Q&A Nibbles at your service

The Heart of our Company Blog

This month we are focusing on one of our newest Customers, Nibbles at your service.

Tiffany got in contact when we launched Westcountry Olives last year as she was looking for some local olives to add to her mouth-watering graze boxes. She then started using some of our cheeses and other products as part of her boxes. 

Full of local produce and made with an abundance of love and care, if you haven’t had a grazing box before then definitely get in contact with Tiffany, for her as a new business launching in the midst of the Pandemic last year all support is much appreciated so give ‘Nibbles at your service’ a follow/like on social media. 

You can also purchase their grazing platters via their website https://www.nibblesatyourservice.co.uk/

Q: Can you tell us about ‘Nibbles at your Service’?

A: Nibbles at your Service is an independent catering business, based in East Devon – we specialise in freshly-made-to-order
and handcrafted platters, presented beautifully in ready-to-serve boxes. We source the best of the South West’s products – so
you don’t have to – using the finest ingredients, locally sourced delicacies and a final, handcrafted and unique touch.

Q: What inspired you to start doing graze boxes?

A: I have always been very passionate about great food and the power it has to bring people together. I could see that the
‘grazing’ world was missing this same passion that food can bring us – excitement, colour, variety and togetherness. That is
why at Nibbles, we have 18 different varieties to choose from and even these can be tailored to meet your personal
preference and dietary requirements.

Q: What are the must haves in your graze boxes?

Firstly, everything should be of the highest and freshest quality – above anything else. Secondly, only the tastiest and best
quality ingredients are used in every platter which we create and we have taken time and care to ensure each platter we
serve is consistent in both quality and quantity and not only meets but exceeds our customer’s expectations. Fresh and
plentiful food is the most important ‘must have’ for us.

Q: As a relatively new customer, how did you hear about Isca Foods?

A: In our endeavour to keep as much of our produce as local as possible, that led me to sourcing delicious olives from
Westcountry Olives and consequently, this wonderful discovery led me to another family run business – Isca Foods.

Q: How long does a typical graze box take to put together?

A: None of our boxes are typical as we make each box as if we’ll be enjoying it ourselves which means we never overbook
ourselves or rush the preparation. Depending on the size and variety, it can take anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour
to create a platter-box but this doesn’t necessarily include any prep we do beforehand!

Q: Do you regularly look for new products to put into the boxes?

A: Yes! We are constantly coming up with new ideas and finding new, exciting products to incorporate into our boxes.
Luckily, we have the freedom and creativity to do this which is why we always say our ingredients may vary because if we
can find something even more delicious to include, then we’ll do it!

Q: What did you do prior to running Nibbles at Your Service?

A: Luckily, prior to starting Nibbles, I had over 15 years of working in Hospitality in one form or another – most recently,
working as First Class Cabin Crew for a major international airline. This means I am utilising a wealth of experience and
knowledge to make our platters the best they can be!

Q: What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown restrictions have eased completely and life is a little more
normal?

I definitely miss traveling as that was such a huge part of my life before the pandemic took over but more than that, I simply
miss laughing and chatting whilst enjoying a delicious meal with my family

Q: As a very valued customer, is there anything we can do better to improve the service you are receiving from us?

The most important aspect of any relationship, in any situation is good communication and I feel confident that I can speak
with somebody at Isca who will be friendly and helpful whenever there may be an issue and know it will be efficiently and
courteously rectified.

If you would be interested in taking part in our Customer/Supplier Q&A blog, just drop us an email info@iscafoods.co.uk, or express your interest when you place your order with us on 01392 661001.

Afternoon tea graze box
Vegetarian graze box
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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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Q&A Eggbuckland Stores

The Heart of our Company Blog

This month we are focusing on Eggbuckland Community Stores near Plymouth. 

Thank you to Emma for taking part in this months Customer Q&A, Emma took over the store around 18 months ago as a failing business and she has completely  transformed it, a shop that is growing all the time.
They have a really good Facebook following and presence and are very fond of by their Customers. 

