Tag Archives: Food producers
Wales has over 78% of its land surface given over to agricultural use. The vast majority of which consists of permanent grass pasture or rough grazing. This has led to the world famous Welsh lamb. Other traditional dishes include laverbread (made from edible seaweed), cawl (a lamb stew) and bara brith (fruit bread).
However there are literally hundreds of Welsh food producers that offer succulent and exotic food to pubs, restaurants and other eateries which are worth a look.
Cider making is big business for Hallets. At their headquarters at Blaengawney Farm, the company uses old traditional methods of cider making from fresh cider apples borrowing a few techniques from wine makers along the way. Ancient oak barrels with cider ageing inside work alongside stainless steel wine fermenters to produce real and draught cider.
“We make a number of different draught ciders and a perry… all of which are pure juice. We ferment each variety of apple separately and then blend into the ciders listed below. Our limited edition ciders are also produced in smaller quantities as opposed to our standard products of Heartbreaker, Blindfold and National Treasure which are available all year round,” says a spokeperson.
If cupcakes are your thing, then Ridiculously Rich by Alana had a good start in life, having won the Apprentice Show and the backing of Lord Sugar. Every Ridiculously Rich cake is meticulously hand-crafted in Wales using the finest ingredients. Gooey Chocolate Brownies, Chunky Rocky Road and Salted Caramel Slices are just a few of the delicious flavours on offer. Originating from a little country kitchen, Ridiculously Rich’s approach in the kitchen is described as “perfectionist, experimental, flavour-obsessed, and motivated by all things indulgent.“
Cheese is everyone’s favourite and Caws Cenarth is a family business started in 1987 in response to Milk Quotas. Six generations of cheesemaking tradition go into the manufacture of the Caws Cenarth cheeses, which include the creamy, fresh-flavoured Caerffili. In fact, it lays claim to being the oldest established producer of Welsh Farmhouse Caerffili. Also on the menu are Garlic and Herb Caerffili, Smoked Caerffili and Brie-like Perl Wen, a creamy blue, Perl Las, and Golden Cenarth, a washed-rind cheese.
Chutneys, curds, preserves, jams, jellies and marmalades are all available at Little Grandma’s Kitchen a family-run business based in St Clears, Carmarthenshire. The company manufactures mouthwatering chutneys, including Mulled Spiced Apple, Caramelised Red Onion, Grumps Spicy Apple and Apple, Carrot & Ginger. For those brave enough, there is the Inferno Chutney with Naga Chilli and Weapons Grade Chilli! All products are made in small batches to retain their individual flavour using seasonal, local produce where possible.
Last of the Welsh food producers today is The Food Assembly at Abergavenny. This is an award-winning food community delivers the best produce from local Welsh farmers and foodmakers. It works via an online market, where customers to place their orders for vegetables, fruits, eggs, dairy products, meat, bread, honey and fish. The choice ranges from exotic spices to mackerel fillets to organic meat, all locally sourced.
Open only to the trade, the first show opened 17 years ago and since then, has expanded enormously to embrace all aspects of the speciality food market.
Kara Bowen, Event Manager, said “Speciality & Fine Food Fair has, without a doubt, been at the forefront of the UK’s gourmet food and drink industry for nearly 18 years. Buyers from retail, foodservice and wholesale rely on the Fair as it provides an exclusive opportunity for discovery and inspiration. It is also a fantastic platform for producers to grow their business.”
Debut and Returns
This year, more than 700 food and drink producers attended, including nearly 200 suppliers making their debut. Among a number of new features, the old favourites such as the Discovery Zone, the Great Taste Awards and the Chocolate Trail were eagerly awaited. The Discovery Zone unveiled the latest food and drink delights from new businesses. Its stands are exclusively reserved for companies who have only been trading in the UK for up to 36 months.
Despite the unpopular sugar tax, chocolate and confectionery are still firm favourites. The Speciality & Fine Food Fair is heralded as the UK’s finest trade showcase of luxury and gourmet chocolate. The Speciality Chocolate Trail did not disappoint and led visitors through the halls of Olympia to over 50 fine and artisan chocolate producers.
Savour the Flavour: Live Kitchen, also drew the crowds. It featured practical tips and advice from some of the industry’s best known chefs and personalities.
