Local Producers – Taw Valley Creamery

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 Taw Valley Creamery.taw valley creamery (2)Taw Valley Creamery have been producing their award-winning cheeses since 1974. Situated in the beautiful countryside around the town of North Tawton, the creamery produce Cheddar, Red Leicester and Double Gloucester cheeses using traditional cheese-making techniques and fresh, high quality milk sourced from surrounding farms. Part of the Arla Foods group, Taw Valley are passionate about producing the highest quality cheeses for their customers.

We stock a range of Taw Valley products including the delicious Taw Valley Tickler. To reach the Tickler range the cheese is graded throughout its maturation process to ensure it meets the right criteria. This extra mature cheese tawvalleyrange_ck6q-r8is strong and robust in flavour with distinctive salt crystals, giving it a wonderful crunchy texture. We also stock the delightfully creamy Taw Valley Mature which is strong and full-bodied with a slight sweetness and the mellow and smooth Taw Valley Mild with a firm, texture. All of the Taw Valley cheeses are available in 5kg and 2.5kg blocks as well as 200g and 400g retail packs. View the whole Taw Valley range here.

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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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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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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 – 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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Cheese Showcase: Fruity Cheeses

Cheese and fruit have been paired together for centuries, the Romans blended their cheeses with fruit and herbs, the Dutch began adding cumin to their Gouda in the 17th century and today creameries regularly experiment with an assortment of wensleydale-with-cranberries-2flavours from Sticky Toffee Cheddar to festive Wensleydale & Cranberry, traditional Sage Derby to Stilton with Strawberries and Champagne. We explore our favourite fruity cheeses below.

Perhaps the most popular flavoured cheese is the Wensleydale & Cranberry. Many varieties of this classic can be found throughout the country and our version is made by Ford Farm in Dorset. The creamy, slightly crumbly Wensleydale provides the perfect base for the sweet and sharp contrast of cranberries and is Ford Farm’s take on the original Yorkshire recipe. This cheese is available in both catering 1.5kg half-moons and 150g retail packs.

stilton date & orange (2)The White Stilton with Date & Orange was recently our cheese of the week, it’s soft autumnal colours perfectly lending it to the season. Made by the Cropwell Bishop Creamery as part of their Speciality range, this is a mild, creamy cheese infused with tangy orange and sweet dates. We would recommend this as an alternative to dessert or as part of an after dinner cheeseboard. It is available in 1kg half-moon as well as 120g pre-packs.

The Snowdonia Cheese Company’s waxed truckles soar in popularity at this time of year. The Nature’s Nectar orange waxed cheese is a personal favourite, bursting with figs, honey and rich, fruity dark rum it makes a delicious and unique addition to any cheeseboard and is available in 200g waNatures_Nectarxed truckles.

Discover something new for your festive cheeseboard (or just for your Friday night cheese fix!) and browse our range of flavoured cheeses here.

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Bonfire Night Food

The name Bonfire Night evokes strong memories of cosying up around a roaring fire and enjoying a hot, comforting meal before bundling up in scarves and coats and setting off to a public firework display, or lighting some Catherine wheels and a few sparklers out in the garden. It is also undoubtedly a fantastic opportunity for food retailers; in 2018 research suggested that Brit’s would spend up to £316 million enjoying bonfire night with £62 million of this solely on food and drink.

chinnsBonfire night staples include comforting sausage recipes such as this Toad in the Hole recipe for a Catherine wheel twist on a classic from BBC Good Food. Stock up on some W.F Chinn pork chipolatas or Cumberland sausages for other classics like simple bangers and mash or this Westcountry cider and apple casserole.

Our Bonfire smoked cheese seems like it was made for bonfire night! It’s mellow, smoky flavour and subtle paprika coating would work well in traditional Welsh bonfire smokedrarebit or simple cheese on toast, a deliciously homely, winter snack that is ready in minutes, steaming hot and oozing with rich, savoury flavours.

Pumpkins and squash are in abundance at this time of year and you’re probably already well stocked up on them. Post Halloween encourage customers not to waste the fleshy interior but save it to make this indulgent pumpkin mac ‘n’ cheese instead. It would work with most cheeses but we’d recommend a rich, mature Cheddar such as our Taw Valley Tickler or Haystack Tasty.

What are your plans for Bonfire Night? Tag us in your foodie creations on our social media pages below.

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Award-Winning Cheeses!

