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I’m over the moon, Charles! You’re a star, Sangita!


Reduced sug ar, increased anticipation. L o o k o u t f o r o u r n e w r a n g e o f T i p t r e e Re d u c e d

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WELCOME

Maybe it’s time the indie trade \diVa^iiaZbdgZhX^Zci^ÁX^c^ih approach to ranging Mick Whitworth, editorial director, Fine Food Digest EDITORIAL Editorial director: Mick Whitworth Editor: Michael Lane Assistant editor: Lauren Phillips Reporter: Andrew Don Art director: Mark Windsor Contributors: Nick Baines, Patrick McGuigan, Lynda Searby Cover illustration: Garen Ewing A

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ADVERTISING advertise@gff.co.uk Sales director: Sally Coley Sales manager: Ruth Debnam Sales executive: Becky Stacey Managing director: John Farrand Marketing director: Tortie Farrand Commercial director: Christabel Cairns Operations manager: Karen Price Operations assistant: Claire Powell Training & events manager: Jilly Sitch Events assistant: Stephanie Rogers Circulation manager: Nick Crosley Financial controller: Stephen Guppy Accounts manager: Denise Ballance Accounts assistant: Julie Coates Chairman: Bob Farrand Director: Linda Farrand GENERAL ENQUIRIES Tel: +44 (0) 1747 825200 editorial@gff.co.uk Printed by: Blackmore, Dorset ADDRESS Guild House, 23b Kingsmead Business Park Shaftesbury Road, Gillingham, Dorset SP8 5FB United Kingdom Published by The Guild of Fine Food Ltd www.gff.co.uk © The Guild of Fine Food Ltd 2017. Reproduction of whole or part of this magazine without the publisher’s prior permission is prohibited. The opinions expressed in articles and advertisements are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher.

F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

HOW SCIENTIFIC is your approach to ranging and merchandising? Browse through magazines for mainstream grocers and convenience stores and you’ll find stacks of advice on the subject. It’s usually focused on a particular category (confectionery, biscuits, tea...) and often written by one of the major brands (Cadbury, McVities, Tetley...). It will include planograms giving a pictorial guide to how all those big names can most effectively be merchandised together: how many facings, how close to the shopper’s eyeline and so on. This stuff is meat and spuds for supermarkets and c-stores. Presumably it works for them. Yet, after 12 years with FFD, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of planograms I’ve seen in use – and I’d bet most of those were in major foods halls, usually run by ex-supermarket execs. Which is both a good and a bad thing. One of the many joys of our sector is its lack of uniformity. Shoppers in delis and farm shops celebrate the different and like the chance to browse and discover new or little-known gems. We are scathing about indie shops that are too formulaic, obviously buying the same products from the same wholesalers’ catalogues, stacking them on standard racking, under standard lighting, with no real sign of love. We prefer somewhere quirky and creative that expresses its owner’s personality, where brands have been chosen because the shopkeeper has fallen in love with them. But just as multiple retailers now play at adding that personal touch – think the ‘staff picks’ in Waterstones and Foyles – maybe it’s time the indie trade got a little more scientific in its approach to ranging. For this year’s Best Brands – our annual guide to the fine food world’s best performing products and best-run stores – we asked exHarrods and Selfridges buyer Scott Winston to give us his thoughts on product selection and merchandising (p57). As Scott told me, one reason supermarkets use armies of planners to set their shelf layouts

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is that they don’t have staff with anything like the instinctive feel for a category of an independent owner-operator. But that doesn’t mean the indie shouldn’t try a bit of selling-bynumbers too, stocking what are recognised as the best performers in our world. The standard guidance dished out to Spars and Costcutters can sound both obvious and dull: focus on the best-sellers in each category; put them in the customer’s field of vision; block products from the same maker so consumers can spot the branding from a mile off; keep the fixture fully stocked and each line clearly priced. But according to advice I’ve seen from Pladis, the multinational that owns McVities, 80% of sales value in the biscuits category comes from only 8% of products. If even a hint of that pattern is replicated in deli categories – the bulk of sales from a few key lines – it must pay to follow mainstream thinking and ensure at least some national best-sellers get pride of place. After all, it’s the sales delivered by high achievers like those featured in Best Brands that buy you space to have fun with the rest of your range.

INSIDE: 2017 Best Brands Survey results Great Taste Shop of the Year Emerging brands

4 22 31

Le Gruyère AOP Cheese Counter of the Year

36

National & regional award winners

47

Merchandising advice

57

Deli of the Month ‘must-stocks’

61

FFD’s Pick of the Year

65

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BEST BRANDS SURVEY

Space

INVADERS

JAMS AND PRESERV ES 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

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Mrs Darlington’s Tiptree Cottage Delight Hawkshead The Bay Tree

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BEST BRANDS SURVEY

Every year, we ask retailers to reveal which brands are really earning their space on shelves in key deli and [Vgbh]dehZXi^dch#NdjaaÁcYVaai]ZgZhjaih]ZgZ! plus how UK-wide buyers approach each category. Interviews by Andrew Don Survey compiled by Hugo Morisetti, Jilly Sitch and Nick Crosley Illustrations by Garen Ewing

HOW DOES IT WORK?

How we stock it Mike Harper, Top Barn Harvest Shop, Worcester We stock about 10 jams and preserves across three or four brands but that has changed a bit over the years. As new products come in and seasons change, we vary the jams and preserves we sell. We decide which jams and preserves we are going to stock according to the customer feedback we get about the price and taste. Those are the two most important factors for my customers. It’s also the look of F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

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the jar. They are not going to pick it up if it looks rubbish. Good packaging is important. We stock jams and preserves opposite the deli. Mrs Darlington’s is the brand we sell most of – strawberry jam does best for us, I guess. Tangerine marmalade and ginger jam are some of the more unusual flavours we stock and we find we sell quite a bit of those. Locally sourced products are important for our shop but we also like to have brands that people know and are at a good price.

In a nutshell, every brand ranked in this section is here because independent retailers put it here. We asked buyers in delis, farm shops and food halls around the country to name their topselling lines in around a dozen categories. The survey was conducted online and by telephone during October and November 2017. The top scoring brands in each category – in other words, those most mentioned by FFD readers – are revealed here. Where brands achieved very similar scores we have given them a joint position. 5


BEST BRANDS SURVEY

SWEET & SAVOURY BISCUITS 1. 2. 3. 4.

Peter’s Yard The Fine Cheese Co Border Biscuits Artisan Biscuits/ Teoni’s

How we stock it Ed Bevin, The Fleetville Larder, St Albans, Hertfordshire I stock Zingiberi Bakeries’ cookies – Kentish apple & cobnut is a great seller as is its goji berry & white chocolate. I recently added Honeyrose Bakery gluten-free/ organic, and Artisan Biscuits’ My Favourite Bear in the twin packs – kids love them and drag their parents in “to see Ed” because they know I have them. Most of my offering is picked because the branding looks good on my shelves, but they also need to taste good, which I think all of these do. Peter’s Yard sourdough crispbreads are a key line in a range of flavours, including original, spelt & fig and charcoal & rye. We also stock Zingiberi’s The Captain’s Crackers. Its original cracker is a good seller. I also have ale & rosemary and chive & chia flavours. It’s a good small company and I don’t see it outside of Kent much. I recently added Manfood savoury biscuits and loved them. I also stock gluten-free options from Kent & Fraser – more of a savoury snacking biscuit. 6

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D E L I V E R I N G

HAPPY NEW YEAR F I N E

F O O D

D

F

TO ALL OUR CUSTOMERS AND SUPPLIERS

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT D E IL N I V2 E R0I 1 N7 G I NW E AF R OD O DT O W O R K I N G W E L O O K F OF R WITH YOU AGAIN IN 2018 FROM ALL AT CRESS CO

D E L I V E R I N G F I N E

F O O D

D E L I V E R I N G F I N E

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The natural choice With continued innovation and exclusive lines for independent retailers, we are thrilled that in 2017 Peter’s Yard has enjoyed double digit sales growth for the 8th year in succession. We would like to thank all our customers for their continued support. 8

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BEST BRANDS SURVEY CHOCOLATE & CONFECT IONERY 1. 2. 3. 4.

Divine Chocolate Monty Bojangles Montezuma’s / NomNom Green & Black's

How we stock it Victoria Holland, Washingpool Farm Shop, Dorset Chocolate and confectionery comprise about five per cent of what we sell. We try to offer local products but the mark-up is small. We also stock national lines, such as Divine, so we can make a better profit which subsidises the local products. Our USP is local within 50 miles. We stock Chococo, based in Swanage, and sell most of what they wholesale. We also stock Divine which is brilliant but it’s not a local brand. We sell a sugar-free range called

Discover. Their bars are made in Taunton. They’ve got really good flavours like blueberry & vanilla, rose petal & lavender, fig & cashew, and cinnamon. We stock James Chocolate, from Somerset, and House of Dorchester which are local businesses. Summerdown Mint produces mint tea and mint chocolate from its own freshly grown mint. Our criteria is to stock as local as possible and the best quality. Sometimes we are customer-led, so if a shopper sees it somewhere else and it’s not available locally we try to get it.

BAGGED SAVOURY SNACKS 1. 2. 3. 4.

Pipers Burts Torres Tyrrell’s

How we stock it Rupert Titchmarsh, Cowdray Farm Shop, Midhurst, West Sussex Bagged savoury snacks are important to us and when the Christmas party season comes around people buy larger volumes than they would normally, and bigger packs. We want to offer a point of difference from multiples and other competitors so we avoid items that might be found in local supermarkets. We also try to offer something customers might not have considered. You can F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

Best Brands

buy crisps anywhere so we aim to be a bit different. Producers are constantly trying to reinvent the wheel. The reality is the number of genuinely innovative new products and flavours that come out are increasingly rare. If something doesn’t have any gastronomic value we won’t stock it no matter how interesting or commercially viable as a fad. It has to taste good. Pipers crisps are picking up the gap left by Tyrrell’s, which is firmly established with the multiples. We also find that the Eat Real range of healthier crisps are selling well. 2017-18

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BEST BRANDS SURVEY OILS & V INEGARS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Deli-cious (Rowcliffe) Seggiano Aspall Olive Branch Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil

How we stock it Pam Langridge, 5XVKƓHOGV)DUP Shop, Poynings, Brighton This is an important category for us. We get a lot of our oils and vinegars through Rowcliffe so we do the fill and refill systems and tasters at the weekend. They fly out the door, especially at Christmas. We have a good following for refills because it’s cheaper to return the bottle for refilling. That’s important to our shoppers. We do 12 different types of oils and vinegars, merchandised on a table opposite the cheese counter, including olive oil, rapeseed and the cream vinegars, like blood orange cream vinegar, and dipping varieties. We also sell Acropolis olive oil in bottles, and some of the Kentish Oils rapeseed oils – plain and flavoured. Many of our customers are foodies and they do ask for recommendations. They come to us because they know we know what we are talking about.

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S M A L L BATC H D I S T I L L E D IN THE HEART o f  (',1%85*+ħ SCOTLAN D www.edinburg hg in.com

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BEST BRANDS SURVEY SOFT DRINKS

TEA

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

1. 2. 3. 4.

Belvoir Fentimans San Pellegrino Luscombe Cawston Press

How we stock it John Axon, The Cheese Hamlet, Didsbury, Manchester We stock Belvoir Fruit Farms’ cordials. I’ve got six varieties. I personally think it’s a great, quality product. I like the combination of flavours and the presentation of the packaging. The ones that probably sell best are the raspberry & lemon cordial and the elderflower. I’ve stocked them for about 10 years. They are merchandised alongside our drinks selection, next to the wines and spirits.

F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

Best Brands

We normally do about six varieties of Fentimans, although we’re down to three at the moment because of space. We have Ginger Beer, Curiosity Cola and Victorian Lemonade. I think Fentiman’s is a good brand. It’s a premium fizzy soft drink that doesn’t taste synthetic like a lot of them. We periodically have a tasting table outside at weekends and they usually make an appearance on there. There are possibly other soft drinks I would stock if I had more room. Bottlegreen is a nice looking drink. Quality-wise it’s up there.

2017-18

Teapigs Miles Taylor’s Clipper

How we stock it Sally McGirr, Deli At Dartmouth, Devon We sell Teapigs mostly, as well as Tea Huggers, Summerdown Mint and Devonshire Tea. I have a small café at the end of my shop with a couple of tables and we put the teas at that end. Customers can see all the teas,

coffees, hot chocolates, cakes and biscuits while they are in the café. The Teapigs lines I sell are Clean & Green, Upbeat, rhubarb & ginger, Superfruit, jasmine pearls, liquorice & peppermint, Earl Grey, camomile, peppermint, Everyday Brew and lemon & ginger. The Tea Huggers are Flu Fighter, Good Morning, Chill Out, Every Green and Hangover Help. We serve Canton Tea in the café, but we stopped selling it in retail packs a couple of years ago. They were only supplying it in tins, which I found expensive for the quantity inside. I have tried to push Tea Huggers but it doesn’t go as well as Teapigs, apart from the Flu Fighter. I tend to stock what I like myself as a starting point, then I see how it sells.

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NEW 2018

Crisps as they should taste. Winners of 37 Gold Great Taste Awards since 2007 14

T: +44 (0)1652 686960 www.piperscrisps.com

Voted for by the readers of Fine Food Digest

Best Brands

2017-18 · F INE FOOD DIGEST


BEST BRANDS SURVEY PICKLES & CHUT NEYS 1. 2. 3. 4.

Tracklements The Bay Tree Mrs Darlington's Cottage Delight/ Hawkshead

How we stock it Richard Morris, All Things Nice, Marple, Stockport, Cheshire Pickles and chutneys sell well alongside other products, such as cheeses, charcuterie and a lot of the dishes we create internally for our menu. They’re next to our deli counters, on bespoke shelving, and they're vital – we have at least 40. We try to avoid duplication across brands. There’s no point having five with red onion when one will do. Tracklements has its own area, with all its bumph around it, and Rosebud Preserves has its own highlighted area too. We have random ones coming in from South Devon Chilli Farm and a few smaller brands but our focus is Rosebud and Tracklements because they’re particularly good and most people know them. We take some products off the shelf for a while and reintroduce them at different times of the year. I do find certain pickles and chutneys lend themselves to specific times of the year – a bit like the products in our deli counters.

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BEST BRANDS SURVEY SPIRITS 1. 2. 3.

Edinburgh Gin Tiptree Gins Sloemotion/Lyme Bay Winery

How we stock it Fergus Niven, Gloagburn Farm Shop, nr Perth

Gin really started to take off about three years ago, and our local whisky distillery, Straithairn – four miles down the road – was among the first to go with it in Scotland. It’s small, artisan and a bit Willy Wonka, but it won Scotland’s Craft Spirit of the Year in 2015 for its oaked Highland gin, and its head of production, Zak Shelfield, is a former Young Distiller of the Year. Not surprisingly, we do

regular tastings with Strathairn, as well as others like Persie Gin, Porter's Gin, and our best-seller, Edinburgh Gin. Our customers are quite happy to pay £35-40 a bottle, no question, and premium gin has been a fantasic addition to the Scottish landscape. I think all the producers are doing well, although it’s perhaps getting to the stage where it could reach saturation point. In 2016 the Wine & Spirits Education Trust put together a ‘Scottish Gin Trail’, showcasing a dozen craft distilleries from Fife to the Shetlands. We’ve had copies of the map on our gin table, where we’ ve stocked almost everything on the Trail.

BRIT ISH CHEESE 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 16

Snowdonia Colston Bassett Montgomery’s Cropwell Bishop Lynher Dairies / Fen Farm Dairy Best Brands

2017-18 · F INE FOOD DIGEST


BEST PRESERVES BRAND 2016-2017

BEST PRESERVES BRAND 2017-2018

Voted for by the readers of Fine Food Digest

Your Favourite Preserves Brand

Voted for by the readers of Fine Food Digest

A huge thanks to everyone who voted for us for a second year! For a second year running, we’re celebrating winning Best Preserves Brand; voted for by Fine Food Digest readers. Marion Darlington began making her unique Lemon Curd in 1980 in the farmhouse kitchen and since then we’ve never looked back. Today with over 80 family favourites to choose from; there’s so much more to the Mrs Darlington’s family! In 2018 we’re introducing 6 jar packs, this smaller pack size will allow you to offer your customers an ever greater variety of our “double award winning” range!

To find out more please visit our website at www.mrsdarlingtons.com F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

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2017-18

  

Search “Mrs Darlington’s” on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

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BEST BRANDS SURVEY

Cress to take show on the road in 2018

DIST RIBUTORS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

The Cress Co Hider The Fine Cheese Co Cotswold Fayre Holleys

Dunfermine-based The Cress Co will ring the changes in 2018 with several initiatives designed to supercharge its profile. It will kick off 2018 with its inaugural roadshows, uniting producers, suppliers and customers at events in Hertfordshire, Manchester and Scotland during February and March. The Scottish distributor expects about 100 customers and more than 60 suppliers for each event. The Cress Co buyer Nikki Castley says: “It’s a bit of a testbed for us to see how well it is received.” The new year will also see its revamped website go live as an e-commerce site so customers can order from home or the office. Set up in 2004 by Joe Wall and initially focused on Scotland, The Cress Co now covers most of the UK but still

lacks a strong showing in the South West and Wales. “We might look for another depot that could service that South West section, probably in the next couple of years,” says Castley. The new depot would join others in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire and Wetherby in West Yorkshire and its HQ in Dunfermline, Fife. The business might also look to break into frozen “at some point”, joining its enhanced chilled offering which came to fruition this year. This included the launch of a dedicated chilled catalogue and an increased supply base and beefed-up cheese business. “We’ve always done cheese but we are trying to bring in a lot more small artisan producers,” Castley says. The company has worked hard on close co-operation with suppliers on stock turnaround,

shelf-life maximisation and efficient logistics. Standout sellers include to be Charles Macleod Stornoway Black Pudding. Other good performers are Great Taste award winner Abernethy Butter, Glenilen Farm products, the “gimmicky” Popaball and Stag Bakeries’ crackers. “Abernethy Butter has worked well for us because it’s made by a husband and wife and very artisan – the kind of producer we want to represent,” says Castley.

