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30 September 2011

A Dream Come True: Annie's Market Garden


Annie’s Market Garden, run by Annie Perkins in Bidford-on-Avon, sits in the heart of the beautiful Warwickshire countryside. She has created a vibrant and thriving local business offering exceptional and award winning quality Highland beef as well as home produced meat pies, cakes, pasties, preserves and hampers.

Annie Perkins has lived at Clink Cottage Farm in Bidford-on-Avon all of her life, as have three generations of her family. With the support of her husband Terry and family she is bringing her dream alive by creating the Market Garden that her great grandfather started way back when.

All the ingredients are locally produced and sourced and all of the products are made by Annie’s. Annie’s love of baking and rearing Rare Breed Highland cattle, Herdwick & Jacob Sheep and Berkshire & Gloucester Old Spot Pigs comes from her Grandad's passion for the land and his baking (he was a Master Baker). She loves creating wonderful baked goods such as award winning pies, pasties, cakes and hampers, as well as preserves from the Market Garden.

The fantastic meat that Annie’s produce is a direct result of the way they look after their animals. They graze freely in the orchards around the farm and Annie’s firmly believe in resting not only the animals but the meat they produce as well.
This year, 2011, marks another milestone for Clink Cottage Farm as they realise their dream of bringing the Market Garden back to its former glory. As they grow Annie's Market Garden they are hoping to be able to introduce a vibrant locally produced Market Garden with that real family feel and values.

Visit Annie's Market Garden on The Artisan Food Trail here

New bottle sizes, gift pack and a new product from Womersley Fruit & Herb Vinegars

The complete vinegar range from Womersley Fruit & Herb Vinegars will be also be available in new smaller sized 100ml bottles. Launching from 1st October 2011, just in time to think about selecting those Christmas presents, the small bottles are ideal as gifts. You will be able to buy gift packs containing 3 x 100ml, presented in an attractive and convenient box – perfect for any enthusiastic cook.

To brighten up you food at Christmas time, Womersley Fruit & Herb Vinegars have brought back one of their old favourites, Orange and Mace, full of festive warmth and aroma.

To find out where and how to buy, either in stores or online click here

For more information about the range you can download the current information leaflet below



Visit Womersley Fruit & Herb Vinegars on The Artisan Food Trail here

Berry Cool: Alder Tree


Alder Tree make their award winning fruit cream ices on their fruit farm in Suffolk to a traditional family recipe. Made with only fruit, cream and sugar, they are naturally delicious.

In 1983 Nick and Joan Hardingham decided they wanted to get out of the ‘rat race’ and run a smallholding whilst raising a family.

They bought the then derelict Alder Carr Farm at Needham Market and set about what was to be many hard, but enjoyable years of work.

The first year they grew potatoes and sold them from the end of the drive and by the following year they were using one of the old run-down farm buildings as a farm shop.

In 1987 a bumper crop of raspberries led Nick to try out an old recipe his mother Audrey used to make on their fruit farm near Bury St Edmunds. They put it out for sale in the farm shop and it proved such a success other farm shops were soon asking if they could stock it. The simple combination proved such a success that they’ve never looked back.

Production started in the farmhouse kitchen, but soon progressed to the farm tea room. In 1996 a dedicated kitchen was built, which they still use today.

Alder Tree was founded on the belief that everything they do should be done in an ethical and sustainable way. This commitment underpins everything they do.

All the ingredients used are of the highest quality and sourced as locally as possible. They use no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives in any of their products. Over 60% of the fruit comes from their own farm at Alder Carr or from the family farm at Bury St Edmunds and the rest is grown by local growers within East Anglia. By doing so, this supports local farmers and minimises food miles. Sugar is East Anglian and only fresh British cream is used. The few ingredients that do come from abroad such as vanilla and ginger are fairly traded from sustainable sources.

At Alder Tree passionately believe that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing as well as you can. They use only the finest quality ingredients and will never cut corners to the detriment of their products to save time or money. Everything is made in small batches.

Alder Tree remain true to their original ideals and only supply to independently owned outlets, thus providing small retailers and eateries with something that can’t be found in the large multiples.

Visit Alder Tree on The Artisan Food Trail here

29 September 2011

Norfolk's Own: Bray's Cottage Pork Pies


Bray’s Cottage Pork Pies are well known amongst foodies nationally for being the pork pie unlike other pork pies.
Hand made by a small team in a beautiful flint building above the spectacular North Norfolk coast the pies feature local outdoor pork and beautiful biscuity pastry.
They believe in the Slow Food philosophy, that eating should be satisfying and fun and that if you eat something you should understand it.