This demonstration was supplemented with Food for Thought which offered visitors workshops on trending topics, and Scale Up which provided in-depth round-table discussions on key business queries. Topics covered included Cooking Successfully with Allergies, Mastering Cheese and The Proof is the Provenance.
A company that attracted a lot of interest was Grub, which offered edible insects. Apparently, as well as being tasty, insects are nutritious and sustainable, high in protein, minerals like iron and calcium and containing essential amino acids like Omega 3 and 6!
The Speciality & Fine Food Fair offers a platform for artisan food and drink, from centuries old heritage brands to up-and-coming new food businesses. The success of the 2017 show is to be repeated next year from 2 to 4 September at the same venue.
As the gateway to South West England, the region has much to offer in terms of fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and fish.
Powells of Olveston is located in South Gloucestershire and is passionate about the produce it sells, and with good reason.
Powells sources all of its produce locally and ethically, working closely with local farmers and fishermen. This enables it to guarantee traceability on all meat and fish and ensure it is of the highest quality. The company offers lamb, pork (including sausages), chicken, duck, beef and line caught and dayboat caught fish.
It is the fish for which Powells is renowned. It’s wet fish includes cod, bass, dover and lemon sole, pollack, halibut and haddock. While the oily fish includes mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines, herrings and whitebait.
Another company that is making its mark in Bristol is Plough to Plate. Launched in 2003 Plough to Plate has built a superb reputation. So it is known for “sourcing the finest hand crafted and artisan products and supplying them to discerning chefs and specialist retailers throughout the region”.
Plough to Plate offers everything from micro-brewery beers, award-winning cheeses, hand raised pork pies, authentic charcuterie, slow risen breads and artisan chocolates. Billed as “an encyclopedia of regional fine food”, the company also sources unusual or exotic items. These include fresh truffles or a 25-year old DOCG balsamic vinegar.
Arthur David promises food with service! Founded in 1962, the company now grows its own produce, often supplying products unavailable at market. Fruit is succulent, such as red skinned Victoria plums as well as Muscat grapes, Discovery apples, English Somerset cobnuts. While vegetables available include baby leeks, baby carrots, baby turnips and all the coloured baby beets. More unusual vegetables include new season coloured carrots in purple, white and yellow, along with a range of purple and orange cauliflowers.
Another of the farm producers is Frocester Fayre Farm Shop. It has an abundance of meat, from Welsh Black and Aberdeen Angus cattle reared at Church Farm. All cattle are fed on a diet of grass, silage and barley, all grown on the farm. 150 hens and 20 ducks supply the shop and kitchen with eggs.
The owners butcher and sell all the meat in the shop. With the pork and lamb left to hang for a week, whilst the beef is hung for a minimum of three weeks. From this meat come delicious sausages, burgers, meat products and delicious faggots, all made in the farm shop’s kitchen.
Frocester aims to “use as many local ingredients as we can keeping ‘food miles’ and our ‘carbon footprint’ to a minimum. We are a genuine family business and our aim is to give all our customers excellent quality food at affordable prices”.
Finally, Jekka’s Herb Farm farm boasts the largest collection of culinary herbs in the UK. Jekka’s Herbetum was created in the grounds of the farm in 2013. It is a gastronomic delight for anyone interested in good food containing over 300 culinary herbs carefully planted in raised beds.
Today they win a number of awards for their pies, which are available in a range of sizes and flavours from traditional steak and ale or kidney to the more exotic Bombay chicken or Chinese duck and cherry.
Jon Thorner’s Bridge Farm Shop in Pylle, Shepton Mallet produces thousands of both savoury and sweet products every week from the kitchens.
Head chef, John Emery is in charge of the kitchens and his saving grace is his ovens, two Rational models both of which he swears by. “We bought the first 11 years ago then as the business expanded and demand for our products became greater, we invested in a second model four years later,” he explains.
He readily admits that without them, the shop would not be able to maintain the output: currently they are used 24 hours a day, six days a week. “We only close them down on Friday until Saturday morning, when they are cleaned and made ready for the next shift,” continues John.
