Saturday, September 26, 2009

British Cheese Awards 2009

It is that time of year again. The Great British Cheese Festival begins today along with British Cheese Week. And last night the winners of the coveted British Cheese Awards were announced at the National Museum Cardiff.

Our local cheese makers did well again. Although not best at show, Wigmore won silver in the "soft white cheese" category and Spenwood (also made by Anne and Andy Wigmore) won bronze in the "modern British" category.

Best "semi-soft cheese" was this year won by Rachel, from White Lake Cheeses. This is one of our favourite goats' cheeses. With a washed rind and lovely texture, Rachel is one of our regulars. It also won a gold medal in the "rind washed semi-soft cheese" category. Another of our favourite goats' milk cheeses also won gold in the "other cooking cheeses" category; the delicious Rosary Goats Cheese (on the left in the photo). The ash coated version (which we have when we can get it) won gold in the "cheeseboard" category and pepper coated won silver in the "flavour added category". In the same category our other fresh cheese the Gruth Dhu (or Black Crowdie) from Scotland won Bronze.

Saint Giles and Olde Winchester both won bronze in the "modern British category".

I've been studying the winners and will be introducing a few more as guest cheeses over the next few months.

Friday, September 18, 2009

More March Hares

March Hare Foods have added some new dishes to their range. They proved irresistible and we have now added them to the collection available from our freezer. The new range includes more complete meals - a hot pot, a bake and a pie all topped with potatoes/root veg. So now you don't have to cook the potatoes yourself and because they contain a bit less meat they are cheaper.

March Hare Foods was created by Colin and Julia; a busy working couple who ate a lot of ready meals. With a young family they had a niggling guilt about convenience food, and the added stabilisers and preservatives they contained. They set about finding great-tasting ingredients and cooking them in a traditional way. They use only wild or free-range meat and fish, sourced from small-scale producers. Essentially the meals are cooked as you would at home, just on a larger scale.

We now carry 15 dishes from March Hare Foods, and they are proving very popular, especially now the evenings are feeling shorter.

I've updated the list of the meals we offer online so you can browse at your leisure by visiting:

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Great Taste Awards 2009

Once again it is award season for foods. And with even more blind tasters than ever the great taste awards announced their winners at last night's ceremony. Booja Booja won one of only 83 three star awards (there were 4873 entries) for their Hunky Punky Chcolate Ice Cream. Anyone who has tried it will know why!

Luscombe were awarded two stars for Organic Sicilian Lemonade as was our (new this summer) honeycomb ice cream from Salcombe Dairy. Olives et al won two stars for their sunshine olives (which we sell loose), and a star for their bags of dangerously moresish Harrisa almonds.

Both versions of our fabulous Spanish Olive Oil biscuits (Torta de Aceite Sugar) were also entered and awarded two stars for biscuits flavoured with spices and biscuits flavoured with nuts. Our favourite smoked salmon pate from Mike's smokehouse was awarded two stars, as was their manuka smoked salmon. El Lagar Del Soto, produced by Jacoliva, Spain, was awarded 2 stars in the single estate extra virgin olive oil category and Nunez de Pado was awarded one.

Pukka Herbs clocked up some more awards with their refresh, detox, cleanse and harmonise teas. In the same category Teapigs won a star for their liquorice and peppermint tea.

Tracklements were awarded a star for their organic rosemary jelly and their chilli jam. Karimix were award a gold star for their Tamarind Chutney. Lizi Shaw was awarded a gold star for her organic granola. Lewis & Cooper Handmade Luxury Fruit Cake and gluten free plum pudding were also awarded gold stars.

I'm pleased to see Pollen Organics won awards for their pesto, as I was thinking of offering that as an alternative to the Italian Basil pesto we currently sell. Their chilli and ginger salsa also won an award last year and the salad dressings we currently sell have proved to be a real hit with our customers.