The ‘New Normal’

vanThe last few months have been, to use the word of the moment, unprecedented. We are proud to have been able to continue to supply our customers throughout the pandemic and our staff have been working incredibly hard to make this possible. Below we look at the ‘new normal’ for Isca Foods.

Back in March we began seeing the effects of panic buying as customers who wouldn’t normally use their local community or farm shop began relying heavily on them when supermarkets had low stock levels. Shopping locally and supporting local businesses and producers is our central ethos and, while we regret that the support needed came in this way, we are glad that more people than ever are discovering their own local shop. We hope that once this is over, these new found customers will continue to support their local businesses rather than reverting back to the supermarket.cheriton fitz

With many people self isolating and unable to visit supermarkets we began home deliveries. This started with our MD Liam and his wife Hannah leafleting in their local area after discovering the demand their neighbours were experiencing and spring-boarded from there. We added this to the routes our vans would be doing day to day and developed a separate price list for private deliveries. Our team boxed up these orders as normal and our drivers delivered them to the doorstep of customers. This demand has eased somewhat in recent weeks as supermarkets have put in safety measures and orchardlea (2)social distancing rules however at a time when local people were struggling we like to think that we helped to make a difference.

Our sister company Orchardlea Occasion Foods (run by the aforementioned Hannah) recently launched their range of delicious hampers. Prior to the outbreak the business focused on providing food for all occasions and events from weddings and christenings to birthday parties and business lunches. However from mid March many of these events were cancelled or postponed and as a result Hannah decided to diversify the business and added bespoke hampers to their portfolio. These can be pub lunch hamperdelivered to yourself as a well deserved treat or as a gift for a much missed loved one during lock down. The new ‘Pub Lunch’ hamper has just been added to the range which can include: Bays Brewery beer, Sandford Orchard cider or Sandford Orchard fresh pressed apple juice, a selection of West Country cheeses, Cradoc’s savoury biscuits, Waterhouse Fayre chutney, Chunk of Devon pasty, Burts crisps, Cornish Olive Stall olives, pork scratchings, pork pie and a selection of sliced meats as well as anything else that takes your fancy from pub lunch hamper 2our own range of products. Hampers are bespoke and put together to order so can be truly personalised to yours or the intended recipients favourites. Visit their Facebook page or website for more info.

This is a strange time for all of us and like many businesses we are adapting to ever changing customer needs and requirements. There is always more that can be done to make things easier for everyone, but we like to think that we have made a good start.

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British Pie Week: Chunk of Devon

Chunk logoWe couldn’t get through a whole British Pie Week without mentioning Chunk of Devon. These pie and savoury producers have been making their award-winning pies since 2006 at ‘the pie factory’ in Ottery St Mary. The combination of locally sourced ingredients and rich, buttery pastry results in some truly delicious pies. We asked members of the Isca Foods team what their favourite pies in the range were:

chicken & baconLiam – Managing Director – Chicken & Bacon Pie
This creamy chicken pie is a classic favourite among our staff and indeed the nation. In a study conducted by Jus-Rol last year to find out Britain’s favourite pies the Chicken & Bacon came in at number 9. Succulent chicken breast and thigh combined with smoked bacon and leeks in a creamy white wine sauce make this pie a delicious treat.

spicy jackTracey – Food Picker – Spicy Jack Pie
The Spicy Jack Pie is the newest addition to the Chunk range. Packed with jack fruit, squash, peppers and sweet potato this lightly spiced pie is bursting with flavour and, now wrapped in wholewheat pastry, is suitable for vegans!

 

steak & stiltonKarl – Floor Supervisor – Steak and Stilton Pie
The Steak & Stilton has already been mentioned this week so it’s no surprise that it comes up as one of our staff favourites. This pie is made with quality beef, tangy Stilton and buttery garlic mushrooms and is wrapped in delicious short crust pastry. What more could you want from a pie?

Bethany – Administrator – Kickin’ Chicken Curry Kickin_chicken_piePie
This pie has been a huge hit with our customers since its introduction a few years ago. Tender chicken chunks are cooked in a light and creamy curry sauce with onions, peppers and potato and wrapped in buttery shortcrust pastry. The filling is full of flavour with a slight kick for lovers of spicy curries!

For the whole of March we will be running a promotion on the Chunk of Devon Homity pies to celebrate Pie Week! This delicious vegetarian pie is filled with potato, mature Cheddar cheese, onion and garlic and topped with more West Country Cheddar cheese. Get in touch for full details!

