Well done to the East Anglian producers who have scooped 272 Great Taste accolades at this year's awards. Among the Great Taste 3-star winners are a number of products that pack a serious punch, including; Le Rêve Organic Molecular Absinthe from Linden Leaf Botanicals in Cambridge, described as “virtually the perfect expression of absinthe” as the judges enjoyed “pure aniseed-balls on the palate, but backed up by woody, herbal, citrus-noted, warm and spiritous notes”; a coffee and chocolate lover’s dream in the form of 70% Tumaco Colombia Dark Chocolate with Colombian Coffee from Tosier ChocolateMaker in Ipswich, applauded for its ““silky smooth” texture and “wild fruitiness, subtle tobacco hints and perfectly pitched bitter notes”; and the “vibrant and exciting” Blackcurrant Fruit Cream Ice from Alder Tree in Needham Market, declared to be “the essence of blackcurrant”, as one judge said, “the shackles are definitely off with this one… brilliant!” Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers, check out all the 2020 winners here and the wide range of award winning products which are available to buy in delis, farm shops and independent retail outlets across the country.
- 3 star blackcurrant ice cream from Alder Tree
- 3 star Le Reve Absinthe from Linden Leaf
- 3 star Free Range Norfolk Black Turkey from Morton's in Norfolk
- 3 star Tumaco Columbia Tosier chocolate
Cheester Eggs from Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses. Cheddar or Blacksticks Blue, definitely an Easter Egg to nibble on.
Love it or hate it the chances are a Christmas Pudding will be making an appearance on your festive table. I was intrigued to try a Bunty's Christmas pudding created to win over the haters amongst you. The hand-made Waveney Valley pudding arrived so beautifully presented it was a shame to cut off the ribbons and bows from the muslin wrapped Mason Cash bowl. Steamed for one and half hours according to the instructions, the waft of fruit and spice was noticable when I cut the string and removed the paper to turn it out.The texture was quite different from any pudding I've tried before; soft and light without the whole fruits and crumbly texture of a traditional pud but a rich and dark colour, yet not stodgy. The balance of fruit and alcohol is excellent, with more than a hint of prune and raisins enhanced with Pedro Ximenez sherry. In fact this is a pudding where you might possibly manage seconds. Check out Bunty's website to find your local stockist.
Here's a new monthly food and flea market for you, to be held at Clare Town Hall on the third Wednesday of every month. Starting on October 17th. Check out their vintage kitchenalia. They'll also be holding a Food and Drink Fair before Christmas and are looking for a caterer to run their Cafe at this event. Anyone out there?
Actually it doesn't need to be ice cream weather to enjoy a visit to Hadley's Parlour in Lavenham. We went on rather a chilly day but enjoyed tasting a selection of the handmade icecreams that really do offer satisfying, smooth and creamy flavours using locally sourced Fen Farm milk and cream, Elmsett Game Farm eggs, Maldon sea salt and Pump Street chocolate, to name a few. You can get very good coffee and mini cakes as well, if you are greedy like me.
We were thrilled to receive this parcel in the post; a selection of cheeses from The Fine Cheese Co. Delighted also that we were sent a selection to review called Sisters in Cheese, a one off selection created especially with Mothers Day in mind - the three cheeses recognising women's roles as cheese-makers down the ages, and a tribute to today's 'dairymaids'. A very appropriate range in time for our own Mothers Day lunch where my three daughters thought that it meant a cheese each! We're all cheese lovers in my house and considering that all three daughters worked for me at some point waitressing in my restaurant where only English cheeses were served they've had to learn their stuff, so I didn't mind sharing.
The selection included a Sharpham Brie which is a raw, Jersey cow's milk cheese made in Devon on the Sharpham Estate. Rich, delicate and creamy with an unctuous texture. The cheesemaker is Debbie Mundford.
A baby Curworthy, a pasteurised cow's milk cheese dating back to the 17th century, and thought to be even older than Cheddar. Smooth, firm and mellow with a creamy flavour and made by Rachel Stevens.
Wigmore, a raw, Ewe's milk cheese with a gentle, delicate flavour and made in Berkshire by Anne Wigmore.
The Fine Cheese Co is based in Bath, with a branch also in London just around the corner from Harvey Nicks. If you are unable to visit then the online selections and cheese gifts are very tempting with a frequently changing cornucopia of cheeses to choose from. I even spotted our own Suffolk produced Baron Brigod. My parcel arrived in great shape, with ice pack keeping it cool and the cheese all in perfect shape. A handy caring for your cheese and cheese etiquette leaflet included too.
- well packaged including an ice pack to keep cool
- cheese and fridge etiquette
- unwrapped and bringing to room temperature
We met Amos Smith aka Mossy back in the middle of 2016 when he brought us some test jars of his deliciously moreish homemade yogurt. He wouldn't deliver until he was sure he had perfected the recipe, which had been handed down to him from his Auntie Jo. So we waited patiently. When it finally arrived we loved the slighty sweetened, faintly caramel like natural bio yogurt. In fact we have been watching Mossy and waiting ... and waiting for the product to launch. At last Mossy has his production line up and running and his yogurt production perfected. Check out this map of stockists.
I just drove home way too fast because I had a loaf of freshly baked bread in the back of my car.The smell was tormenting me and I wanted to cut myself a slice and spread it with butter.The loaf of Pakenham bread (made with Pakenham Mill flour) had just been baked by Mark Proctor from The Friendly Loaf Company which is based in Rede.The smell of a bakery always brings back childhood memories of visiting my Grandad in his bakery in Ixworth. Mark told me all about his Barm bread, which is an ale leavened bread.I'll try that next time. He also told me he has a job vacancy for a bakery assistant, to help him in the bakery and learn the art of breadmaking.Now that is a fine opportunity....