Cheese Showcase: Blue Cheese

It seems that the origin of most innovative creations come from human error. Take the story of how blue cheese came into being; it is thought that a drunken cheese maker left behind a half eaten loaf of bread in moist cheese caves. On his return he discovered the mold covering the bread had transformed it into a blue cheese and the rest is history! Today this naturally occurring mold has been refined and cultivated and almost all blue cheeses are now made by adding this to milk during the cheese making process. The cheese is pierced during maturation which allows air to react with the mold and results in the characteristic blue veining common in most blue cheeses.
Blue cheese is one of our favourite varieties with flavour profiles ranging from mellow and creamy to sharp and tangy, below we explore some of our bestselling blue cheeses.

stilton 2 (2)Stilton
Perhaps one of the best known of the blue cheeses our Stilton is produced by the Tuxford & Tebbutt Creamery, one of only six creameries in the UK permitted under the EU Protected Designation of Origin status to produce traditional Blue Stilton. It is a rich, complex cheese with a smooth creaminess when young developing into a tangy sharpness when mature. The texture is light and crumbly with a straw-like colour and dark blue veining throughout. We like this crumbled over salads with pear and walnuts or stirred into creamy pasta with some mushrooms or bacon. The cheese is available in whole 4kg rounds and 200g retail packs, click here for more info.

Dorset Blue Vinny
Dorset Blue Vinny was once made in almost every farmhouse in Dorset until the Second World War when production died out. The cheese was resurrected in the 1980’s using a 300 year old recipe and is today made on Woodbridge Farm by dorset blue (2)Michael Davies. This is a lovely, mellow blue cheese with a creamy, crumbly texture. Due to its artisan production the colour varies greatly from cheese to cheese, typically it is a deep yellow on the outside with a much lighter, creamy colouring towards the centre and dark blue/green veining throughout. Try this in a creamy leek and potato soup or on some crackers with a light, fruity chutney. The Blue Vinny is available in whole 3kg rounds and 150g retail packs, click here for more info.

Devon Blue
Made by Robin Congden of Ticklemore Cheese in Totnes, the Devon Blue is produced by hand using cows’ milk sourced from a local farmers co-operative. devon blue (2)This is a moist, crumbly cheese with buttery, clean flavours and soft texture. As the cheese matures it develops slightly sweet, caramel tones resulting in an intriguing, complex cheese. The colour of Devon Blue is pale and creamy with subtle blue veining throughout. Try this in a savoury cheesecake with walnuts and rosemary or in a warming blue cheese and broccoli soup with chunky bread. Devon Blue is available in whole 3.5kg rounds and 130g retail packs, click here for more info.

Blue cheeses are wildly different and their astonishing range of flavours mean we will never tire of trying new ones.

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Local Producers – Brookes Bacon

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Brookes Bacon.brookesBrookes Bacon began in the mid 1980’s when the company supplied ham, cheese and pre-packed cooked meats to mainly wholesale and catering customers. In 1994 demand for sliced and pre-packed bacon from their customers increased and the business began to focus purely on bacon and gammon products.

smoked streaky baconBased in Dorset, Brookes Bacon are passionate about providing high quality European and British bacon and use modern technologies and the latest equipment to maintain the excellent and consistent quality that their customers expect.

We currently stock a wide range of Brookes bacon including catering packs of both smoked and unsmoked as well as streaky and smoked streaky bacon, all of which are available in individual packs of 2.25kg and cases of four 2.25kg packs. We also stock their back baconretail smoked and unsmoked bacon packs which are available in individual 450g and cases of 15x 450g packs. Their thick-cut gammon steaks are becoming increasingly popular and are available in 450g packs with two gammon steaks per pack and the thickly cut ribfree bacon is another great quality product, it is available in catering 2.25kg packs. Click here to view the full bacon range and discover your new favourite bacon.

