Ingredient Showcase: Chilli

This is the second blog in our ingredient showcase series and this week we’re focusing on chillies. Love them or hate them, chillies can really enhance a product whether that’s a searing heat that makes your whole mouth tingle, a slow burner that builds into an intense heat or more of a gentle, fruity flavour that you keep coming back to again and again. We’ve collated some of our favourite products containing this versatile ingredient starting with a cheese.

Dartmoor Chilli is one of Curworthy Cheese’s newest products but has proved extremely popular with some of our customers. The cheese is made in the same way as Curworthy’s signature ‘Devon Oke’ before Ring of Fire chillies grown at the nearby Dartmoor Chilli Farm are added to the mix. These are similar to Cayenne chillies with the same level of heat – 50000-80000 on the Scoville scale – while the cheese itself is mellow and sweet with a lovely creaminess which is perfectly complimented by the heat from the chillies. Wrapped in red wax this attractive cheese is available in whole rounds as well as 150g retail wedges.

West Country Olives are available in a variety of flavours but for this showcase we are highlighting the Hot Chilli version. These Mammoth Halkidiki olives are stuffed with a whole birds eye chilli (hot!) and are described as ‘not for the faint hearted’. They are available in 200g pouches and 1kg catering packs if you think you can stand it!

Snowdonia Cheese Company are a luxury cheese producer based in Wales, they produce a variety of delicious flavoured cheeses encased in attractive coloured wax. The Red Devil cheese is a rich Red Leicester with the addition of Snowdonia’s secret blend of Habanero chillies, peppers and spices, it “delivers a magnificent depth of flavour and an irresistible heat” and provides a perfect chilli kick to burgers or cheese on toast. Encased in a bright red wax, this cheese is available in individual 200g truckles as well as whole 2kg rounds although these do require a pre-order.

Waterhouse Fayre are producers of delicious jams, marmalade and chutneys based in Tiverton; one of these delicious chutneys is the Devilishly Devon which is made to producer Ann Stallard’s own recipe. Described as “light and refreshing with a hint of chilli” this chutney is a perfect addition to a traditional ploughmans lunch or to add a light chilli kick to a good old fashioned ham or cheese sandwich. These chutneys are available in trays of 6x340g jars.

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Ingredient Showcase: Garlic

We don’t know about you but it certainly feels as though Spring has sprung today, the sun is shining (mostly!), it’s getting warmer and pretty daffodils and bluebells are in abundance everywhere. One foodie staple of spring is wild garlic which at this time of year can be found throughout the country along riversides and woodland. We thought we’d celebrate this humble bulb with a focus on some of the bestselling products containing it starting with cheese.

Lynher Dairies Cornish Yarg is undoubtedly one of our bestselling cheeses but did you know that they also produce a wild garlic variety? The cheese itself is made to the exact same recipe with the only difference being that rather than wrapped in nettles, the Garlic Yarg is wrapped in wild garlic leaves but the difference in flavour is simply staggering. The leaves impart a lovely gentle garlic flavour as well as slightly altering the texture of the cheese, making it firmer and less crumbly than the original. The team at Lynher pick their wild garlic from surrounding Cornish woodland each spring in an extremely limited time frame – normally only from mid-March to the end of April – the leaves are then wrapped around the cheeses and left to mature for up to six months. The Garlic Yarg is available in both whole 1.6kg rounds as well as half moons and retail pre-packs.

West Country Olives are a new addition to our product list with a variety of different flavours available. The garlic olives have already become one of the most popular flavours and with good reason for garlic lovers! These mammoth Halkidiki olives are hand stuffed with whole garlic cloves before being finished with minced garlic and rapeseed oil. These are available in individual 200g resealable pouches as well as 1kg catering packs.

Waterhouse Fayre are producers of a range of bestselling jams and chutneys including a slow roasted garlic chutney. The whole garlic is roasted for a total of four hours before red onion, spices and red wine vinegar is added and these are then cooked together for a further four hours. Anyone who has eaten roasted garlic on its own can atone for the delightful sweetness of flavour that it takes on and this chutney is no exception as it develops a lovely, sweet mellowness. The Waterhouse Fayre chutneys are available in trays of 6x325g jars.