How we stock it Richard Lodge, Bakers & Larners, Holt, Norfolk

COFFEE 1. 2. 3. 4. F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

Best Brands

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Grumpy Mule Miles Little’s Taylor’s

We have coffees displayed inside our doorway so they’re the products customers see first when they come in. It is a good way of welcoming people. It’s an impressive range with bright packaging so it looks good, and people are becoming increasingly like connoisseurs with coffee. Moving coffee to the front has increased year-on-year sales by 15-20%. We revamped our own range at the same time and changed our labelling and supplier. We do the full Taylors of Harrogate range, our own-label range and we grind to order. We also sell Grumpy Mule, Paddy & Scott’s, Union, a little bit of Lavazza, and Percol as an instant. We sell Hawaiian Kona and proper Jamaica Blue Mountain in our own range. Nothing goes in the shop without being tried by our tasting panel. We would refuse to stock something if it didn’t look the part – you can’t put £6 on a packet of coffee if it doesn’t look worth the price. 19


Making artisan foods with natural ingredients, free from preservatives, is my lifelong passion. My products are different from mainstream products. The smoking is key, it gives the pudding a subtle hint of added flavour. Other than that, it’s just simple food made the way your mother would bake brown bread at home”

…a careful use of smoke, which whooshes across the tongue and works in perfect harmony GT Judges 2017

As John Farrand said,

this product is a simple, humble product made using honest ingredients, with a dash of innovation and well measured twist thrown in to excite the palate.

SUPREME CHAMPION

Contact Hugh for more information or look out for “The Smokin Butcher” by Hugh Maguire coming to the UK. thesmokinbutcher@hughmaguirebutchers.com +35 3868 939964 | hughmaguirebutchers.com 20

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BEST GERMAN CHEESE

Steak & Kidney Pie

Lasagne Verde

Pickled owitnh ions

honey

Crunchy. Fat free. And suitable for Vegans & Vegetarians. Yum. 07989 253456 F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

Best Brands

brigid@mrspicklepot.co.uk 2017-18

www.mrspicklepot.co.uk 21


GREAT TASTE SHOP OF THE YEAR

LORDS OF For 2017, the Great Taste Shop of the Year competition was divided into two types of retailer, so there were two winners. We open with the farm shop category, followed by the top deli. By Lynda Searby

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GREAT TASTE SHOP OF THE YEAR

F T HE AISLES

Farm Shop of the Year Winner: The Gog, Cambridge MANY RETAILERS spend millions on marketing and merchandising to contrive what The Gog has naturally in spades: honesty and rustic earthiness. As this year’s Great Taste Shop of the Year judges put it: “They are spot on – delivering genuine, rural charm on a plate.” To an extent, the shop’s personality has been shaped by its humble beginnings and the absence of any financial backing. “My grandfather’s family farm was in decline - I mean F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

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really struggling - and I left my job in London to give it a go,” says owner Charles Bradford. “We are not a venture that has been fortunate to have a lot of cash behind us, so the focus over the last few years has been all about cashflow.” This sent the business down a path of organic growth, reflected in the “higgledy piggledy” layout that only adds to The Gog’s appeal, giving customers an experience that is a world away from mass

shopping. But you don’t become a £3.3m business in 12 years by relying on rural charm and goodwill alone, and Bradford is not ashamed of having a sharp commercial focus. “In this industry, money seems to be a dirty word – it’s all about great food and provenance – but our business plan is focused on achieving excellence in four areas: food, service, team and numbers.” Profit-related pay is one example of how this plan is implemented in practice. “Our departments are

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GREAT TASTE SHOP OF THE YEAR

Farm Shop of the Year

Runner Up: Keelham Farm Shop, Skipton Following the success of their Bradford shop, siblings Victoria and James Robertshaw opened this, their second outlet, in June 2015 on the outskirts of Skipton. Recognising the opportunity for space offered by a new build, they created a vast shop with mezzanine café, bakery, juicery, alehouse, florist and butchery. The Robertshaw’s philosophy of championing Yorkshire produce is in full evidence, with the main barn chock full with products from over 400 local farmers and producers and staff enthusiasm infectious. The sophisticated café-restaurant serves as a tasting room for the shop, and takes this synergy to a new level with a 'Meat&Eat' menu option whereby customers select a cut of meat from the butcher’s counter and have it cooked to their taste. As you would expect from a family of farmers and butchers, meat is the major driver of footfall, along with the open plan bakery where customers can watch their bread being baked. keelhamfarmshop.co.uk

effectively run as business units. It’s about backing up behaviours we want to instill,” says Bradford. Another example is training staff to “sell” rather than “serve”. “There’s nothing nasty or naughty about selling; customers want to be guided,” says Bradford. “People come to us because they see us as ‘trusted advisors’. If they have an important dinner coming up, they know they can trust us to come up with something that will knock their guests’ socks off.” As for how the business is working to improve its numbers, Bradford has several ideas up his sleeve, including a fresh fish counter and a customer loyalty scheme. He has recently taken on an “experienced” head of marketing to develop The Gog brand and build customer insights. “I want to find out who the 20% of customers are who are responsible for 80% of spend. My suspicion is that a lot of 80 percenters sit in the café and take up space in the car park rather than loving who we are.” thegog.com

Farm Shop of the Year Highly commended Chatsworth, Bakewell While the main draw at Chatsworth is the House itself, it has some stiff competition from the estate’s farm shop. An external market stall displays local vegetables, fruit and flowers, and inside it’s a treasure trove of Derbyshire’s finest and products made in-house. Butchery takes pride of place – local meats are served with the backdrop of a glass-fronted butchery – but there is also a fine display of fresh seafood.

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Farmer Jacks, Isle of Wight Butchery is the beating heart of this farm shop – a partnership of two island farming families – with home-made faggots and Lorne sausages among the highlights. Besides locally reared meat, seasonal fruit and veg such as asparagus, cherries, apricots, strawberries, pumpkins, squash and sweetcorn make the crossing well worthwhile.

chatsworth.org/shopping-

Suffolk Food Hall, Ipswich This is destination retail at its best, with every conceivable food specialism – grocer, butcher, open bakery, fishmonger, greengrocer, deli, beer & wine merchant and chocolatier – covered off. Add to this an inviting gifting and artisan craft offering as well as a restaurant with magnificent views of the river Orwell, and it is easy to see why many customers choose to stay for the day.

eating/farm-shop/

suffolkfoodhall.co.uk

farmerjacks.co.uk

Best Brands

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2017-18

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GREAT TASTE SHOP OF THE YEAR

Deli of the Year Winner: Delilah, Leicester DELILAH’S 18-month-old Leicester store has a lot to live up to, with a successful, sophisticated Nottingham city centre deli for an older sibling. But Sangita and Rick Tryner’s second-born outlet is stepping out of the shadows, having claimed this year’s Great Taste Deli of the Year accolade. “We were made up to receive

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the Great Taste award – it is a credit to our staff and has given us reassurance that we are doing something right. It provides the kind of boost that every new business needs,” says Sangita Tryner. The judges praised the deli’s in-house bakery, selection of 150 cheeses and top wines as well as its eat-in offering, which

combines a plentiful menu of home-cooked foods with a classy wine list. The place oozes atmosphere, with lofty ceilings and a mezzanine seating area – design features that originated in Nottingham. It also offers one major advantage over its older sibling: an outdoor terrace facing Leicester cathedral. At a distance, it looks as though Delilah’s owners have hit on a failsafe formula – find an imposing former bank and pack →

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GREAT TASTE SHOP OF THE YEAR

Deli of the Year

Runner Up: Bayley & Sage, Wimbledon

it with exceptional foods from around the world – but the truth is that the transition from one to two has been far from seamless. “The Leicester story had a turbulent start to it,” Tryner tells FFD. “There was staff unrest and the building was a wreck. It took 12 months to get these issues sorted.” Now, with the “right team in place”, the building “holding up” and a “double whammy” of awards under its belt, Delilah Leicester is ready for the next chapter, which is all about building awareness. Tryner acknowledges that this will require a different plan of attack to Nottingham. “They are two very different cities, with different demographics,” she says. “Although we are in the most up-and-coming area of Leicester, next to the Richard III visitor centre, the epicentre of the city is Highcross shopping centre, so we have to draw people out.” Not ones to shy away from a challenge, Delilah’s owners are collaborating with other local organisations. For example, they have been involved in launching Leicester’s first Christmas market (where serving mulled wine has also increased Delilah’s visibility). Sangita has made several local radio appearances, being interviewed on subjects ranging from picnic hampers to local produce, and is engaging with local food bloggers. Fans of the Delilah format will have to hope that the Tryners don’t stick at two outlets.

This was Bayley & Sage’s original store, and since welcoming its first customers through the doors in 1997, the retailer has gone on to open branches in five more London communities. As you might expect from its fashionable SW19 address, this is a sophisticated shop that combines specialist imports and carefully chosen discoveries with familiar upmarket brands. Seasonal fruit and vegetables are a big draw, and Bayley & Sage goes to great lengths to source produce that you would never find on supermarket shelves, whether Italian peppers or Ventoux cherries. It also does a strong trade in cheese, with a counter that carries over 100 varieties, from the obscure to the classic. The store might be 20 years old, but the new Vitality salad bar is evidence that it is moving with the times. Offering a healthier option for lunchtime customers, the bar is jam-packed with impressive home-made salads including on-trend raw vegetable slaws, quinoa, fennel and broad bean salad, and mango and chickpea salad. bayley-sage.co.uk

delilahfinefoods.co.uk

Deli of the Year Highly commended Wally’s Delicatessen, Cardiff While Welsh food has undergone a bit of a renaissance in recent years, one of Cardiff's most tempting food shops chooses not to follow trends and has been on the same spot in the Royal Arcade since 1981. Famed for its wide range of European charcuterie, Wally’s deli also offers the full Viennese coffee house experience upstairs. wallysdeli.co.uk

Penbuckles, Hastings A friendly delicatessen in the heart of F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

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historic Hastings’ old town, Penbuckles specialises in artisan cheeses, charcuterie, fine wines and Monmouth coffee.  Its ‘tiny tea room’ is a relaxing place to drink coffee prepared by trained baristas, munch on a ‘posh’ sausage roll, or linger over a cheese platter washed down with a craft ale.  penbuckles.co.uk

Fink, Boroughbridge Part deli, part convenience store, this village shop carries fresh local produce, artisan baked goods, Continental fine foods and has a counter

featuring fresh fish, cheeses and meats. The already lucky residents of Boroughbridge can also shop in Fink’s sister shop (Sweet Fink), that exclusively sells chocolate and sweets, just down the road. thinkfink.co.uk

Weetons Food Hall, Harrogate Harrogate has a reputation for food and style and Weeton’s is one of its star businesses since setting up in 2005. In a location overlooking green space that would be the envy of any retailer, this shop has a packed deli counter, busy in-store café and takes enormous pride in all things Yorkshire. weetons.com 29


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EMERGING BRANDS

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WALLY’S DELICATESSEN Steve Salamon Owner Cardiff The guys at Dyfi Distillery, who make Pollination Gin and Hibernation Gin, are purists. They won’t compromise the way they forage for botanicals in the pursuit of commercial expediency. Availability is scarce as a result, but when you can get it it’s fantastic and flies off the shelf. Dyfi is one of only two craft distillers worldwide to have more than one listing in the Collins Book of Gin. Highly recommended.

Nine great retailers from around the UK tell us what new or emerging brands have caught their eyes over the past year Compiled by Mick Whitworth MAINSTREET TRADING CO Bill De La Hey Owner St Boswells, Scotland This year’s best new products, all from Scotland, include Loveshortie – a lovely traditional shortbread that’s as close to being

homemade as possible. You could claim it as your own handiwork. The lavender version is particularly good. Old Curiosity Gin is the first small-batch gin to be infused and naturally coloured by a distillation of flowers, sourced from the distiller’s own ‘secret herb garden’ just outside Edinburgh. Delicious – and

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magical. When you add tonic they change colour! A dry and satisfying tipple, Wermod, from Great British Vermouth, is great as an aperitif, mixed with soda as a spritzer in the summer or with cassis as a riot of herb and fruit in the winter. Something different. loveshortie.com theoldcuriosity.co.uk great-british-vermouth.com

SLATE CHEESE & PROVISIONS Clare Jackson Owner Aldeburgh, Suffolk

LUDLOW FOOD CENTRE Jon Edwards Managing director Shropshire Most of this year has been about developing products we can make in-house, but we always have one eye out for those little gems that have potential to interest our customers. We thought we had seen pretty much every marketing angle for chocolate until we discovered Chief Chocolate F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

Officer, which makes “wine bars” matched to different grapes. It sells really well when it’s displayed in our wine section. Customers have definitely bought into the idea. Haven Distillery, the maker of Sly Gin, has really helped us raise our game in gin. I would encourage everyone to stock its lemon verbena gin. It’s by far and away the fastest-selling gin we stock and one of the main reasons our gin sales have increased tenfold in the last 12 months.

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Our other “best brand” this year is our own-label hot chocolate – a bit of a cheat, I know, but it has gone off the clock saleswise and the principle could be something other retailers get behind. The potential for quality hot chocolate to drive sales in the drinks section is enormous. We’ve pushed our own range hard over the last six months and the four varieties we sell now account for a third of all hot beverage sales.

Jane Steward introduced us to her Eastgate Larder medlar preserves soon after we took over the shop in Aldeburgh at the beginning of 2017. She was just starting out too. Jane’s passionate about reviving the fortunes of the neglected medlar fruit.  She grows it on her Norfolk small-holding and produces

medlar jelly and medlar fruit cheese at her own Aga. Her jars are exquisitely presented and her preserves have an intriguing flavour that makes a brilliant addition to a cheeseboard. We offer the fruit cheese sliced from a loaf as well as in jars, and it’s particularly delicious with some Kirkham’s Lancashire or a slice of Lincolnshire Poacher.  The jelly is very versatile – it tastes great with charcuterie and paté too. eastgatelarder.co.uk

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Extra Indulgent, British-Baked Biscotti Dorset’s Great British Biscotti Company isn’t afraid to rip up the rule book when it comes to championing biscotti as the last word in high-end ‘biscuity’ joy. Paul and his small batch ‘biscottieers’ believe that when it comes to deliciously decadent flavour profiles, almonds aren’t always the answer. Craggy, double-baked biscuit of proud Italian descent provide the perfect setting for all manner of magnificent sweet and savoury flavours to flourish, either chaperoning a hard-earned hot beverage or accompanying a sumptuous soup, salad, cheeseboard or canape.

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EMERGING BRANDS WESTMORLAND TEBAY AND GLOUCESTER SERVICES Alexander Evans Farmshop buyer It’s rare for an independent shop to be able to offer chilled ready meals. Street Monkey have only been going for a very short while, but they’ve come to the market with everything sussed: great

food, well thought through and presented and at a reasonable price and good shelf life. The “tiffin” concept of stacking steel pots has been updated to sets of three meal options, each with a side order of potato and rice. There are also single pot salads. Earlier in the year Jacqui Keenan of La Fleur de Chocolat sent us one of her rather special teacakes and we knew that we just

PAPADELI Simon Macdonnell Owner Clifton, Bristol

had to list them. Having trained and worked as a patisserie chef, Jacqui started up on her own just 18 months ago. She specialises in very fine, delicately flavoured and very beautiful chocolates, but it’s her gorgeous teacakes that have proved such a hit with our customers, with over 7,500 sold across our sites in the last six months.

Our best new product of 2017? It would have to be the fresh truffles from Costello + Hellerstein, hand made in Bristol. They taste as though each chocolate has been hand made with individual love and care. A must-try.

street-monkey.com lafleurdechocolat.co.uk

costelloandhellerstein.com

HARP LANE DELI Henry Mackley Owner Ludlow, Shopshire

THE NORFOLK DELI Mark Kacary Owner Hunstanton, Norfolk As you can imagine, all of the new products I’d talk about are made in Norfolk. Most won’t register on the national scale yet, but we go out of our way to find new producers and invite them to one of our twice-monthly ‘Showcase Saturday’ events. This gives them the chance to get their products in front of our customers before we take some stock. Some work, some less so, but it’s a great way to get to know what’s new in our area. Sophie & Lauren F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

Chittock of Nuoi Foods are 22-year-old twins who are making the most luscious nut butters. There’s a trend for these but when you taste their chilli butter or their Christmas special – a gingerbread nut butter – you’ll realise these girls have an excellent palate and they will go far. Beetella is a new product from Sarah Savage of Essence Foods, who makes remarkable jams and chutneys (her Bloody Mary relish is fantastic). So what is Beetella? Is it a beetroot spread? Or a chocolate spread? In fact it’s both. Dark in colour, it looks and tastes like chocolate, but it’s made in large part with beetroot. This making it less sweet but it still satisfies a chocolate

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craving. With a chocolate & orange, chocolate & vanilla and a vegan chocolate & coconut variety, these have taken as our alternative to Nutella. A grown-up’s chocolate spread. Wildcraft Brewery is a brand with some great imagery and a range of year-round and seasonal ales, ensuring there’s always something new to try. There are some classic ales such as their Wild Awake IPA, made with coffee from Strangers Coffee Co in Norwich. Wild Sting is made using nettles, and there’s a range of beers using seasonally foraged fruits, such as raspberries and blackberries. nuoifoods.com essencefoods.co.uk wildcraftbrewery.co.uk

ARCADIA DELI Mark Brown Owner Belfast

We don’t sell massive amounts of it, but Lillie O’Brien’s London Borough of Jam brand is really great stuff to have on our shelves. It sets us apart from the local competition. Her blackberry & bay leaves jam is utterly delicious. That’s a slow burner, but Charcutier Ltd’s frankfurters, semi-cured sausages and snack salamis have become staples since the latter half of 2017. Beautiful people making beautiful products.

