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.
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.
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.
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.
Today is the start of National Butchers’ Week, a celebration of the skills and services of independent butchers throughout the country.
Butchers have traditionally been a town staple along with greengrocers, bakeries and post offices. Today these have mostly been compiled into supermarkets and many towns no longer benefit from the one-to-one interaction with their butcher. In the 1990’s the Meat Trades Journal reported that there were 22,000 butchers in the UK, by 2010 this had dropped to 7,100.
However recent food trends including increased concern over trace-ability and, amid growing climate concerns, the need for quality over quantity in our meat, have resulted in a resurgence in traditional butchers. Below we look at three local butchers and their products.
Established in March 1996 Tim Potter Family Butchers began with just 3 members of staff, today there are 9 including son Christopher and daughter Katie who now runs the Katie’s Pantry part of the business.
Committed to supplying the best quality meats to their customers Tim Potter provide a range of products including traditional beef, lamb and pork joints as well as award-winning sausages and their own seasoned kebabs and BBQ range. They also stock a range of locally sourced cheeses, butters and deli products. The business credits its success on its focus on local produce, fantastic customer service and selling quality meat at realistic prices.
Clive Downs Butchers
Situated in Porlock in Somerset Clive Downs Butchers was established over 20 years ago and has been managed by Derek Weeks, an experienced butcher who has worked in the trade for 40 years, since 2017. Their products include locally sourced lamb, beef and various game as well as handmade sausages including venison with redcurrant and pork with tomato and basil. Clive Downs also supply a number of Chunk of Devon pies such as the Chicken & Bacon and the Steak & Ale.
Lloyd Maunder – West Country Family Butchers
The eponymous Lloyd Maunder took over his father’s butchers shop in Witheridge in 1898. He then proceeded to expand the business by selling meat and dairy products to customers in London and became one of the first major suppliers to Sainsbury’s. The first Lloyd Maunder shop opened in 1913 in Tiverton and today there are 14 branded shops throughout the South West. Their product range includes traditional lamb, beef and pork as well as their popular ‘meat for a week’ deals and dinner party selections. Many of the shops now have deli counters serving local artisan cheeses, salads, pies and marinated meats which are proving popular with their customers.
There are many other fantastic family owned butchers that we could have mentioned here and this can only be a sign of the continued success of the traditional butcher. Happy National Butchers’ Week!
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.
For all enquiries visit their Facebook page, email email@example.com or call on 01392 661001.
Today marks the start of UK Sausage Week, a campaign organised by Meat Management magazine focusing on championing and raising the profile of the culinary delight that is the British sausage.
From traditional cumberland, pork and chipolatas to festive cranberry, caramelised red onion and gluten free varieties this versatile ingredient makes a perfect accompaniment to a traditional full English breakfast, the centrepiece of a hearty sausage and mash or a comforting classic in a warm autumnal casserole.
Today there are more than 500 different recipes and flavours for sausages in the UK with traditional pork remaining the country’s favourite despite newer flavours gaining in popularity over the last few years. The majority of our fresh sausage sales come from W.F Chinns, a well established sausage producer based in Crediton and owned by Tony and Rose Palmer.
Their retail sausages are available in 225g packs with an average of four individual sausages and 450g packs with an average of eight individual sausages in each. We love the pork & apple sausages for their succulent sweetness and their pork & chorizo sausages for double porkiness! The subtle smoky flavour from the chorizo lends itself to charcoal bbq’s in the summer and rich, hearty casseroles at this time of year.
We hope you enjoy UK Sausage Week!
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.
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.
Despite 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.
So 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.
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.
This month marks National Picnic Month and with the gorgeous weather we’re having at the moment there is no better time to grab a hamper and head outside!
We love celebrating the best in local produce which is why we try to stock as many locally sourced products as possible including artisan cheeses, pies, pasties and savouries, creams and dairy, bacon, fresh fish and more – because local definitely tastes better!
Here in Devon we are also incredibly lucky that there are so many beauty spots to discover and marvel at as you sit down to eat your delicious, locally sourced picnic food. There are plenty of beautiful beaches, rolling hills, endless moors and meandering rivers which make ideal picnic spots.
For many of us picnic food means simple, easy to eat finger food and with this in mind try our small or medium sized hand raised pork pies made with crispy hot water pastry, delicious hard boiled scotch eggs, sausage rolls made by hand using locally sourced pork and slices of Mediterranean style quiche with mixed peppers, basil and mature cheddar cheese.
Sandwiches are always a hit with kids and so quick and easy to make; go for fillings that won’t go soggy or limp after a few hours in a hamper or rucksack. You might like to play it safe with the classic Devon cured ham with English mustard or honeyroast ham and mature cheddar cheese or mix things up with chicken breast and sliced chorizo with chipotle mayo or a falafel wrap with minty yogurt sauce.