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Shop Local: Community Shops

Community shops have been on the rise for a number of years; in 1994 there were just 27 registered community shops while in 2016 this number had risen to 348. Community shops are owned and funded by the local community often in rural areas without access to other means of provision. These shops are able to compete with their bigger, nationwide counterparts by focusing on maintaining a loyal customer base, staffing their shops with a mostly volunteer workforce and often providing other community activities including workshops, craft schemes and cafe facilities. Here we explore a few of our local community shops and the work that they do.

ide commIde Community Shop was opened in 2013 following the closure of the village post office. A temporary shop was housed in a portable cabin but after a fundraising effort by local residents, permanent premises were purchased and today the shop is a thriving business. Staffed by 50 volunteers the shop sells a range of locally sourced produce including artisan cheeses, Chunk of Devon pies and pasties and a variety of sliced meats as well as locally made cakes, chocolates and ice creams. Following growing awareness to the dangers of single use plastics the shop has committed to reducing its own plastic waste and in an innovative move  now stock reusable cotton bags made by local residents. These pretty, colourful bags make a refreshing change to flimsy plastic bags and can be used again and again.

Cheriton Fitzpaine Community Shop has similar origins to those just described; in 2016 the owners of the village shop and post office retired and the shop had to close. Local residents became concerned that the loss of the shop as a community hub would be keenly felt and a small group began researching the idea of re-opening. In May 2017 that idea was realised. The community shop is currently housed in a temporary building adjacent to the Methodist Chapel while the cheriton fitznecessary planning permissions and building work continue for permanent premises. The management team focuses on providing the best produce possible for their customers sourced from local producers including bacon, sausages, pies, pasties and savouries, cheese, dips and olives, chocolates, jams and chutneys as well as everyday staples such as bread, eggs and milk. Run by a small army of volunteers the Cheriton Fitzpaine Community Shop has also become a local hub promoting locally run events, displaying public notices and functioning as a place for people to meet.

Otterton’s last convenience shop closed its doors in 2004 despite efforts to try and save it by the local community. In the intervening years residents began canvassing opinion from local residents as to whether to open a community run shop. Over a three year period this group of volunteers hosted fundraising events, scouted for premises and finally obtained planning permission to refurbish the snooker hall and the current otterton commcommunity shop opened in 2014. Staffed by a majority of volunteers the shops mission is to cater to the needs of local people, providing not only everyday staples such as milk, bread and cereal but also locally sourced meat, fish, pies and pasties, wine, beer and liqueurs and frozen, high quality ready meals. The shop is able to compete with its larger, national counterparts by competitive pricing and a focus on local produce.

These three community shops are linked by their stringent sense and love of community; each is run by a group of volunteers willing to give up their time and expertise to the project and provide the best service possible to their local residents. In an era filled with convenience deliveries and big business, we are happy to see these small, local focused shops succeed and wish them all the best of luck for the coming year.

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Local Producers – Barbers Farmhouse Cheesemakers

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Barbers Farmhouse Cheesemakers.barbers

The Barber family began making their cheeses on Maryland Farm in Somerset in 1833 and today produce their award-winning Cheddar on a much bigger scale whilst retaining their original values and techniques. The Barber’s cheeses are madebarbers mature using milk from their own herd of cows as well as extra milk sourced from surrounding farms. Their expert cheesemakers combine traditional techniques with modern innovations to produce their excellent cheeses from the ‘cheddaring’ process (the curds form slabs which are then stacked by hand) to the use of technology to increase production and maintain consistent quality.
Barber’s cheese is also one of only a handful in the South West to have Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, awarded to selected foods which are made in a certain way or in a particular area. In this instance for Cheddar to be called Westcountry Farmhouse it must be made using milk from Somerset, Devon or Dorset, using traditional techniques such as ‘cheddaring’ and matured for at least nine months. The achievement of PDO status marks a high quality product.

