Westcountry Olives

We are excited to introduce our newest venture West Country Olives, we are now over a month into launching this exciting new brand of olives and it is going from strength to strength.

With a slight delay in launching due to waiting on packaging and then a global pandemic, it is really exciting to be able to finally introduce everyone to this new brand of olives which we think has got a really exciting future.

Regular customers should have received some samples a few weeks ago now as we move from the hugely popular Cornish Olive Stall range to our own West Country Olives. We are in the process of new designs for the packaging and I know alot of feedback has been that the olives taste really good but the packaging isn’t the best, we totally agree and are currently working on this and will be moving to new packaging next year at some point (hopefully with less delays than this year!)

This is all very new for us and we only want to make things better, so all feedback positive and negative is always appreciated.

The 175g packs of Olives are produced and carefully packed on site we use the award winning Bell and Loxton Oils and the best olives available from around the Mediterranean.

We also sell Bell and Loxton Oils in both 250ml and 500ml sizes, the flavours they come in are Original rapeseed, Basil and Garlic.

Olives in packaging and Bell and Loxton Oils

The pouches are vacuumed of oxygen and then gas flushed, giving the olives a long shelf life. This also means that they are able to be stored at ambient temperatures.

Rosemary & Garlic in packagingHarissa Glazed Packaging[11064]Hand-Stuffed Garlic Packaging[11063]

There are now 14 flavours which include – Classic blend, Kalamata, Hand-Stuffed Garlic, Hot Chilli (Very Hot!) , Nocellara Del Belice, Picante Pimento, Rosemary & Garlic, Green Pitted, Harissa Glazed, Hand-Stuffed Jalapeno, Garlic and Chilli, Orange and Coriander, Lemon and Thyme and one more flavour which is being launched tomorrow – follow Westcountry Olives on social media for more details!

We are always experimenting with new flavours and welcome ideas for flavour combinations.

We also can supply larger bulk quantities such as 1 kilo bags, which are perfect for catering, deli’s, the pub trade and much more, the opportunities are endless.

As well as being available to our Wholesale Customers our Olives are also available to purchase via the website www.westcountryolives.co.uk/ Instagram Shop and even on ebay! They can be posted to anywhere in the UK via royal mail.

One of our most popular ways of purchasing is our 3 piece bundle mix and match, pick your favourite 3 flavours for just £9.99, link below for the Westcountry Olives shop.

https://westcountryolives.co.uk/shop/

You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram, please give us a like/follow  and spread the word about these fantastic new olives links below –

https://www.facebook.com/WestCountryOlives/

https://www.instagram.com/westcountryolives/

 

Preparing Garic and Chilli olives

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Cheese Showcase: Danish Blue

Castello have been producing their signature cheeses since 1893 with varieties including traditional, regional recipes as well as their own unique crafted cheeses.

Danish Blue is a sharp and salty cheese with a soft and creamy texture. Originally the cheese was made using goat’s milk to traditional French recipes resulting in a similar profile to Roquefort however the Danish cheesemakers wanted a more mild and balanced flavour better suited to sensitive palates and so the switch to cow’s milk was made. In appearance the Danish Blue is pale, creamy off-white with distinctive blue veins throughout.

This cheese is available in 130g retail packs as well as whole wheels and other catering sizes. Click here for more info.

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Cheese Showcase: Smoked Cheese

It’s blue skies and sunshine out there today and BBQ season is well underway. We’re getting into the spirit with our cheese showcase this week – smoked cheese.

The precise origins of smoked cheese are unknown however as with some of the best things it is thought to have been discovered by accident. Most food historians agree that an ancient cheesemonger kept their product close to a wood burning fire and noticed that it gave the cheese a distinct smoky flavour and the much loved smoked cheese was born.
Today there are many ways of smoking cheese from traditional wood fires to modern smokers and the futuristic method of ‘liquid smoke’ being incorporated in the cheese-making process. The intensity of the heat and the variety of wooden chips used both have an impact on the overall smokiness imparted into the cheese. Below we’ve listed some of our favourite smoked cheeses from local favourites to much loved classics.

Quicke’s Smoked
This smoked mature cheddar originates as Quicke’s well flavoured mature Cheddar. Matured for 12-15 months it is then naturally cold smoked over oak chips from trees grown on the Quicke’s estate for up to four hours, during which time the cheese develops a subtle, smoky flavour. This cheese is available in both catering 1.2kg blocks and 150g retail packs.

Dorset Red
The Dorset Red from Ford Farm Cheesemakers is a smooth cheese enriched with natural annatto for a distinct deep amber colour. Made to their traditional Cheddar recipe the cheese is then cold smoked over oak chips overnight leaving a mellow, smoky flavour and soft texture. This cheese is available in 1.2kg blocks and 150g retail packs.

