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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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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National Butchers’ Week

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 downsClive 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 exmouth (2)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!Facebooktwitterinstagram

Vegan Cheddar Style Cheese Now in Stock!

vegan certifiedThis time last year the first vegan cheese shop in the UK opened its doors. La Fauxmagerie was immediately hit with a media storm when Dairy UK, the dairy industry trade association, sent a letter requesting that owners Charlotte and Rachel Stevens stop describing their products as cheese because it was potentially misleading to customers.

A year on and the number of people turning to vegan and plant based diets is continually rising with many abstaining from meat and dairy in a bid to halt the inevitable environmental impact of farming and agriculture.
This year Veganuary – a nonprofit organisation that encourages people to go vegan for the month of January – reported that over 400,000 people registered to take part compared to 250,000 in 2019. This success is due in part to the rise in availability of vegan products in supermarkets, restaurants and take-away outlets. KFC in particular posted that one million of their new vegan burgers were sold in the first month of sale, the equivalent of one every three seconds. But while plant based burgers have now hit the mainstream vegan cheese seems to have been left behind

vegan cheese (2)This could be because unlike their ‘meat’ counterparts many vegan cheeses have failed to emulate the taste, texture and appearance of traditional cheeses with many described as being bland, and ‘plasticky’. However some brands are beginning to experiment with new ingredients and ‘ageing’ methods as well as developing bacterial cultures similar to those used in the dairy industry.

We have just begun to stock a Cheddar style vegan cheese from Nature & Moi, a French company specialising in dairy free, plant based food. This cheese arrived early last week and was duly cut and tasted by everyone. The verdict?
vegan cheese (2)To preface we are all very much not vegan; we love cheese and our Cheddar range, being mostly from Devon and the West Country, is of excellent quality (if we do say so ourselves!). So this cheese had a lot to live up to.
The texture of the Nature & Moi Cheddar is smooth and supple and while not completely replicating the dense, richness of traditional Cheddar, this one did a fairly good job. The flavours are mild and slightly nutty with a mellow creaminess reminiscent of a very mild cheddar. Overall we thought that this cheese was “not at all bad” which, coming from a group of hardcore cheese lovers, was high praise indeed.

Click here to view the Nature & Moi cheese on our website for more info.Facebooktwitterinstagram

The Great West Country Dairy

Cheese has been made in Britain for thousands of years; our moderate climate, year round rain and lush rolling landscape make the country – and more importantly for us the West Country – ideal for dairy farming. As wine is renowned for its ‘terroir’ so cheese develops flavours unique to the grass, soil and climate in/on which the animals graze. In small scale dairies this results in cheeses with different depths of flavour dependent upon these factors which sets them apart from manufactured cheese and production line dairies. In the following blog we explore three West Country dairies and the delicious cheeses that they produce.

The Barber family have been producing their traditional farmhouse cheddar since 1833, making them the world’s oldest surviving cheddar-makers. Daniel Barber began making cheese on Maryland Farm in rural Somerset mainly for his family and farm workers using milk from his own herd of cows. However as demand for the cheese grew more milk was needed and by the 1950’s the family were working with surrounding farms to barbers maturekeep up production.
Today the farm is still very much a family business who have not lost their passion for cheese-making. Time honoured techniques and recipes passed down through the generations combined with modern technology have ensured the longevity of this traditional cheddar. We stock a wide range of Barber’s cheeses including the Vintage Reserve 1833, the Mellow cheddar and the Haystack Tasty as well as their Red Leicester and Double Gloucester cheeses. Click here to view the whole Barber’s lynher dairiesrange.

Lynher Dairies are producers of the award-winning Cornish Yarg cheese. First made in the 1980s on Bodmin Moor by Alan Grey, who found the 17th century recipe for nettle-wrapped cheese in his attic, Yarg is now made by Catherine Mead at their custom built dairy near Truro. Other cheeses include a Garlic Yarg, Stithians cheese and the Cornish Kern which won Supreme Champion at the World Cheese Awards in 2017. The yargrich Cornish milk used in the cheese-making process comes from their own herd of Aryshire cows and is also sourced from nearby farms. This coupled with the cheese-makers’ experience and expertise results in some truly delicious cheeses. We currently stock the classic Yarg and the Garlic version.

Robin Congdon was the original pioneer behind ticklemore cheeseTicklemore Cheese Dairy. In the 1970’s he began reviving the tradition of sheep milking in the UK and, with thirty sheep on a smallholding near Exeter, began producing yogurt and soft cheeses. Soon he and his partner Maurice Ash expanded the business to a larger farm on the banks of the River Dart where the Beenleigh Blue and later Harbourne Blue and Devon Beenleigh3Blue cheeses were developed. The 1980’s were an exciting time for producing speciality cheeses and a larger dairy was built to accommodate new varieties including Ticklemore Goat and Devon Rustic – both of which were given to Sharpham Creamery once production needed to be simplified. We stock their Devon Blue and Beenleigh Blue cheeses.

There are many more dairies and cheeses that we could have mentioned here which proves just how lucky we are to live and work in this beautiful county. The hard work of dairy owners and the expertise of its cheese-makers ensures that the West Country cheese remains a renowned speciality.Facebooktwitterinstagram

Powderham Food Festival

This Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October Powderham Castle plays host to a foodie festival celebrating the finest South West food and drink producers.

Now in its eighth year the festival features cookery demonstrations from chefs Nick Evans from Rick Stein’s Cookery School, Jim Fisher from Exeter Cookery School and Great British Bake Off 2018 contestant Briony Williams. This year organisers will also be introducing four miniature ‘villages’ within the festival including Gin & Fizz, Feast of Fire, Wellness and Chocolate tents each with their own demonstrations and tasters.

Over 150 food and drink producers will be attending the event including our cornishblue_(3)favourite Cornish cheese producers the Cornish Cheese Co. and Cornish Gouda. The Cornish Cheese Co. have been making their award-winning cheese since 2001 and in 2010 their Cornish Blue scooped Champion Cheese at the World Cheese Awards. It is light and mild with a dense rich creaminess without the tang of traditional English blues and is best enjoyed young.
Cornish Gouda use milk from their own herd of Holstein cows and traditional Dutch cheese-making techniques to produce their ever popular Cornish Gouda. The medium Gouda is smooth and creamy with a distinct nutty flavour while the mature is rich and buttery with nods to indulgent caramel.

We hope you enjoy the festival!Facebooktwitterinstagram