Click here to view the whole Chunk of Devon range of pies, pasties and savouries. Happy Pie Week!

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Local Producers – Chunk of Devon

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 Chunk of Devon.vFT_ivXsChunk of Devon are producers of award-winning pies and pasties made on their premises in Ottery St Mary. Beginning out of the back of a small butchers shop the business was taken on in 2006 by Simon and Suzi Bryon-Edmond both of whom came from catering backgrounds with a belief that food should be ‘simple, tasty and natural’. Chunk of Devon products can now be found throughout the county and their delicious pies, pasties and savouries are now available in a variety of mouth-watering flavours all made using locally sourced ingredients.

SteakAlePieCropThe Chunk pie selection includes the Kickin’ Chicken pie made with lightly spiced chicken, onions, tomatoes and peppers in a creamy curry sauce, Steak & Ale pie made using Otter Ale brewed at nearby Otter Brewery and locally sourced beef and the Chicken & Bacon pie made with smoked bacon, chicken and leeks in a creamy white wine sauce. All of the pies are wrapped in Chunk’s signature buttery shortcrust pastry and are available in wrapped individual, deli-unwrapped cases and frozen unbaked cases, click here to view the whole range of pies.
Their pasties are made using the same traditional shortcrust pastry recipe and include flavours such as the Chicken & Chorizo pasty full of smoky chorizo, salsa, red onion and smoked paprika, Steak & Blue pasty made using free-range beef and tangy Stilton and the Roasted Vegetable paCheddarBaconBombDeliCropsty with sweet potato, butternut squash and red onion which is now also suitable for vegans. The full range of pasties can be viewed here.
The savoury selection includes the original Chunki Sausage Roll wrapped in buttery puff pasty, the Cheese and Bacon Crown made with mature Cheddar, smoked bacon and onions and topped with tomato and new for this year, the Spinach, Squash and Cheese Roll full of butternut squash, spinach, sun-blushed tomatoes, goats cheese and brie. For more information on the savoury selection click here.

Just in time for the festive season Chunk of Devon have also recently released a range of buffet-style gourmet minis which are available in frozen baked cases of 60 with 20x Ultimate Steak pies, 20x Chicken, Leek & Bacon pies and 20x Roasted Vegetable pasties in each case. Click here for more info.

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Chunk of Devon Autumn Offers

lamb maroc pastySo that’s it, most schools re-open for the autumn term today and for many the summer is essentially over. We’ve already had customers request our Christmas brochure and seen more than one pumpkin spiced latte on our Instagram feed. It certainly won’t be long before the leaves begin to turn delightful shades of auburn and we begin to yearn for some warm and nourishing comfort food.

This month Chunk of Devon have two products on special offer with 20% off, one of which is the delicious Sheep pie. Tender chunks of lamb and mutton are mixed with a redcurrant and mint gravy before being wrapped in Chunk’s signature buttery shortcrust pastry. Also on special offer is the Lamb Maroc pasty which we have to admit is one of our favourites. Full of juicy free range lamb, potato and sun-dried tomatoes mixed with fresh rosemary and caraway seeds – this pays homage to the origins of the pasty which is believed to be from the South Mediterranean. sheep pie

Both of these products are available in deli un-wrapped cases, individually wrapped cases and singles and frozen un-baked cases. Contact us to place an order or visit http://www.iscafoods.co.uk/chunk-of-devon/ to view the full range.

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Father’s Day!

This Sunday 16th is Father’s Day! The perfect day to show your dad how much he means to you and we don’t know about you but the way to our dad’s heart is through his food. Don’t worry we’ve got some delicious foodie ideas to treat him from breakfast until dinner.

PPStreakyBreakfast is the most important meal of the day so they say; why not make the perfect start to your dad’s day with a deliciously hearty breakfast bap? Filled with meaty W. F Chinns sausages, Devon Choice smoked streaky bacon, Bury black pudding and any other accompaniment you can think of – we like adding in an egg and maybe some hash browns or sauteed potatoes – but whatever you decide this is sure to put a spring in his step first thing in the morning.