The best new products for us are from two charcuterie producers who recently came on the scene in Northern Ireland: Ispini Irish Charcuterie (Ispinis is Irish for sausage) and Corndale Farm. Prior to this, as far as I’m aware, there were no indigenous charcuterie producers in the North. It’s great to have local options, especially with Brexit and the uncertainty it has created around importation of European produce post divorce! ispinicharcuterie.com corndalefarm.com 33


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LE GRUYèRE AOP CHEESE COUNTER OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Cheese Etc - The Pangbourne Cheese Shop, Pangbourne, Berkshire

Co-owner Jen Grimstone-Jones (right) with long-serving staff member Angela Brown

It was a towering wedding cake that inspired the winners of this year’s Le Gruyère AOP Cheese Counter of the Year to go into cheese retailing. But it’s their competitive spirit and a full revamp of the shop that has won them the coveted prize. The competition’s head judge has the lowdown on Pangbourne's Cheese Etc and the rest of this year’s finalists. By Patrick McGuigan F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

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ASK JEN GRIMSTONE-JONES about the cheese tower at her wedding and she can reel off the list of cheeses without hesitation, from the wheel of Montgomery’s cheddar at the bottom to the tiny Crottin at the top, via classics such as Colston Basset Stilton, Wigmore and Barkham Blue. You would expect no less of the winner of the Cheese Counter of the Year 2017 competition, sponsored by Le Gruyère AOP. Except that back in 2014, when Jen and Ali Grimstone-Jones got married, they weren’t actually cheesemongers. It was the cheese tower itself that set them on their journey to awards success. “They were just starting to become popular at weddings, so we ordered one from our local shop,” she explains. “We liked it so much that we started buying our cheese there on a regular basis. We were chatting to the owner one day, who was thinking about selling up, and we jumped at the chance.” The Pangbourne Cheese Shop, as it was then called, had been trading in the village of the same name near Reading for around 10 years. The Grimstone-Joneses took it over in 2015 and have not looked back since. Last year, the shop came joint-third in the Cheese Counter of the Year competition before going two better this year, beating heavyweights such as The Fine Cheese Co and Paxton’s in Bath in the process. Their success is partly down to changes they have made to the business, including rebranding and refurbishing the shop as Cheese Etc, as well as expanding sales online and to pubs and restaurants. Different sales channels means stock turns over quickly with more than 100 cheeses on the counter, split 70:30 between British and Continental. Winning the award is a remarkable achievement for a couple that are relative newcomers to the cheese industry, but competing comes naturally to them both after careers in the sports world. Jen represented Britain to a high standard in javelin at under-23 level, before serious ankle injury prompted her to train as a sports therapist, while Ali is a netball coach. “When you’re trying to compete at the highest level you have to be completely focused,” says Grimstone-Jones. “So when I do something I want to do it properly. I live and breathe cheese. I’m always reading up on it in books and magazines, and doing research online.” She also makes regular visits to cheesemakers to buy direct whenever she can, driving down to the West Country once a month to pick up from Montgomery’s, Godminster, Gould’s, Westcombe and White Lake, as → 37


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LE GRUYèRE AOP CHEESE COUNTER OF THE YEAR BEST OF THE REST When I do something I want to do it properly. I live and breathe cheese. I’m always reading up on it in and doing research online

well as collecting from local producers, such as Village Maid and Two Hoots. “We get a better price than going through a wholesaler, but it also means we can get particular ages,” she says. “Gould’s Extra Tasty cheddar is normally 18 months, but they do a two-year cheese for us. I also really enjoy chatting with the cheesemakers and finding out what they’re up to. We tried Pavé Cobble [a sheep’s milk cheese from White Lake, named Supreme Champion at this year’s British Cheese Awards] long before it was ever launched.” The shop also uses wholesalers, such as Beillevaire, Rowcliffe, Harvey & Brockless and Hamish Johnston, but keeps them on their toes by switching between them, depending on who offers the best quality and price. “We carefully check all the stock we get delivered and if we’re not not happy we will send it back,” says Grimstone-Jones. She works in the business full time, supported by an experienced team, including Angela Brown, who has worked at the shop for many years, while Ali divides her time between netball coaching and cheese, doing everything from deliveries to attending trade events. Not ones to rest on their laurels, the couple are looking at ways to expand the online business further and the possibility of opening another outlet or investing in a mobile shop. “I’m amazed how far people will travel for good cheese,” says Grimstone-Jones. “We get customers from Reading, Oxford, Newbury and Slough, as well as from overseas. But we also like the idea of taking cheese to people in a van converted into a mobile shop.” Fittingly, wedding cheese towers are also an important part of the business’s future, with Ali regularly exhibiting at wedding fairs. Cheese tower sales are up 40% this year with potential to grow even more in 2018, says Grimstone-Jones. “We do more than 100 a year now and they’re not just for weddings either. We get requests for christenings, dinner parties and birthdays. We even did one for someone who was having a party to celebrate their divorce.” cheese-etc.co.uk

Brown & Green, Trentham, Staffs Part of the Blue Diamond garden centre group, there are five Brown & Green food stores around the country. The Trentham branch, just outside Stoke, is a cross between a food hall and a farm shop with the cheese counter a central part of the operation. It stocks around 65 cheeses, which are presided over by enthusiastic cheesemonger Nicola Beardmore. Highlights include award winners, such as Pavé Cobble, Cornish Kern and Cornish Blue.

bookshop and café was expanded with a deli and home shop in 2012, housed in a refurbished barn. The counter showcases around 40 farmhouse cheeses with Neal’s Yard Dairy and Mons key suppliers. Isle of Mull cheddar and Bonnet fly the flag for Scotland, and there’s a strong showing from Doddington Cheese in nearby Northumberland. A blackboard alerts customers to the 10 bestselling cheeses of the week, and there’s a space upstairs for talks and tastings, which has become a destination for both food and book lovers. mainstreetbooks.co.uk/ deli/

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Slate, Aldeburgh, Suffolk Aldeburgh’s much loved deli Lawson’s was taken over by daughter and father team Clare Jackson and John Ormerod earlier this year, after the previous owners retired. Since the judges visit the shop has now rebranded as Slate, and a opened a second outlet in Southwold. The Aldeburgh shop’s cheese counter has always been at the heart of the business with an excellent line up of local cheeses, including Baron Bigod, St Jude, Shipcord and Suffolk Gold, supported by classics such as pecorino, Manchego and Gorgonzola Dolce.

Partisan Cheesemonger & Deli, Guildford, Surrey Friends Owen Pillinger and Mike Leslie gave up London careers to set up their own cheese shop in Guildford in 2016. Space is limited, but they make good use of it with some clever design features. The open counters give customers an enticing, unobstructed view of the cheeses, but can also be fitted with tops and wheeled around the shop to create flexible tables for the frequent tastings and pop-up events. partisan-deli.co.uk

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Paxton & Whitfield, Bath, Somerset A quick glance around Paxton & Whitfield’s Bath shop confirms you are in a great part of the country for cheese. West Country cheddars, goats’ and sheep’s milk cheeses from

White Lake in Somerset and Baronet from Wiltshire are all highlights. But there’s also plenty for Europhiles, with options ranging from Mimolette to Mahon. Cheese gifts, including knives, boards, books and accompaniments, provide further reasons to visit. paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk

Pistachio and Pickle After being flooded by a burst water main in the runup to Christmas last year and a six-month closure for repairs, Pistachio and Pickle has bounced back stronger than ever. The small shop on a pedestrianised street in Islington makes the most of its limited space with a concise range of mainly British and Irish cheeses, many are sourced direct. Skegness Blue, Gubbeen from Ireland and beautifully speckled Dorstone goats’ cheeses all caught our judge’s eye. pistachioandpickle.com

Umami Delicatessen, Wantage, Oxfordshire Ava and Dan Hashemi previously owned restaurants in Manchester and are putting their experience to good use after taking over Umami last year. The couple, with Iranian and Turkish backgrounds, run regular Middle Eastern nights in the café, but the cheese counter remains proudly British and European. Local cheeses, such as Oxford Isis, are a focus, but there are also plenty from further afield. Think Isle of Mull Cheddar, Chaource and Gorgonzola umami-deli.co.uk

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LE GRUYèRE AOP CHEESE COUNTER OF THE YEAR

SECOND PLACE: The Fine Cheese Co, Belgravia, London IT’S BEEN just over a year since The Fine Cheese Co set up shop in the Capital for the first time and the move has more than paid off. Run by former Rippon cheesemonger Luke Giddings, the store is visually stunning with the majority of the 100-plus cheeses displayed on wooden shelves along the back wall behind the counter. It’s a highly effective lay-out, which owes much to the vision of the company’s late founder Ann-Marie Dyas. British and European classics are all present and correct, including a comprehensive collection of farmhouse cheddars and other territorials, plus a range of Swiss cheeses matured by Walo von Mühlenen. There are also intriguing and unusual choices, such as the Alpine-style Pleasant Ridge Reserve from the US and the Italian buffalo-milk cheese Casatica. Twice-weekly deliveries from the company’s warehouse in Bath ensure the stock is always in great condition. The cheeses are also showcased in the shop’s À Table restaurant in a selection of different cheese plates, salads and hot dishes. The shop’s ‘wine wall’ boasts 100 European bottles, each of which can be bought at its retail price and served with a £12 corkage fee. As you would expect from a company that is almost as famous for its branded accompaniments as it is for its cheese, there is also a huge range of crackers, chutneys, dried fruits and honeys. finecheeseshops.co.uk/belgravia/ 40

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LE GRUYèRE AOP CHEESE COUNTER OF THE YEAR

THIRD PLACE: The Cheese Shop, Nottingham YOU COULD EASILY miss this cheesemonger and café, tucked away down a shopping arcade in Nottingham. The fact that it continues to go from strength to strength after more than 10 years of trading is testament to the drive and enthusiasm of owners Rob and Webb Freckingham. The brothers stock a huge range of around 200 cheeses, sourcing direct from cheesemakers, and have built an impressive wholesale business with the region’s pubs, restaurants and hotels, including the two-Michelinstarred Sat Bains The busy counter is manned by enthusiastic staff who greet customers by name and are chatty and knowledgable, but also efficient. The café also helps keep the counter ticking over and the brothers take part in events, from beer festivals to wine tastings. The scale of the business means the counter is a treasure trove of classic and modern British cheeses, plus a comprehensive selection of Continental varieties. Judges liked the fact that that you could taste a single company’s entire range, such as Wigmore, Waterloo and Spenwood from Village Maid, and that there was a choice of producers of the same cheese, for example Epoisses made by both Gaugry and Berthaut. cheeseshop-nottingham.co.uk F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

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Best Artisan Producer

HAT-TRICK BE S

From the Lakelands of County Fermanagh The Halls are dedicated to providing a caring and nurturing environment for their hens and are focused on producing the best quality eggs in the industry. Cavanagh Eggs have won numerous awards for their eggs including a 2-Star award at Great Taste 2016, the Blas na hEireann Chef’s Choice Award 2016, Best Artisan Producer in the inaugural Grow Make Eat Drink Awards and more recently the Northern Ireland Food Manufacturing Awards 2017. Eileen Hall: 07857964468 | John Hall: 07857964436 Email: info@cavanaghfreerangeeggs.co.uk

CH

E D DA R

Award-winning Smoked Salmon from the Outer Hebrides with a delicious succulent but firm flaky texture. Sourcing only the highest quality Atlantic salmon from Scottish salmon producers. Smoked in a unique and secret process over oak. To mark the 20th anniversary the new owners have commissioned a special edition embossed “biscuit tin” to present the 2017 award winning product, to celebrate the uniqueness of the product and the original concept. Tel: 01870 610324

www.salarsmokehouse.co.uk info@salarsmokehouse.co.uk Salar Smokehouse Ltd, The Pier, Lochcarnan, Isle of South Uist HS8 5PD F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

Best Brands

2017-18

45


Black Gold

Old Winchester back in stock! A very hard 18 month farmhouse cheese which has DGLVWLQFWQXWWLQHVVLQÀDYRXUDQGPDGHZLWK vegetarian rennet.

www.eringrove.com

www.lyburncheese.co.uk 01794 399982

01851 702 445 | sales@charlesmacleod.co.uk

www.charlesmacleod.co.uk 46

Best Brands

2017-18 · F INE FOOD DIGEST


national & Regional Award Winners

Best in the business

Great Taste 2017 gff.co.uk/gta

Supreme Champion 2017 Smoked Black Pudding Hugh Maguire hughmaguirebutchers.com/ the-smokin-butcher/

Golden Fork from the North of England Whey Butter Isle of Man Creamery isleofmancreamery.com

Here’s our annual roundup of winners from national and regional award schemes, starting with our very own Great Taste 2017.

Golden Fork from the Midlands Smoked Mackerel Macneil’s Smokehouse Golden Fork for Best Imported Food Heather Honey Eulogia of Sparta eulogiaproducts.com

Nigel Barden Heritage Award Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese

macneilssmoke house.co.uk

Golden Fork from the South West St Louis Dry Hopped Cider Sandford Orchards

Golden Fork from London & the South East Handmade Tortelloni %XUUDWD %ODFN7UXIŴH La Tua Pasta latuapasta.com

sandfordorchards.co.uk

mrskirkhamscheese.co.uk

SUPREME CHAMPION

Small Artisan Producer of the Year Fortes Ice Cream fortesgelato.co.uk

Ambient Product of the Year Seville Orange Marmalade The Artisan Kitchen theartisankitchen.co.uk

Golden Fork from Northern Ireland Sweet Cured Bacon Rack Hannan Meats

Golden Fork from Scotland Smoked Trout Inverawe Smokehouses smokedsalmon.co.uk

Great Taste Producer of the Year Swoon

hannanmeats.com

swoononaspoon.co.uk

F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

Best Brands

2017-18

Golden Fork from Wales Organic Welsh Blackcurrant Jam Coedcanlas

Golden Fork from East Anglia National Trust Sour Cherry Curd Thursday Cottage

Charcuterie Product of the Year Rosemary & Thyme Bresaola Ispini Charcuterie

coedcanlas.myshopify.com

thursday-cottage.com

ispinicharcuterie.com

47


national & Regional Award Winners The BOOM Awards soilassociation.org

Best of Organic Chilled & Frozen Organic Oak Smoked Isle of Wight Tomatoes with Extra Virgin Oil The Tomato Stall

Deliciously Yorkshire Taste Awards deliciouslyorkshire.co.uk

thetomatostall. co.uk

The World’s Original Marmalade Awards

BBC Food & Farming Awards

dalemain.com

Best Food Producer Hodmedods

Artisan Double Gold Winners

Confectionery Hazelnut Chocolate 7UXIŴHV Booja-Booja

damhile.co.uk

Best New Organic Product Roam & Relish Organic Pastrami (YHUVƓHOG2UJDQLF HYHUVƓHOGRUJDQLFFRXN

Pantry Extra Virgin Olive Oil Apulia Blend t/a The Olive Oil Co apuliablend.com

Non-alcoholic drinks Organic Rose Oolong Leaves & Beans t/a Tea Palace teapalace.co.uk

Best of Organic Bakery Daylesford Organic Fruit Bread Daylesford

Dairy Guernsey Milk, Organic, Whole Abel & Cole abelandcole.co.uk

daylesford.com

hodmedods. co.uk

Best Drinks Producer Wild Beer Co

boojabooja.com

Best of Alcoholic Drinks Da Mhile Botanical Gin Da Mhile Distillery

bbc.co.uk

wildbeerco.com

Yorkshire Food Hero Stephanie Moon Best Prepared Meat Spreadable Chorizo Three Little Pigs threelittlepigschorizo.co.uk

Best Yorkshire Pork Pie Lishman’s of Ilkley

Grapefruit Marmalade with a hint of Honey J.B Shackleton’s jbshackletons.com.au

lishmansbutchers.co.uk

Best Ready to Eat Product Scotch Egg The Peppered Pig

Future Food Award Growing Underground growingunderground. com

Best Food Retailer Unicorn Grocery unicorngrocery.coop

thepepperedpig.co.uk

Best Yorkshire Cheese Smoked Yorkshire Squeaky Cheese Yorkshire Dama Cheese

Sweet Orange & Fennel Marmalade Ouse Valley ousevalleyfoods.com

yorkshiredamacheese.co.uk

Best Ice Cream / Yoghurt Blackcurrant Panna Cotta Ice Cream Yummy Yorkshire yummyyorkshire. co.uk

