Should we be eating less meat?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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All About Brie

somerset brie-228x228A soft cheese named after the French region from which it originated, Brie is a much loved classic, the most famous being Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun which both have protected designation of origin status however unlike its English contemporaries such as Farmhouse Cheddar and Stilton, the generic name Brie was not protected and is now used to describe any soft, bloomy rinded cheese. There are now many varieties available all over the world, a few are also made here in the South West and we’ve listed some of our favourites below.

Somerset Brie
Made by Lubborn Creamery in the lush valley of Cricket St Thomas, this brie is made to traditional methods, allowing it to soften and ripen from the outside in and develop its fresh creamy flavours and soft, edible white rind. Pasteurised and suitable for vegetarians this is one of our best selling Bries.

Sharpham2465
Hand made using unpasteurised Jersey cows milk on Sharpham Dairy in Totnes, South Devon this mould-ripened Coulommiers style cheese has unique rich, buttery flavours and a soft, creamy texture. It is matured for four weeks during which time it grows its edible bloomy rind and gradually ripens from chalky to soft and gooey.

Tim_Schofield_Photo_150520-83 (1)St Endellion
A decadent version of classic Cornish Brie the St Endellion is enriched with locally made double cream for a rich, full bodied flavour. Made by the team at Trevarrian Creamy near Newquay the texture softens as it ripens and the cheese develops its characteristic golden colour, soft pale rind and deliciously creamy interior.

Any of these Bries are a perfect addition to cheeseboards, their soft, creamy texture makes an interesting contrast to the hard cheese options. Sharpham in particular is great melted on roasted vegetables and the St Endellion makes a fantastic dessert cheese while the Somerset Brie is delicious baked in the oven with some rosemary. However you like your Brie try one of these and we promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Women & Cheesemaking

Women have traditionally always been involved in cheesemaking. Famers wives and daughters were passed down cheese recipes and would control the dairy, making the butter, milking the cows and making the cheese. These women have inspired a new generation of quality, artisan cheesemakers and in celebration of their achievements we have explored the history and lives of three of Devon’s own women cheesemakers and the excellent cheeses they produce.

quicke matureMary Quicke is the 14th generation of the Quicke family working on Home Farm, Newton St Cyres. Managing the cheese business since 1987, Mary has become a leading voice on traditional cheese production and in 2017 launched the Academy of Cheese; a not for profit organisation promoting cheese knowledge for both the industry and the wider public. She has also applied her cheese expertise to judging at the World Cheese Awards, British Cheese Awards and the American Cheese Society Awards. It’s no surprise that her cheeses have been award winning themselves; Quicke’s Traditional Mature, a rich, complex cheese with flavours ranging from buttery caramel to sharp and grassy, won 2 stars at the Great Taste Awards earlier this year while Quicke’s Oak Smoked, a well balanced mature naturally smoked over oak chips for four hours, scooped Gold at this years Artisan Cheese Awards. A passion for creating beautiful cheeses and an undefinable link to the land her family have worked for generations makes Mary Quicke a woman to be reckoned with.

Curworthy Cheese was originally owned by Farmers Weekly, who were belstonepublishing a column on the everyday workings of dairy farming; on launch day Rachel Stephens was asked to help out as a ‘cheese cutter’. When it came time for the newspaper to sell the business, Rachel took a chance and moved the dairy to a purpose built creamery on her own farm a few miles away. For the first twenty years of production the milk used to make their cheeses came from their own herd, however it is now bought in ‘raw’ from local dairies and pasteurised themselves. As well as making the cheeses four days a week Rachel and the team also sell their cheese at various local markets and on a Tuesday this brings them to The Cheese Pantry, their small cheese shop in Hatherleigh market full of both their own cheeses and other locally made delights. A firm favourite of ours is their Devon Oke, made to a recipe dating back to the 17th century, it is mellow and creamy with buttery flavours and firm texture. In contrast to this classic recipe is the relatively new Dartmoor Chilli; made using Ring of Fire chillies from nearby DWKcraMW4AAeU-EDartmoor Chilli Farm and encased in distinctive red wax it has a slight mellow sweetness which is in contrast with the hot chillies. Cheesemaking can be a tough, physically demanding job, the cheeses are heavy and at Curworthy they are regularly turned to ensure even maturation, however it must be incredibly rewarding making and selling handmade cheese to the public. The cheese industry is full of interesting people and Rachel is certainly one of them.