They use only the very best pork from outdoor and lovingly reared (in North Norfolk) pigs. Not offcuts, not the bits that you wouldn’t want on your plate, just the very best.
Winners of numerous taste tests and awards, their most popular pies contain a little smoky bacon with the fresh pork, a touch of onion marmalade and their secret blend of herbs and spices.

Early on the team discovered that filling the pies full of high quality meat left no room for jelly, they stopped including it and discovered that – a) no one minded as the pies were so moist and delicious and b) lots of people find the jelly off-putting, so the jelly-less pork pie was born!

Photos: © childsdesign

All this means that they make pork pie that makes you feel better after eating it, not worse. A celebration of real food, using real kitchen ingredients. A pie that’s for sharing, not a guilty secret. Bray’s Cottage are always thrilled to hear the great lengths that people will go to buy one of their pies and and how they organise days around visiting the growing list of wonderful shops that stock them.

Bray’s Cottage don’t have their own shop at the bakery, although you might strike lucky and find them in with warm pies to sell, but they supply the best Norfolk Farm shops and delis and take their pie-stall to events around the county, they are also supplying to a number of delis and pubs beyond Norfolk. Their lively Twitter feed is the best place to keep up with their activities.

Visit Bray's Cottage Pork Pies on The Artisan Food Trail here

27 September 2011

Bedfordshire's Hottest Kept Secret: Edible Ornamentals


From their base at at Cherwood Nursery, in the Bedfordshire hamlet of Chawston, Edible Ornamentals are commercial growers of chillies, herbs, vegetables and edible flowers. Their product range includes chilli plants, fresh chillies, dried, smoked, and pickled chillies along with our their gourmet range of fiery sauces and salsas.
The Edible Ornamentals nursery and farm shop are open to the public and, depending on the season, you can even pick your own chillies or fresh vegetables in the dedicated PYO polytunnel. 

The nursery is also a destination for thousands of people participating in scheduled cookery classes or chilli tour and tasting experiences. Their products can be purchased from website or at exclusive farmers’ markets, food and wine shows, and garden shows throughout the United Kingdom.
Edible Ornamentals also supply wholesale quantities of their entire product range to exclusive delicatessens, restaurants, farm shops, garden centres, Waitrose, Fortnum and Mason, Harrods, and other specialist chilli companies in the UK and Europe.

Photos: © childsdesign


Joanna and Shawn Plumb developed a passion for Mexican and Tex-Mex food while living in San Antonio, Texas in the early 90’s. They started growing their own fresh vegetables including Jalapeno chilli peppers. After moving to England in 1996 they started selling chilli plants, part time, in 2001.  In 2004 they began selling pickled Jalapeno and Fresno chillies in jars and later a traditional red salsa recipe (Salsamania).

Their first production kitchen was set up in 2005 in a rented unit at Vinegar Hill near Upper Caldecote, Bedfordshire and later in 2007 they purchased Cherwood Nursery, in the Bedfordshire village of Chawston. 

The former flower nursery had fallen into disrepair and since Joanna and Shawn arrived they’ve cleaned up the site, erected six polytunnels, built a log cabin for the farm shop, built a new commercial kitchen and storage facilities, as well as taking on staff.

Today, all cooking and growing activities are now consolidated at Cherwood Nursery and are also open to the public who can come and pick their own fresh vegetables and more than 50 varieties of chillies.

Craft and gourmet products are produced using traditional methods by Edible Ornamentals and they use as many of their own ingredients as possible.

As part of the Slow Food movement, Joanna has visited local schools speaking to young children about where fruit and vegetables come from and the importance of seasonality.

Edible Ornamentals frequently entertain groups such as the Women’s Institute, Rotary and other civic associations with talks, tours and delicious food! They also support Hidden Britain, Taste Real Food Bedford, and are proud to be Charter Members of Tastes of Bedfordshire.

Visit Edible Ornamentals on The Artisan Food Trail here

26 September 2011

'Piggy Sunday' at Samphire a success

'Piggy Sunday' proved to be a popular course as a group of enthusiastic people got stuck into some sausage making on Sunday...
Just click on the pictures to see the full image.

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...Plus they also learned about all the cuts of pork with a butchery demonstration including mastering some butcher's knots.

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Highland Mighty: Great Glen Game


Within the heart of Scotland’s most dramatic scenery and located in the old butchers’ shop at the heart of the small village of Roy Bridge near Fort William, Great Glen Game was founded in 2003 by Jan Jacob and Anja Baak, to produce a unique range of 100% Venison Salamis and Smoked Venison. Using only Scottish Wild Venison, all of which is sourced directly from estates and smaller landowners located in the hills that surround them.