Best Yorkshire Beer/Cider Wild Gravity Bad Company Brewery wearebad.co

Taste of the West Awards tasteofthewest.co.uk

Supreme Champion Product Sharpham Wine & Cheese Sharpham Cremet

48

Champion Sweet Preserve Blaisdon Red Plum Jam The Artisan Kitchen theartisankitchen.co.uk

Best Yorkshire Spirit Damson Gin Liqueur The Little Red Berry Co thelittleredberry.co.uk

Best Yorkshire Beverage Three Peaks Blend Coffee Care

sharpham.com

coffeecare.co.uk

Champion Cider Worley's Cider Worley's Red Hen

Best Savoury Condiment Damson Fruit Cheese Rosebud Preserves

worleyscider.co.uk

rosebudpreserves.co.uk

Champion Dairy Product Organic Golden Turmeric Ghee Happy Butter

Best Sweet Preserve Berrylicious Jam Bracken Hill Fine Foods

happybutter.co.uk

EUDFNHQKLOOƓQH foods.co.uk

Real Ale & Cider Awards

National Trust Fine Farm Produce Awards nationaltrust.org.uk

camra.org.uk

Overall Food Winner Traditional breed pork loin Standleys Barn Farm

Champion Winter Beer of Britain Old Freddy Walker Moor Beer Co

standleysbarn.com

Overall Drink Winner Medium Sparkling Cider Killerton Estate

moorbeer. co.uk

nationaltrust.org.uk/killerton

Champion Bottled Beer of Britain Big Job St Austell Brewery staustellbrewery. co.uk

Champion Beer of Scotland Silkie Stout Loch Lomond lochlomond brewery.com

Champion Beer of Wales Black Rock Tudor Brewery tudorbrewery.co.uk

Best Brands

2017-18 · F INE FOOD DIGEST


Best French cheese Super gold award 2017 Fairtrade cocoa grown by family farmers in Ghana

Sharing TASTES DIVINE

No artiďŹ cial ingredients All natural 100% pure cocoa butter No palm oil or soya

The farmers who grow the cocoa in Divine chocolate also own 44% of the company and share the profits NE W

SERIOUSLY GOOD CHOCOLATE

See full product range at http://bit.ly/Sodiaal Info@candia.co.uk

F INE FOOD DIGEST ¡

Best Brands

2017-18

www.divinechocolate.com sales@divinechocolate.com +44 (0)207 378 6550

49


JACQUELINE’S HOMEMADE CHOCOLATES & SWEET TREATS

Handmade chocolates, sweets and honeycomb flavoured with local honey

Milk Chaocolate Hazelnut Squares

t. 01283 762037 e. jacquelinessweettreats@hotmail.co.uk

FIGHT BACK WITH FLAVOUR Ride on, Cowboy

www.thesweetbeet.co.uk info@thesweetbeet.co.uk

W W W.W I C K E DWO L F G I N . CO M P LE A S E D R I N K R E S P O N S I B LY

Maple Bacon Jam

50

Best Brands

2017-18 · F INE FOOD DIGEST


national & Regional Award Winners World Cheese Awards

Taste of Kent Awards

gff.co.uk/awards/worldcheese-awards/

tasteofkentawards.co.uk

Best Australian Cheese Foragers Feast Woodside Cheese Wrights

gligora.com

World Champion Cheese Cornish Kern Lynher Dairies Cheese Company lynherdairies.co.uk

Best New Cheese Little Hosmer Cellars at Jasper Hill, USA jasperhillfarm.com

Best Extra Mature Cheddar Montgomery’s Extra Mature Cheddar J.A & E. Montgomery, UK montgomerycheese.co.uk

Best Le Gruyère Cheese Le Gruyère AOP Gourmet Cremo SA – von Mühlenen gourmetretailer.com

Cheese Counter of the Year Cheese Etc Pangbourne Cheese Shop cheese-etc.co.uk

Best Goats Cheese Rachel White Lake Cheese, UK whitelake.co.uk

Best Austrian Cheese Capellaro Almenland Stollenkaese almenland-stollenkaese.at

Best French Cheese Reblochon PDO Entremont entremont.co.uk

Best German Cheese 0RQWDJQROR$IƓQH Elite Imports elite-imports-limited.co.uk

Best Italian Cheese Blu Di Bufala 4XDWWUR3RUWRQL&DVHLƓFLR quattroportoni.it

Best Irish Cheese St Tola 500g Ash Log Inagh Farmhouse Cheese st-tola.ie

Best Dutch Cheese De Graafstroom – Oud 30+ De Graafstroom degraafstroom.com

Best Spanish Cheese Miniretorta Quesería Finca Pascualete ƓQFDSDVFXDOHWHFRP

Best Unpasteurised Cheese Parmigiano Reggiano, Nazionale PR San Pietro (Valestra), Italy latteriadivalestra.it

Best Smoked Cheese Bolaños Isla Bonita Ahumado Quesos Bolaños quesoscanariosartesan alesbolanos.es

Best American Cheese Gold Hill Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy haystackgoatcheese.com

Best Canadian Cheese Le Canotier de l’Isle Société Coopérative Agricole de l’Isle-aux-Grues

Best Welsh Cheese Saval &DZV7HLƓ&KHHVH WHLƓFKHHVHFRXN

Best Jersey Milk Cheese Dalewood Huguenot Dalewood Fromage dalewood.co.za

Best Scottish Cheese Arran Blue Island Cheese Company arranscheeseshop.co.uk

Best South African Cheese Dalewood Huguenot Dalewood Fromage dalewood.co.za

fromagesileauxgrues.com F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

Best Brands

Blas na hÉireann Irish Food Awards irishfoodawards.com

heidijane.uk

Bakery & Confectionery Class The Captain’s Crackers Kentish Ale & Rosemary The Zingiberi Bakery

woodsidecheese.com.au

Best Central & Eastern European Cheese Paški sir extra stari Sirana Gligora, Croatia

Ambient Class Spicy Apple Chutney Heidi Jane Preserves

thezingiberibakery.co.uk

Beer of the Year Romney Amber Romney Marsh Brewery

Supreme Champion Glenstal Irish Creamery Salted Butter 227g Arrabawn Co-Op for Glenstal Foods glenstalfoods.com

romneymarshbrewery.com

Cider or Perry of the Year Skylark Kentish Pip

Best Artisan Blackberry and Thyme Infused Balsamic Vinegar Burren Balsamics

kentishpip.co.uk

burrenbalsamics.com

Juice Producer of the Year Biddenden Vineyards biddenden vineyards.com

Local Food Retailer of the Year Macknade Fine Foods macknade.com

International Chocolate Awards – British National Competition Winners 2017 internationalchocolate awards.com

Dark chocolate bars with DQLQIXVLRQRUŴDYRXULQJ Three Pepper Choc Amor chocamor.co.uk

Milk chocolate bars with DQLQIXVLRQRUŴDYRXULQJ Pump Street Chocolate Jamaica 56% Pump Street Bakery Chocolate pumpstreet bakery.com

Flavoured white chocolate bars Ethiopian Coffee & Roasted Redskin Solkiki Craft Chocolatemaker

Dairy Class Cowslip Butter The Cheesemakers of Canterbury

Best New Product Devil’s Washtub Lacada Brewery lacadabrewery.com

Prepared Food Class Steak & Stilton pie Kentish Mayde

Seafood Innovation Flaked Hot Smoked Trout Marinated with Chilli, lime & Ginger Goatsbridge Trout Farm

kentishmayde.co.uk

goatsbridgetrout.ie

cheesemakersofcanterbury. co.uk

Milk chocolate ganaches RUWUXIŴHV Curry & Raisin Fifth Dimension chocolates

Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards

5dchocolates.com

hifoodanddrinkawards.com

*DQDFKHVRUWUXIŴHVXVLQJ mixed dark/milk/white IRUFRDWLQJDQGƓOOLQJV Mojito Ben Le Prevost Chocolatier

Best Drink Award Harris Gin Isle of Harris Distillers

benleprevostchocolatier.com

Dark chocolate bars with inclusions or pieces Madagascar Bejofo Estate 75% Trinitario Cocoa & “Wild” Voastiperifery Pepper Åkesson’s akessons-organic.com

harrisdistillery.com

Food & Drink Business Growth Award Dunnet Bay Distillers dunnetbaydistillers. co.uk

Independent Retailer of the Year Corner on the Square corneronthesquare.co.uk

New Business Award Salar Smokehouse salarsmokehouse.co.uk

solkiki.co.uk 2017-18

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Hot Roast Smoked Salmon

Smoked Haddock Sliced

Smoked Venison

Multiple Award-winner

8VEHMXMSREPP]WQSOIH½WL meats and cheeses created [MXLTEWWMSRTVMHIERHGEVI For our wholesale price list contact Andrew Tel: 01580 879601 Email: info@wealdsmokery.co.uk wealdsmokery.co.uk Search Weald Smokery

@wealdsmokery

3GT^,[JMK:UƴKK )NUIURGZK Ƒ:NK9]KKZTKYYULZNK/YRKUL3GT )GRRZUJG_ZUYKI[XK_U[XYZUIQULU[X S[RZOG]GXJ]OTTOTML[JMK www.manxfudgefactory.com Contact Peter on 01624 825858 52

W W W.O R K N E Y I C E C R E A M .CO M info@orkneyicecream.com

Best Brands

2017-18 · F INE FOOD DIGEST


national & Regional Award Winners The Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards foodanddrink.scot

Bakery Dark Chocolate Gingers & Orange Border Biscuits border biscuits.co.uk

Savouries & Accompaniments Tayberry & Sage Vinegar Dressing The Little +HUE)DUP

Brewing Radical Road Stewart Brewing stewartbrewing.co.uk

Distilling Loch Ness Gin Loch Ness Spirits

thelittleherb farm.co.uk

lochnessgin.co.uk

Dairy *UDKDPōV WKH)DPLO\'DLU\*ROG 6PRRWK *UDKDPōVWKH)DPLO\'DLU\

Healthy Choice Furikake Mara Seaweed

grahamsfamilydairy.com

Brand Success of the Year Pickering’s Gin

Meat 2UJDQLF$LUGULHG6PRNHG Juniper Mutton 3HHOKDP)DUP3URGXFH peelham.co.uk

maraseaweed.com

pickeringsgin.com

Product of the Year Whisky Nibs Chocolate Tree choctree.co.uk

Confectionery, Drinks & Snacking Whisky Nibs Chocolate Tree

Outstanding Contribution Alastair Dobson Taste of Arran

choctree.co.uk

taste-of-arran.co.uk

SIBA National Independent Beer Awards

North East Scotland Food & Drink Awards

Cornwall Life Food and Drink Awards

siba.co.uk

nesfoodanddrinkawards. co.uk

foodawards.cornwalllife. co.uk

Most Successful Product from the 2016 Awards Walter Gregor’s Tonic Water Summerhouse Drinks

Best Product/Producer Polgoon

Overall Champion of the Competition :LOOLDP%ODFN (ABV 2.4%) Williams Bros Brewing Co williamsbros brew.com

summerhousedrinks.com

Standard Bitters & Pale Ales Island Hopping (ABV 3.9) Swannay Brewery

Best New Retail Product (1-10 employees) :HVWƓHOG)DUPV Stoneground Spelt Flour :HVWƓHOG)DUPV

swannaybrewery.com

ZHVWƓHOGIDUPFRXN

Best Bitters & Pale Ales 0RQWJRPHU\ $%9

Wantsum Brewery

Best New Retail Product (11-50 employees) Castleton Strawberry Tart Jelly &DVWOHWRQ)DUP6KRS

wantsumbrewery.co.uk

Premium Bitters & Pale Ales %DG'D\$W7KH2IƓFH (ABV 4.5) Alechemy Brewing

castletonfarmshop.co.uk

deliciousmagazine.co.uk

severnandwye.co.uk

fyneales.com

From the Dairy (Artisan) Ampersand Cultured Butter

Editor’s choice award +)RUPDQ 6RQ5R\DO)LOOHW +)RUPDQ 6RQ

Small Pack Premium Bitters & Pale Ales AM:PM (ABV 4.5) Thornbridge Brewery

butterculture.bigcartel.com

From the Field (Artisan) Cornish Hog’s Pudding Primrose Herd

formans.co.uk

)UHH)URP Food Awards

primroseherd.co.uk

swannaybrewery.com

Supreme Champion of the Keg Competition Easy Answers (ABV 6.0) Burning Sky Brewery

British Cheese Awards

burningskybeer.com

Keg Standard Mild & Brown Ales Arran Dark (ABV 4.3) Arran Brewery

britishcheeseawards.com

Supreme Champion Pavé Cobble White Lake Cheese

chocolatmadagascar.com

The Golden BonBon Award Rooibos layered chocolate Rococo Chocolates

Supreme Champion Roquefort Papillion Revelation Bradburys Cheese bradburyscheese.co.uk

freefromfoodawards.co.uk

thornbridgebrewery.co.uk

Small Pack Speciality Beers Barrel Aged Orkney Porter (2014 Arran Ed) (ABV 10.5) Swannay Brewery

The Golden Bean Award 100% cocoa Chocolat Madagascar

internationalcheeseawards. co.uk

pitchforkales.com

From the Sea (Artisan) 2DNVPRNHG06&+DGGRFN Fillets Severn & Wye Smokery

academyofchocolate.org.uk

Nantwich International Cheese Awards

Speciality Beers Chocolate Slug (ABV 4.5) RCH Brewery

2017 delicious. Magazine Produce Awards

$FDGHP\RI Chocolate Awards

rococochocolates.com

alechemy.beer

Supreme Champion of the Small Pack Competition Mills & Hills (ABV 9.5) )\QH$OHV

polgoon.com

FAIR trophy for the Best FreeFrom Food 2017 %)UHH6ZHHW3RWDWR:UDS Runners up Green’s Dubbel Naturally Coconuts Mint Choc Chip West Cornwall Pasty gluten & dairy free ‘Everybody’ Traditional Cornish pasty Yau’s Thai Style Satay Sauce

SME News Northern Ireland Business Awards sme-news.co.uk

Best Artisan Preserves Producer - Northern Ireland Erin Grove Preserves

arranbrewery.co.uk

Keg Premium Strong Beers Easy Answers (ABV 6.0) Burning Sky Brewery

whitelake.co.uk

burningskybeer.com F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

Best Brands

2017-18

53


Blackberry & Thyme

We proudly present to you, the world’s most irresistible slow-baked organic cookies.

Delicious and nutritious!

100% Organic Wheat Free: Made of 100% Oats, Spelt & Rye Sweetened with unrefined sugar

No artificial Colours, Additives, Preservatives or Flavorings Palm oil Free

We are available at: Find out more!

www.burrenbalsamics.com susie@burrenbalsamics.com + 44 (0) 7802 566029

info@farmbrothers.com www.farmbrothers.com

#jamwithattitude

RADNORPRESERVES.COM 54

RADNOR PRESERVES Best Brands

2017-18 ¡ F INE FOOD DIGEST


Award-Winning Ice Creams and Sorbets Get in touch for a tasting: enquiries@treleavens.co.uk | 01503 262499 Treleavens has been making award winning ice cream and sorbets in Cornwall for 20 years, using local milk and cream. We source the finest ingredients to make top quality products. We supply the best restaurants and hotels in Cornwall with our own products, bespoke collaborations and white label development to ensure we have the right product for the right market.

WA L O V O N M Ü H L E N E N than Switzerland has mountains

Walo with Stärnächäs: Supreme Champion Continental International Cheese Awards Nantwich 2016 Selection Affineur Walo is exclusively distributed in the UK by The Fine Cheese Co. www.finecheese.co.uk 01225 424212 F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

Best Brands

2017-18

55


VINEGAR SHED

Beautifully packaged award-winning tea that unfurl and blossom Hailed the “Dom Perignon of the tea world” Sunday Times Magazine 0845 0533269 info@choitime.com www.choitime.com

We have the UK’s largest selection of small-batch unique vinegars, made with love & care by some of the best European ar tisans + speciality oils, hand-picked Greek herbs, rare spices, peppers & other exciting pantry items For more information & trade prices, contact us on 07854892065 or info@vinegarshed.com www.vinegarshed.com

PREMIUM ITALIAN PASTA Garofalo has been making high quality pasta since 1789 in Gragnano near Naples, the birth place of Italian pasta. There are 5 ranges and many different shapes to offer your customers, from the well known Fusilli and Rigatoni through to the more unusual Lumaconi and Orecchiette. All stocked in the UK for immediate delivery. Contact Garofalo UK.

Traditional Pasta • Organic Pasta • Whole Wheat Pasta • Gluten Free Pasta • Children’s Pasta

Everyday Premium Pasta Bronze die, 14% Protein 56

To Stock Garofalo Pasta or for more information

Call: 01438 813444 Email: info@garofalo.co.uk www.pastagarofalo.it Best Brands

2017-18 · F INE FOOD DIGEST


MERCHANDISING KNOW-HOW

Put your best brands forward When it comes to allocating shelf space, supermarkets really know their Kenco from their Carte Noire. But how should indie delis and farm shops merchandise their own ‘best brands’? We take advice from fine food expert SCOTT W INSTON.