486-1-300x300Cornish Yarg in the world. Today, Catherine leads one of the most successful artisan cheese producers in the world and not only that, she is also investing in the future of cheesemaking. She has designed an apprenticeship in cheese-making with Duchy College and is Chair of Jamie Oliver’s charity Fifteen Cornwall – a project aimed at developing understanding of raw ingredients, the science behind food and the importance of locally sourced produce. Her cheeses have been multi-award winning; the original Yarg won Gold at the 2017 World Cheese Awards while the Garlic version won Silver at this years British Cheese Awards. The fresh, creaminess of Yarg is complimented by the subtle mushroom flavours imparted from the nettle leaves wrapped around the cheese. These nettles are harvested in Cornwall by a team of gloved pickers before being rinsed and steamed ready to be used for wrapping. The Garlic Yarg is made to the same recipe as the original and it is the nettles that impact so significantly on the different flavours. The wild garlic leaves impart a gentle garlic flavour and provide a slightly firmer texture than the original. Catherine has built up a thriving business from a traditional recipe, her cheeses are now world renowned and she is involved in training the next generation of cheesemakers, ensuring that the artisan cheese industry continues to survive.

These three women have risen to the top of their field and all have had an impact on the cheese industry, from experimenting with new flavours and methods, deciding the big cheese winners and inspiring the next generation. Their own cheeses are superb and we hope they will continue to be made for years to come.

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Cheese Showcase: Curworthy Cheese

belstoneCurworthy Cheese has been made by Rachel Stephens on Stockbeare Farm for the last 25 years. Originally owned by the Farmers Weekly newspaper who were reporting on what dairy farming entailed Rachel was called in on launch day as a ‘cheese cutter’. When it came time for the newspaper to sell she saw an opportunity and moved the business to a purpose built creamery a few miles away to her own farm. Using milk from their own herd of Fresian cows, the cheeses are matured on site in a temperature controlled ripening room where the cheeses develop their natural rind with a light covering of mould. This small, family run dairy farm produces a variety of cheeses including their most popular Devon Oke and their newest cheese Dartmoor Chilli – made using chillies from nearby Dartmoor Chilli Farm.

Devon Oke
The sibling of traditional Curworthy cheese this recipe dates back to the 17th century and is believed to be even older than Cheddar. Taking its name from the nearby village of Okehampton this is a full fat hard cheese, matured for six months with mature, buttery flavours and creamy texture similar to Gouda. Curworthy Belstone is the vegetarian version made with vegetarian rennet.

Curworthy Chipple
Made using the traditional Curworthy recipe with the addition of fresh spring onions, this cheese is mellow and creamy with a fresh, supple texture. It is matured for up to six months and encased in attractive green wax at the final stage of maturation.

Dartmoor ChilliDartmoor Chilli
Again made to the traditional Curworthy recipe but with the addition of fresh Serenade and Ring of Fire chillies sourced from the nearby Dartmoor Chilli Farm, this cheese definitely packs a punch! Matured for only 6-8 weeks a mellow, slightly sweet cheese is the perfect base for the addition of spice. It is encased in red wax and is also available in a red wax heart for those special occasions such as a cheese wedding cake topper.

Other Curworthy cheeses include Curworthy Black Wax, Devon Smoake, Curworthy Meldon, Curworthy Belstone and Curworthy Chipple. Visit our website to discover more of these delicious artisan cheeses.