A Chunk of Devon pie or pasty makes a great lunch or snack any time but we think it makes the perfect treat for your dad this Father’s Day. Their traditional chunk steak pastysteak pasty made with free-range locally sourced beef and wrapped in delicious short crust pastry is their bestseller and also the most decorated Devon pasty having won nine consecutive Taste of the West Gold awards. If your dad is doing his bit for the planet and trying to cut down on meat never fear, the new spicy jack pasty is packed full of flavour with lightly curried spices, coconut milk and delicious jackfruit for a great meat-free alternative.

Dinner time and after a day of indulgence what more could you want than more quickes_extra_matureindulgence!? A quick and simple dish with big, hearty flavours beer mac ‘n’ cheese is one of our guilty pleasures and we’re sure dad will love it too. We like it with both Quicke’s Extra Mature and Quicke’s Oak Smoked for maximum flavour with a light pale ale but choose his favourites and he won’t be disappointed.

We wish all the dad’s out there a happy Father’s Day – filled with some delicious food of course!

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Devon Day!

It’s Devon Day, originally the feast day of St Petroc, to whom the Devon flag is dedicated, and more recently a chance to celebrate the best that our beautiful county has to offer including – most importantly to us – local produce and producers.

Devonshire Tea
devonshire teaBased in Axminster, East Devon and established in 2015, Devonshire Tea are a small independent company creating simple blended teas using the finest ethically sourced ingredients. All of their teabags are plastic free and hand stitched rather than heat sealed and are custom blended to their own recipes. Flavours include the bestselling Classic Breakfast, fragrant Earl Grey and delicate Delightful Afternoon varieties. All of these are available in individual cartons of 20 teabags, cases of six cartons and foodservice catering boxes of 200 individual teabags.

Taw Valley Cheese
The Taw Valley Creamery is situated in the beautiful countryside surroundingtaw valley range North Tawton in the western part of the county. Their master cheesemakers produce excellent quality cheeses using traditional methods and fresh, quality milk from local farms. Their range includes the bestselling Taw Valley Tickler cheddar with superb depth of flavour and distinctive salt crystals giving it a slightly crunchy texture and the Taw Valley Mature which is lovely and creamy with rich and complex flavours. All of the Taw Valley range is available in both retail packs and catering sizes.

Chunk of Devon
Based in Ottery St Mary in East Devon Chunk are one of our longest running lines. Using locally sourced ingredients and traditional pastry skills their ‘hunks’ produce a variety of pies, pasties and savoury snacks which have won many awards including Taste of the West Gold. Their range includes the Kickin Chicken Kickin_chicken_pieCurry Pie made with lightly spiced chicken, onions, tomatoes and peppers in a creamy curry sauce and wrapped in buttery pastry, the new veggie Spicy Jack Pasty made with delicious jackfruit, squash, peppers and sweet potato mixed with spices and wrapped in traditional shortcrust pastry and the original Chunki Sausage Roll made using pork seasoned with sage and onion and wrapped in buttery puff pastry. All are available in individual retail packs, deli-unwrapped cases and frozen un-baked cases.

We hope you enjoy celebrating Devon Day!

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It’s English Tourism Week!

We think of ourselves as extremely lucky to live and work in this beautiful county full of stunning scenery, wonderful attractions and best of all for us, fantastic producers of delicious food. To celebrate English Tourism Week we thought we’d highlight some of the best local producers from Devon including Sutton Lucy Dairy, Waterhouse Fayre and Chunk of Devon who provide a good reason for tourists to flock here all year round!

Sutton Lucy Dairy
These are a fairly new supplier to us but so far we are receiving somsutton lucy dairye great feedback from our customers. Based near Honiton in East Devon Sutton Lucy Dairy was established in 2017 by husband and wife team Rebecca and Philip Cooke after the closure of two local dairies resulted in their farm shop having to stock Cornish milk and creams. They now produce a variety of yogurts and creams made using the milk from their own herd of Jersey and Holstein cows which we think are delicious – particularly the raspberry and the toffee yogurts which seem to disappear soon after delivery…

waterhouse fayreWaterhouse Fayre
We have been stocking Waterhouse Fayre jams and chutneys for a long time now and the range keeps extending! Made by the lovely Ann Stallard and team in their custom built facilities near Tiverton in Mid Devon, the Waterhouse Fayre products have won many awards including a number of gold and silver at the prestigious Taste of the West Awards. It’s hard to single out a particular favourite but the classic Raspberry jam is always a winner and the Exmoor Pond Weed made with under-ripened green tomatoes and chillies is delicious with some cured meats out in the sunshine!