Last week was the prestigious World Cheese Awards this year held in Bergamo, Italy as part of the city’s annual FORME cheese festival. A record 3804 cheeses were entered to be judged in a single day by teams of technical experts, buyers, retailers and food writers on their colour, texture, consistency and taste. A number of our local cheeses were recipients of awards ranging from Bronze to Gold including Sharpham Cheese, Quicke’s Cheese, the Cornish Cheese Co and Lynher Dairies.

Sharpham Rustic with Chive & Garlic
rustic chiveMade by Sharpham Dairy on the Sharpham Estate in Totnes, South Devon this won Silver at the World Cheese Awards last week. A semi-hard unpasteurised cheese made from Jersey cows milk it is full of rich, pungent garlic flavours underlined by a lovely creaminess with a soft, edible white rind. The team at Sharpham employ traditional techniques paired with a wealth of expertise to create their range of fantastic cheeses and are certainly no strangers to awards. Their Rustic Plain, sister cheese to the chive version, won Gold at last years International Cheese Awards while the Ticklemore Goat also won Silver at the World Cheese awards this year. Their range of cheeses are available in whole 1kg rounds as well as 150g retail packs.

Cornish Yarg
This wild nettle wrapped cheese is made by Lynher Dairies on their farm in ruralcornish yarg Cornwall using milk from both their own herd of Ayrshire cows and cows from carefully selected local farms. The nettles are hand picked from hedgerows in early spring and then frozen so that they last all year round. Wrapped around the cheese before the 4-5 week maturation, the leaves impart a delicate, mushroom flavour and the nettles themselves develop an attractive white bloom. This is a deliciously fresh and creamy cheese which clearly appealed to the judges as it won Gold at this years awards. Other cheeses made by the dairy have also been the recipient of many awards over the years including the prestigious Supreme Champion at the 2017 World Cheese Awards for their Cornish Kern and their Wild Garlic wrapped Yarg also won Gold at this years awards. The Yarg is available in whole 3kg rounds as well as 150g retail packs.

Congratulations to all winners at the World Cheese Awards!

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Cheese Showcase: Quicke’s Devonshire Red

The Quicke’s have been farming their land on Home Farm in Newton St Cyres for the last 500 years and producing their award-winning cheeses for the last 45. Using recipes passed down through generations, their nine expert cheese makers individually craft each cheese by hand using milk from the Quicke’s own herd of hybrid cows.

All of the cheeses are slowly matured in their ‘cathedral of cheese’; cool and dark this hall allows the cheeses to develop their characteristic rind displaying a range of colours and textures from green and grey to blue and orange. Turned every 10 days to maintain an even texture, some cheeses remain here for up to two years during which time their unique flavours begin to emerge.

Devonshire Red is the Quicke’s take on a classic Red Leicester. Matured for around six months it is a vibrant, full bodied cheese infused with natural annatto for a rich, orange hue and delightfully nutty flavour. It is fresher than other Quicke’s Cheddars yet retains a lovely creaminess and crumbly texture.

The Devonshire Red is available in individual 150g retail packs and the full range of Quicke’s cheeses are available to view here.

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British Food Fortnight!

Today marks the start of British Food Fortnight. Founded in 2002 the campaign focuses on encouraging caterers and retailers responsible for sourcing food for hospitals, schools and other food outlets to prioritise locally made produce -something we in turn are passionate about.

With the current political climate the campaign seems more relevant than ever and the benefits of buying British are numerous, from supporting local economy, low food miles and a lower carbon footprint to the trace-ability and welfare standards of British farmers.

Cheese
2465The majority of our cheeses are sourced directly from the farms where they are produced. Here in the South West we are extremely privileged with the number of fantastic artisan cheese makers around us. Taw Valley Creamery are based in North Tawton, Devon and use fresh, high quality milk sourced from surrounding farms to produce their award-winning Cheddars. Sharpham Cheese is produced on the Sharpham Estate in Totnes using rich milk from their own herd of Jersey cattle. Their unpasteurised ‘raw’ cheeses include the bestselling Rustic range with both Plain and Chive and Garlic versions available and the creamy Sharpham – a soft French Coulommier style cheese.

Fishfish
Jacksons Fishmongers in Newton Abbot are suppliers of our smoked fish selection including smoked mackerel, peppered mackerel, smoked trout and boned kippers. Purchasing the freshest fish from day boats coming in at nearby Brixham, they are passionate about sustainable fishing and all of their seafood comes from vessels certified by the Marine Stewardship Council or the Responsible Fish Scheme. All of the fish is then prepared and smoked on site.

Visit our website to view our entire product range, the majority of which is locally sourced from Devon and Cornwall and support a British producer today!

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