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New Products from Devonshire Tea!

cbNothing is more calming after a full, stressful week than a hot cup of tea, sitting back in your favourite armchair and feeling your troubles melt away, perhaps with a slice of cake. Devonshire Tea is a small, independent company based in Axminster producing classic teas which are custom blended to their own recipes. We will be stocking their products from September and couldn’t resist telling you about them now.

In what can often be an overcrowded, fast moving market with constant re-imagining of exotic new flavours, Devonshire Tea’s ethos is good, simple classic teas blended to exceptional standards. At the moment they have four bespoke blends of high grade tea from India which are blended and packed in Devon.

devonshire_tea_earl_grey_packClassic Breakfast is their flagship blend and brings together a bold Assam from India and a golden Ceylon from Sri Lanka for a perfectly balanced blend with superb depth of flavour.
Earl Grey is a fragrant blend of the same Assam and golden Ceylon but with the addition of delicately scented Bergamot.
Delightful Afternoon is a speciality blend of bold Assam from North East India and delicate Darjeeling from the Himalayan foothills resulting in a subtle, light and refreshing tea.
Single-origin Assam is a bold, full-bodied tea sourced from the region of North-East India from which it takes its name.

teabags

All of their teas are sourced from ethical estates monitored by the Ethical Tea Partnership which protects both workers and the environment and in order to protect the environment further their teabags are also “stitched” rather than heat sealed. The impact of single use plastics has been widely reported recently and to reduce their own footprint, Devonshire Tea took on a different approach to sealing their teabags. The glue which is used by the majority of companies to seal them is made from a thermoplastic such as PVC or polypropylene which, although safe to consume, prevents the teabag from decomposing properly. In contrast Devonshire Tea fold the teabag paper and uses string to “stitch” it closed and attach the string.

All of their teas will be available in individual cartons and cases of six cartons for the retail sector, and cases of 200 for food service and catering. Check out their products on our website for more info!

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New Flavoured Sausages!

Established more than forty years ago W.F. Chinn are producers of high quality burgers and sausages made in Crediton, Devon. Building on the legacy of founder Mr Chinn owners Tony & Rose Palmer are continually developing new and exciting flavours using 100% British meat.

Popular flavours include their honeyroast pork sausages with a deliciously sweet twist, traditional cumberland sausages, pork and red onion and chorizo sausages. This month also sees the introduction of their smoked maple and chilli sausages as their flavour of the month. Rich and smoky these are perfect char-grilled on the bbq or enjoyed oven baked with peppers, onion, garlic and spices. The slight sweetness from the maple is complimented by the smokiness and hint of chilli. Why not try some for yourself?

Chinn’s also produce their own burgers including pork & apple and succulent beef burgers made using 100% British meat and available in packs of four. In short, they have all the meat you’ll need for your next bbq!

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Cheese Showcase: Sharpham Dairy

Sharpham Dairy was established in the grounds of the Sharpham Estate in 1981 using the eighteenth century coachouse as their creamery. As their cheeses  became more popular, they relocated to a purpose built creamery next to the winery where they have continued producing high quality, award winning cheeses ever since. Their cheese may now be made in a modern building but the team still employ traditional cheese making techniques and use the rich, fresh milk from their own Jersey cattle to produce these great cheeses. We’ve listed a few of our favourites from Sharpham below.

Rustic with Chives and Garlic
This is a semi-hard, unpasteurised cheese with an intense, savoury depth of flavour due to the addition of fresh pureed garlic. The cheese is turned weekly to ensure even maturation and its coat is rubbed by hand to form a thin, natural rind. The fresh, lemony creaminess of the cheese is complimented by the fresh chives and pureed garlic to create a truly delicious cheese.

Sharpham BrieSharphamBrie_(2)
This is a handmade original recipe brie with rich, buttery flavours and creamy texture. It is made from the combination of simple ingredients: fresh Jersey cows’ milk, starter cultures, salt, vegetarian rennet and nothing else. Once the cheese is made it is left for seven days for its natural rind to grow, and then further matured for four weeks in breathable paper. It is a slow ripening cheese turning from chalky to a soft and gooey brie.

