Our connoisseur of culture, Andrew Nowell, casts an appraising eye over a new venue in town...
A new bar is bringing a slice of continental culture to Wigan town centre by specialising in wine and cheese.
Relish is the new creation of Tracey Stevens, a Wigan-born business owner who has spent years working in London gastropubs.
Having returned to her home borough following considerable travelling experience she hopes to tempt Wiganers to enjoy a selection of grape-based delights accompanied by cheeses and relishes.
She has certainly picked a building with a reputation for bringing something different to Wigan as Relish is in the Hallgate unit previously occupied by plant-based restaurant The Coven.
Tracey says one of the other distinguishing features of Relish is that she wants the new venture to be as environmentally-friendly as possible.
She said: “After leaving London I taught for about 15 years but my passion has always been in food and drink, so it’s exciting to go back and do that again.
“Relish is something different and I think it’s about time Wigan got something like this.
“There hasn’t been a wine bar in the town centre for a long time. There’s a lot of gin bars and real ale places but nothing really promoting wine.
“The feedback so far has been very positive, we just need to get numbers through the door now.
“It’s quite a rustic French feel and we want it to be very homely and welcoming.
“I’m also really trying to promote bag-in-box wines because it’s so much more sustainable. We’re spending too much on transporting bottles of wine. It’s something I feel passionately about.”
Relish provides glasses of house wines in various sizes and there are also bottles of red, white, pink and sparkling including champagne and prosecco.
These are served in a setting which is partly a celebration of the handcrafting skills of Tracey’s Greek partner Yiannis Janetis, who has made some of the wooden tables and shelves.
It’s not the only influence from the country as the couple lived for a time in Greece and the tzatziki served with the cheeses was created by Yiannis’ mother, with Tracey using the recipe she was taught by her.
Staffing at Relish is a family affair too with Tracey and Yiannis’ son Tom helping to get the business off the ground, but Tracey will be searching for new staff soon as he is off to Australia.
While mainly celebrating grapes Relish also stocks a selection of spirits, beers on tap and bottled ciders.
Future plans include promotional evenings pairing wines and cheeses and apprenticeships at Relish.
Find out more by searching for Relish Cheese and Wine on Facebook.