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It’s Afternoon Tea Week!

Is there anything more quintessentially British than Afternoon Tea Week?

Afternoon tea was introduced to England in 1840 by the seventh Duchess of Bedford who felt that the period of time between lunch and dinner was too long. She began to ask for a tray of tea, bread and butter and cake to be served at 4 o’clock in the afternoon and soon began inviting friends to join her – the fashionable social event of afternoon tea was born.

Traditional afternoon tea consists of dainty finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, miniature cakes and sweet pastries with loose leaf tea. However modern afternoon teas can include more exotic flavours like samosas and filo pastry parcels and are also often served with fizz to mark a celebratory occasion.

smoked_salmonWe stock a range of items suitable for producing your own afternoon tea at home including sandwich fillings such as smoked salmon and cream cheese – a personal favourite and sliced ham and Cheddar cheese with a Devon chutney from Waterhouse Fayre (we like the simple Devon Apple chutney). We also stock the accompaniments to a classic Devon cream tea including fresh clotted cream from Langage Farm and delicious strawberry jam from Waterhouse Fayre.

afternoon tea hamperEarlier this year our sister company Orchardlea Occasion Foods launched their range of hampers including a Sweet & Savoury Afternoon Tea Hamper. All hampers can be bespoke but in general this one contains a Chunk of Devon sausage roll and traditional pasty, Burts hand cooked crisps, 2 homemade plain scones, 2 homemade chocolate brownies, a jar of Waterhouse Fayre jam, a pot of Langage Farm clotted cream and a box of Devonshire Tea teabags.
For more info on this and their other hampers visit: http://www.orchardleaoccasionfoods.co.uk/gift-hampers/

Let us know how you’re celebrating Afternoon Tea Week via our social media pages below!

Feature image by Tea & Tittle Tattle via https://www.teaandtittletattle.co.uk/vintage-high-teas.htmlFacebooktwitterinstagram

Cheese & Chutney Pairings

Cheeseboards are often seen as a festive treat however they can be enjoyed throughout the year especially on these long summer evenings. We’ve written previous blogs on what cheeses to put on a cheeseboard but for this one we are focusing on the best chutneys to pair with which cheeses to really bring out the best flavours in both products. The chutneys we recommend are from Waterhouse Fayre, a jam and chutney producer based on the outskirts of Tiverton.

Haystack Tasty Cheddar with Devon Ale Chutney
This cheddar from Barber’s Farmhouse Cheesemakers is deliciously strong with a sharp depth of flavour and delightfully crumbly texture. For such a strong cheese we recommend the Devon Ale chutney, this bestselling chutney is packed full of flavour and really holds up to the robustness of the cheddar. Made using local devon aleapples and onions together with ale from the Red Rock Brewery near Teignmouth, this is a truly Devonian product and makes a fantastic pairing to cheddar.

Tuxford & Tebbutt Stilton with Whortleberry Chutney
The classic Tuxford & Tebbutt Stilton is rich and creamy with a deliciously tangy finish combined with a soft, melt-in-the-mouth texture. This is one of our favourite cheeses and we struggled to match a chutney that didn’t detract from the wonderful flavour. Eventually we decided on this one with whortleberries. Whortleberry is the Devonian name for wild blueberries and this chutney really is a celebration of the fruit and the lovely, not overly sweet flavour perfectly compliments the tangy-ness of the Stilton.

Cornish Brie with Mango Chutney
This Brie from Trevarrian Creamery is mild and creamy with a smooth, buttery texture. We know that cranberries are the traditional accompaniment to Brie but we thought we would mix things up a bit and instead recommend this fruity Mango chutney. Made using chunks of ripe mango with fresh garlic and ginger mango briethis chutney certainly packs a punch and is a refreshing match for the creamy Brie.

