A CHARITY responsible for five important historical sites has been awarded a top accolade for the restaurants and caterers serving food to visitors.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust - which is responsible for Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Mary Arden’s Farm, Shakespeare’s New Place and Hall’s Croft in Stratford-upon-Avon and the surrounding areas – has received a gold Food for Life Served Here award from the Soil Association.

The award recognises restaurants and caterers who serve fresh food, which is free from controversial additives and better for animal welfare, and includes a rigorous on-site inspection.

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is leading the way on provenance, sourcing and home cooking. It rears its own rare-breed animals on Mary Arden's Farm which are organic, it sources free-range eggs and organic milk from the Midlands, the bread is hand-crafted and the orchards provide fruit for recipes while the herbs are all grown on-site.

Lizzi Testani, of the Soil Association, said: "This really is a story from Tudor farm to 21st century plate. The team at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has entwined the food of a bygone era into Food for Life Served Here and thoroughly deserve their Gold award.

"Visitors can be assured that all the food is sourced and prepared with care, with many ingredients coming directly from Mary Arden's Farm just up the road."

Beverley Hunt, head of hospitality at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: "We are delighted to have been awarded the gold accreditation. All of our catering staff have worked extremely hard to ensure that each and every visitor to our three cafés experience good quality, delicious food that has been ethically and locally sourced.

“We are passionate about sustainable food sourcing, 86 per cent of our café food is made from scratch and most of our waste is composted so that we can continue the wonderful farm to plate cycle”.

Mark Kirton, chef manager at Mary Arden's Farm, said: “To work for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is to delve into the past and bring a taste of history to our visitors. The Tudor element is such fun – adapting recipes to modern tastes and using quality ingredients makes it a special treat for all our visitors to experience.”

One of the dishes which reflect the Tudor period is the rudely-named Farts of Portingale and here is the recipe for anyone who would like to try it at home.


• 1lb of UK farm assured ground lamb

• ¼ tsp ground cloves, ground mace, ground pepper, salt

• ¼ cup chopped dates

• ¼ cup currants

• 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

• 1 quart beef stock

• 1 quart red wine

• 1 loaf soda bread


1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, except the stock. Form mixture into small balls and poach in beef stock for about five minutes.

2. Use the beef stock to make red wine gravy, adding 1 quart red wine and then reducing by half. Season to taste.

3. Use soda bread to make crispy croutons. Cut out circles and fry in butter and chopped parsley until golden.

4. Place one large or three smaller croutons in the centre of a plate, add three balls per portion on top and drizzle with gravy.

5. Serve with a summer salad.

Mark explains that a fart is a tiny pastry crust while Portingale means Portuguese style and this dish was inspired from a Tudor recipe of lamb meatballs served on a crispy seasoned base.