Jan Jacob Baak became involved in the management of the wild deer population and discovered the wonderful sustainable meat; the love for Venison was born. He soon started experimenting with the meat in a hand built smoker in the garden. The smoked prime cuts of Venison soon became the favorite talking point when friends came along for dinner, prompting them to start a business.

Over the years new products were developed such as Chorizo, Pepperoni, different types of Salami and a Bresaola all made with pure wild Scottish venison. All salamis and chorizos uses natural skins for casings, oak chips for smoking and air drying in their manufacture.

Venison is a lean product with less fat and fewer calories and lower in cholesterol than beef and pork. It is also high in iron, making venison charcuterie a healthy alternative to the more common pork-based charcuterie.

Vist Great Glen Game on The Artisan Food Trail here

25 September 2011

Hot Pick: Capsicana Chilli Co

Photos: © childsdesign


Capsicana Chilli Co, is based in Hertfordshire and sources the finest dried chillies from around the world. Although all the chillies are imported, they are carefully selected so that only the best are packed for the discerning cook.


Chillies in all their forms have become a favourite of the British whether they are used to flavour curries and Mexican style cuisine or they are sought out by ‘chilli heads’ looking for the ultimate blast of heat.

Ben is passionate about dried chillies and thinks that the best chillies come from plants grown in their natural climates and using local, time honoured techniques to produce the tastiest dried chillies ever.

Being enthusiastic about authentic cuisine means that nearly all the Mexican, Bhut Jolokia, Ancho Poblano chilli recipes on the Capsicana website have been created by outstandingly talented chefs, restaurateurs and food writers from around the world - so you can cook delightfully delicious and authentic food just like you've enjoyed on your travels.

Their service allows you to buy the best chillies online and the dried chillies they supply are grown in regions well known for producing the very best dried chillies in the world. Supplying Mexican, Thai and Indian dried chillies as well as anew range of authentic Mexican herbs and spices; Mexican Oregano, Epazote, Mexican Cinnamon and Annatto Powder.

Ben has also created a chilli sausage blend which he supplies to an extensive list of butchers all over the UK allowing people to buy a Mexican Chorizo sausage which needs to be cooked before eating.

Visit Capsicana Chilli Co on The Artisan Food Trail here

24 September 2011

Posh Pop Idol: Breckland Orchard


Breckland Orchard produce sparkling soft drinks which they call 'Posh Pop', making products in small batches, with fabulous flavour combinations, spring water, and plenty of passion.

Claire Martinsen founded the company in Spring 2009, after leaving a corporate job in London. She had the job perhaps everyone dreams of – in a Chocolate factory! But with two small children (aged one and three) the daily three hour commute to London was unsustainable. The long travel and 5am starts forced her to
re-appraise. It was time to follow her dream and passion, and to start up on her own. So she swapped the world of big business for something closer to home.

The drinks were inspired by those that her grandmother made her when she was a child. She describes her Grandmother’s 'Lemonade' as having been legendary and everyone just loved it!

Claire is passionate about creating great tasting drinks - which she calls 'Posh Pop'. The range of six carbonated soft drinks including Cloudy Lemonade, Ginger Beer with Chilli, Blackcurrant & Raspberry, Cranberry & Rosehip, and Pear & Elderflower (seasonal flavours such as Sloe Lemonade and Dandelion & Burdock have made an appearance) are made with spring water as a base, wonderful flavour combinations and a little sparkle.They contain no artificial colourings, flavourings or sweeteners.

Award winning Ginger Beer with Chilli has a wonderful rounded taste, it won’t blow you head off, but it will leave you with a lovely tingle at the back of your throat. It’s certainly a Ginger Beer to remember.

Visit Breckland Orchard on The Artisan Food Trail here

22 September 2011

The Real Squeal: Samphire


Samphire is an award winning smallholding in Norfolk rearing rare breed pigs and sheep. Ethical farming is at the heart of Samphire and they have been recognised by the RSPCA for their commitment to animal welfare winning their Good Business Award two years running.

Karen Nethercott became weary of the rat race and quit a successful career in corporate accountancy to start a new life and a smallholding in the country. Before she started she didn’t know anything about farming and learned through courses with the Norfolk Smallholders training group, from watching others and taking notes.
She and her husband Jeff now rear British Saddleback and Gloucester Old Spot pigs and Ryeland sheep, there are also chickens and geese on the farm too and a substantial kitchen garden.