Ticklemore Goat with Red Onion Marmalade
The Ticklemore Goat from Sharpham Cheese is smooth and light with a subtle lemony flavour and soft, crumbly texture. Goats cheese is another of our favourites so we didn’t want to overwhelm the delicate flavour and sometimes the classic pairings simply cannot be bettered. This Red Onion Marmalade is delightfully sweet which contrasts with the tangy flavour from the goats cheese – truly a match made in heaven.

Click here to view the full range of Waterhouse Fayre chutneys as well as their delicious jams.

Got another cheese pairing recommendation? Let us know via our social media pages below!Facebooktwitterinstagram

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.Facebooktwitterinstagram

We’re Celebrating National Vegetarian Week!

This National Vegetarian Week we are celebrating the humble vegetable: from the new vegetarian and vegan biscuits from Cradoc’s Savoury Biscuits to Olive’s Kitchen’s frozen ready meals to our selection of vegetarian friendly cheeses and Delphi dips and salads, we’ve got everything you’ll need to enjoy National Vegetarian Week!

beetrootCradoc’s Savoury Biscuits
These new savoury biscuits are already proving a hit with our customers. A small, family business based in the Brecon Beacons, Cradoc’s have been baking their crisp biscuits for the last 10 years using only natural ingredients. The majority are suitable for vegans while some contain cheese and are vegetarian friendly. Flavours include Beetroot & Garlic: an attractive dusky pink cracker chilli, ginger and garlicflavoured with fragrant garlic and savoury beetroot with a delightful peppery finish (if you hadn’t guessed this is one of our favourites!), Chilli & Ginger: turmeric crackers with cumin, black pepper and nigella seeds combined with subtle red chillies and bold ginger flavours and Cheddar & Onion Chutney: golden baked crackers with pickled onions and sweet chutney mixed with traditional Cheddar. These are all available in 80g packs with a minimum order of three boxes. Click here to view the whole range.

Olive’s Kitchen Frozen Meals
We love the ease and convenience of a frozen meal and the vegetarian varieties available are both satisfying and tasty whilst being packed full of healthy goodness. Olive’s Kitchen is made up of husband and wife team Charlie and Nikki Allhusen butternut_squash lasagnewho swapped running a successful deli for cooking homemade gourmet meals from their purpose built kitchen in Sherbourne, Dorset. The Butternut Squash lasagne is a classic favourite among both our customers and staff and it’s easy to see why. The roasted butternut squash is sweet and buttery with a creamy ricotta and spinach filling layered with fresh pasta and a tomato and basil sauce and finally topped with mozzarella and parmesan. The Aubergine Parmigiana is full of deliciously rich and more-ish flavours and combines grilled aubergines with a hearty tomato and basil sauce topped with a crisp mozzarella and parmesan crust. These are both available in single 300-320g portions and the whole Olive’s Kitchen range is available to view here.

Cous cousDelphi Dips and Salads
Delphi dips are the perfect accompaniment to a vegetarian feast, we love their Lemon & Coriander houmous with lightly spiced falafel or the red kidney bean salad mixed with peppers and sun-ripened tomatoes with olive oil, mint and mixed herbs for lunch, the crunchy coleslaw as part of a cheese ploughmans and the char-grilled vegetable cous cous as part of a Middle Eastern inspired dinner. Delphi Foods are a family business based in London who began selling specialised foods from Greece and Cyprus in 1960 and evolved into the award-winning brand we know today. Available in individual pots ranging from 160g-200g click here to view the whole Delphi range.

Happy National Vegetarian Week!Facebooktwitterinstagram

Local Producers – Waterhouse Fayre

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 all of our local producers and their delicious products, starting this week with Waterhouse Fayre.

waterhouse fayre

Established in 2004 by Ann Stallard, the business began as a way of selling jam made using surplus fruit left over from growing for local restaurants and hotels. However within two years they had to stop selling the fruit as they needed it all for their now very popular jams and chutneys. With the business expanding Ann made the decision to move from their North Devon premises to a more central location in Mid Devon, allowing them to increase their fruit patch and keep up with demand.

pond weeedDespite the sheer quantity of jams and chutneys now being produced, all of their products are still made in small batches to retain the traditional, homemade feel and flavour that is so integral to the businesses success. There are now a wide range of flavours and varieties available from traditional raspberry jam and red onion marmalade to more modern flavours such as their gin & orange marmalade and Exmoor pond weed chutney – made using green tomatoes and chilli. Our personal favourite is the whortleberry jam which has a lovely delicate sweetness and is made from wild Dartmoor and Exmoor blueberries.