Ticklemore Goat
Originally made by Ticklemore Dairy it is now part of the neighbouring Sharpham family. A pasteurised semi-hard goats cheese full of zesty, lemon sharphamticklemoorgoats (2)flavours and with a moist, slightly crumbly texture. Like the Rustic this cheese is turned regularly and rubbed by hand to form its signature white rind.

We currently stock these cheeses in both bulk and pre-packed sizes suitable for catering and retail use. Call us today to order yours!

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British Pie Week!

SteakStiltonPieCropIt’s British Pie Week! Originally a marketing campaign by ready made pastry company Jus-Roll, British Pie Week has evolved into so much more with many restaurants, bakeries and good old fashioned pie shops offering traditional staples as well as new innovations.

We have been suppliers of Chunk of Devon pies for a long time. Traditional pie and pasty makers since 2006 and based in Ottery St Mary, they are producers of multi award winning pies, pasties and sausage rolls with a variety of flavour combinations, all wrapped in their signature buttery pastry. All of their products are made using locally sourced ingredients and they pride themselves on delivering great tasting pastries without any additives and preservatives.

There are many different flavours to discover from traditional steak pie with redfishpie wine, bacon and baby onions to tender lamb pasty with sundried tomatoes, fresh rosemary and caraway seeds and goats cheese pie with butternut squash, sweet potato and red onions. For a limited time only they are also offering their Posh Fishpie which is filled with pollock, salmon, smoked haddock and prawns in a creamy cheese sauce.

According to a recent survey 75% of households consume some sort of pie every week. Why not make it a good one and order your Chunk of Devon pie today!

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Farmhouse vs. Factory Cheese

It goes without saying that there is a huge difference in quality between traditional, hand made artisan cheeses and generic, industrial cheeses.

Cheeses that are made, shaped and nurtured by hand have more care and expertise go into them than the bog standard Cheddar. They are also, in most circumstances, either made using milk from the makers own herd or sourced locally. The result is cheese that varies in taste, texture and overall appearance throughout the year. A Cheddar made on a small farm in Somerset has a very different taste to Cheddar made anywhere else. In fact there are only six dairies worldwide that make West Country Farmhouse Cheddar with Protected Designation of Origin status. This award is an assurance of the quality and authenticity of the cheese; it has to be made using milk from the counties of Somerset, Dorset, Devon or Cornwall, it must be made using traditional techniques such as ‘cheddaring’ or turning the curds by hand and it must be matured for at least nine months.

In contrast many processed cheeses are uniformly made using milk from a large number of different dairies in a very controlled process. A factory will produce many different cheeses and because of this the milk goes through a number of processes such as heat treating to minimise spoilage before pasteurisation and removing much of the fat content. In farmhouse cheeses this fat is essential to the flavour and texture of the cheese; while it isn’t as good for your waistline, it’ll certainly taste a lot better!

Here at Isca Foods we are passionate about supporting small-scale dairies and their fantastic cheeses. It is important that the skills and time-honoured techniques needed to make them are not lost. This is why we are proud to say that almost all of our cheeses can be traced back to the farm in which they were made. Have a look at our cheese pages for more information.

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Chinns Sausages

ChinnsSausageHead

Chinns sausages are well known and highly regarded throughout Devon and the South West and have been hugely popular with our customers.

Established over forty years ago by W. F. Chinn, the business has continued to develop and thrive over the years with owners Tony and Rose Palmer. Based in Crediton, Devon their sausages are made to a secret recipe developed in the 1950’s by W. F. Chinn himself using locally sourced, West Country meat.

There are a variety of flavours available from traditional Cumberland, Pork & Leek and Pork & Honey to the more unusual Pork & Stilton, Smoky Chorizo and Pork & Marmalade. Back for Christmas 2017 is their delicious Pork & Cranberry sausages and Pork Cocktail sausages which are perfect for buffets. All are available in packs of four 225g and packs of eight 450g.

 

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