We currently stock a number of Barber’s cheeses including the Farmhouse Mature Cheddar, typically matured for up to 12 months it is full of flavour with a mellow richness, and the Farmhouse Red Leicester which is made with barbers (2)traditional starter cultures, West Country milk and a small amount of annatto plant dye which results in its distinctive red/orange colouring. This is a smooth, buttery cheese with a firm texture and subtle, mellow sweetness. We also stock the flagship 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar which is matured for at least 24 months during which time the cheese develops an unrivaled complexity and depth of flavour with a creamy texture and naturally occurring salt crystals to give it a distinctive crunch.

All of the Barber’s cheeses are available in both retail packs of 200-320g and catering sizes from 1kg-5kg and the full range is available to view here.

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Christmas Leftover Ideas

This festive season we’ve got all the inspiration you’ll need for using up all your leftovers from the big day. From traditional turkey curry to not so traditional ramen, a delicious Boxing Day breakfast and a warming cheesey dish perfect for cosying up by the fire – enjoy!

turkeyTurkey
We can’t imagine Christmas without mountains of leftover turkey, but what to do with it? A 70’s classic turkey curry, creamy korma or a fiery madras, a curry is quick and easy to make but full of flavour. We like adding some drained chickpeas for extra texture but you can leave these out if you prefer. Serve with some rice, naan bread, poppadoms, or whatever you have in the cupboard for an excellent curry feast!
If you fancy something a little more adventurous why not try making a Turkey ramen? Originating in Japan this noodle broth is deliciously rich and warming with plenty of healthy veg to compensate for the over indulgence of chocolates and mincepies over the festive season! It takes no time to prepare and you can even add leftover gravy to heighten the rich, meaty flavours.

Ham
Like a lot of families we have lots of ham over Christmas and aside from sandwiches we were at a loss of how to use it up. A potato, ham and chorizo hash makes a delicious Boxing Day breakfast, guaranteed to blow away the cobwebs ifhoney ham (2) you’ve overdone it on the mulled wine. Once everything is chopped this takes minutes to cook and if you’ve got some leftover roast potatoes (unlikely in our house!) you can add those to make it extra decadent and crispy.
Carbonara is one of our favourite meals, full of creamy goodness, we couldn’t resist including it with our leftovers. Traditionally made with pancetta we think it works just as well with ham and a good sprinkling of Parmesan.

Cheese
We always have some cheese left over from our Boxing Day cheeseboard and one sharpham brieway to use it up is to make a delicious Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Any cheese will work perfectly so don’t worry about using a bit of everything, Stilton, Brie, a bit of leftover Cheddar all work really well, we also quite like adding some smoked bacon for extra flavour. Top with grated Parmesan and breadcrumbs for that signature crunchy crust and you’ve got a deliciously warming cheesy dinner.
Another great leftover idea is a roasted vegetable tart topped with slices of Brie and cranberry sauce. Any veg you’ve got left from the roast dinner can be roasted in puff pasty tart cases, top with the brie just before serving and dig in!

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Local Producers – Langage Farm Dairy

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Langage Farm Dairy.langage-farm-logoLangage Farm has been a working farmstead for over 900 years. Located in the rolling Devonshire hills the Harvey family began producing their now famous clotted cream in 1980 to supply a nearby shop. This small scale production soon grew and in 2003 with the expansion of the dairy, Langage moved across the clotted creamfields to a new farm in Smithaleigh. Today the farm employs around 50 people and a herd of 250 Jersey and Guernsey cows to produce their delicious range of clotted and double cream, luxury yogurts, thick and creamy natural yogurts and various flavours of ice cream.

We currently stock a range of the Langage Farm products including their clotted creams which are available in 57g, 113g, 200g and 907g pots, double cream which is available in 284ml bottles, natural yogurts available in 450g pots and luxury yogurts available in cases of 12, flavours include lemon curd, English raspberry, cherry and strawberry. We can also stock all flavours and sizes of Langage FarmLangage-layered-yogurts-web ice cream including traditional clotted cream vanilla, indulgent coffee mocha and festive Christmas pudding flavours available in 500ml and 4ltr tubs.