Oak Smoked
This traditional smoked Cheddar from Carron Lodge is cold smoked for up to 24 hours over oak chippings resulting in a delicate smoked flavour and rich golden colour. It is available in 1.kg blocks and 150g retail packs.

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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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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!

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Store Cupboard Ingredients

We have been thinking about how to maximise simple store cupboard ingredients to create nutritious, tasty food during this strange period of self isolation. Our staples include natural yogurt, chorizo and of course cheese! Read on to discover more.

sutton lucy cream (2)Natural yogurt
Natural yogurt is an extremely versatile ingredient and can be used in anything from breakfast oats to a marinade for chicken to spicy sriracha dressings and creamy potato salads. We stock the deliciously thick and creamy Sutton Lucy natural yogurt in both 500g and 140g pots depending on your needs as well as the low fat Langage Farm natural and Greek-style yogurts both available in 450g pots. Why not try this delicious Indian-style spiced chicken recipe or these quick and easy overnight oats for a tasty and nutritious breakfast alternative?

Chorizo
Chorizo is one of our favourite ingredients to cook with for it’s wonderful smoky chorizoflavour and the delicious richness it adds to any dish from stews to burgers and baked eggs to tacos. We stock both authentic Hot Chorizo rings finished with smoked paprika available in 200g rings and sliced retail packed chorizo available in 110g packs with an average of eight slices per pack. This recipe for Prawn and Chorizo Jambalaya is quick and easy to prepare and bursts with Cajun inspired flavours while this Butter Bean & Chorizo stew is warm and hearty and with only four ingredients it can be on the table in only 20 minutes!

Cheese
It will come as no surprise to learn that we absolutely love cheese, from creamy cricket-st-thomas-camembert-220gBrie to tangy Stilton, lemony goats cheese and local gems like the Garlic Yarg from Lynher Dairies and of course traditional farmhouse Cheddar. From classic ham and cheese toasties to luxurious baked Camembert and summery Greek salad with feta or grilled haloumi cheese is the ultimate ingredient to enrich and enliven multiple dishes. Why not try this 70’s take on a classic toastie with rich mature Cheddar, pickled pineapple and fiery sriracha or this baked Camembert with rosemary and garlic is a deliciously comforting treat.

Tried any of these recipes? Tag us in your creations using via our social media pages below!

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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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Orchardlea Occasion Foods

This year we are excited to introduce another side to the business with the launch of Orchardlea Occasion Foods. Supplying a wide range of buffet foods including pies, pasta and rice salads, artisan cheeses, deli products and more Orchardlea Occasion Foods offers a bespoke, fully-tailored service and are able to cater for all occasions from christenings and business events to children’s parties and funerals.orchardlea foods

For all enquiries visit their Facebook page, email info@orchardleaoccasionfoods.co.uk or call on 01392 661001.

 

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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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Source Trade Show 2019!

source tradeWe are excited to be exhibiting again at this years Source Trade Show held at Westpoint Arena, Exeter from 6th-7th February! Showcasing the best from local food producers, hospitality and the catering sector, this is a great show for seeing a wide range of what the South West has to offer – we certainly think so as this is currently the only show we attend.

We will be bringing a wide selection of our products to display as well as showcasing some new products for this year. One of these is a new range of frozen, home cooked ready meals from Olive’s Kitchen. Originally established in 2013 as a deli, demand for their own cooked frozen meals soon overtook freshChocolate Brownie Pack produce and as a result the deli closed in 2016 to allow them to fully concentrate on Olive’s Kitchen. Today they use traditional family methods and home-cooking techniques to produce genuinely delicious food. We can’t wait for you to try their Lamb Navarin – a take on the French classic of slow cooked lamb with root vegetables and tomatoes and for dessert why not try the Chocolate Brownie Pudding, deliciously decadent with a rich and indulgent melt-in-the-middle centre – perfect with a spoonful of equally indulgent clotted cream.

Alongside these new products we will also sampling from Curworthy Cheese. Made on the same farm for the last 25 years, we stock a variety of their cheeses including the sibling to the original Curworthy recipe Devon Oke. This is a full-fat hard cheese matured for six months, during which time it develops its belstonecharacteristic buttery, creamy flavour and smooth texture similar to Gouda. A more recent addition to their repertoire is the Dartmoor Chilli which is made to the traditional Curworthy recipe but with the addition of fresh Ring of Fire chillies sourced from the nearby Dartmoor Chilli Farm. This cheese is matured for only 6-8 weeks which leaves a mellow, slightly sweet cheese able to take the heat of the chillies.

We will also be offering on the day deals on selected bacon, hams and cheeses, however as these will not be revealed until the day you’ll have to come and see us on Stand G31 to grab a bargain!

We hope to see you there!

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