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Buckfast teams up with top chef to shake off unsavoury image

Buckfast Tonic Wine has collaborated with famed chef Martin Blunos to showcase how the caffeinated fortified wine can be used as an ingredient in Michelin Star-worthy dishes.

The tradition of making tonic wine at Buckfast Abbey in Devon began in the late 19th century after the nephew of one of the monks visited from France, bringing a recipe for the beverage to the monastic community.

Today, a century and a quarter later, the drink is still made under licence from the monastery, but arguably does not enjoy the best reputation – one 2015 survey from the Scottish Prison Service found that 43% of inmates hade consumed Bucky before their last offence.

In a bid to shed this image, the brand is now working with Blunos, the chef who earned two Michelin Stars for Lettonie in Bristol in the 1990s, and is now working extensively in Thailand.

As part of the campaign, Blunos has created dishes that make use of Buckfast as an ingredient. These include an onion tarte tatin, with the drink reduced into a syrup to glaze the onions with, and ‘The Triple B – Buckfast Blunos Bourgignon’, which eschews the red Burgundy that is traditional in the dish in favour of 750ml of Buckfast Tonic Wine. There is also a recipe for brownies making use of the 15% ABV booze.

According to Blunos, Buckfast has some key advantages in the kitchen: “Buckfast is an amazing ingredient for both sweet and savoury dishes and I am blown away by the results we are achieving whist experimenting with the product.”

Blunos will be attending various food festivals around the UK, presenting Buckfast’s potential as a cooking wine.

Buckfast is also keen to push the drink’s potential for mixology, with cocktails creations including the Buckfast Bramble, which mixes the product with gin, grenadine and lemon juice, and the Buckfast Royale.

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