LOOKING AT MAINSTREAM national retailers, it’s easy to pigeonhole their merchandising and range choices as formulaic or uninspiring. But there are important lessons in the way supermarkets or symbol-group convenience stores operate that the smaller independent can, and should, heed. Within any category it’s important to experiment with brands acknowledged to be ‘best in market’. This doesn’t mean you are simply following the crowd. If the brand is popular in a number of other shops, that’s probably because, universally, customers have shown their interest in it and are becoming brand loyal. So in many respects, the hard work of selling these brands has been done for you. In categories with lots of depth (maybe tea, or preserves for example), I’d always recommend balancing these more popular or widely available brands with smaller or local brands to maintain your point of difference. Experiment with the number of SKUs (‘stock keeping units’ or different products) in each category and how many facings you give each one. Again, pay attention to what bigger shops are doing. They have resources to invest in researching customer behaviour and we can learn a lot from them, for free, if we keep our eyes open and maintain an open mind. Finally, use best brands as part of a considered range hierarchy, maybe applying the rule ‘good, better and best’ to avoid duplication and me-too syndrome.

Colour blocking One store I know often presents tables blocked by colour. The mix of products is sometimes eclectic, but the look is always very impactful.

From stagnant shelf to dynamic display The main feature Find a way to create feature spaces with gondola ends, shelves, tables or even barrels, positioned in key locations or spaces you know will catch your customers’ eyes.

a quality sauce. If you sell alcohol you can embellish this further by recommending a wine or beer. This simple up-sell can often offer a great solution for your time-pressed customer.

Seize the seasonal Approaching Christmas this is obvious, but it’s equally important year-round too. As well as exploiting conventional calendar dates such as Valentine’s Day, think how you can take advantage of grouping products for other events – healthy foods in January, perhaps, or even home baking for when Bake Off is on TV. Planning is key.

Block for impact If you have the stock and the space, creating a big, bold display can often give confidence to your customer: if you’ve bought into this, maybe they should too.

Tell stories Group products by brand for impact, especially when launching something new. The products may be from different categories, but so long as the branding has a common theme this kind of grouping will really catch the eye. Make a meal of it Create product edits of mini recipe solutions, such as a great pasta with F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

Best Brands

Good housekeeping Have a single policy on showing prices, and stick to it. Customers like consistency. If you’re applying price stickers, make sure every piece of stock is priced. If you’re using shelfedge labels, all should be present and correct. How many facings? This can depend on the size of the range and the available space. The best solution can often be more to do with rates of sale than anything else – in other words, make sure you have ample stock of the most popular lines. 2017-18

“A big, bold display can often give confidence to your customer”

Glorification Many brands have packaging that hides their product, so it can be difficult to know what’s actually inside. Widely available now are clear plastic boxes (sometimes referred to as ‘glorifiers’) that allow you to show a sample of the product, minus its wrappings, alongside the packaged version. These can be very effective. Ask for help! Many brands will have marketing ‘assets’ – glorifiers, shelf units, display boxes, point-of-sale material – that can help give your merchandising a professional look. But use them sparingly, concentrating on just a few featured brands, as too much can sometimes be overwhelming.

“Create feature spaces with gondola ends, shelves, tables or even barrels , in key locations”

• Scott Winston worked for 20 years in the buying and retail teams at Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Selfridges and now provides consultancy to fine food start-ups. 57


NEW YEAR. NEW SHOW. NEW TIME. NEW BUSINESS.

NEW CONTENT • Visit the Great Taste pub – The Jolly Tasty • Dedicated food-service workshops • Art of the cheeseboard • Speciality tea matching • Make the most of food tourism • Retail clinics and discussion groups • Celebrity pancake challenge • Sell more charcuterie • One-on-one retail mentoring

John Arandhara Blackwell

Visit www.gff.co.uk/ffsn to register for your free trade pass A Greedy Man in a Hungry World Key-note talk and Q&A with Jay Rayner on Monday 12 February

Sunday 11 February 11-4 Monday 12 February 10-6 Tuesday 13 February 10-4 Yorkshire Event Centre HG2 8QZ

www.gff.co.uk |

@guildoffinefood #finefoodnorth


WORLD CHEESE AWARDS 2017-18 WINNER BEST GOATS’ CHEESE

RACHEL

PAVE COBBLE

RACHEL

HAVE BEST SPECIALIST CHEESE MAKER

PAVÉ COBBLE 17

TASTED RACHEL?

20

17

Email: info@whitelake.co.uk | Telephone: 01749831527

www.whitelake.co.uk

DISTILLERY

2 STARS

WWW.DAMHILE.CO.UK F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

Best Brands

2017-18

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For 3 generations, the Adlington family have been providing exquisite turkeys , three bird roasts and a delicious range of value added products for your Christmas feast. All supplied direct by our own chilled distribution.

17

W: keenscheddar.co.uk T: 01963 32286

dŚĞĨŝŶĞƐƚƚƵƌŬĞLJĨŽƌLJŽƵƌŚƌŝƐƚŵĂƐƚĂďůĞͲƌĞĂƌĞĚůŽĐĂůůLJ͊ 

OUR GREAT TASTE AWARD WINNING, TRIPLE CERTIFIED LANDSCAPE BLEND IS NOW AVAILABLE AS AN ESPRESSO GRIND.

60

Best Brands

2017-18 · F INE FOOD DIGEST


MUST STOCKS

Trusted and

true

Every shop needs a core of reliable best-sellers. Here are the lines that consistently delivered strong returns for FFD’s Deli of the Month stores during 2017. shelf talk

The Rustique Paté Co coarse Dorset liver paté Dorset Blue Vinny cheese Lyme Bay Winery traditional mead Just So Italian orzo pasta Just So Italian squid ink pasta Martin Carwardine coffee beans Springfield Dressings Rebecca’s Kitchen pineapple & fig chutney Home-cooked ham and beef

deli of the month vital statistics Location: 26 Institute Road, Swanage, Dorset Floor space: 400 sq ft Turnover: £100k-£120k Main wholesaler: Hollies Fine Foods, Hawkridge Farmhouse Cheese, Bournemouth Cheeses

must-stocks OMontgomery’s

cheddar

OConker OField

Gin Honey Coffee

OJurassic

OTiptree

‘Old Times’ orange marmalade Dorset Knobs OHomemade mackerel paté OCarla Cherry Daniels’ Dorset apple cake OThe Rustique Paté Co coarse Dorset liver paté OMoore’s

Diana Jones and her team create a welcoming atmosphere in a tiny but brightly lit and colourful shop where local food has become the main focus

Perfectly Purbeck It’s small, it’s quite seasonal, but when it comes to delivering a warm welcome, Swanage’s award-winning Purbeck Deli can teach bigger stores a thing or two

R

obert Field’s Dorset Honey, Conker gin from Bournemouth, The Seasonist from Bridport, The Gilded Teapot – they’re in Dorchester…” Between sips of latte, Diana Jones is perusing the shelves alongside us and pointing out just a handful of the many local producers available to her as as owner of Dorset’s award-winning Purbeck Deli. Not that we’re actually in Dorset’s award-winning Purbeck Deli. We’re in Love Cake, a “café, deli and cake emporium” just round the corner from Jones’s shop in the neat little coastal resort of Swanage. As an interview venue, this has two advantages: an espresso machine and a bit of space to sit down with a notebook. At something under 400 sq ft, Purbeck Deli has neither. “We are teeny tiny,” Jones had told me in an email earlier the same day. It turns out that Love Cake,

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owned by caterer Emily Strange, is one of several similar local businesses that Purbeck Deli trades with on a regular basis. “They make fabulous cakes here,” Jones tells me, “so if we suddenly find we can’t get a cake or a quiche we’ll call them and say, ‘Can you make one?’ And if they run out of cheese, they’ll come to me.” It all sounds very neighbourly, although Jones stresses that it’s also business-like. “Everything is done by invoice or receipt. It’s not an airy-fairy bartering thing. If they need something from me, I’ll invoice them.” I’ve met Jones only 20 minutes earlier, but I’ve immediately warmed to her. In fact, if Swanage had a welcoming committee to greet its many thousands of day-trippers and holiday visitors, you’d want her in the front line. Last time I was here – to visit premium chocolate-maker Chococo

Deli of the Month INTERVIEW BY MICK WHITWORTH

– it was the height of summer, the narrow streets were swarming with tourists and parking was murder. This time, in the second week of January, I’ve left the car on an empty seafront, and I’m still 50 yards from my d estination when I hear a female voice hollering “Are you looking for the deli?” We’ve never even spoken – the interview was arranged hastily by email over the weekend, with Jones kindly agreeing to stand in for another deli owner who’s fallen victim to the flu – but she greets me in the street like a long lost friend. We briefly pop our heads into

the shop to say hello to manager Amy Spreadborough – busy in the back room, preparing pastry cases for her next batch of quiches – before heading off out again in search of caffeine. Several locals are given similarly warm hellos as we make our way to Love Cake, including one older man who turns out to be Jones’s dad, on his way to do her banking. “He‘s the rock behind my business,” she tells me, after we’ve sat down. A former financial director, he’s the shop’s accountant and visits every day to look after the cash. Jones, as it turns out, is usually at the shop only once or twice a week – and this despite it winning the Best Specialist Retailer title in the 2016 Taste of the West awards. She and husband Dave, a chef, also own Worth Matravers Tea & Supper Room – winner of Best Café/ Tea Room in the same awards in 2015 – and while it’s only three or four miles away, Jones has found trying to run both on a daily basis is just too much of a stretch. After they met, with Dave working restaurant hours and his wife in the deli, they had been “like ships that passed in the night”. They took on the Worth Matravers business so they could work together, but Jones found she was forever driving back and forth

between the two. “It was bit crazy. But then Amy came along, who had worked for me before at the tea room. She has been with me at the deli full-time for a year now, and she’s my right-hand woman.” Jones moved to Swanage with her parents as a child, and remembers visiting Purbeck Deli even then. “It’s been a deli forever,” she says, but by the time she bought the business 10 years ago, it was “very dilapidated, dark and dingy”. Jones had worked in a local language school for many years, and was a nanny before that, all over the world. This might have exposed her to a lot of different cuisines, but she had no professional experience in the food game. “On the day we took over the shop, I remember standing there with my mum, thinking, ‘What have I done?’ I had a lot to learn.” She stripped out many of the deli’s dusty, unloved lines – there was a lot of miscellaneous stuff in cans, she recalls – introduced home-cooked beef, hams and other shop-made ready-to-eat lines, and then steadily took the ambient range

further and further down the ‘local’ route. “Even at the start,” she says, “people really appreciated being able to buy something handmade, rather than manufactured, and I’ve gradually made it more and more local.” Swanage sits on the south east tip of the Isle of Purbeck, the picturesque peninsular between Weymouth and Poole. The area hosts a lively community of small food and drink producers; the wider county of Dorset and the rest of the West Country even more. “I tend to start with Purbeck and work out from there,” Jones says. Visitors to the West Country have a clear expectation of finding local foods on sale, and she makes it her business to keep her offer refreshed. “My approach is to keep the range moving, looking for new people and new things. I go to the local fairs and markets and make sure I know what’s going on.” Again, day-to-day ordering is delegated to

ODorset

Blue Vinny cheese Lyme Bay Winery traditional mead So Italian orzo pasta So Italian squid ink pasta Carwardine coffee beans Dressings ORebecca’s Kitchen pineapple & fig chutney OHome-cooked ham and beef O

OJust OJust

OMartin

OSpringfield

On the day I took over the shop I remember standing there with my mum, thinking, ‘What have I done?’ I had a lot to learn.

Januar y-Februar y 2017 | Vol.18 Issue 1

Vol.18 Issue 1 | Januar y-Februar y 2017

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JANUARY-FEBRUARY

shelf talk

Location: 4 Church St, Ludlow, Shropshire SY8 1AP Floorspace: 500 sq ft (approx.) Turnover: £500,000 Staff: 1 full time; 4-5 part-time

must-stocks l Coedcanlas

marmalades No 8 and No 9

l Healthy

Boy soy sauce Brewery – Oracle

l Salopian

pale ale

Dancing to their own tune

With limited space in the shop, located in a medieval building on Ludlow’s market square, the range has been carefully 'curated’ by the Mackleys l Ludlow

At Harp Lane Deli, Henry and Hannah Mackley have reinvented a Ludlow landmark food shop in the image of their home larder: ‘Everything has to look beautiful and taste good’

I

t might not have the heritage of Fortnum & Mason (established in 1707) or Paxton & Whitfield (1797), but the little deli at 4 Church Street in Ludlow is something of an institution. Set up nearly three decades ago as Ludlow Larder, it then saw 13 years as Deli on the Square under the ownership of Maggie Wright. With its prime location in a beautiful medieval building at one corner of the Shropshire town’s traditional market square, it was perfectly situated to ride the wave of interest in Ludlow that followed the launch there of the UK’s first major food festival in the mid-1990s. Now, along with shops like its neighbour Mousetrap Cheese and butchers like D W Wall & Son, it’s at the core of Ludlow’s reputation as a food destination. No pressure, then, on Henry and Hannah Mackley, who took

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over three years ago and bravely set about reimagining a store that some shoppers had been loyally supporting for three decades. “We had big boots to fill,” admits Henry, when I visit the Mackleys at what is now called Harp Lane Deli on a grey Thursday afternoon in early February. Luckily, though, the couple came to the shop with a strong local foodie heritage of their own. Not only are they both Ludlow born and bred, but their parents were together instrumental in setting up the now-famous festival in 1995. Hannah’s father is a retired former MD of Pol Roger Champagne, while Henry’s mother Lesley is a food writer and cook and is heavily involved in the Slow Food movement. “Our parents are all very fooddriven,” says Hannah, adding it was “kind of inevitable” she and Henry would eventually work in this sector.

Deli of the Month INTERVIEW BY MICK WHITWORTH

Although she’s currently at the shop only part-time while looking after their two young children, Hannah previously worked in sales and marketing for multinational ingredients supplier ADM. “I’ve always been in customer service or sales in something to do with food,” she tells me. If those are useful skills for a deli owner, Henry’s experience was even better. After university in London he cheffed for a couple of years, then “stumbled into a job” at Harvey Nichols Fifth Floor in London, home of its main restaurants and

foodmarket. After a stint out of the food industry – “I did a bit of property marketing” – he returned to Ludlow, where for three years he helped run the deli section at Ludlow Food Centre, on the A49 just outside the town. And it was here he learned many of the tricks he is now applying in his own deli. “I wouldn’t have been able to run this place without that experience,” he says, although he also stresses that the Food Centre – built 10 years ago on the edge of the Earl of Plymouth Estate and incorporating a large café,food hall and several onsite food production units – was an entirely different operation. “It’s almost incomparable,” he says. “They’re a company employing 100-plus people. We employ one full-timer and four or five part-time. And they have quite a different customer to us.

“But the experience was invaluable. I was co-managing cheese and deli, but towards the end of my three years there I spent more time in the office working on new product development. So in a relatively short time I covered a lot of ground.” Even a quick glance around the shelves in the compact little Harp Lane Deli tells you a lot about the approach the Mackleys have taken. With limited space they’ve gone for the best of everything, but also for products that look great on-shelf. As Telegraph food writer Xanthe Clay put it when she spoke at Harp Lane’s official opening, it’s “curated”. “In general,” says Hannah, “everything is here because it looks beautiful and tastes good. It has to do both of those things.” “And it’s here because we like it,” her husband adds. “What’s the point in having a shop like this if you can’t fill it with stuff you’d want at home?” He continues: “It sounds a bit superficial, but I want everything in my cupboard at home to look nice, and it’s the same in shop. In

2017, there’s no excuse for bad packaging.” Products like Ortiz tuna from Brindisa and Jose Gourmet canned fish, bought through a small Portuguese importer in London, set the tone, along with McClure’s dill pickles from Detroit, USA, sourced through Buckley & Beale. “These are ferociously expensive,” says Henry, holding up a big jar of McClure’s. “You don’t get much change out of £9. But on a scale of 1 to 10, how sexy is it?” It’s three years since the Mackleys took over the Deli on the Square, and they then closed the shop for six months to effectively rebuild the interior – within the limits of its Grade II listing – before reopening under their new name. Walls were squared up, and a joiner was brought in to install deep shelves, carefully measured to enable full cases of

product to be put out on display. The building, squeezed between Church Lane and Harp Lane, is the width of a standard §medieval “rod, pole or perch” – just over 16ft – and perhaps twice that in depth, with narrow stairs up to small first- and second-floor rooms. The first floor incorporates Henry’s kitchen and a tiny 6-8 cover informal dining room that is used a few times each month for pre-booked functions. Storage is on the top floor, and you wouldn’t want to be going up and down those narrow stairs too often in a day. “At Christmas, things become pretty tricky,” says Hannah. Another aspect of the refit was the addition of a small coffee bar on one side of the shop, encouraging shoppers to linger. “It was a very functional deli before,” says Henry. “We wanted to make it more of an extension of our own home – a nice

Brewing Co – Blonde beer tuna and anchovies Gourmet canned fish

l Ortiz l Jose

l Easy

José coffee Nut Co luxury granola Scotch Egg Co

l Ludlow

l Handmade

scotch eggs l MacNeil’s l Brindisa

smoked salmon salted Catalan

almonds l Galeta

pasteis de nata (Portuguese custards tarts) Normande à Londres – French saucisson Delicious cakes Yard Creamery – Perroche goats’ cheese to Age – Roquefort Vieux Berger

l Une

l Simply

I want everything in my cupboard at home to look nice, and it’s the same in shop. In 2017, there’s no excuse for bad packaging.

l Neals’

l Fromage

March 2017 | Vol.18 Issue 2

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Vol.18 Issue 2 | March 2017

MARCH

PURBECK DELI Swanage, Dorset

Handmade Scotch Egg Co scotch eggs MacNeil’s smoked salmon Brindisa salted Catalan almonds Galeta pasteis de nata (Portuguese custards tarts) Une Normande à Londres French saucisson Simply Delicious cakes Neal's Yard Creamery Perroche goats’ cheese Fromage to Age Roquefort Vieux Berger

HARP LANE DELI Ludlow, Shropshire

Montgomery’s cheddar Conker Gin Field Honey Jurassic Coffee Tiptree ‘Old Times’ orange marmalade Moore’s Dorset Knobs Homemade mackerel paté Carla Cherry Daniels’ Dorset apple cake

shelf talk

deli of the month vital statistics

Henry and Hannah Mackley both have close family ties to Ludlow’s food community

Coedcanlas marmalades No 8 and No 9 Healthy Boy soy sauce Salopian Brewery Oracle pale ale Ludlow Brewing Co blonde beer Ortiz tuna and anchovies Jose Gourmet canned fish Easy José coffee Ludlow Nut Co luxury granola

shelf talk

deli of the month

deli of the month

attractions

Lucinda La Velle, whose grandparents moved to Millets Farm in the 1950s. She is now joint site manager with brother Ben Carter.

