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It’s Pancake Day!

City Walk advert
City Walk advert

No sooner have we finished our Valentine’s Day chocolates, the most delicious occasion of all – Pancake Day (1 March) – arrives! So here are some places serving up tasty stacks, ways to make truly local pancakes, plus activities to help you build up an appetite!

If you’re looking for a dedicated pancake section on the menu, visit Josie’s – on Jewry Street, plus branches in Bishop’s Waltham, Petersfield and Romsey. Stacks of pancakes come with everything from fruit compote to bacon and egg, fried chicken to crushed Oreos! While Forte Kitchen on Parchment Street serves up scotch pancakes with blueberries, maple syrup with toasted pecan toppings and a selection of other traditional and healthy breakfast options.

If you’d like to stay at home and make pancakes, how about throwing a pancake party? Cook up stacks of American pancakes and prepare a table of fillings  to make sweet and savoury treats. Support local producers by buying ingredients from them – stoneground flour from Winchester City Mill on Bridge Street, free range eggs from Vale Farm’s Egg Shed in Pitt and milk from prize-winning Hiltonbury Jerseys in Compton. Plus toppings and fillings like Jude’s ice cream and Mrs B’s Bees honey. Entertain your kids with pancake art made by piping pancake batter in to shapes on a frying pan with shading by allowing certain areas to cook for longer. Search online for picture ideas including pets and animated characters. Plus adults might enjoy Hampshire Farmers’ Market’s caramelised banana pancakes with (optional) rum!

If you want to work up a sweat before all these pancakes – and you’re good at orienteering – why not go for a walk to seek out Pancake Plantation (GU34 4EB) – a woodland area north of Alton.

Or gather outside Winchester Cathedral on 1 March to watch or take part in the city’s annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Race. Teams of four will relay up and down the Outer Close, stopping at points to toss their pancake. Organised by Winchester Rotary in partnership with Winchester Cathedral, entertainment and refreshments – including pancakes, of course – will begin at 12.30pm with the race at 1pm. Prizes will be awarded at the end of the races (around 2pm) to the fastest team and in the best fancy dress costumes. Register a team now to avoid disappointment.

Plus, for something a little different, join Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Ampfield (close to Romsey), for Bushcraft: Pancake Cooking Around the Fire on 25 February, 10am – 12noon and 1 – 3pm. Celebrate the day by cooking tasty treats over a campfire. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

Traditionally Pancake Day is also known as Shrove Tuesday – named after the word ‘shrive’, to confess one’s sins before Lent (40 days of abstinence), and at one time dairy products were prohibited during this period so people cooked pancakes to feast before fasting and to use up their eggs and milk.

The following day is Ash Wednesday – named after the placing of ashes on a person’s forehead as a sign of repentance, and if you visit Winchester Cathedral on this day, 2 March, a traditional ‘ashing’ will be held – with ashes from the previous year’s Palm Sunday psalm crosses, plus services of music and readings throughout the day.