Waterhouse Fayre retail sizes are available in trays of six while catering sizes of their most popular jams and chutneys are available in 3.4kg tubs. Their entire range can be viewed here: http://www.iscafoods.co.uk/devon-chutneys-jam-preserves/ however it is constantly being extended so please let us know if you have seen something that we haven’t listed.

We absolutely love the Waterhouse Fayre products and as the range is constantly being extended and updated there is always something new to discover.Facebooktwitterinstagram

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!Facebooktwitterinstagram

Shop Local this Christmas

Related imageThe Shop Local campaign was launched in 2013 encouraging consumers to support their local, independent traders on the high street. There are many advantages to shopping locally including low food miles, finding something quirky and unique, building communities and getting better service to name just a few. Here at Isca Foods we are passionate about supporting local businesses. Many of our products are sourced from within the South West and collected from the producers themselves from jams and chutneys from Waterhouse Fayre, cheeses from Devon based Quicke’s and Sharpham and pies and pasties from Chunk of Devon in Ottery St Mary.

Christmas is an important time for many small businesses and this year why not support local and buy your gifts closer to home? We are lucky here in the South West that there are so many great community shops, deli’s and farm shops selling excellent local produce. We’ve listed a few of them below, so why not take a chance and make someone’s Christmas local this year?

Greendale Farm ShopImage result for greendale farm shop
Located just outside of Exeter this is so much more than a farm shop. With a butchers, deli and cheese counter, cafe and a host of farm animals roaming the grounds, a trip to Greendale is a real family day out. The farm shop itself sells a wide range of locally sourced products from fresh fruit and veg, local cheese, handmade pies, sliced cooked meats and charcuterie and specialist meat cuts by their award-winning butchers; you need look no further for your foodie treats this Christmas!

download (1)Fine Foods of Braunton
A family run delicatessen based on the gorgeous North Devon coast, this unassuming shop also boasts a cafe serving delicious freshly ground coffee and a selection of cakes and savouries. The deli prides itself on sourcing the best of local produce from cheeses, wines and spirits, olives, local creams and yogurts and sliced meats as well as handmade gifts. It’s ethos of good old fashioned service from knowledgeable staff makes it not just another shopping trip but a great experience.

Otterton-Logo.-Colour_crop-e1536159423675Otterton Mill
Set beside the River Otter in East Devon this historic mill draws visitors for its beautiful setting, reputation for fantastic food in the award-winning restaurant and their range of tasty treats in the food shop. A huge range of fantastic cheeses, delicious freshly baked bread and cakes, local sausages, handmade pies, sliced meats, olives and more as well as handmade unique ceramics, glassware and jewellery  in the gallery are on offer here. Pop along for lunch or afternoon tea and we bet you won’t leave empty handed!

Image result for stokeley farm shopStokeley Farm Shop
This thriving country farm shop based near Kingsbridge in South Devon is proud to support local producers and the local community, regularly holding live music events, crafting evenings and this years widely anticipated Christmas Market. It has everything you would expect from a farm shop: butchery, bakery and deli as well as fresh, homegrown fruit and veg. Their deli is bursting with local delights including olives, charcuterie and award-winning artisan cheeses as well as local chutneys, jams and pickles.

45541231_1986106681479573_4920883604579418112_nThere are of course many more fantastic deli’s, farm shops and community shops throughout the South West that we haven’t listed here, this time of year is the perfect opportunity to explore, find your new favourite and treat your loved ones to unique gifts. With fantastic local produce, low food miles, individual and often homemade items and bespoke service from someone who really knows their business and products, why not support your local deli, farm shop or community enterprise this Christmas?Facebooktwitterinstagram

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!Facebooktwitterinstagram