Whisky Magazine Issue 60
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The name might suggest a certain French flavour but La Zouch is a quintessentially English restaurant selling some rather exceptional whiskies. Richard Jones pulls up a chair.
Call me a philistine but until recently I'd never given much consideration to the strangely Gallic sounding name of Ashby de la Zouch in Leicestershire.
It transpires that the origins are disappointingly straightforward, if rather ancient.
This market town was known simply as ‘Ashby' until it became the property of the Zouche family from Brittany in the 12th Century following the Norman conquest of England.
The semi-eponymous La Zouch restaurant has been operating in Ashby de la Zouch for over 40 years and, despite these French connections, the town and eatery both remain firmly Anglo Saxon in character.
“There aren't many of us about nowadays,” begins Geoff Utting, owner of La Zouch along with his wife Lynne. “We have a few continental dishes but everything else on our three menus is English in style.” Geoff Utting took over La Zouch nearly 25 years ago and initially it operated purely as a restaurant. That altered during the recession of the early 1990s.
“During those difficult times we decided we wanted to change things a little bit and move into retail,” Geoff explains. “We'd already had requests from some of our customers at the time to buy wine from us, but we also wanted to be different from everyone else and help promote drinks that were made in the United Kingdom, whisky in particular.
It was then that our paths crossed with the local representative of Gordon and MacPhail.” That meeting ultimately helped create one of most comprehensive and co...