Finger food doesn’t have to be boring and for something a little different on your next picnic why not try some marinated chicken skewers with haloumi and peppers (leave out the chicken for veggies or replace it with chunks of tofu), chopped veggies such as carrots, cucumber or courgettes with some creamy lemon houmous or plain houmous and maybe even some arancini risotto balls with mushroom, white wine and mozzerella – suprisingly easy to make but look like you’ve spent hours on them – good to impress! All of these are great being transported in a picnic basket and will be as good when you arrive as when you left the house.
Wherever you decide to stage your picnic we hope you enjoy this National Picnic Month!
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.
Based 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 surrounding 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 Curry 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!
Here at Isca Foods we are proud supporters of keeping things local, after all some of the best things can be found on your own doorstep. This February half term why not take the kids to one of our many amazing local attractions where there’s plenty to keep them entertained and work off some of that boundless energy!
Set on the hillside above the pretty East Devon village of Beer Pecorama is home to the famous PECO Model Railway Exhibition and the Beer Heights Light Railway complete with fully operational miniature steam locomotives. The train line now runs for one mile around the park with spectacular views over Lyme Bay and the Jurassic Coast. When the weather turns against you the Play Station – an indoor 3-storey soft play area – will definitely be a hit with the kids, it also boasts a lovely little café serving homemade cakes, traditional Devonshire cream teas and barista-style coffee which we’re sure will be more of a hit for you! Check out their website for opening times as well as special half term activities http://www.pecorama.co.uk/.
Greendale Farm Shop
Just off of the main Sidmouth Road outside Exeter this farm shop is a great way of getting the kids out of the house and engaging with farm animals this half term. As well as a thriving shop boasting fresh, locally sourced meat, fish and vegetables there are a host of pigs, sheep and chickens roaming the fields around the farm. After looking at all that local produce you may have worked up an appetite. Don’t worry there is a fantastic on-site café with an extensive menu showcasing the best the South West has to offer and catering to a range of tastes including vegetarian and gluten-free options. For more info and opening times visit their website here: https://www.greendale.com/.
Don’t worry we’ve not gone mad, we know it’s only February and much too cold to fully appreciate a dip in the sea, but Devon is home to some of the best beaches in the country so grab the bucket and spades and enjoy a fun-filled day out at your local beach. Many beach side attractions and, perhaps most importantly, beachfront cafés will be open for the half term trade so let the kids run off some steam while you warm up with a coffee and cake.
Whatever you do this week we hope you have a lovely half term!
It’s that time of year again. A clean slate, fresh start, the start of 2019 brings about the chance to start again but whether it’s trying something new, cutting down after the indulgence of the festive season or vowing to quit that lifelong habit, it can be daunting to begin with many of us giving up before the end of the month.
The majority of new years resolutions probably have something to do with getting healthier, be it trying to lose weight or a resolve to get more exercise. After sometimes a week or more of over indulgence you can almost feel your body craving for something other than chocolate for breakfast. However it can be daunting cutting out absolutely everything so to minimise the shock to the system gently replacing those Christmas treats with some healthier alternatives.
Replenish some of those vitamins with one of Rod & Ben’s deliciously warming soups. Choose from a variety of flavours including their Spiced Lentil with turmeric and cumin, Rustic Chicken Broth with potatoes, carrots and onions and classic Tomato and Basil. Made using organic, fresh and seasonal produce these soups are full of natural goodness and flavour and who doesn’t love a soup during these cold winter months?
Although not strictly healthy Dorset Blue Vinny is much lower in fat than its blue cheese counterparts and can still be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. Made using the ‘leftover’ milk after the cream has been skimmed off for butter-making it retains a creamy, subtle flavour and slightly crumbly flavour. Made by the same family for the last 40 years, each cheese takes 24 hours to make and up to 20 weeks of maturation but it is definitely worth the wait. Top your crackers to your hearts content, just don’t add too much butter!
The recent rise in people participating in ‘Veganuary’ means that getting your five-a-day has never been easier. Whether or not you have decided to give it a try, there is no denying that some extra veg never hurt anyone. Slightly different from the traditional Boxing Day turkey curry, this butternut squash version from Lodge Farm Kitchen is packed with nutrients as well as being deliciously tasty. They are passionate about delivering great quality gourmet ready meals using the finest local produce and tried and tested home-cooking methods. This curry is made using locally sourced squash, coconut milk and fresh coriander and makes a hearty lunch sure to fill you up until dinner time.
Whatever your new years resolutions we wish you all the best, if all else fails, try again in 2020!