They stock a massive range of products so if you are local to the Eggbuckland area or passing by be sure to pop in meet the friendly Team and have a look at what produce they have to offer.

They run a weekly meat raffle which is 50p a ticket, and all the money goes back in the pot. The Store love running this raffle and being able to give this as a prize to a Customer every week – such a great idea!

  1. How long has Eggbuckland Stores been running?

I took it over as a failed buisness 18 months ago, it was established 1967 I think!

  1. What do you like the most and least about working in the food industry?

    I just love good food & get a buzz out of being able to sell it on

  2. If you were putting together a Cheese board what would be your top 3 Cheeses?

Taw valley tasty cheddar
St endellion Brie
Bousin

  1. Have you seen an increase in people shopping locally since the Pandemic?

A slight increase, I think the noticeable difference has been an increase in basket spend.

  1. How long have you been a Customer of Isca?

I took you on from the old buisness 18 months ago

  1. What are some of your best-selling products?

    Have these changed during the past year? Farm meat, free-range eggs, cheeses

  2. Do you regularly look for new stock? Is there any products we don’t currently sell that you you’d like to see available?

    I cant find paneer cheese, that would be useful. Also bousin cheese. Am always looking, love quirky new things, anything that co ops don’t sell!
    We can definitely get hold of those cheeses as above, we don’t keep them in stock but can order them in.

If you’d like to get involved as a Customer or Supplier, drop us an email info@iscafoods.co.uk or message us on facebook to show your interest. 

When life is abit more back to normal we will be doing some face to face chats too. 

Showing Emma who runs the store
"It's like a village shop in the middle of a City"
Showing socially distanced celebration with Customers who live opposite the store
Taken last summer - Socially Distanced 70th Celebrations with Customers who live opposite the store
Showing Orchardlea labelled meats
Selection of Orchardlea pre-packed meats
Fridge full of Orchardlea pre-packed cheese
Winner of weekly meat raffle
A winner of the weekly meat raffle
Showing other products available
Shelves stocked full of a variety of products
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British Pie Week Staff Favourites Day 6

Lochie has been with us for around two years now, he started here working in the picking room and still does picking on the busier days, however for the past six months he has been keeping check on the stock, ordering and ringing customers for orders and has become a bit of an all rounder or you could say ‘he has his fingers in all the pies’ !

Lochie is the second member of staff to choose the chicken, leek and bacon pie as his favourite: “as a man who loves meat, this is a winner and the creamy sauce compliments it so well.”
He is also a big fan of the Steak and Ale pie, enjoying the rich flavour of the locally sourced beef and Otter Ale.

Q&A with Lochie

Q: Favourite Pie and why?
A: Chicken and bacon definitely, I’m a man who loves meat and the creamy sauce compliments it so well!

Q: Chips or Mash?
A: Chips all day every day, mash is probably the worst way to have a potato!

Q: If you had to eat only one meal for the rest of your lift that would it be?
A: Beef stew and dumplings, can’t beat it. Good for anytime of the year.

Q: How long have you worked at Isca Foods?
A: Near enough 2 years now.

Q: What is your role at Isca?
A: Mainly calling all our customers for the orders.

Q: Have you always wanted to work in the Food Industry?
A: Absolutely not, never pictured myself here but I do love it really! I was working as a bartender before this, so feel free to ask me about any alcohol on the phone – which we have now started selling by the way – little bit of a plug!

Q: What do you look forward to doing most when lockdown restrictions have eased completely?
A: Probably most excited to be playing football again.

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British Pie Week Staff Favourites Day 5

Hannah has been with us for just over a year now, she was previously a Civil Servant at Exeter Combined Court for 12 years but after having their second little girl and being Liam’s wife she decided it was the right time to leave the Court Service and join us here at Isca!

As well as setting up Orchardlea Occasion Foods, a new buffet food and hamper side to the business, she has been covering my role while I have been on maternity leave. We will continue to work together on the admin, social media and marketing side of Isca. 