OFarmhouse

Kitchen café restaurant/function space cream parlour barbecues maze

OLimbrick’s OIce

OSummer OMaize

OPick-your-own OChildren’s

play area walkway OCarousel/merry-go-round OWoodland walk OFrosts Garden Cente (tenant) OBeauty salon (tenant) OFalconry centre (tenant) OClock and mirror shop (tenant) OAnimal

vital statistics Where? Market Street, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire Opened: July 2014 Opening hours: 8am-5pm (Mon-Thurs), 8am-10pm (Fri & Sat) Staff: 7 full-time, 7 part-time Floorspace: 1,000 sq ft

must-stocks OMillets’

own hot cross buns Mill strong bread flour Batholomew cows’ milk cheese Biscuits dark chocolate gingers Hole cheddar Darlington’s Legendary Lemon Curd OWell Preserved Oxford marmalade OThe Fine Cheese Company extra virgin olive oil & sea salt crackers OShaken Oak Old Hooky beer mustard OCotswold set honey OToppings pickle & Wensleydale topped pie OHook Norton Hooky Gold pale ale OAuntie Caroline’s Cheek Burning Chilli Chutney OWessex

must-stocks

OSt

l Coaltown

OBorder

Managing a maze of attractions With an ever-widening offer stretching from its pioneering maize maze to Wimbledon tennis teas, family-owned Millets Farm Centre has all the advantages – and all the management challenges – of a highly diversified operation

S

he doesn’t look it, but Lucinda La Velle admits to feeling a bit frazzled when we sit down in the Farmhouse Kitchen restaurant at Millets Farm Centre to talk about her family’s third-generation business. La Velle has just emerged from the Centre office and whizzed behind the café counter to rustle up a very competent cappuccino – just one sign of the multi-tasking she and brother Ben Carter have to undertake in their shared role of site manager. “We both have that job title, but we’re really general dogsbodies,” she says, not entirely in jest. Like anyone brought up in a family business, she’s been mucking in with everything from bag-packing to trolley collection since her school days.

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Now, she is as likely to be found clearing tables in the café-restaurant as attending to the financial or HR duties that are more in her ‘official’ line of work. “At Christmas I’ll spend quite a lot of time behind the deli counter, wrapping cheese,” she tells me. The role has become more of a beast, she says, as new elements – from an ice cream parlour to summer barbecues – are steadily added to

Deli of the Month INTERVIEW BY MICK WHITWORTH

what is far from being a simple farm shop operation. Despite the presence of events manager Jo Kent and site development manager Daren Fisher, it is stilll a monster to manage. “Although we have department managers who can run their section to a high standard, you need people who can move between them and oversee things. Particularly in the summer, we’re getting pulled more and more in all directions.” Based near the village of Frilford, a few miles from Oxford, today’s Farm Centre began life as a pick-your-own strawberry shed on the family farm. La Velle’s grandparents, John and Christine Carter, bought Millets Farm in 1952 and ran it for many years as a mixed dairy and arable operation. “Then my father and uncle [Nigel and Tony Carter] got involved,” she says, “and brought the business to where it is today.” Pick-your-own was developed in the 1970s. The original shed eventually became a shop and café,

All the Farm Centre’s events and attractions are designed to drive footfall in the core farm shop

and then 25 years ago the current farm shop building was erected, and it remains the financial core of the Farm Centre. The farm is still productive, but the cattle have gone and the focus today is very much on fruit and veg – contributing to a fresh produce section in the shop that represents 25% of sales. But bolt-on attractions have always been important at a site

that is nowadays a coach-party destination. Notably, in 1998 Millets opened what La Velle says was the UK’s first maize maze – a giant with over a mile of pathways that won it a Guinness World Record. Great publicity, of course, but she adds: “The next year we scaled it back, because people didn’t want to be in there for two hours!” The list of on-site attractions nowadays ranges from a falconry centre, beauty salon and clock and mirror shop, all operated by tenants, to a children’s play area and farm animal walk-way. The calendar of events at Millets is impressive, from hosting MGB car owners’ rallies to storytelling sessions for kids and, in June, “tennis & tea” afternoons, allowing customers to watch Wimbledon on a big screen while indulging in a tennis-themed tea. Ultimately, these are all about pushing more money through the tills, and it’s seen as important they don’t distrupt normal trade. “Our events are

always about benefiting retail first,” says La Velle. “We’re mindful of not putting off regular food shoppers by making ourselves too busy. When it comes to driving footfall, Millets has also benefited hugely from a long-standing tie-up with Frosts Garden Centres, a small, family-owned chain that has been a tenant at Millets for decades. The two work closely to ensure their offers are complementary. “We’re very lucky to have Frosts as our partners,” La Velle says. “They put a lot of investment into our site.” The Carter family was fortunate to have diversified into PYO and retailing in the 1970s, as it made the decision to quit dairy production less painful than for others who faced the dual catastrophes of BSE and foot-and-mouth. “We were very lucky we had the retail operation,” she says.

“No matter how much you love something, you can’t afford to have it dragging down the rest of the business.” It’s a little unusual, La Velle points out, for a farm shop to develop around a fruit & veg offer, rather than beef, pork or lamb. That’s the main reason why, for many years, the butchery counter was let out as a concession. But six years ago it was taken in-house, giving Millets more control over this key category. “We do feel that being able to set the same standards across the board is helpful,” La Velle says. The same principle led to another change in January 2016 when the Farmhouse Kitchen, previously tenanted, was also taken in-house. With 160 covers inside, many more outside in summer, and up to 30 staff at peak season, it has brought new management challenges but

It’s about saying, ‘That product is going there because that’s where it works best for the customer, as part of a holistic offer’

April 2017 | Vol.18 Issue 3

l Happy

APRIL MILLETS FARM CENTRE Frilford, Oxfordshire Millets’ own hot cross buns Wessex Mill strong bread flour St Batholomew cows’ milk cheese Border Biscuits dark chocolate gingers Wookey Hole cheddar Mrs Darlington’s Legendary Lemon Curd The Fine Cheese Company extra virgin olive oil & sea salt crackers

F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

l Rhydlewis

The Kindreds’ spirits

also some major benefits. “Running it ourselves enables us to give the same provenance message across the site, and that has been great,” she says. “We already have four bakers making bread for the shop, and now customers are served the same bread in the café – not a Warburton’s loaf. It doesn’t sit well for customers to be told they can’t have the same products they’ve seen in the shop because ’it’s nothing to do with us’.” Now, sausages and burgers made in the butchery department, quiches made behind the deli counter or cakes produced in the large on-site bakery are all available in the café, while soups or patés made in the restaurant will migrate back to the shop. “There’s a fair amount of interbusiness number-crunching going on,” La Velle says. With each department manager naturally focused on their own targets, this inter-trading needs clear ground-rules, so the various production kitchens are paid at a fixed 40% discount to the retail price. The Farmhouse Kitchen or the Vol.18 Issue 3 | April 2017

Best Brands

Coffee strawberry gin jam (Miranda’s Preserves) Belly scotch eggs smoked salmon l Alex Gooch artisan bread l Albert Rees Carmarthenshire ham l Silver & Green piripiri stuffed olives l The Baker’s Pig salami l Dash Seafood Pembrokeshire crab l Gwenlas dairy milk and butter l Foraging Fox beetroot ketchup l Snowdonia Black bomber l Trealy Farm merguez salami l Ginhaus

OWookey OMrs

Artisan gin is doing the business for delis and farm shops up and down the country but one retailer in Carmarthenshire has taken it to a new level. FFD visited Llandeilo’s Ginhaus Deli to find out how its founders have incorporated more than 350 different gins into its deli-café set-up.

W

hen Mike and Kate Kindred first met in a pub on Market Street in Llandeilo, I doubt anyone could have predicted that they would be sat in almost the exact same spot some 20 years later. Back in 1997, Mike was the bar manager at The Three Tuns, “a proper drinkers’ pub”, and Kate was a customer. Fast forward two decades, including a few years away from their hometown, and the couple are indeed back where it all began. While they can’t prop up the bar anymore (the pub closed in 2002), drinking is still very much a part of the building’s current existence, as Ginhaus Deli. A deli-café/gin bar is not something FFD has encountered before – and it is just as much the former as it is the latter – but the Kindreds’ concept is thriving in this

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Shaken Oak Old Hooky beer mustard Cotswold set honey Toppings pickle & Wensleydale topped pie Hook Norton Hooky Gold pale ale Auntie Caroline’s Cheek Burning Chilli Chutney Well Preserved Oxford marmalade

2017-18

relatively remote Carmarthenshire market town. There are still traces of the original pub, such as the smokestained textured ceiling above the deli, but the gloom is warmed by a charming hotchpotch of furniture, signs and homemade light fittings. The whole space feels both modern and old at the same time – a bit like the spirit formerly known as Mother’s Ruin. Given the renaissance of gin, the Kindreds’ timing was very good. But

Deli of the Month INTERVIEW BY MICHAEL LANE

not necessarily intentional. Mike, also an experienced builder, was looking to get out of the trade in 2014 and the lease on a deli within the since-converted and partitioned Three Tuns had come up. His sister-in-law and brother now owned the building and suggested he and Kate take up the lease. But before they had even signed the documents the other retail units in the pub also became available. So, Mike ironically found himself knocking down walls to prepare the floorspace for the forthcoming larger-than-intended deli. It was only when the Kindreds were searching for a name and branding that the idea for Ginhaus was born. “We were looking into the history of the street and this building and we read that there was a gin distillery on Market Street, hundreds

of years ago,” says Kate. The couple started researching gin and soon found themselves making friends with start-up distilleries, like Burleigh’s in Leicestershire and The Old Bakery in North London, and piecing together what has become a wall of different bottles in the shop. “We started off with about 30 gins,” says Mike. “We’ve got about 360 now. We don’t sell any other spirit, just gin.” There are no mainstream brands in the line-up because Ginhaus cannot compete on price with the local supermarkets for gins like Bombay Sapphire and Gordon’s. The collection spans a variety of price points (some even exceed £200 a bottle) and geographical locations. There’s still room for Welsh distillers like Da Mhile, a sister business of Teifi Cheese, and Forager’s from

Snowdonia. The deli has such a specialist reputation now that both start-up and foreign distilleries will approach the Kindreds on social media. Often they get hold of first batches and, in some cases, Ginhaus is one of a handful of UK stockists – alongside esteemed London bottle shops and food halls – for a brand. “It’s nice to be recognised and not be a big company in London,” says Mike. “We are stuck out here, pretty much as far west as you can go, but we can still do it.” Even if other independents reading this think stocking so many spirits is beyond them, Ginhaus is a stellar example of how to sell successfully, regardless of volume. On the bar side, it sells a regularly changing gin tasting board of three shots with all the trimmings. The board includes tasting for each gin to encourage “trainspotterish” note-taking from regulars, who can then build-up their knowledge and enthusiasm. When the deli is open on a Friday and Saturday night, customers

can buy whole bottles (plus £20 corkage) and they’ll also get a pinney plus all the kit they need to run their own little bar-within-a-bar at their table. But Ginhaus does roaring trade in off-sales, too. And that is partly because their approach is fearless. Mike shrugs at the thought of having some £4,000-worth of glass bottles on shelves within reach of

just put it on pour with the rest of them.’ It’s not a big deal.” Given that samples are only a quarter of a shot glass, wastage and losses are negligible but the customers are engaged, Mike says, and they will come back. “If people come in here, especially now, they know they’re coming for a bottle of gin. They want something different.” For the Kindreds, selling gin is just like selling any other deli product. “The ones that are easy to sell are the ones where we’ve been and met the distiller,” says Kate Kindred. “We know the story, we know about the botanicals and we’ve seen where they’ve picked them.” While gin is obviously the shop’s USP, the deli itself is tended just as enthusiastically by Kate and the result is a cut above the average. The cheese selection is a mix of revered locals, like the Goudastyle Teifi and Caws Cenarth’s

must-stock gins l Burleigh's l Da

signature Mhile seaweed

Dash Seafood Pembrokeshire crab Gwenlas dairy milk and butter Foraging Fox beetroot ketchup Snowdonia Black Bomber Trealy Farm merguez salami

We started off with about 30 gins. We’ve got about 360 now. We don’t sell any other spirit, just gin. customers (“We’ve got cameras”) and he’s not shy of giving tasters, either. “We have 40-50 gins on pour [from the bar]. If there’s a bottle customers haven’t seen before, at £60-£70 a bottle, I’d hate to think they’d pay that much and get home and not like it.” “So I say ‘I’ll open it and you can try it. If you like it, that’s fine, it’s the bottle for you. If you don’t then I’ll

May 2017 | Vol.18 Issue 4

l Old

Bakery

l Snowdonia l Masons

Forager's Yorkshire Dry

Vol.18 Issue 4 | May 2017

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MAY GINHAUS DELI Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire Coaltown Coffee Ginhaus strawberry gin jam (Miranda’s Preserves) Happy Belly scotch eggs Rhydlewis smoked salmon Alex Gooch artisan bread Albert Rees Carmarthenshire ham Silver & Green piripiri stuffed olives The Baker’s Pig salami 61


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www.snowdoniacheese.co.uk 62

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2017-18 · F INE FOOD DIGEST


MUST STOCKS DELI OF THE MONTH

DELI OF THE MONTH One shop in North London has a slightly different take on the deli platter, but Harringay Local Store’s combination of vinyl records with craft beer, premium treats and health food is working wonders on Green Lanes

Because it looks a bit unusual, it can be a struggle to get people through the door

Talkin’ ’bout their generations

Interview by Michael Lane

All in the mix MUST STOCKS

IF ANYONE was thinking of researching the correlation between people’s tastes in food and music, a small shop in North London would be a good place to start. Younger customers come in for a few cans of craft beer, some artisan doughnuts and pick up an LP of early ’90s indie rock. But older shoppers might peruse the selection of wine and then grab a classic ’70s album to go with it. It’s not a typical Deli of the Month basket but at Harringay Local Stores it’s the norm. “I think it’s weirder for other people than it is for us,” says co-owner Ebony Harding of her shop’s vinyl record section. “To us, it just seems such a natural thing. You see street food vendors at all the big music festivals now. It makes complete sense that someone would want to buy a new record as well as a steak and a bottle of wine for their Saturday night.” Opened just over two-and-a-half years ago, the shop is part of a small enclave of modern outlets at one end of Green Lanes, a busy road that is more famous for its kebab shops and Turkish grocers.

Buttercross Farm free-range bacon Packington free-range chicken Home-cooked hams

Interview by Mick Whitworth

Seventy years after Percy Grantham sank his demob money into a Cheshire grocers’ shop, there’s only one employee whose doesn’t bear his surname. Could this be the archetypal family deli?

Cheshire Smokehouse malted granary and sourdough bread Burts Blue cheese Charlie’s Cheshire butter ManCoCo coffee Galore chutney

Rachael Grantham, with parents Gill and Mike. Their traditional shopfront can scare some customers, but Rachael says it keeps the store away from ‘that modern, sterile look’.

