Scallops and mocktails top the bill at Obsession 2023

Seafood cemented its prominence as the chefs’ favourite genre at this year’s Obsession festival in Lancashire, which ended last Sunday (5 February) – with mocktails emerging as the year’s surprise trend.

Hosted annually at Northcote, the luxury gastronomic hotel near Blackburn in the Rubble Valley, the two-week-plus festival sold out this year, with 1,800 guests treated to meals by 23 leading chefs from Britain and beyond.

With 97 different dishes served alongside 88 different matched wines – and 600 bottles of Louis Roederer Collection 243 Champagne – Obsession provides a useful barometer of trends in fine-dining. Scallops and turbot were the most popular main ingredients, reflecting chefs’ love of seafood from local British waters as well as diners’ taste for lighter dishes, while the emergence of mocktails as a major trend accompanies the rise of the “sober-curious” diner.

Another unexpected trend was desserts with savoury notes – presenting a new challenge to Northcote’s crack sommelier team, led by managing director Craig Bancroft.

The emergence of female chefs was also celebrated this year, with guest chefs including Anna Haugh of Myrtle (left in photo with host executive chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen), Sally Abé of The Pem, Monica Galetti of Mere ,  and Nieves Barragan Mohacho of Sabor all taking the train up from London.

Obsession 2023 raised tens of thousands of pounds for the charity Hospitality Action.

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