A local of Somerset and with a background in farming and butchery, Jon Thorner’s legacy began by providing quality locally sourced meat and since 1979, the shop has grown exponentially to produce pies, quiches, savouries, ready meals, desserts and cakes. Each pie is still hand crimped and individually filled and the awards have flooded in, with accolades from Great Taste, British Pie Awards, Taste of the West and Smithfield Awards.
Quality and provenance are the key words when it comes to sourcing the meat, with the company only using certified West Country beef, English free range pork and British poultry, and whenever possible, sourced locally. Many of the suppliers to the Bridge Farm Shop are located within 10 miles of the shop. It doesn’t get more local than that! The company also offers pre-packed meat as well as ready meals, most of which are cooked on the Rational ovens.
“The most important element in kitchen equipment is reliability,” says John. “We have an arrangement with AC Services (Southern) to have the ovens serviced on an annual basis. We also have a contract for ad hoc services, which means if anything goes wrong unexpectedly, then an engineer will be dispatched immediately to help us. To be honest, there is little need for this service, but we have encountered slight problems with limescale-related issues that the engineers have been able to sort straight away.”
The Bridge Farm Shop has an enviable reputation and maintaining the quality of the food is paramount. “Whether we are baking pies or quiches or cakes, the Rational ovens provide perfect results every time and we fully expect them to continue to the same standard in years to come,” concludes John.
While for the food industry, there is grave concern over the final negotiations and the impact on this sector of industry.
Food and drink is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector. It contributes over £28bn a year to the economy. As a nation, we produce just over half of what we eat and we depend on European imports for 25% of our consumption. These are uncomfortable figures for the government when trying to negotiate a fair deal for everyone.
Under the terms of Article 50, a divorce deal has to be reached by the end of March 2019. There is no deadline for a longer-term trade and partnership deal so there are indications that the latter will be thrashed out endlessly.
One of the most important issues for the food industry is that of harmonisation. There are over 4,500 EU regulations regarding farming, food and environmental standards that the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have to deal with.
UK exports currently depend on this sort of harmonisation of rules. These range from the size of tins to the amount of sugar in a jam. The latter was introduced to respond to market trends for less sugary food. It was initiated to bring the UK in line with Europe so it could develop export markets in Europe.
Another major cause for concern is migrant workers. Currently, farmers, food processors and food manufacturers employ 500,000 foreign workers. The government has already made clear its commitment to curb immigration but the food industry recognises that the end of the freedom of movement created by Brexit will lead to the requirement for UK permits and visas. If workers cannot afford these permits, the traditional seasonal workforce is under threat.
Defra, Agriculture and Food Legislation
And then we come to the role of Mr Gove, the new secretary of state at Defra. One of his first tasks is drafting the agriculture bill promised in last week’s Queen’s speech. This bill will take the UK out of the common agricultural policy, which the UK has been part of for the last 40 years.
The bill gives £3 billion subsidies to farmers to keep them sustainable and competitive to compete in globalised commodity markets. However, the problem is the replacement policy as 40% of all European legislation relates to food and agriculture and 80% of all UK food legislation has been negotiated in the EU. Mr Gove has promised better trade deals and cheaper food when Brexit occurs. Only time will tell.
Finally, there is the issue of the European Union’s single market. This is different from the EU. This is what Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein belong to. As well as eliminating tariffs, quotas or taxes on trade, it includes the free movement of goods, services, capital and people. It also aims to remove “non-tariff barriers” which include differing rules on packaging, safety and standards.
Whatever happens, there are unchartered waters ahead. The food industry and the catering businesses closely allied to it must be prepared for any changes. So look out for our next Brexit update.
Wiltshire boasts numerous attractions including Stonehenge and Salisbury Plain. It is a favourite for visitors through its pre-Roman archaeology and rolling hills as well as towns and cities that thrive on tourism.
Hospitality plays a key role for pubs, restaurants and hotels in Wiltshire and the region is proud of its culinary heritage. There are numerous food suppliers in Wiltshire who serve the catering industry and who provide excellent food and beverages, many of them sourced locally.
The Fine Food Company has been supplying speciality food to catering establishments for many years, delivering produce that is sourced fresh and picked by hand directly from speciality food markets and manufacturers.
The company runs monthly promotions on some delicious products, for example this month on offer is exotic flavours from Lovingtons Ice Cream and a Chutney of the Month from The Bay Tree Food Company. Regular food includes prepped vegetables, fresh mushrooms and truffles, fruit purees, charcuterie, terrines, pates and pies as well as speciality poultry and meat.