The pie of choice for Hannah is also the flavoursome Homity Pie, “the garlic, potato and cheese flavour is just so satisfying and moreish, the pastry really does round it off.” 

Q & A 

Q: Favourite Pie and why?

A: Homity Pie, but has to be hot! I absolutely love the Chunk homity pie, the potato, garlic and cheese is just immense it is so filling, it is an absolute carb feast but you need carbs especially in the winter months!

 

Q: Chips or Mash?

A: Hard one, I do love pie and mash but the mash has to be good! So probably chips, I don’t tend to have chips much either so always enjoy them when I do. 

Q: If you had to eat only one meal for the rest of your lift that would it be?

A: Starter – Breaded brie and cranberry
Main – Probably roast dinner 
Pudding – Crumble

Q: How long have you worked at Isca Foods?

A: Just over a year properly, but I have been involved with Isca for a long time due to Liam running the business. I’m glad to be a part of the team now and there is a lot in the pipeline for us as a business going forward – exciting times ahead!

Q: What is your role at Isca?

A: I manage ‘Orchardlea Occasion Foods’ our new buffet food/hamper side of the business, but also admin for Isca, taking orders, emails, invoicing, social media, picking orders if we are short of staff/busy, a bit of everything really!

Q: Have you always wanted to work in the Food Industry?

A: Not at all, I loveee food and especially cheese so I am in the right place now! I have always done admin/event based roles but had never used Sage (our invoice system) before. I enjoy a new challenge though so I never mind learning new skills.

Q: What do you look forward to doing most when lockdown restrictions have eased completely?

A: Definitely seeing friends and family properly, enjoying good food and a break from cooking myself!
Being able to do more with our girls, our youngest (Molly) is nearly 2 and has hardly seen any animals yet!

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British Pie Week Staff Favourites Day 4

Dan started working for us in the complete mayhem of last year and since then has pretty much managed to cover all aspects of the business from picking and packing orders to taking a starring role in our Westcountry Olive promotional videos and recently trying his hand at inputting invoices and updating our website after a slight altercation with his thumb. As the requisite foodie type required to work in this industry Dan said “my death row meal would be pie, pie and chips, pie and mash, pie on its own – just pie”.

His pie of choice is the classic chicken and bacon, “if I know I’ve got a chicken & bacon pie waiting for me at the end of the day it makes it a whole lot better”. We agree, pie does make things better, and the chicken & bacon pie from Chunk of Devon is no exception – lovely and creamy with big chunks of tender chicken combined with intensely smoky bacon pieces in a creamy white wine sauce. What’s not to love?

Q&A with Dan

Q: Favourite chunk pie and why? 

A: Chicken, bacon and leek, combination of flavours really work well together, chunk create smooth yet complex gravy that really combines the chicken and bacon.

Of course the best thing about any chunk pie is the perfect pastry, flacky which is owed to being a great British pie

Q: Chips or mash? 

A: Long pause….. Chips due to the simple fact that you can dip into the gravy/sauce and clean up the plate.

Q: If you had to eat only one meal for the rest of your life what would it be? 

A: Starter – mozzarrella dipper, halloumi fries and sweet chilli dip

 

Main – steak and ale pie, yorkshire puddings, roast pudding red cabbage and cauliflower cheese

 

Pudding – sticky pudding toffee

Q: How long have you worked at Isca Foods? 

 A: Around 6/7 months 

Q: What is your role at Isca? 

A: Olive production manager, Picker, due to a recent cycling incident he has taken more of an admin role currently helping with invoicing and banking.

Q: Have you always wanted to work in the Food Industry?

A: No, however life is built on spontaneous experiences which will make great stories for when i am an old man! 

The Acting dream will never die and i may become famous one day

Q: What do you look forward to doing most when Lockdown restrictions have been eased completely? 

A: Leaving the house without a panic of ‘have i got a mask on me!!’

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British Pie Week Staff Favourites Day 2

Tracey is the second staff member to feature in our staff favourite pie series. Tracey has worked here for six years as a picker and packer in our warehouse as well as a delivery driver. She is also proficient in cutting our block cheeses down to size although this skill has been somewhat neglected over the past few months as we have kept her too busy in the packing room!

