South West England proved beyond doubt its ‘Food Capital of Britain’ reputation by picking up 18 Michelin stars in this year’s guide, more than any other region in Great Britain. Two Devon newcomers have entered the guide from Torquay, a town which has transformed itself into a stylish foodie destination in its own right: the Elephant and Orestone Manor. Other newly-starred restaurants in the South West include St Ervan Manor in Padstow, Cornwall, Lucknam Park in Wiltshire, the Moody Goose at the Old Priory, near Bath and the Masons Arms at South Molton in Devon.

Also celebrating this year is Michael Caines, who has once again been awarded two Michelin stars for his restaurant at Gidleigh Park, near Chagford in Devon. In addition, Michael Caines will be demonstrating his skills and passion for local South West produce at the Exeter Festival of South West England Food and Drink from 31 March – 2 April 2006. Now in its third year, the festival has begun to attract visitors from all over the UK interested in the lively demonstrations by top chefs and the dedicated children’s marquee advocating healthy eating. For more information visit www.visitsouthwest.co.uk/foodfestival.

Another date for the food lover’s diary is 27th March 2006, when the new and exclusive 2006/7 Trencherman’s Guide will be launched. Now in its fourth year, this invaluable guide to the top restaurants and gastropubs in South West England will be available to order free from www.indulgesouthwest.co.uk from 27th March onwards or pick up a copy with the May edition of CondeNast Traveller.

For more on England at ITKT