Offering a personal service and locally sourced produce, is Lovejoys. The company specialises in requests from chefs for specialist crops such as Pink Fir apple potatoes, Ruby Red chard or Stripy beetroot. A statement from the company says: “we are unique in the industry in our desire only to supply within 90 minutes from our base in West Wiltshire”.
Lovejoys also offers its own prep room for chefs with limited time. A large amount of the vegetables are grown exclusively in Bromham and the surrounding area, and all eggs are laid just three miles from the premises. In addition, all milk and cream come from farms in Wiltshire, Devon, Dorset, and Somerset.
Award-winning organic lamb and mutton can be found at Langley Chase Organic Farm. It is reared on a small organic farm in the Wiltshire countryside from rare breed Manx Loaghtan. Langley Chase has already won 19 National Organic Food Awards including Best Organic Meat, Best Organic Lamb and Best Organic Mutton in the UK.
Manx Loaghtan is a distinguished rare breed that is high in flavour and greatly lower in fat and cholesterol than commercial breeds. According to the company, “each lamb and mutton is selected and butchered to each customer’s requirements and delivered direct to the door.” The company also makes chorizo salami, and uses the rest of the animals to make beautiful sheepskin rugs, wool and clothes.
Wiltshire Food & Drink
For food and drink look no further than Ashton Farms, with over 700 lines of fresh, chilled, frozen and ambient foods and an extensive range of soft drinks. This family business prides itself on its customer service, with little touches such as cheese and eggs being still packed on site. Time is spent sourcing the very best quality and time is also spent on building relationships with suppliers.
Wiltshire eateries have an enormous range of food suppliers that can cater for the traditional and the exotic. With the weather in the last week reaching record highs, summer has officially arrived and the great British public are heading outdoors. For catering establishments, offering a wider choice of food has to be an extra incentive to attract visitors!
Look out for the next in the series of AC Services Southern’s spotlight on local food suppliers with South Gloucestershire and Bristol in August.
There can be no better location for a trade show than the Three Counties Showground in rural Malvern. The town where CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein often met for a social pint (check out the Unicorn pub) is overshadowed by the Malvern Hills. The showground lies at the foot of the hills and has a vast amount of space to host the annual Food & Drink Trade Show. The show was billed as a unique blend of inspirational speciality food and drink products and exhibitors ranged from small, regional suppliers to international traders.
Decision makers from the food service and hospitality, caterers, cafes, guest houses, hotels and restaurants, holiday parks, takeaways and pubs attended the event. Representatives from numerous retail outlets from delicatessens to farm shops and grocers, supermarkets to tourist attractions, garden centres and independent stores also came to see what was on new in food and drink.
Food & Drink Trade Show Offers
The show offers were a fantastic incentive for visitors, with price deductions and free tasters for anyone purchasing at the show. Boddington’s Berries offered 10% of any orders placed at the show. Ethical Addictions Coffee promised free delivery, installation and training on all Fracino espresso machines ordered or a free grinder. Particularly popular was When in Rome who offered free shipping and a wooden wine refill dispenser. While those ordering over 20 wine boxes also could get 20 free refillable bottles.
There were plenty of other goodies. Blacks Cheese showed off its range of award-winning cheese made allegedly, “with love, milk and some magic.” Celtic Vale’s Natural Mineral Water and Hatterrall Ridge Spring Water are bottled at source from two natural springs locally situated in the Herefordshire/Welsh borders.
Aagrah Foods exhibited its Kashmiri and Indian Tarka cooking sauces, handmade in Yorkshire. While local company Hamptons Sweet Cakes went down a treat! And Hay Wines revealed its exclusive range of Proseccos, including the UK’s only zero sugar Prosecco. The selection also included good-value organic, vegan, low-sulphite, natural wines featuring the only sparkling orange wine.
The Demo Kitchen was very well populated, with chef demonstrations taking place on the Love Food Roadshow‘s demonstration kitchen. Hosted by celebrity chef, Felice Tocchini, the kitchen featured a range of exciting and informative cookery demonstrations.