Langage Farm creams have become synonymous with delicious Devonshire products, click here to view the whole range of products and for more info.

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Local Producers – Jacksons Fishmongers

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Jacksons Fishmongers.jacksons logo

A traditional fishmongers and smokehouse Jacksons Fishmongers was established in Newton Abbot in 1922. Sourcing the majority of their fish from nearby Brixham Jacksons focus on supplying sustainably caught fish and SmokedSalmonFillets (3)shellfish to their customers. All of the boats from which they buy their fish are endorsed by the Marine Stewardship Council and most are line caught in keeping with ethical guidelines or from boats adhering to the Responsible Fishing Scheme. Jacksons also produce their own smoked fish range using their on site smoker.

We stock a variety of Jacksons products including the smoked mackerel, peppered mackerel, smoked kippers and hot smoked trout which are all available in 100-200g retail packs. Recently we have also begun stocking their frozen salmon fillets which are available in individual 200g portions. Click here to view the full range and for more information.

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Unit Extension!

If you have visited our unit recently you may be aware of the building work going on around us. We are currently in the process of extending our unit to include a much larger refrigeration space, new bespoke packing and production rooms and improved office space. Perhaps most importantly for us and our customers is the extension of the fridge which will enable us to begin stocking a wider variety of new and exciting products in the new year. The photographs below show the whole extension process from clearing the area behind our current unit to our products back on the shelves in their home:

We are already noticing a difference with how much space we now have. While our office extension remain ongoing the fridge and production rooms are now completed. We can’t wait to begin filling the new refrigeration space with brand new delicious products in the new year!

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Local Producers – Devon Choice

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Devon Choice.

streaky baconDevon Choice supply the majority of our retail packed bacon. Based in Teignmouth they have been supplying traditional bacon and cooked meats throughout the South West since 1975. A small family owned business, Devon Choice rely on their consistent quality and value from the same high quality pork supplier to keep loyal customers returning time and time again. Originally supplying back bacon and speciality hams they are now able to smoke their own bacon over traditional oak chippings, resulting in a unique and delicious flavour. ppEnglishCuredBack (2)

We currently stock lean English cured back bacon, smoked back, streaky and smoked streaky bacon all of which are full of flavour and available in both 2.27kg catering packs and 200g retail packs. The Devon Choice dry-cured bacon has become a bestseller, naturally dry cured for up to two months the result is a strong tasting, robust flavoured bacon. Click here to view the full range.

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Local Producers – Sharpham Cheese

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Sharpham.sharphamCheese-making on the Sharpham Estate began in 1981 in the eighteenth century coach yard of Sharpham house. In 2003 the team moved to a purpose built creamery on the estate which allowed them to scale up production while retaining the traditional techniques that had made their cheeses so popular. All Sharpham cheeses are handmade by expert cheese-makers using the rich, unpasteurised milk from their own herd of Jersey cattle. The unpasteurised or sharpham brieraw-milk used to make their cheeses results in a completely unique flavour that changes seasonally with the climate, temperature and the feed given to cows.

The Sharpham range includes the award-winning Sharpham Rustic, a semi-hard cheese with mellow, creamy flavours and fresh lemony undertones when young developing into a slight nuttiness once matured. This Rustic cheese is also available in a Chive & Garlic version made with freshly pureed garlic which adds a delightfully savoury flavour to this creamy cheese.
The Sharpham is their soft cheese, often described as a brie or Frenchticklemore goat Coulommier style cheese, it has a unique buttery flavour and soft, creamy texture.
Ticklemore Goat was originally made by Robin Congdon of Ticklemore Dairy but is now made by Sharpham. A light and delicate goat’s cheese it has a moist, crumbly texture and subtle zesty flavour.

Click here to view the whole Sharpham range and for more info.

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