Chunk of Devon
Chunk of Devon are producers of delicious pies and pasties based in Ottery Stchunk of devon logo Mary and firmly established since 2006. Made using as locally sourced ingredients as possible by a team of passionate ‘hunks’, their pies and pasties have won numerous awards including the controversial Britain’s Best Cornish Pasty in 2009! We love their new addition Spicy Jack pie which is full of nutritious veg, coconut milk and curried spices – we promise you won’t miss the meat with this one!

This is a no means exhaustive list of the fantastic producers we have here in Devon and we are proud to be able to stock their vast array of products. For any more info on these or any of our other suppliers please get in touch!

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Winter Party Food Ideas

This festive season we’ve got everything you need to ensure your dinner party, work buffet or simply an evening with friends goes off without a hitch, well the food at least! This time of year is the perfect excuse to show off your culinary skills and create mouth-wateringly good food using the finest ingredients.

5b057383-dbb8-4659-8b30-a73800a70a0f_800x800A simple classic some smoked salmon and cream cheese canapés will go a long way to pleasing your guests. Try them on some bought in crispbreads with some chive if you’re short on time or try making your own potato cakes with some dill and lemon for extra flourish. Our John Ross smoked salmon is cold smoked over oak chips using the same techniques passed down since the 19th century and is deliciously light and delicate with subtle smoky flavours and goes beautifully with cream cheese.

Another crowd-pleaser and Christmas staple is some baked camembert. This can1h4a9552_28727765675_o-1 be made really easy by simply baking the camembert as is and adding some garlic bread or crackers and a nice chutney – we recommend the Pear & Walnut chutney from Waterhouse Fayre as the flavours really compliment the cheese. However if you fancy making more of a centrepiece try baking a tear and share dough ball platter with some rosemary, thyme and cranberries. The dough helps the camembert to keep its shape as well as taking on some of the oozey cheese as it bakes – delicious!

BasilA classic meat and cheese platter is the perfect prepare ahead party option. Mix and match with the meat: some prosciutto, salamis, chorizo, pastrami – anything you and your guests will like. For the cheese we advise to pick a variety of different textures and varieties, a soft creamy brie, firm vintage, tangy blue and a sheeps, cow and goats cheese for a range of different flavours. Add some  sunripened tomatoes, salty olives – try some from the Cornish Olive Stall range – grapes and of course some warm crusty bread and you’re good to go.

For a buffet style dinner party the opportunities are endless, hot, cold, meat andChunk-Pork-Apple-Scrumpy-Sausage-Roll-600x630 vegetarian there are so many options. For the meat eaters try some festive pork and cranberry chipolatas from W F Chinn’s or their pigs in blankets are equally delicious. Chunk of Devon sausage rolls and pork pies in buttery pastry are a must as well as traditional honey-roasted gammon hot or cold from Kittos of Plymouth. For the vegetarians how about an Indian treat with some crispy vegetable samosas or deliciously creamy blue stilton and broccoli quiche.

We hope this has given you some ideas for the festive season, for more info on any of the products we’ve mentioned head over to our website.

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Should we be eating less meat?

A report published by Waitrose this week has found that a third of Britons have stopped or reduced their meat intake following growing concerns of the impact on our carbon footprint as well as animal welfare standards. One in eight are vegetarian or vegan and a further 21% are ‘flexitarian’, eating a diet mostly consisting of vegetables with occasional meat products. While we love steaks, burgers and bacon butties there is no denying the environmental impact such huge quantities of meat eating has on our planet and simply reducing our intake rather than cutting it out altogether could make a massive difference. We’ve listed a few alternative meat free products below, give them a try and you never know you might be converted!

Chunk-of-Devon-Chunki-Roast-Veg-Pasty.s-450x443Chunk of Devon Roasted Veg Pasty
Based in Ottery St Mary, Chunk of Devon are multi award-winning producers of pies, pasties and savoury snacks made using locally sourced ingredients. Earlier this year they changed their roasted vegetable pasty recipe to make it suitable for vegans. Roasted sweet potato, butternut squash, potato, red onion and herbs combine to make a delicious snack or lunchtime treat. Wrapped in a wholemeal flour pastry and covered in a pea glaze this has real depth of flavour and is suitable for everyone! In March this year they also launched their new goats cheese and butternut squash pie with red onion wrapped in buttery shortcrust pastry which is one of our favourites vegetarian or not.