Other chefs included Andy Link, chef patron at the acclaimed Riverside Inn at Aymestry, a finalist in the ‘Best Eating Out’ category at the Visit Herefordshire Awards for Excellence 2016. Local chef Matt Slocombe recently won the ‘Best Cider Pub’ in the Great British Pub awards. His pub, the Crown Inn at Woolhope was recognised for its Sunday lunches in the Best British Roast Dinner Awards. Yvette Farrell, Principal of Harts Barn Cookery School, demonstrated her signature Taste of Forest Menu. This comprised forest mushroom ravioli, griddled wild boar with wilted buttered garlic greens.
The Malvern Food & Drink Trade Show organisers were delighted with the turnout, the quality of visitors and welcoming a number of newcomers to the event.
Now in its seventh year, the show returned triumphantly to the NEC with a multitude of speakers, stands and awards for food retailers. It was heralded as the biggest show to date with over 450 exhibitors on hand to showcase their food, beverage, gifts and equipment products.
This specialist retail event not only offered innovation but product sampling, informative sessions and of course, the annual Farm Shop & Deli Awards ceremony. Overall, there were 13 category winners and nine regional winners, recognising the best specialist independent UK retailers. The winners were selected from a plethora of entries and over 3,000 consumer votes.
South West Representation
The South West region was proudly represented and Hobbs House Bakery from Tetbury in Gloucestershire came away with Baker of the Year and South West regional winner. Winners of the first ever Newcomer of the Year Award, Brace of Butchers from Dorchester, also reached the finals in the Butcher of the Year category.
Apart from the awards, there were a number of sessions held by experienced and stimulating speakers. Topics covered learning how to maximise profits whilst embracing innovation, chaired by renowned chef, Richard Fox. Saira Khan hosted a talk on customer engagement. Paul Hargreaves CEO of Cotswold Fayre, showed visitors how to harness people power and how to build a workplace community to empower teams and enable retailers to retain their top talent.
The predominant theme of the show was innovation. The Farm Shop & Deli Show showcased concepts and creations in products, ingredients, drinks, equipment and digital tools. New Fori Bars, marketed as “the love child of premium jerky and a top-notch granola bar,” and proved popular with the visitors. These are meat-based snack protein-bars-with-a-twist combining high-quality meat with fruit and seeds available in Piri Piri Chicken, Moroccan Lamb and Chilli Beef varieties. Based in Llanelli South Wales, the company uses organic apricots and dates avoiding sulphites and sorbates.
Other innovative products included:
- Low Sugar Brownies, Blondies, and Greenies from Adonis Smart Foods created in response to a lack of low sugar snacks and contain mainly nuts, seeds and fibres.
- Raisthorpe Oak-Aged Yorkshire Gin which takes mineral water from an ancient spring in Raisthorpe and then distils this with watercress and fresh botanicals.
Dragon’s Pantry was held during the show and was an immediate success. Daring entrepreneurs braved a panel of industry ‘dragons’ to pitch new products and in return received professional (even brutal) advice on perfecting their pitch before braving the presentation sessions.
Finally, one of the most attended events was the 2017 Britain’s Best Loaf competition, sponsored by Rank Hovis, which took place at the Farm Shop & Deli Show. There were five categories – sourdough, wholegrain, white, innovation and gluten-free and the competition was harsh!
Another show and another success from the NEC. The Farm Shop & Deli Show will return to the same venue next April.
Organic is a trademark of certain suppliers in this region such as Langford Farm, a family run beef and dairy farm. This has been run organically for over 20 years. Pedigree-sired cattle including Aberdeen Angus, Devon and Hereford provide meat that is grass-fed in natural clover-rich pastures and hay meadows, making the beef beautifully marbled and tender. Complying with the Soil Association and Red Tractor Farm Assurance, the beef is dry aged on the bone for at least 28 days.
Cheese All Round
Of course the region is famous for its cheese. A.J & R.G Barber Ltd is a long-established Somerset cheesemaker producing West Country Farmhouse Cheddar and other traditional cheeses. The Barber family have been making cheese in Somerset since the early 1800´s and currently has about 1700 dairy cows. The company is the sole guardians of the country’s last remaining traditional cheese starter cultures. These are the ‘friendly’ bacteria that begin the cheese-making process giving it the final aroma, texture and taste.
