mouth, the dairy and meat sectors have a strong presence in the pavilion. Premium ice cream producers will be out in force and include Purbeck Ice Cream, whose flavours include champagne and strawberry; Rocombe Farm Fresh Ice Cream with its organic range; and Yorvale Ice Cream with 23 varieties of real dairy ice cream, desserts and sorbets. Meat exhibitors include the Country Victualler which has a huge range of gourmet items, ranging from baked hams and smoked poultry to pâtés and terrines. The Rare Breeds Meat Company is showing its rare breed meats and award-winning ready meals. Exhibiting for the first time, Heart of England Fine Foods is hosting one of the largest regional groups of 22 companies from the six counties in the West Midlands. A big feature of HEFF's participation will be a cookery theatre where Midlands chef Holly Jones will create dishes each day using exhibitors' products. This group is taking the opportunity to unveil many new products, among them, hand fried chips in Hereford Hop cheese, sea salt and cider and jalapeno chilli flavours from Tyrrells Potato Chips; muffins, brownies and a breakfast bar from the Handmade Flapjack Co; and new fruit bakery products from Snitterfield Fruit Farms. Fowlers Forest Dairies, which claims to be the UK's oldest cheesemaker, will be launching Forest Blue, a blue pinstripe cheese, while Lightwood Cheese will present Golden Vale, a new cheese made with Jersey cows milk. Other cheesemakers include two award-winners, Malvern Cheesewrights and Staffordshire Cheese, plus the Dairy House which produces handmade yogurt, soft cheese, cream and cheesecakes. Also on the dairy front will be Bennetts Foods which makes frozen desserts from milk from its own farm. In the ethnic food area, Spice Time launches new curries and spicy mince naan bread, while Castle Aromatics is featuring its versatile herb and spice infused olive oils that can be drizzled on to salads and pasta or used as a cooking ingredient. Drinks making their debut include new fruit juices from Aquarius Drinks; and a teabag, the Shropshire Brew, developed for the local water by Aroma Tea and Coffee Merchants. Other exhibitors include Aconbury Sprouts whose organic beansprouts, alfalfa sprouts and wheatgrass are used for sandwich fillings and juicing; vegetable producer Bomfords; dessert sauce manufacturer Best of Taste; and Turkey Talk which is launching a new gammon layered turkey breast. Yorkshire Pantry is bringing 11 companies and is hoping to repeat the success of its last appearance in 2000 when the group made valuable sales contacts and secured long term business. Organiser John Partridge says over half the members who attended the 2000 event have rebooked, and four are attending for the first time. The group represents the full spectrum of the county's regional food, and will include two major regional cheese producers. Wensley Dairy Products will feature its traditional Wensleydale updated with cranberries, and its best selling Wallace & Gromit line. Swaledale Cheese Co plans to launch a new organic cows milk cheese from an organic farm in the heart of Swaledale. Pies will be well represented by the Topping Pie Co, an award winning pie maker, and the Vale of Mowbray which specialises in pork pies. An extensive range of smoked meat, fish and poultry from its smokery is being shown by Mackenzies Yorkshire Smokehouse while Manor Born features its speciality sausages. Plum bread, fruit loaves and biscuits can be found on Elizabeth Botham & Sons' stand. First time exhibitors include Raydale Preserves, farm-based producers of jams, chutneys and jellies. And finally Yorkshire's traditional beers by Daleside Brewery which has a quirky range that includes Monkey Wrench, Crackshot and Duff Dark Ale. FFB director of business and UK services Charlotte Lawson is delighted so many British speciality producers are taking part in the show. "It's been a difficult year for many speciality and regional producers, so more than ever we want to sing and shout about the quality, diversity and innovation of our regional products. "Food & Drink Expo, with its mix of national and international visitors, is the ideal opportunity, and I am confident our pavilion will be a star attraction." {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}