Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine

Take a tour

Shirlee Posner looks at the wine, cheese, gin and Indian food tours available from a growing food hub on the Albury Estate. Food tourism is gathering speed in the UK and Surrey has a huge legacy on offer to visitors and residents. Surrey contains a number of established food and drink producers from vineyards producing award-winning wines to gourmet Indian ready meals.

In the last twenty years, and mostly in the last ten, Surrey has seen the arrival of a new order of producers. Silent Pool Gin is one of special mention as it has gone from a small artisan producer to a global brand setting the benchmark for other producers.

Let’s start with wine. The first producer on the Albury Estate where Silent Pool is located was a retired IT consultant. Nick Wenman had dreamed of owning his own vineyard and he has made his dream come true in style. Renting land from the Duke of Northumberland’s Albury Estate, Nick employed an experienced vineyard manager and set to work producing mostly sparkling wines and rosé due to our climate, but these are so good they are able to stand their own in a competitive international market. Ten years later, Albury Organic Vineyard is a widely respected, award- winning winery.
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Albury Vineyard
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The estate is managed with organic and biodynamic principles, rejecting the use of herbicides and pesticides, belonging to a handful of vineyards who do so and giving it entry to a more selective market. To engage with the vineyard’s strong local consumer following, it has a wine club and busy events calendar, including the Albury Wine Festival. This includes wine tasting and vineyard tours, wine and cheese tastings and supper clubs. Albury Organic Vineyard is only open to the public on Saturdays or for special events. Tickets for all events are available to purchase online.

Albury Organic Vineyard has just joined forces with four other wineries in Surrey to create a wine region. Called the Vineyards of the Surrey Hills, festivities will take place across the different wineries on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June.

The second business to set up home at Silent Pool also named its product after the historic location. Silent Pool Gin’s story is almost as magical as its meteoric rise and emergence as a global brand. The core gin, Silent Pool, is now for sale in 34 countries and by major UK retailers too. From an idea first conceived in 2013, this business is the ultimate success story, but it’s also one that has stuck to its core roots. You can still meet the founders who give distillery tours and have a busy events calendar.
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Silent Pool
Just before Christmas of 2018 work finished on a disused barn close to Silent Pool Distillers becoming the new home of Surrey’s most famous cheesemaker, Michaela Allam. With husband Neil this duo is responsible for Norbury Blue and Dirty Vicar Cheese. In addition, they also have a shop selling direct to the public and a space to run cheese events. Book a tour to see one of their two cheeses being made while Michaela guides visitors through the process step by step.

The newest member of this growing food hub on the Albury Estate is Surrey Spice. Due to open for Surrey Day on Saturday 4 May (contractor dependent) or soon after is Mandira’s Kitchen (aka Surrey Spice) which has chosen to rebrand as part of its move to a permanent location. Starting with supper clubs in 2015, Mandira Sarkar had no idea where her culinary journey would take her. Using fresh produce and guaranteed to be gluten free (apart from samosas), Mandira’s healthy take on her family’s classical recipes struck a chord.
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Mandiras Kitchen
In late 2017 Mandira decided to enter the ready meal market after being told by so many of her customers that they would love to buy her food to eat at home. Making these in her own kitchen and selling to a few farm shops soon escalated. To cope with demand, Mandira built a production unit in her garden, but realised she needed to have a shop front. When a disused barn on the Albury Estate was offered, Mandira took a giant leap of faith and secured the unit. Food tours, cookery lessons, food tastings, events and a new shop with an extended range of products will be on offer. For those who love cooking, this is the perfect venue to visit and learn about a new healthier style of Indian cuisine.

The Albury Estate has become home to one of the most creative food hubs in Surrey. This eclectic group of producers work in such a complimentary fashion. Go for the gin, food and one of the loveliest locations in the region.
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Shirlee Posner is a food writer and blogger at and provides social media management, web copywriting and food photography.