Samphire is run on the belief that animals should be raised as naturally as possible – all Samphire meat has a great life under spacious Norfolk skies with plenty of fresh air and tasty meal times.
Only use rare breeds are used because they are passionate about preserving what is special about British rural culture and heritage. The animals thrive in non-intensive, natural farming environments and produce fabulous tasting meat.

Photos: © childsdesign

The food is really special because Samphire believes it’s better to be obsessed with making something exceptional than obsessing about price and competition.
It’s not just our regulars who love their rare breed meat either, Gary Rhodes said their sausages were the best he'd ever tasted and Giles Coren gave their delicious pork pies 10/10.

Sell their fabulous pork pies, sausages and other goodies at local farmers’ markets and also at a couple of markets in London, it is definitely worth getting along to their stall. If you can’t get to a market you can order online through their website or pick up from the farm.

My Little Porkie
Samphire always have Gloucester Old Spot and Saddleback piglets scurrying around and My Little Porkie gives you the chance to own one of them. There’s no worry about having to look after it as Samphire will do all that for you. You just choose your piglet at the start and then they will send you regular updates and photos showing you what it is getting up to. They can even arrange a visit. All you have to do is decide how you want your pork at the end (Samphire can help with that).

Throughout the year the smallholding is open to visitors for events and courses. The best way of finding out what is coming up is by joining Samphire's mailing list on the website or linking to their twitter or facebook pages.

Visit Samphire on The Artisan Food Trail here

21 September 2011

Living Food at Cawdor Castle: Saturday 24th September 2011

Living Food, an event which celebrates local, artisan and organic produce moves into its 6th consecutive year in 2011. The event has grown over previous years and Living Food is now ranked as one of the top three food festivals in Scotland.

This year Living Food 2011is aiming to be a feast for all the senses. It will be a real family day out giving local families the chance to discover and try great quality local, organic artisan food all set in beautiful surroundings with the benefit of huge marquees covering the exhibitors, entertainment and cookery demonstrations.

The Artisan Food Trail is proud to announce that Great Glen Game, producers of the finest wild venison charcuterie will be exhibiting.

As we type this announcement, we can tell you that our newest addition to the food trail, Briggs' Shetland Lamb will also be at the event. You will be able to find them on the Scottish Crofting Federation stand offering tastings of products marketed under the Scottish Crofting Produce Mark

More info
Living Food at Cawdor Castle
Cawdor Castle
Great Glen Game
Briggs' Shetland Lamb

Where is the event?

View Living Food at Cawdor Castle in a larger map

Food Tasting Event & Classical Guitar Recital: Saturday 24th September 2011

Itteringham Community Shop, Norfolk, is having a fund raising evening for the shop this Saturday the 24th. It starts at 7.00pm when the shop will be hosting a food tasting event for people to sample all the local food that they carry as stock items.
At 7.30pm it's across the road to the old Georgian Manor Farmhouse for a candlelit Classical Guitar recital by James Boyd which lasts just over an hour, then back to the shop / gallery for coffee.

If you are in the area this sounds like a wonderful way to spend an evening and we are delighted that pork pies and sausages made by Samphire will be part of the tasting experience. Fabulous food and magical music, a great way to support this creative community.

Tickets are £20.00 each
Tickets can be reserved from the shop by phoning 01263 587325
Details on guitarist James Boyd can be found at www.jamesboyd.co.uk

Where is the event?

View Itteringham Community Shop in a larger map

Pork Pie Workshop: 25th September 2011

As part of the Norfolk Food Festival 2011, Bray's Cottage Pork Pies we will be holding a “Make your own pork pie” workshop at Pie HQ between Holt and Blakeney, North Norfolk. You’ll learn the secrets of hot water crust pastry without tears, be shown how to make pork pies of different sizes, decorate them and you’ll make your own to take home.


It is designed to be fun (all ingredients are supplied), there’ll be plenty of tea and coffee on hand and a light Norfolk lunch will be provided. Run by Sarah Pettegree, there should be plenty of information about Norfolk food to be learned too.

If it’s a nice day why not go for a walk in the beautiful North Norfolk lanes around HQ while your pies are baking and gather a few blackberries and rosehips for you to take home.

Because HQ’s kitchen is quite small numbers 
will be strictly limited to 6 places.
Cost: £45 including lunch.
Email: info@perfectpie.co.uk
Call: 01263 712958

Visit Bray's Cottage website: www.perfectpie.co.uk

Where is the event?