The flagship cheese is Barber’s 1833 Reserve Cheddar with a creamy texture and smooth finish, containing naturally occurring crystals for a crunchy texture. Barber’s Farmhouse Vintage Cheddar is matured for around 18 months, with the Barber’s Farmhouse Mellow Cheddar matured for around four months. The Barber’s Farmhouse Waxed Truckle Cheddar is matured for around 12 months then packaged in black wax for a rounded and rich flavour and creamy texture.
Another cheesemaker of repute is the Glastonbury Dairy. This is farmed by the Clapp family who can trace their roots in Somerset back to the 11th century. Now settled in the Brue Valley, the company is renowned for its cheese and especially its butter. Butter making is a natural part of any cheese dairy. The liquid draining off the curds is collected, and the butterfat separated from the whey as cream. After pasteurisation, the cream is used to make the butter.
Now we all love sauces and Rose Farms of Somerset have an extensive range to suit every palette. The small family-run business offers a wide range of jams and pickles handmade in open pans with no artificial additives. Delicious flavours are available such as honey & mustard and orange & rosemary dressing, mustard with Somerset cider, Harvest chutney, onion and pineapple chutney, and peach and pear jam. Try the range of pickles such as vegetables preserved in brine and spiced vinegar and good old fashioned pickled onions in Somerset cider.
Finally, there is Burns the Bread an award-winning family bakery based in Glastonbury making a wide range of loaves, using both organic and non-organic flour. The company produces a range of baked goods, from Christmas puddings to savoury pastries. Established in 1983 Burns the Bread has quickly become an integral part of Glastonbury’s rich heritage. It produces loaves such as multi seed, French grain, honey and spelt bread.
To find out about other regional food producers in AC Services Southern’s regular series please like us on Facebook or bookmark our site.
From now until the end of summer, the South Coast will be busy with tourists and visitors from far afield. All hoping to take advantage of the beaches and seaside events that the region offers. It started early in Bournemouth, with the International Centre hosting the Hotel, Catering and Retail Trade Show on 14-15th March.
Featuring innovative products, plentiful food and drink product tastings, and discussions on the latest trends and developments, the show was as always a chance for suppliers and key industry players to interact and exchange ideas and advice.
Over 100 exhibitors took centre stage with many launching new products and services. Curio Spirits Company launched its Cornish Cup, a drink inspired by the traditional punch used in the British Navy during the 17th century. The five main ingredients are all natural, and sourced locally: spirits, water, sugar, citrus and tea.
The Pampas Plains company was new to the show. It has just launched the flatiron steak to both trade customers and catering customers and sources meat from around the world.
Piddle Brewery introduced Dorset’s first Gluten-Free Beer. Independently tested and certified by Coeliac UK, the brewery has taken its existing 4.3% best seller, Cocky IPA and made it gluten free.
New for 2017, the Purbeck Ice Cream team has introduced three new flavours of ice cream – Dorset Truffle, Salted Maple and Chai Latte and an incredible new Pineapple sorbet. All made on the farm in Dorset. Not to be outdone New Forest Ice Cream unveiled two brand new, wonderfully indulgent ice creams, Choc Chip Cookie Dough and the Berry & Apple Crumble Ice Cream.
However the show was not all about products. Leading chefs demonstrated their favourite signature dishes and culinary skills in the Demo Kitchen. Mixologists sprang into action in the Liquid Hall. Artisan Producers from Dorset and Hampshire exhibited in both halls, bringing some local flavours which appealed to both retail and food service buyers.
Seminars included a Food Allergen Masterclass. This was an introductory session on how to ensure that providing for the free-from customer is not an afterthought. An excellent talk on Food and Culture, Heritage and Tradition focusing on the iconic cream tea. How we see it today, tomorrow and potentially how we will see it in 20 years time.
Other talks included how surplus food can help change lives from FareShare UK. Every day eight million people in the UK struggle to feed themselves. FareShare depots nationwide help to tackle this problem, providing a positive solution for surplus food.
There was something for everyone at the Hotel, Catering and Retail Show which will return to the same venue next year. Not just a product platform, the show encourages anyone involved in the industry to network and exchange information. This helps the catering corps provide the best to the public. And the importance of those information exchanges is why AC Services Southern shares these show reports.