Chips are Tracey’s preferred accompaniment to pie and we have to agree that perfectly cooked chips – deliciously fluffy on the inside and golden and crispy on the outside – are hard to beat. The pie that Tracey has chosen as her favourite is the Homity, this is a slightly old fashioned Irish recipe given a Devon twist by Chunk of Devon. A vegetarian classic made with potato, mature Cheddar cheese, onion and garlic and topped with more cheese this is the ultimate cheese lovers delight. The topping is wonderfully oozy and the garlic and cream in this recipe make it rich and hearty – perfect for cold winter days.

Q&A with Tracey

Q: Favourite Pie and why?
A: Homity Pie, different to having gravy in your pie and the flavour is lovely.

Q: Chips or Mash?
A: Chips

Q: If you had to eat only one meal for the rest of your lift that would it be?
A: Roast Dinner

Q: How long have you worked at Isca Foods?
A: Coming up to 6 years in August

Q: What is your role at Isca?
A: Picker

Q: Have you always wanted to work in the Food Industry?
A: Yes from when I did a day at college when I was at school, then when I finished school and went onto college I studied Catering and Hospitality for 2 years.

Q: What do you look forward to doing most when lockdown restrictions have eased completely?
A: Meeting up with family

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Q&A – Ide Community Shop

Thank you for taking the time to read our first blog in our series
‘The Heart of our Company’
Every month we will be doing a Q&A with one of our Customers or Suppliers from all across the South West, if you are reading this and would like to get involved just drop us an email to info@iscafoods.co.uk or message us on facebook. We are very much open to other ideas for this Blog series too.

Thank you to Ide Community Shop who are the first of our Loyal Customers to take part in our Question & Answer blog.


Q: Can you tell us abit about Ide Community Shop and how long it has been running? 

A: Ide Community Shop was started by local people in 2009 when the previous shop closed due to the ill health of the owners.  It moved to its purpose-built premises in 2013 and is still staffed and run by volunteers.

Q: What do you like the most and least about working in the food industry?

A: As we are a community shop the best bit is being of service to the villagers and getting to know them personally and going over and above the normal service of service a standard shop can offer and helping them out in various ways and looking out for the older members and checking they are ok if they have not been in etc

Q: If you were putting together a Cheese board what would be your top 3 Cheeses?

A: Somerset Brie, Barnstormer Cheddar and Cornish Yarg

Q: Have you seen an increase in people shopping locally since the Pandemic?

A: Definitely – people are coming in a lot more as we are smaller and limiting number in the shop at one time, so they feel safer and because they just do not want to go into town with more people around.  Also, as more people are home working and home schooling they are coming in as not travelling to work or school etc

Q: How long have you been a Customer of Isca?

A: 10 Years plus

Q: What are some of your best-selling products? Have these changed during the past year?

Bacon, cheese, crisps, eggs, milk & wine

A: Sales have gone up across the board on most lines – a lot more alcohol has sold during lockdown as people have to drink at home.  Chocolate and crisps sales have also increased as people treat themselves more as a result of having to stay in.  Also, more lunchtime type foods are selling as again people eat at home and feed their children more at home rather than them having school dinners.

Q: Is there anything we don’t sell currently that you’d like to see available?

We get everything we need of you and think you carry a great range – we especially like all the local products as we try and buy as much local and support local producers and suppliers much as we can.  This has always been our policy since the start

Q: When Covid has decided to leave us alone and we can finally start to do fun things again, what is the first thing you are going to do/ or have booked already?

Definitely to have time with friends and family – I have so missed seeing people especially the older relatives during this time

Q: Where is your favourite place to eat locally?

A: Hard to say as we have so many great local places around us – the two pubs in the village by the shop, The Huntsman Inn, and The Poachers Inn both are great places to eat with brilliant atmospheres and have fantastic landlords and again are a huge part of village life.  Further afield the London Inn at Morchard Bishop is great with an exceptional landlord in Vera and they offer fantastic home cooked food in huge portions.