View Pork Pie Workshop: Bray's Cottage Pork Pies in a larger map

Keep an eye on the weather 
(in case you want to go for a stroll)

20 September 2011

Essence of Taste: Womersley Fruit & Herb Vinegars


The Womersley brand was launched by Martin and Aline Parsons from their home, Womersley Hall, in 1979 and has become one of Yorkshire’s and England's leading Gourmet Brands.

The home-grown specialist herbs and fruits are the key ingredients of all their fruit and herb vinegars and jellies. Martin attributes his expert knowledge of speciality herbs to his family's background. The Parsons family has lived in Yorkshire for generations and is famous for grand gardens and horticulture at Nymans in Sussex and Birr Castle in Ireland. Martin's instinctive ability to blend specialist herbs and sumptuous fruits with vinegar and sugar has created for cooks and chefs a product of such versatility and has led them to win numerous taste awards.


In 2009, Martin and Aline's son, Rupert, took on the privilege of running Womersley. Since doing so, he has overseen the move to a bespoke new, and larger, premises as well as rebranding the company image – the beautiful labels are the work of Swedish artist, Petra Borner

Whilst the making of fruit vinegars and herb jellies is a fine old British tradition, at Womersley they are proud to say that they’ve perfected recipes which will delight and surprise.

The jellies are soft-set, jewel-coloured and translucent. The recipe is balanced to allow maximum versatility in the kitchen, whilst ensuring that the true aromas of all the flavours always shine through whether that is geranium, rosemary, apache chilli or lavender. They only use the natural pectin in the apples as the setting agent.

The multi-award winning vinegars all contain generous quantities of the rich fruits which give them a luxuriously thick finish. The range of flavours can be used in the making of or to accompany almost any dish.

Visit Womersley Fruit & Herb Vinegars on The Artisan Food Trail here

Choice Cuts: Paganum Produce


Paganum Produce is a small artisan butchery and charcuterie based at Church End Farm near Malham in the Yorkshire Dales.

With five generations of butchery, curing and farming experience supplying a traditional product range increasing a range of traditional meats, sausages, dry cured bacon and charcuterie with the benefit of an online shop and direct-to-door delivery.

The Name
“Paganum” is Latin for “Rural Tradition” and was chosen because rural tradition is something that they are passionate about. Traditional methods of farming for slower grown, happier animals. Traditional and rare breeds able to thrive in the outdoor life of the Yorkshire Dales. Traditional ways of hanging, preparing and cutting meat for a fuller flavour. And traditional standards of service where every customer counts.

History
The company is now headed by Chris Wildman and butchery runs deep in his family, the original butchers shop was opened in Bentham, Yorkshire in the mid 1800s by John Wildman (Great Great Grandfather), previously it existed as an on-farm butchery and following his death in 1894 the shop passed through a succession of Wildmans.

Provenance and Preparation
All meat and gourmet produce is fully traceable to family farms and small artisan firms in the Yorkshire Dales.

Sourcing locally means that all farmers and producers are known personally. They've all been chosen by Paganum for their commitment to animal welfare, sustainable agriculture and conservation.

All produce is British giving full confidence in that it's been produced here, not just packed here. They can absolutely guarantee that all fresh beef and lamb is fully traceable to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.

Special cuts can be provided as well as advice on the best type of meat for a particular recipe and how to cook whichever joint you choose. It's all down to preparation, hanging and cutting. Beef is hung for a minimum of 21 days, to ensure maximum taste and tenderness.

Yorkshire Chorizo
Paganum is also home to the Yorkshire Chorizo, a fully cured sausage using British pork and made in Yorkshire, of course.

Visit Paganum Produce on The Artisan Food Trail here

Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival: 24th – 25th September 2011


Situated on the river Alde in a landscape of open skies, marshland, and reed beds, the event is held at Snape Maltings, home to the world-famous concert halls of the Aldeburgh Festival of Music as well as a collection of shops selling food, kitchen-ware, crafts, art, books and much else. In this uniquely beautiful setting, the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival has become established as one of the foremost food festivals in Britain, while the whole area has become a food destination.

The Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival was started in 2006 to celebrate and publicise the abundance of local produce and also to help people reconnect with the countryside and the food it provides. One of the objectives of the festival is to demonstrate the strong connection between food and the market towns, the villages, the countryside, the rivers and the sea.

With over 90 exhibitors including a whole host of fine Suffolk food producers, we’re proud to say that some of those are on The Artisan Food Trail, so please visit their stands, try and buy their produce and have a chat...

