The South West of England is famous for many things. Think of Somerset and cider springs to mind. Cornwall is renowned for the pasty and Devon cream teas are legendary.
But the South West has a whole feast of other delicacies which may not be as well known and if you run a restaurant or catering firm, then you can find a surprising selection of some of the best from the west.
South West Cheese
Let’s look first at South West cheese. As a nation, we love our cheeses. We may experiment with the bries and camemberts of the continent but try serving a Ploughman’s without a tasty wedge of cheddar and you will face justifiable complaints.
Luckily the South West offers a massive variety of cheeses so if you are thinking of spicing up your cheeseboard, have a look at the following.
The Wallace and Gromit series made Stinking Bishop
(a full fat pasteurised cows’ milk soft cheese made with vegetarian rennet) a household name for reviving Wallace from the Were-Rabbit. Washed in perry, the name originates from the Cistercian order of monks and today is matured in humid cave-like conditions.
If you prefer to serve a more traditional cheese, then take a chance on the A J Barber
1833 vintage reserve cheddar, where only a few vats a month are chosen to be matured for 24 months.
Woefuldane Organic Dairy
takes the cheese from milk to shelf and produces cheese from a 110 acre organic farm from a mixture of Dairy Shorthorns and Jersey stock. These cows actually live in their own family groups . . . for example, the Speckys and the Hoggins. These delightful families produce traditional Double Gloucester, Birdwood Forester, Birdwood Dunlop, and Birdwood Blue Heaven, a semi-soft, mould ripened blue cheese.
One of the most well-known cheddars comes from Greens of Glastonbury
. The company has an impressive heritage, having been making cheese for four generations and Green’s handmade unpasteurised West country cheddar is supported by a range of cheddars from the mild to the vintage aged for 15 – 18 months. Add to the choice organic, unpasteurised cheddar, Double Gloucester and a hard goats cheese and there is choice for everyone’s palette.
Another noteworthy cheese is Curworthy Cheese
, a unique full-fat semi-hard cheese made on an historic farm in Devon. The cheese is produced from a herd of Friesian cows and the result is “a cheese that is creamy with a light buttery taste when young and a full flavoured mellowness when aged”.
Exotic At Home
Spices are always a popular choice, but not many people realise that the South West has its own suppliers of spices. Chimans
of Exeter produce dry spice blends which are not only free from all flavourings, preservatives and colourings, they are also gluten free. For restaurants who specialise in vegan or vegetarian option, Chimans is the obvious choice.
And if it’s chillies you are after, take a look at the Dartmoor Chilli Farm
in Ashburton, a self proclaimed green company which creates its own energy with solar panels and wind turbine to grow superb spices.
The company claims to “farm naturally and holistically without the use of herbicides or pesticides and use nature and hard work to minimise the damage caused by pests such as biological control, regular hand removal of slugs and snails, companion planting and encourage natural wildlife habitats for greater biodiversity.”
Explore South West Food
So if you want to serve succulent and different South West cheese and some more exotic products on your menus, simply look around the region. You may be surprised at what you find.