VITAL STATISTICS

Location: 68 Heyes Lane, Alderley Edge, Cheshire SK9 7HY Established: 1947 No. of staff: 4 Floorspace: 510 sq ft Main wholesalers: Hennart, Rowcliffe, Alivini, Zonin, Mondial, Hider Foods

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SO COME ON, I say to Rachael Grantham, half an hour into my visit to her family’s fifthgeneration store in Alderley Edge. Tell me some downsides about running this place. No-one will be interested if it’s all too perfect. We’re sitting in the back office of the shop, where, accompanied by her parents Mike and Gill, Rachael has been giving me a not-so-potted history of a business acquired by her greatgreat-grandfather Percy in 1947. And on the face of it, I’m thinking, it’s a lovely little set-up. Grantham’s of Alderley Edge is a compact deli and wine shop, occupying what would have been the two front ground-floor rooms of a sturdy, detached 19th century house in a überfashionable Cheshire village. It has a loyal, mostly well-heeled customer base providing enough revenue to support three family members full-time, (all of whom appear to get on famously, despite living in each other’s pockets) with Rachael’s sisters Jessica and Lydia both happy to help out in busy periods. There is only one non-Grantham on the books, Sean Gregory, who the family have known since he was at school with Lydia. This, says Rachael, means they have none of the staffing issues that can plague other small businesses. And they’re all foodies, lighting up when they start talking about products like Rachael’s current cheese squeeze. “We’ve just started selling a Robiola from Piedmont,” she tells me, “and it’s my ‘find’ of the moment. This particular one is all goats’ milk and... oh my god, it’s the best cheese I’ve ever tasted!” It all sounds very Happy Deli Family. So come on, Rachael. Give me some negatives. Well, she eventually says, maybe it’s the long hours? That’s the trade-off for keeping everything in the family. Mike and Gill live above the shop, making it hard for them to switch off, and Rachael struggles to fit in much of a social

life. “This job is a real commitment,” she says. “If I’m planning something socially, the first question is always ‘what’s on at work that day?’.” There is also, she admits, a downside to the shop’s location. Set back from the street in a quiet part of this east Cheshire village, it looks handsome but attracts little or no casual passing trade. “If there’s anything we struggle with, it’s the people that don’t know about us, because we’re a bit out of the village.” And one thing I have taken to be a real positive in these retro-loving times – the quaint, pre-1960s frontage – turns out to be a bit of a negative too, with those who prefer the anonymity of modern shopping finding it intimidating to walk into. “Because it looks a bit unusual, it can be a struggle to get people through the door,” Rachael says. “For us, it’s nice and traditional and keeps us away from that modern, sterile look. But we have to get it across that it’s okay for people to come in and look around – and okay to decide it’s not for them.” That shop-front does indeed hark back to the good old days of the independent grocer, before multiple convenience stores and symbol groups. Percy Grantham had worked in the shop, then called Harrap’s, as a youngster in the 1930s. When he returned to Cheshire after the war, an ailing Mr Harrap gave him first refusal on the business and, with the aid of Percy’s demob money plus a bank loan, Harrap’s became Grantham’s. Over the decades, Grantham’s has gradually morphed from general grocery store – “selling everything from hams to washing lines”, as Mike puts it – to what once would have been called a high class provisioners. I’d now call it a “proper

Pure Origin chocolate Castella d’Albola Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Forest Gin Bongo’s Rock ‘n’ Roll chilli jam Robson’s honey mustard Duck and goose confit (Patrick & Maggie Gosman) Paleta de Bellota Iberico

Although it deals in the currency of hipsters – chiefly vinyl and pale ale – it would be unfair to pigeonhole Harringay Local Store with the gimmicky outlets that pop up just a stone’s throw to the east, in the city’s trendy heartlands. With its combo of smooth concrete floor, metal racking and distressed wood surfaces, the shop does fit the bill but the bric-a-brac – skateboard decks, music posters, even an old arcade machine – crammed into every nonmerchandising space feels personal rather than calculated. And for all the eclecticism in her husband’s new and secondhand record section towards the back of the shop, the selection of food and drink has been just as carefully and colourfully curated by Ebony. The odd well-known speciality brand, like Tracklements or Grumpy Mule, shares shelf space with a plethora of small-batch locally produced items, from London-made honey and preserves through to items like Kicap Manis and Kimchi crafted in the same postcode. That said, you could actually do a full shop

VITAL STATISTICS

CONTINUED ON PAGE 69

June 2017 | Vol.18 Issue 5

Vol.18 Issue 5 | June 2017

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JUNE GRANTHAMS OF ALDERLEY EDGE Alderley Edge, Cheshire Buttercross Farm free-range bacon Packington free-range chicken Home-cooked hams Cheshire Smokehouse malted granary and sourdough bread Burts Blue cheese Charlie’s Cheshire butter ManCoCo coffee Galore chutney

Pure Origin chocolate Castella d’Albola Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Forest Gin Bongo’s Rock ‘n’ Roll chilli jam Robson’s honey mustard Duck & goose confit (Patrick & Maggie Gosman) Paleta de Bellota Iberico

Established: 2015 No. of staff: 7 Average spend: £12 Floorspace: 80 sq m Turnover: £380,000 (last year)

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Retail area: 7,500 sq ft Turnover: £2.5m (shop only)

MY FIRST ENCOUNTER with Alan Reading is on a grey, blowy, sopping wet day in February. We’re at the upmarket Sharrow Bay country house hotel on the shores of Ullswater in the Lake District, at an event hosted by Eden District Council to launch the following month’s English Tourism Week promotion. Ullswater, often described as the most beautiful of the English lakes, couldn’t look less appealing on this bleak late winter day, but no matter: we’re here to talk business as much as pleasure. Eden Council, which punches above its weight when it comes to visitor promotion, is today keen to showcase what tourism development officer Charlie Thornton describes as “quality food experiences” in the Eden Valley, Ullswater and the North Pennines. And that’s why Reading is on the guest list, alongside dignitaries like Lady Cobham, outgoing chair of VisitEngland, and representatives of businesses including Kennedys Fine Chocolates, Abbott Lodge Ice Cream, and Westmorland plc, operator of the

MUST-STOCKS Shire Meadows beef Caldecotts Poultry Sessions sausages Fowlers Cheese range Snowdonia Black Bomber Mrs Darlingtons preserves Purity Brewery beers Bon Bons sweets Outdoor Pig Co pork pies Solihull Apiaries honey

suppliers to hold tastings in the shop. That way his customers decide for him. Becketts doesn’t have to go looking for everything, though. Its location is ideal for fresh produce from the Vale of Evesham and although Becketts’ farm land is now primarily arable, Comer buys all his flour from FWP Matthews in the Cotswolds. He also has a long-standing relationship with Poxon’s for beef, Caldicott’s for poultry and cheese from Fowlers. “They’re the oldest cheese-making family in the country. And they’re three miles down the road. Wonderful.” He works with distributors, like Blakemore Fine Foods, but is just as happy to deal with one-man-band producers like his honey supplier Solihull Apiaries. “I want him to still be producing honey in five years so I’m never going to beat him down on price,” adds Comer. “Generally, he tells me what it’s going to cost and I pay.” Although there are some smaller brands and some speciality stalwarts like Mrs Darlingtons and Tracklements in the shop, the product mix at Becketts is not exactly ultra high-end. Throughout the shop you’ll also see mainstream brands, like Cadbury chocolate bars by the sandwich counter and Kelloggs cereals in a

No. of staff: 54

East End Farm eggs Equinox kombucha organic vegetables Rude Health almond milk

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Flourish sourdough Kooky Bakes millionaire's brownies  Le Grappin rosé Bagnums  St Johns doughnuts Design By Nature flowers San Amvrosia hummus Devon Rose streaky smoked bacon East End Farm eggs Equinox kombucha Rude Health almond milk Beavertown Gamma Ray American Pale Ale

Talk of the town

shop alone is £2.5m and you can add £1.2m from the onsite restaurant, £130,000 from the conference facilities and even £50,000 from an onsite cookery school. The latest monthly gross profit figure is in excess of 50% across all six departments – butchery, fruit & veg, bakery, deli, sandwich bar and gifts & goodies (all ambient food and non-food). “Not everybody visits every department,” says Comer. “The one thing that brings people here is our full in-store bakery. It’s what a lot of farm shops of comparable size to us don’t have and I think they’re missing a trick.” Each department is run by its own manager, several with over a decade’s experience in the role, and they are responsible for buying. “If the customer wants to see it on our shelves, we’ll go and source it,” says Comer. “That’s a big part of the job for the managers down there. They have the autonomy. Obviously there are lines that we ask them to stick to but I have a good set of people down there.” While customer requests account for many trials of new lines, Comer says he is willing to try anything and always encourages new

Average basket: £10.02

vinyl

Interview by Mick Whitworth

On the money

Location: Heath Farm, Alcester Road, Wythall, Birmingham B47 6AJ

Devon Rose streaky smoked bacon avocados

there,” she says, adding that the shop also gets approached by new start-ups offering samples. Instagram is another good source of new products for Harding. She also uses the photobased social media platform to promote new listings at the shop (“I’m not really into Twitter. To me, it’s just a lot of words”). As many retailers who buy direct will testify, the method is not without its challenges. Harding says she has to be “brutal” with poorly performing products, even if she loves them personally, because shelf space is at a premium. Having to give feedback on products that aren’t good enough can also be difficult. Surprisingly, Harding also has trouble getting hold of some London-made lines that take her fancy because producers either won’t deliver to her without a large surcharge (despite only being in Zone 3) or they just don’t deliver at all. And even when she can get them in, small batch local products don’t always equate to profit. “Definitely, there’s lot of things that we do for the love,” she says. “The more local things are, the more expensive they are too.” As a rule, Harding goes with RRPs to set her

HARRINGAY LOCAL STORE South London

DELI OF THE MONTH

Established: 1984 (1996 in the current building)

St Johns doughnuts Design By Nature flowers San Amvrosia hummus

JULY

A successful town makes for a successful deli, argues Penrith retailer Alan Reading, who is working with other local firms to bring in more cash from the nearby Lake District’s millions of annual visitors

VITAL STATISTICS

Beavertown Gamma Ray American Pale Ale Le Grappin rosé Bagnums

Vol.18 Issue 6 | July 2017

Set up in Birmingham’s green belt nearly 30 years ago, Becketts Farm has picked nearly the perfect spot for rural retailing

M5 north-south and the M6 north-south,” Comer tells FFD. “In terms of people meeting here it’s a fantastic location and with the amount of traffic we get going past every day, I only really need 1% of that and it’ll take care of our turnover.” It was Alan Beckett, chairman of the company that owns the shop as well as 14 farms in the local area, who had the foresight to buy the plot (then a farm) in the 1970s when it was just on a single track road. As the road has widened and the traffic has grown so has Becketts, graduating from an initial egg-vending shed opened in the early ’80s to the current building in 1996, with a 160-seater restaurant bolted on the side after that and a further extension in 2008. Comer reckons this is probably the sixth version of the shop on the site. He would know because he began working here as butcher some 30 years ago and has worked his way up to running the retail operation, alongside the company’s current MD, Alan’s son, Simon. With 7,500 sq ft of retail space and 54 staff it is physically a big operation but its number are equally impressive. Annual turnover in the

Flourish sourdough Kooky Bakes millionaires brownies 

July 2017 | Vol.18 Issue 6

DELI OF THE MONTH

ALTHOUGH its website’s header is decorated with various award roundels, one thing Becketts Farm isn’t going to win anytime soon is a beauty contest. Maybe I’ve been spoilt over the years but the shop’s ’90s red brick exterior – in keeping with the industrial units it faces across the car park – is functional and honest rather than grand and rustic. The same could be said of the interior. The large L-shaped shopfloor begins with a neatly dressed produce section, and you encounter a full bakery unit and counter before turning the corner to see a serveover – housing food-togo, deli and butchery – that stretches into the distance, flanked by ambient goods. The real scale and scope of the operation on this site in the green belt just south of Birmingham didn’t really hit me until I went upstairs. Within minutes of sitting down at retail director Ian Comer’s desk, with its panoramic bank of security camera screens, I feel slightly embarrassed to have judged Becketts on first impressions. The real beauty of this place is its location. “We’re in central England. The M42 links

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here. There’s a multideck packed with organic vegetables, another with fresh meat and European cheeses and the counter boasts a selection of artisan bread and cakes. There are also plenty of vegan products, a wide variety of dried goods, including a large selection of whole foods, and a range of wine and beer that would put most off-licences to shame. Rather than go extremely healthy or all-out glutton with the range, the Hardings opted for their own reality. “People have good intentions but, at the same time, they love to drink and they like to treat themselves,” says Harding. “They might try and cook healthy at home and then go out for pizzas, burgers and to street food markets. We just wanted to reflect how we cooked, the ingredients we use and the treats we wanted to have.” While the healthy end of the spectrum is easier to cover using wholesalers Infinity Foods, Marigold and Goodness Foods, Harding also deals with more than 100 individual suppliers and is determined that offer will never be “on the beige side”. “We definitely didn’t just want to dial a wholesaler and fill our shop. I’m really into going to markets and there’s so much exciting food out

Location: 581C Green Lanes Harringay, London N8 0RG

Interview by Michael Lane

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While it was being fitted out and for several months after opening, ‘Not Another Tesco’ was emblazoned on the store’s frontage. And although it garnered some decent press attention, the slogan was very much a mission statement for Harding, who set up the shop with musician husband Paul. “We were trying to show a bit of our frustration at what was going on in the area,” she tells FFD. “There’s always another kebab shop opening or another thing that people I know didn’t want. “There’s a Tesco over the road, too.” Residents of the area for nearly a decade prior, the Hardings were fed up of going to other parts of London to buy the food and drink that they wanted. Given the burgeoning community of similarly minded young professionals and creatives moving in around them after being priced out of places like Hackney, opening their own place seemed a viable proposition. “So we just thought ‘Screw it, we’ll give it a go’,” she says, belying the couple’s Australian roots.

Tebay services and farm shops on the M6. For the past five years, Reading and daughter Joanne Ashby have owned one of the area’s longest established food stores, J&J Graham in Penrith. While the modern, edge-of-town food hall operated by regional butcher Cranston’s has nabbed a lot of national publicity, J&J Graham – based in a handsome Victorian building at 6-7 Market Square – is a genuine local icon. It’s also a visual magnet for any tourists wandering around the town. But Penrith is just outside Lake District National Park, and as Reading tells me at the Sharrow Bay event, his focus for this year is on pulling more Lakes visitors into the town as a shopping destination. Five months later I meet Reading again, this time at the historic deli, which was established as a business in 1793 and moved into this imposing three-story building in 1880. We’re in his office, a second-floor eyrie with an inspiring view over the largely unspoilt market square, and he’s spelling out in more

detail why it’s important to promote the town as a whole, not just his own business. “We know we get a lot of tourists in here, but we think there’s a really big market we’re missing out on who’re not visiting Penrith at all,” he says. “If they visit Penrith, they will visit us. “Depending on whose figures you believe, there are at least 14 million visitors to the Lakes every year. We don’t need to get many of them to make a big difference to the town.” Reading reckons he spends around half a day each week on activities that look beyond his own four walls. He’s closely involved with the local Chamber of Trade, for example, and also with Penrith BID (Business Improvement District), a private/public partnership running projects to improve the health of firms in the town. “Every business whose rates are over a certain threshold pays an extra 1% levy towards the BID,” he explains. “Then if we want to do something – like put on a street market with 50 stalls, and run special buses to bring people

Established: 1793 (under current ownership since 2012) Retail space: 1,000 sq ft No. of staff: 4 full-time, 8 part-time Turnover: £500,000 Alan Reading’s varied career path led him back to retail in 2012

Vol.18 Issue 7 | August 2017

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Cumberland Mustard honey mustard Dalemain bishops’ marmalade Eden Brewery’s Eden Gold beer Farrers high roast coffee Fine Cheese Co crackers Penrith Toffee Shop fudge Kin toffee vodka

in the town for businesses to get involved with, including the Eden Food & Farming Festival, run over two Saturdays in July, and the one-day Winter Droving festival organised by Eden Arts, which includes a food and crafts market and a torchlit procession. Another is the Dalemain Marmalade Festival – spun off from the World Marmalade Awards – which has rapidly outgrown its base at nearby stately home Dalemain House. “It’s turned into a bit of a monster,” says Reading, “so Jane Hasell-McCosh from Dalemain approached the Chamber of Trade and asked if we’d like to get involved.” Now some of the busier elements of the Festival, like its market stalls, have moved into the town, and Reading came up with the name Penrith Goes Orange for the linked town centre festival. “It’s the colour of marmalade,” he says, “but because it’s just a colour it means any business can get involved – not just food businesses.” You have to admire Reading’s commitment to outside activities that many busy, headsdown deli owners might see as beyond them. It no doubt helps that his daughter Joanne, who worked at J&J Graham for 12 years before

Thornby Moor Dairy’s Cumberland farmhouse cheese Traybakes caramel crispie XL cheese crisps

CONTINUED ON PAGE 97

September 2017 | Vol.18 Issue 8

Vol.18 Issue 8 | September 2017

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

BECKETT’S FARM SHOP Wythall, Birmingham

J&J GRAHAM Penrith, Cumbria

Shire Meadows beef Caldecotts Poultry Sessions sausages Fowlers Cheese range Snowdonia Black Bomber Mrs Darlington's preserves Purity Brewery beers Bon Bons sweets Outdoor Pig Co pork pies Solihull Apiaries honey

Castellino sweet Sicilian olives Coca Cola

into town – we put together a budget and ask the BID for money to help.” This system has several advantages, he says. For one thing, the cash it generates is independent of the “flippin’ Council”. Another is that it brings in funds from large businesses that, individually, might not contribute to local projects. He points out some of the big brands visible from his office window. “You’ve got HSBC, NatWest, Barclay, the building societies – they have the highest rateable values, but do you think they’d be interested in going to a meeting about buses? If you went to them asking for £50 towards flowers for the town centre they’d say no. So this is a good way of getting access to their money.” Reading is also an organiser for Totally Locally Penrith – one of many national Totally Locally groups aiming to build sustainable local economies. “It’s a marketing campaign for independent businesses, to get more people supporting their local firms,” he explains. “We’ve estimated that if everyone in Penrith switched £5 of their weekly spend from national to local businesses it would give a £3.2m boost to the economy here.” There are now a number of popular events

Location: 6-7 Market Square, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 7BS

CONTINUED ON PAGE 55

August 2017 | Vol.18 Issue 7

Appleby Creamery’s Eden Chieftain cheese Brysons of Keswick bread

Sweet Potato Spirit Co plum gin

VITAL STATISTICS

kitchen essentials corner Apart from the odd success – £40 bottles of gin or £16 jars of pork scratchings – Comer says that many higher end things that he tries don’t come off. Past experiments include artisan olive breads in the bakery and ready-to-slice Beef Wellingtons in the serveover. Customers just didn’t want to buy them. Comer says that some farm shops and their buying policy can be a “pipe dream”. “You then have to decide whether it’s earning you a living or whether you’re playing at something that nobody really wants.” He adds: “I’m not Harrods, I’m not Fortnum & Mason, I’m just Becketts Farm shop in the middle of Wythall. “We make our own bread, it’s a lovely product at a fair price. Lovely fruit and veg locally sourced as much as we can and we sell some great meat. That ain’t rocket science. And there are a lot of people at lunchtime who need feeding.” That last point is an understatement. There is always a healthy queue, made up of local office workers and those from the industrial units that the company owns, for Becketts’ sandwich bar – which is making £7-8,000 a week.