Alder Tree – Fruit Ices
The Artisan Smokehouse – Smoked products
Breckland Orchard – Soft drinks
Food Safari – Food experience days/courses

Marquee Stage & Courtyard Stage
It should be an exciting weekend as there’ll also be a packed programme of cookery demonstrations from famous names such as Angela Hartnett, Matthew Fort, Richard Bertinet, Henry Harris, Fergus Henderson, Galton Blackiston, Thomasina Miers and Valentine Warner.

Artisan Food Trail member, Polly Robinson of Food Safari will be demonstrating alongside Lucas Hollweg as they present ways with alternative flatfish such as dabs, megrims and small flounders.

New for 2011 a third stage has been added – the Sourced Locally Stage sponsored by the East of England Co-operative Society.  There will be a series of demonstrations using locally sourced produce all supplied by the Co-op, and also EastFeast children and their teachers will all be demonstrating on this new stage.

For more information about the festival visit: 
www.aldeburghfoodanddrink.co.uk

Where is the event?

View Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival in a larger map

19 September 2011

Holy Smoke: The Artisan Smokehouse


Based on the beautiful Suffolk coast, The Artisan Smokehouse is a small family-run business producing award-winning smoked delicacies. Passionate about food and aiming to create the highest quality smoked products, using ethically sourced ingredients prioritising British producers.

Husband and wife, Tim and Gillian Matthews make and sell a range of gourmet foods including Smoked British Beef Fillet, both hot and cold smoked Scottish Salmon, Smoked Salami, Hot Smoked Duck Breast, smoked cheeses such as Cropwell Bishop Stilton, Westcombe Cheddar and goats cheese. There’s also a selection of smoked ingredients to inspire the cook with Smoked Dried Mushrooms, Garlic and Italian Olive Oil.



The Smoking Process
All of The Artisan Smokehouse’s fish and meat products are dry cured for between 24 and 72 hours, using a mixture of sugar and salt. By keeping the curing mix simple a superior and purer taste is obtained.

Before smoking, the fish and beef are first dried for a period of 12 hours in order to assist the smoking process, enhance the flavour and aid preservation.

The majority of products are cold smoked. Cold smoking smokes but does not cook the product and is a very effective way of controlling the flavour of the food being smoked. It is during this process that the food changes both in colour and flavour.

The Artisan Smokehouse uses natural hardwood chippings that contain no additives. producing a cleaner smoke. The majority of food is smoked using maple wood, which gives a rich and distinctive flavour.

Tim is constantly experimenting with a variety of different foods and has even added the infusion of smoke to cinnamon. A visit to any of the shows or farmers’ markets they attend will usually reveal an unusual find or something that is not readily available through their website.

Visit The Artisan Smokehouse on The Artisan Food Trail here

18 September 2011

Sweet Majesty: Fudge Kitchen

Photo © childsdesign


Back in 1983, Fudge Kitchen, then known as Jim Garrahy’s Fudge Kitchen, started making fudge. They later shortened their name to just Fudge Kitchen as that’s what many of their customers referred to them as. It’s the same fudge but with a simpler moniker.

Fudge doesn’t originate from Devon or Cornwall, as many people might think, but was in fact ‘born’ at a women’s college in Virginia, USA.
A college lecturer was taking a class in toffee making when the temperature of the mixture was not taken high enough and the end product was called ‘fudge', which is why the use of the word ‘fudge’ means a mistake or error.
Fudge Kitchen is very much a British company but they are inspired by the US recipe, dating back to 1830, making the fudge, for the past 25 years, by hand on huge marble slabs.

The American-style slab fudge is made using whipping cream instead of butter, giving a creamy soft texture and distinctive flavour.
All fudge is freshly made and sold at shops in Bath, York, Cambridge, Canterbury, Windsor, Edinburgh and Oxford. A visit to one of the shops gives an opportunity to try a free sample and catch one of the unique fudge making demonstrations where the fudge mixture is poured out on to a marble slab and artfully worked as it cools and sets. Finally the pool of fudge is hand crafted into a big log that is cut into generously thick slices.



Fudge Kitchen also run experience days for people wanting to have a go at making some fudge for themselves. They are taken throughout the whole fudge making process by an expert and then get to take home a fudge selection box.

Visit Fudge Kitchen on The Artisan Food Trail here

17 September 2011

The Big Cheese: Hafod Welsh Organic Cheddar


Hafod cheese is handmade on the 130 acre family farm, Bwlchwernen Fawr in West Wales by Sam and Rachel Holden. The farm has been under organic stewardship since 1973 making it the longest standing registered organic dairy farm in Wales.