Squash and Coconut CurrySquash_Curry_3_(1_of_1) 
Lodge Farm Kitchen are producers of gourmet, handmade frozen ready meals based in Ross-on-Wye. Using locally sourced ingredients and prepared by expert chefs their meals are firm favourites with our customers and a wholesome, nutrient rich meal can be ready in minutes. This squash curry is delightfully fragrant with organic butternut squash, coconut, cumin and fresh coriander; just add rice! Lodge Farm’s roasted vegetable lasagne has also become one of our bestsellers, made with courgettes, aubergines, peppers and mushrooms and topped with a bechamel sauce we promise you won’t miss the meat!

115631011_0_640x640Alpro Desserts
A renowned vegan friendly brand, Alpro have been making their soya milk desserts, yogurts and drinks since 1973. Both delicious and naturally lower in fat than their dairy alternatives they offer a variety of flavoured desserts including rich and silky dark chocolate, velvety vanilla, sweet and creamy caramel and smooth milk chocolate. Their milkshake drinks are also available in sweet and refreshing strawberry and luxurious chocolate flavours.

Cheese
The majority of our cheeses are now suitable for vegetarians with only a few exceptions. Traditional cheese making techniques include the use of rennet totawvalleyrange_hra7-n2 separate the curds and whey in a process called coagulation, rennet was traditionally sourced from the stomach of newborn calves. However now it often comes from either fungal/bacterial sources or genetically modified micro-organisms making the cheese suitable for vegetarians. All of our traditional farmhouse cheeses, stilton and most flavoured cheeses are suitable for vegetarians but if in doubt all the information is available on the cheese pages on our website.
http://www.iscafoods.co.uk/cheese/

Small differences in our eating habits can make a huge difference both to our planet and our own individual health. Initiatives such as #MeatFreeMonday are raising awareness and encouraging people to give up meat for just one day a week to help contribute to reducing our carbon footprint. With so many delicious alternatives available why not give it a go?

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Award Winning Products!

totw_awards_2018_0-1-1024x1024As the International Cheese Awards kick off today and continues tomorrow, we’ve been thinking about the many awards our products and their producers have won over the years. From the South West based Taste of the West to the British Cheese Awards and even international accolades we are so lucky to have some of the best food the UK has to offer right here on our doorstep!

Waterhouse Fayre have been winners at the annual Taste of the West Awards for a number of years. Their signature strawberry jam has been a double Gold award winner and this year their blackcurrant and raspberry jams both won Silver, while their new turmeric and Somerset cider & apple chutneys both showcased with Gold. Ann Stallard turmericestablished Waterhouse Fayre back in 2004 and since then the company has grown and morphed into a recognisable Devon brand. Her intriguing mix of flavours and balance of new and traditional means that there is always something new to discover.

Lynher Dairies has been a regular face at cheese awards up and down the country and this year their Cornish Yarg won Gold at the British Cheese Awards and the Wild Garlic variety won Silver. New for this year was their Cornish Kern which was internationally recognised at the World Cheese Awards being named Supreme Champion. Based in Ponsanooth, Cornwall this small artisan dairy is one of the most successful of its kind in the country.

Chunk-pasties-sqChunk of Devon are also no stranger to awards with over 100 going to their pies, pasties and savories – in 2009 their Steak pasty even won Best Cornish Pasty at the British Pie Awards! From Taste of the West alone this year they won Gold for their Venison & Port pie, Steak pasty, Homity pie, Chicken, Mushroom & Tarragon pie and Squealer Pork pie. Their melt in the mouth, buttery pastry and use of locally sourced ingredients wherever possible ensures a great Devonian product. This year they have also launched a vegan friendly pasty made using wholemeal flour and a pea glaze with delicious roasted vegetables, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

Cornish Olive Stall olives have become bestsellers since we started stocking themBasil last year. A small, family run business based in St Austell they have sourced the best olives from around the world and combined them with delicious homemade marinades to create mouth-wateringly good flavours. The judges at this years Taste of the West certainly thought so with the Garlic & Rosemary winning Gold and Basil Pesto olives winning Silver awards respectively. With so many great flavours available and even simple Pitted Green for you to experiment on your own, these olives are certainly worthy of their awards!

The vast number of awards going to these local producers is testament to their hard work, dedication and passion. Congratulations to you all!

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