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Penrith Toffee Shop fudge Kin toffee vodka Sweet Potato Spirit Co plum gin Thornby Moor Dairy’s Cumberland farmhouse cheese Traybakes caramel crispie XL cheese crisps

Appleby Creamery’s Eden Chieftain cheese Brysons of Keswick bread Castellino sweet Sicilian olives Coca Cola Cumberland Mustard honey mustard Dalemain Bishops’ marmalade Eden Brewery’s Eden Gold beer Farrers high roast coffee The Fine Cheese Co crackers

DELI OF THE MONTH

DELI OF THE MONTH

Bristol has grown into something of a foodie Mecca in the last decade and Clifton institution Papadeli has been there throughout. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t had to adapt its model and its premises to move with the times.

On their 1,200 acre Perthshire farm, the Niven family have quietly created a gift-laden destination store that owes a stylistic debt to Ireland’s Avoca Interview by Mick Whitworth

Interview by Michael Lane

Their own furrow

Floor by floor DURING MY MEETING with Simon MacDonnell he pulls out a ledger tabbed out with post-it notes documenting various incoming deliveries. “Other delis might aspire to have a back office or EPoS system,” the co-owner of Bristol’s Papadeli tells FFD, “but we do everything by hand – all stock-taking, everything.” “I think we’re probably a bit mad,” he adds. It might be slightly fairer to use the term “old school”, because this accounting system is not exactly detrimental to business. And if you were to get your hands on that paperwork, the numbers would bear this out. Papadeli is turning over the best part of £1m and this is roughly split 50:50 between its deli and an outside catering operation that is thriving in a city that spoils its residents for dining and deli choices. What’s more, the shop pre-dates the UK’s foodie boom and Bristol’s particularly impressive take on it. It’s been on the same spot, a threestorey Victorian building just off the bustling Whiteladies Road in Clifton, for the last 15 years.

The blue and white frontage is the definition of calm exterior and the high-ceilinged deli on the ground floor – well-stocked with Continental and premium local items – continues that theme. But the next two floors are an entirely different matter. On the second level, there is an office receiving deliveries and a well-staffed kitchen cranking out items for the deli’s counters. And on the top level, another four chefs have little time to enjoy the view of swaying treetops from their kitchen because they are preparing dishes for weddings and events at the weekend. At times, the hubbub on these upper decks renders the softly spoken MacDonnell barely audible. He is remarkably calm for a chef but that might be something to do with his first career. After a decade in teaching he retrained as a chef at Leith’s and worked in London as the era of the gastropub dawned in the ‘90s. He then moved back to his home city of Bristol in 1998 and took a job with the famous chef and restaurateur Barney Haughton (brother of Better Food Co owner Phil) in his famous Rocinantes

and Quartier Vert restaurants. It was in this last job, after the birth of his first son, that he was given the nickname Papa. MacDonnell decided that the working hours for chefs were not going to fit with the new family life he was embarking on. So, he and wife Catrin set up Papadeli on Alma Road just around the corner from the kitchens he had been working in. “When we opened, everybody said ‘you’re just off the main road’,” says MacDonnell with a mock gasp. “But we are opposite a car park that has 1,000 spaces.” “There are doom and gloom merchants whenever you open anything, but have confidence in yourself. You become a destination if you’re good enough. It is very crucial but there are more factors than the ideal location.” Perhaps one of the biggest factors in Papadeli’s success is that MacDonnell and his wife own the freehold of the building, which has allowed them to adjust the space to the business’s needs over the years. Back in 2002, they started with just the ground floor.

VITAL STATISTICS

Location: 84 Alma Rd, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2DJ Established: 2002 Turnover: £920,000 No. of staff: 12 full-time, 10 part-time Retail space: 650 sq ft (ground floor) Average spend: £10-£20 58

Simon MacDonnell set up Papadeli with wife Catrin in 2002

I AM NOT IN THE BEST HUMOUR when I arrive at Gloagburn Farm Shop on a slightly cheerless October afternoon. I’ve flown up to Scotland from the West Country, arriving at the Europcar desk at Edinburgh airport to find my driver’s licence has gone AWOL and I can’t hire so much as a pony and trap. The result: a £115 taxi bill for a tense one-hour drive north from the Scottish capital, seemingly to the middle of nowhere, hoping I’ll make the interview before closing time. So it’s good to calm down over coffee with co-owner Alison Niven, in a quiet section of Gloagburn’s 140-cover café, and find out why my Guild of Fine Food colleagues, who ran a cheese training day here a few months earlier with wholesaler The Cress Co, have given it rave reviews. Despite standing, seemingly isolated, in 1,200 acres of farmland, Gloagburn Farm Shop is less than five miles from the fringes of Perth – the “gateway to the Highlands” and officially dubbed one of top five places to live in Scotland. And while not everyone travels as far as me to get here, the 1,900 sq ft outlet has quietly

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“We purchased about £3,000-worth of stock, which we were quite frightened about, and it filled about an eighth of the shop,” recalls MacDonnell, adding that they needed to take out a small loan to fill the shop properly. Within a year or so of opening the couple realised it would be difficult to kick on with retail alone so they fitted out another floor and opened a café. “You can run a deli like that in an affluent area like this and it’s a good lifestyle but you soon realise you need add-ons to survive or to take you out of the technical side of running the business,” says MacDonnell. “After three years, you may be tired of sweeping the floor at 6 o’clock at night and not having any weekends. So you need to expand.” Having honed their model to a successful formula, MacDonnell says they considered developing a multi-site business and opening more outlets. “If each deli only breaks even, all you end up doing is just having a lot of businesses with a lot of headaches,” he says, acknowledging that there is a certain benefit with economies of scale. In 2010, they decided to remove the secondfloor café area, leaving just a handful of seats in the deli itself. They lost 30 covers but these were only being used at lunchtime and the kitchen had

October-November 2017 | Vol.18 Issue 9

for that. Without it, I’m not sure we would have gone ahead.” That grant provided £25k in match-funding to get the shop off the ground. But it was the first and last public money the Nivens have sought. As their son Fergus – now the shop’s general manager – tells me later, they’ve preferred to crack on with business than get lost in reams of bureaucracy. “To be honest, [grant aid] hasn’t exactly fallen in our laps,” he says, “and we’ve just kind of got on with it rather than wait on the application process. We’d rather concentrate on getting the customers in.” Expansion has been slow and careful, starting with a few outside dining tables to extend the original 30-40 cover café, then a covered area for rainy days, which was eventually boxed in to create more year-round seating. The shop was extended too, and then a bigger project five years ago saw Gloagburn take its current shape, doubling the number of café covers and adding a 400 sq ft function room. This space has been used mainly for daytime business meetings and afternoon teas, and when I visited in mid-October had just been turned

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been underemployed during the afternoon. Papadeli did run a café at the Royal West of England Academy for five years, after reducing the size of its own, but it never did much more than break even. If they wanted to grow but keep the business all under one roof, then the MacDonnells realised that they would have to change what was happening under the roof. Given MacDonnell’s expertise, outside catering seemed like a logical step and his wife’s background in marketing and business has seen them build quite a client base in just four years. As well as one prestigious contract with a major client, Papadeli works with most of the city’s venues and also caters for one-off private events like weddings. While he says the catering relies on “unsung hero” Catrin and her constant networking and business development, MacDonnell says investing in skilled staff is also vital. You also need professional chefs, not “cooks”, who can handle volume – like a 120-person wedding. Offering them more sociable hours than restaurants and paying them above-average wages (that goes for staff across the business) has seen Papadeli retain its staff and that makes it

Location: Gloagburn Farm, Tibbermore, Perth, PH1 1QL Established: 2003 Turnover: £2.6m No. of staff: 40 (26 full-time equivalent) Café covers: 140 Customers per week: 3,000 (café), 1,800 (shop)

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Vol.18 Issue 9 | October-November 2017

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OCTOBER-NOVEMBER PAPADELI Clifton, Bristol Costello & Hellerstein chocolates Step & Stone flatbreads Single Variety Co preserves Don Antonio tomato sauces Seggiano pestos Nudo extra virgin olive oil The Fine Cheese Co Toast For Cheese Coedcanlas blackcurrant preserve Chococo chocolates

F INE FOOD DIGEST ·

established itself as a key foodie destination in this moneyed part of the ‘auld country’. Some 3,000 customers a week make use of its café, which was reconfigured a few years ago to give stunning views across the Perthshire countryside. The food and gift shop alongside sees a further 1,800 transactions every week, contributing to a combined turnover of £2.6m. Not so “middle of nowhere” after all. Gloagburn Farm Shop was set up in 2003 by third-generation farmers Ian and Alison Niven. “My husband’s family had farmed here since 1924,” says Alison. “It’s mainly arable, but we also produce beef, which virtually all goes through the shop, some sheep and pigs, and then poultry – lay hens.” The pair followed the well-trodden path from honesty-box egg stall to home-made cakes and jams and then a freezer cabinet selling the farm’s own beef. But the full-on farm shop came almost on the rebound from a more prosaic project. “We’d applied for a goverment grant to enlarge our poultry units, and were turned down,” Alison explains. “But we needed to diversify, thought we’d try a farm shop and were offered the grant

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Psychopomp gin Brindisa chorizo Westcombe cheddar Bybo wines Ortiz tuna and sardines Pelagonia dips and antipasti

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Extended slowly and steadily since opening, Gloagburn benefits from an affluent population near the ‘gateway to the Highlands’

MUST-STOCKS The Bean Shop Café coffee Pea Green Boat cheese sablés Summer Harvest lemon & honey dressing Beeware heather honey Mr C’s Pies Godminster cheddars Chrystal’s shortbread Keith Brewery lager and Pale Keith Walter Gregor tonics Strathearn heather rose gin Allan’s Chilli Jam Co-owner Alison Niven with son and general manager Fergus, who joined the family business in 2009

over to a temporary Christmas gift shop. But the Nivens’ next project will see it taken back into the food area, not just to give ambient goods more breathing room but to house the shop’s first proper butchery counter. “Meat is about 12% of our turnover,” says Alison. “Our beef’s all grass-reared and wellhung, and we have a lot of loyal customers. But it’s all vac-packed at the moment and we feel there’s lot more potential in a butchery counter.” Fergus also has plans to increase the range of deli cutting meats – cooked hams, charcuterie and so on – as part of a general refresh of the fresh foods offer. This will also see extensions to an already strong range of 60-70 cheeses. While many farm shops are switching to more grab-and-go pre-packs, loose cheese accounts for 80% of sales here – probably reflecting a generally well-heeled and knowledgeable clientele. “It’s definitely the specialities people come for,” Fergus tells me. “Your ‘Stilton with cranberries’ – cheese that supermarkets are flooded with at Christmas – doesn’t go well.” One or two varieties come direct from makers like St Andrew’s Farmhouse Cheese in Fife, but prepacks come from Rowcliffe and Arran CONTINUED ON PAGE 57

The 140-cover café offers stunning views across the Perthshire countryside

December 2017 | Vol.18 Issue 10

Vol.18 Issue 10 | December 2017

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DECEMBER GLOAGBURN FARM SHOP Perthshire The Bean Shop Café coffee Pea Green Boat cheese sablés

Summer Harvest lemon & honey dressing Beeware heather honey Mr C’s Pies Godminster cheddars Chrystal’s shortbread Keith Brewery lager and Pale Keith Walter Gregor tonics Strathearn heather rose gin Allan’s Chilli Jam 63


THE FINEST SMOKED AT L A N T I C S A L M O N FROM THE ISLE OF LEWIS W W W. U I G L O D G E . C O. U K T. 0 1 8 5 1 6 7 2 3 9 6

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A Collection of the Finest European Confectionery from Europe’s Top Artisans. Try our Great Taste Winners: Almond & Pistachio Nougat, Coffee Nougat, Salted Caramels, Fruit Jellies & Smoked Liquorice 64

www.pandorabell.com

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Spoilt for choice At FFD, we’re lucky enough to sample scores of new specialities every year. Here are some d[djg[Vkdjg^iZà cYhd[i]ZeVhi&'bdci]h#

NICK BAINES FFD food trends columnist

Conker cold brew liqueur It’s so nice that the complexity of the coffee shines through in this liqueur from Dorset gin maker Conker. Chocolate and malt notes are balanced with a juicy roundness and work in harmony with the gentle kick from the booze. If you like a good White Russian, then using this is going to seriously up your cocktail game. conkerspirit.co.uk

MICHAEL LANE Editor Ajika hot chilli & herb paste Surely a contender for best back story of 2017. A staple ingredient in the cuisine of the partially recognised state of Abkhazia (it’s between Russia and Georgia), now being made in Doncaster. Although food from the Caucasus isn’t exactly mainstream, the ultra VDYRXU\ŴDYRXUVWKLV potent paste offers can be deployed in myriad ways (stews, meat rubs, dressings). Mixed with plain yoghurt it makes a great dip and I like it on buttered toast as a spicier alternative to Marmite. ajika.co.uk

OSO chillinaise There’s a reason this condiment comes in small jars – it packs a serious chilli hit so you don’t need huge dollops of it. But despite that, you can still taste the mayonnaise. Hot chilli sauces (OSO does a great one of these too) are

not uncommon these days but you don’t see many chillinaises. The packaging has been smartly updated VLQFH,ƓUVWWULHGWKHSURGXFW so hopefully it’s more retailfriendly, even if the contents are a little too punchy for some consumers. oso.lbd.uk.com

Jarr Kombucha Kombucha – a fermented tea with roots in Asia and Eastern Europe – has never really hit its stride in the UK, but this year some great ones have hit the market. My favourites have been those from Jarr Kombucha, which are bright

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and refreshing while keeping the challenging funkiness Ć“UPO\LQFKHFN7KHRULJLQDO version has brilliant depth of Ĺ´DYRXUZKLOHDYDULHW\PDGH with passion fruit is the kind of gateway drink that could start an addiction. jarrkombucha.com

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PATRICK MCGUIGAN FFD cheese specialist

LAUREN PHILLIPS Assistant editor Mydorable Pebbles Best described as “adult smarties”, these salted caramels encased in milk chocolate and sugar outershell are as delicious as they are original. What makes them so special is just how much they resemble what you find on the shores of a pebble beach. The plastic jar slightly undersells them, but placed in a bowl next to the till they’re sure to grab your customers’ attention. mydorable.com

MICK WHITWORTH Editorial director

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Irvin’s salted egg potato chips I discovered Irvin’s salted egg yolk chips at this year’s Speciality & Fine Food Fair and had to ration samples over a few weeks to keep them going. Not because I refuse to pay for products in our market but because Irvin has no plans to launch

to the UK anytime soon, merely testing out the waters for the product at Olympia. A Singaporean delicacy, these salty, yolky, moreish snacks are as “dangerously addictive” as the packaging suggests. Fingers crossed that we see their return.

Northumberland Honey Co sparkling mead I came across this one when Tynedale beekeepers Luke and Suzie Hutchinson were pitching for help from The Seed Fund’s start-up business academy. Mead is a taste I’ve never acquired but this sparkling version is much less

sweet, closer to Champagne than Prosecco – and sensibly priced at around £27 retail. Like all the Seed Fund judges, I was blown away, not just by the fizz but by the sincerity and enthusiasm of its makers.

Fellstone I love the subtle milky allure of proper Caerphilly and Lancashire. So I was delighted when Andy Swinscoe at The Courtyard Dairy in Settle tipped me off about Cumbrian farmers Clare and Tom Noblet, who have started making a clothbound Wensleydale-style cheese called Fellstone. The cheeses I've tasted recently have been absolutely delicious. Buttery with a gentle lactic tang, plus an elusive savoury note that keeps you going back for more. whinyeatsdairy.com

nortonandyarrow.co.uk

irvinsaltedegg.com

northumberlandhoney. co.uk

Sinodun Hill Norton & Yarrow's Poulignystyle goats' cheese has won some major awards this year, most notably Best New Cheese at the British Cheese Awards. It's an amazingly accomplished cheese considering Oxfordshire-based Fraser Norton and partner Rachel Yarrow, who use raw milk from their own herd of Anglo-Nubian goats, only started making it in 2016. It has a lovely smooth, mousse-like texture and the flavour is clean and slightly sweet with a citrus zing.

Somerset Charcuterie culatello Marco Pierre White, a client of Somerset Charcuterie, had a big hand in the development of this West Country spin on one of Italy’s most revered hams. I sampled the product – which is washed in cider and aged

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for 12 months – back at the beginning of 2017. It has gone on to win gold in the Taste of the West awards, two stars in Great Taste and a runner-up slot in the Good Housekeeping awards, so I’m not alone in admiring its wellbalanced sweetness. somersetcharcuterie.com

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