Q: As a very valued Customer is there anything we can do better to improve the service you are receiving from us?

A: Isca offer great service and great customer care skills on every level – no improvement necessary
(just to confirm there was no free cheese given from Isca as a bribe for this answer!)  

 

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Veganuary 2021

January 1 – 31st is the month of ‘Veganuary’ for more details visit the website https://veganuary.com/ it has more information on what is it all about and there are alot of Vegan Recipes to try too.

As a Wholesale Business that specialises in Local Cheeses, Meats and Dairy currently we don’t have a huge amount of vegan products to offer but this is something we are always looking at increasing.

Chunk of Devon who is one of our big suppliers we order large quantities from every day  they they have been promoting the ‘Veganuary’ box for the whole of this month which includes their 4 vegan products that they supply including –

Cheatin’ Cheese Pasty, Spicy Jack Pie, Nips and Nuts Pie, Roast veg Pasty.

All of the above vegan products except the Cheating cheese are available to Wholesale Customers, Cheatin’ Cheese is only part of the veganuary box.

We do usually stock a Vegan cheese ‘Nature & Moi Dairy Free White Cheddar’ available in pre pack and available in 1 KG blocks too,  but due to Coronavirus we have had problems stocking it, we hope to have it back in stock in the near future.

We also stock a good selection of Savoury crackers which were a huge hit at Christmas they are called ‘Cradoc’s Crackers’  and their packaging is fantastic, it is run by the lovely Allie and Ella another family run business.
Cradoc’s Crackers are baked with Wheat, Whole wheat, and Oats as well as loads of veg, fruits, flowers, seeds, herbs and spices.

Egg Free/Nut Free/Sesame Free/Palm-oil Free, Vegetarian and a selection

They have a large selection of flavours, of which 6 are Vegan friendly Beetroot and Garlic, Spinach and Celery, Checkers, Sea Salted, Oat Crackers, Wholemeal wheat, chia and flax seeds.

For more information on our products click here

If you would be interested in a product list or some more information on when we deliver in your area drop us an email info@iscafoods.co.uk

Checkers Beetroot-and-Garlic cradocs crackers Spinach-and-celery-seed_clipped_rev_1mermaid-sea-salted-crackersFacebooktwitterinstagram

English Breakfast Day 2020

English Breakfast Day takes place on December 2nd every year and is celebrated by millions of people internationally. It was originally started in 1975 to support the history and heritage of the English Breakfast.

The tradition of the full English breakfast is one that is regularly enjoyed in all four corners of the earth. In the United Kingdom, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the full English Breakfast is making a roaring comeback and is now more popular than at any time since the 1960’s.

We have got a wide selection of the main event of a English breakfast, for the meat lovers we stock Brookes smoked, un smoked, back and streaky bacon which comes in both 454g retail packages and 2.27 catering packs.
We also have English smoked, un smoked, streaky, dry cured and mis shapes which is all packed into retail sized packs in house by our staff in the cutting rooms.

We sell the best sausages around – WF Chinns based in Crediton, Devon, and have worked closely with them for many years. With so many flavours to choose from as well as Gluten Free! We love Chinn’s sausages in our household, sausage and mash is always a winner and the chipolatas in particular are firm favourites with our 2 little girls.

If you like black pudding with your English breakfast, we stock Bury Black and white pudding and Gluten Free is also available. We also slice and pack larger black pudding sticks and pack into retail sizes perfect for selling in Farm shops, Community Shops, Convenience stores and Deli’s.

We have also got halloumi for the vegetarians out there, I for one love abit of grilled halloumi with my fry up!

With every English breakfast an English brew is needed, we stock Devonshire tea Classic Breakfast and Earl Grey Boxes of 6 x 20 tea bags and also in catering size boxes.

We have also got Littlestone’s Coffee whole and ground beans, signature blend and decaf they come in 225g bags.

https://www.englishbreakfastsociety.com/english-breakfast-day.html# back baconchinns

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