It wasn’t until 2005 that Patrick Holden, director of The Soil Association who has been based at the farm for some 40 years, suggested the idea of developing a cheese to his son, Sam. Both Sam and his wife Rachel thought the idea appealing enough for them to give up their careers in London and move to country.



The Cheese
Hafod cheese is made in small batches using traditional methods on their purpose built dairy farm. The recipe is locally originated from the late Dougal Campbell, who learned to make cheese in the Swiss Alps before he moved to West Wales in the early 80’s.

Hafod first started to be made in 2007 and since then, a small batch is crafted every other day piping milk directly from their milking parlour into their Dutch, wooden sided open vat.
The recipe is very similar to that of cheddar, but it has a distinctive rich, buttery and nutty flavour, not unlike a Gruyere, harking back to its Swiss origins.

The cheese is made from raw (unpasteurised) milk from their Ayrshire breed herd. Ayrshire milk is rich in butterfat and protein and is widely regarded as being perfect for cheese making, resulting in a smooth and creamy texture.
The cheese is formed into 10kg rounds and matured for 10 to 18 months, developing a traditional mould rind.



The Herd
The choice to establish a herd of brown and white patterned Ayrshire cows was partly by accident and partly through lack of experience. A breed was needed that was well suited to the farm’s climate and high rainfall.
The only snag is that Ayrshire cows are not noted for giving high yields of milk, but this did not deter the Holdens as for what Ayrshires lack in quantity they more than make up for in quality.
The herd of 65, considered to be small by modern standards, is just right for Bwlchwernen farm to be able to sustain as they do not have to heavily rely on bought-in feed. It’s a small operation that turns out a superior product.

Photos: © childsdesign
Cheese To Your Door
To make mail order simple, the innovative ‘letterbox’ cheese is a cleverly cut large semicircular slice ideal for posting, so the cost is kept down and there’s no need to wait in for delivery.

Visit Hafod Welsh Organic Cheddar on The Artisan Food Trail here








Photos (unless otherwise stated): © Kiran Ridley www.kiranridley.com

15 September 2011

British Food Fortnight: 17th September – 2nd October 2011


We invite you to join us in celebrating British Food Fortnight, when we'll be showcasing the producers on The Artisan Food Trail blog.
Everyday throughout the fortnight we'll be focussing on one or two food artisans giving you an insight into what they do and hopefully we'll be able to inspire you with the best of British produce.

Here at The Artisan Food Trail, we are passionate about British food
and love to share all that is good about it by raising awareness of our country's artisan producers and helping to spread the word about the people that make it.

We will be featuring cheese, to handmade confectionery and a range of enticing smoked foods. There'll be ice cream, cured meats and specialist condiments. Indulge your cake cravings with some fine bakery items or satisfy your savoury needs with pies. There'll be a variety of preserves made with all the best locally sourced ingredients. For the discerning meat eater, there'll be ethically reared, speciality and British rare breed pork, beef and lamb as well as a range of wild venison charcuterie. For those who love to add some spice to their life, we have gourmet chillies and to wash it all down, fruity soft drinks.

And if that wasn't enough to whet your appetite and you want to learn even more about food, perhaps some courses will be interesting to you too.

Our celebration will start this Saturday 17th September, so get ready for our jam packed blog!
Get the bunting up!

For more information about British Food Fortnight click here
For a full list of our current producers click here
or visit our website: www.artisanfoodtrail.co.uk



13 September 2011

Abergavenny Food Festival: 17th & 18th September 2011


Mountains of cheese, chocolate and charcuterie, an explosion of chilli, a long cool beer – it's all about sensory extremes and subtle contrasts.
Hear passionate performers, soap-box rants and electric debate. Savour the delights of fishing at dawn or dancing at dusk (yes there's a fantastic party at The Castle!) You can taste it, share it and bring it all together in one big celebration in Abergavenny.
There's so much on offer. From an unrivalled foodie shopping experience to top-end masterclasses, there really is something for everyone.

Three of The Artisan Food Trail's listed producers will be exhibiting:
Hafod Welsh Organic Cheddar
Womersley Fruit & Herb Vinegars
Breckland Orchard

More info:
www.abergavennyfoodfestival.com

Where is the event?


View Abergavenny Food Festival in a larger map

Keep an eye on the weather

17th & 18th September 2011: British Producer Fayre at La Hogue Farm Shop


La Hogue farm is holding its 6th annual Producer Fayre on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th of September 2011, which has now grown into one of the largest food festivals in East Anglia.

Over 60 producers, including many from Suffolk, will be offering free tastings of their products together with information on how they are produced. The producers include local meat and game farms, bee-keepers, fishermen, quail producers, cheese producers and their cows!

At the time of writing we know of four of The Artisan Food Trail's listed producers that will have stalls at the event:
Bray's Cottage Pork Pies
Breckland Orchard
Capsicana Chilli Co
Great Glen Game (not in person but their charcuterie will be available for tasting)

The fayre takes place between 10:00am & 4:00pm both days and entry is FREE.

This year’s special guest is BBC Masterchef finalist, Dr. Tim Kinnaird

More info:
www.lahogue.co.uk

Where is the event?


View La Hogue Producer Fayre in a larger map

12 September 2011

Bray's Cottage on BBC Radio Norfolk

Sarah Pettegree of Bray's Cottage Pork Pies will be joining Helen McDermott on BBC Radio Norfolk tomorrow (13th September) at 11am.
We don't know exactly what they'll be talking about but expect the focus to be on pork pies.

Although the programme has been and gone, thanks to the internet, you can listen to it again.
Click here to be taken to the iPlayer. (about 1:28:05 in)

Theo Paphitis selects The Artisan Food Trail


Last night we decided to enter Theo Paphitis's Twitter competition called Small Business Sunday. Those of you who watch Dragons' Den will know Theo and his ability to spot a good business, so we were very excited when we found out that we'd been selected as one of the six winners by him.

Our tweet retweeted by Theo Paphitis
It's a very simple process and if you run a small business and are on Twitter, we strongly recommend you have a go.
The competition runs each Sunday evening from 5pm – 7.30pm. Just send a tweet to Theo Paphitis describing what your business does, include a link to your website and add the #sbs.
You can enter as many times as you like, so if you're not successful the first time, then try again the following week. It is very simple, but important that you can describe exactly what you do in a concise way that will attract the Dragon's attention. Imagine you are doing your pitch but you don't have much time to deliver it. It's what's known as an elevator pitch.

As soon as the time is up, Theo hand picks his favourites and retweets them. Theo has a lot of followers, the last time we looked it was well over 164,500, so imagine all the people that get to see his retweet. That's a vast amount of free advertising and publicity for you.

We experienced the full power of Twitter as congratulations flooded in like a joyful tidal wave. Throngs of new followers filled our inbox, which took us most of this morning to clear and we have had more inquiries from food producers wanting to join the food trail, plus the hits on our website increased.
Last night was proof that social media is an extremely powerful tool. One small action can generate a huge positive reaction.

Although we are basking in the glow of having been chosen by a very influential person, the best thing about it, is that all of our listed producers have been shown to so many more people.
It's amazing what that one tweet did and we hope that now we're reaching an even wider audience, it benefits our producers too.

www.artisanfoodtrail.co.uk

8 September 2011

Capsicana Chilli Company on Tour


East Anglia and the South East are in for a treat as Ben from
Capsicana Chilli Co takes to the road with a series of tastings. He'll be cooking various dishes using a variety of his specially selected chillies which should be an inspiration to all chilli gourmands who appreciate the array of flavours as well as the heat.

Put these dates in your diary now!

10th September
Mortimer & Bennett, Chiswick.
Voted as one of Britain's top 50 delis.
Visit their website: www.mortimerandbennett.co.uk

Tasters for the day*
• Chipotle chicken (view recipe)
• Pan fried pork tenderloin in Guajillo chilli sauce (view recipe)
• Various salsas including 3 chilli salsa (view recipe)

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17th & 18th September
La Hogue Farm Shop Regional & British Producer Fayre, Chippenham, Cambridgeshire.
Visit their website: www.lahogue.co.uk


Tasters for the day*
Capsicana chilli sausages made freshly in the on site butchery as well as:
• Pan fried pork tenderloin in adobo sauce
• Poached chicken in Guajillo chilli sauce (view recipe)
• Various salsas including my 3 chilli salsa (view recipe)
There will also be the official launch of the extended product range

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24th September
Foxholes Farm Shop, London Road, Hertford.
Visit their website: www.foxholesfarm.com

Tasters for the day*
• Pan fried pork tenderloin in Guajillo chilli sauce (view recipe)
• Shredded poached chicken breast in red mole sauce (view recipe)
• Various salsas including my 3 chilli salsa (view recipe)

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*The taster menus may vary and are subject to change


See Capsicana's page on 
The Artisan Food Trail website here

Where are all the tastings?


View Capsicana Chilli Co on Tour in a larger map

Photos: ©childsdesign 2011