Yep folks it’s that time of the month again when I remember that I have this monthly post that I do and it’s almost the end of the month so really should do it. So here for your enjoyment are 3 more fab food companies to check out.
Shaken Oak Mustard
These guys produce mustard grown in fields less than a mile from where I grew up, when I was a child my parents bought it from the local shop which at the time was one of the few outlets. Now they have grown and are selling through a number of farm shops and the Co-Op chain throughout Oxfordshire and for those not in the area they have an online shop. These mustards are as different from Colmans as you can get, they are coarse grain, packed with flavour, herbs and also local beer! They make an excellent addition to gravy (particularly with sausages) or simply in a cheese sandwich.
Hobbs House Bakers
My first experience of bread from these wonderful bakers was in the form of a giant sandwich from their shop in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. This soon became a regular stop off point on the trips between home in Oxford and university in Bristol. They now supply a large number of farm shops and small stores throughout the South West, plus you can buy online. I also noticed that they are running bread making courses if you want to brush up on your home baking skills. I’m a big fan of their light rye sourdough, great for dipping in oil and vinegar. Also conveniently wheat free for those with an intolerance.
Goose Island brewery
My final company this week isn’t remotely local but they do brew a beer with the best name in the world. You see this beer is called Matilda! A friend spotted a bottle at a food market and bought it for me and you know what? It was tasty! (but would you have expected anything less?) I’m trying to source some more of it so if anyone happens to have seen some in this country I’d love to know.
Yes, it’s almost the end of the month and I have again almost forgotten to do this months post. No shortage of food heroes to mention though, just a lack of organisation on my part. So here in all their glory are my food heroes for May:
This brewery is based in my home town of Witney in Oxfordshire, although quite a well known brand now and available in lots of supermarkets they still brew on their original premises. A friend of mine lives in a house overlooking the yard and on brewing days the smell is just incredible. Hobgoblin is their flagship beer, a dark malty affair perfect for a winter’s evening in the pub. For the summer they have Wychcraft, a much lighter, fresher ‘Blonde beer’ that is great with a summer BBQ and one of the Lady of the Manor’s favourites. You also have to check out their website, a very impressive beast with lots of goblins and dark woods to explore, there is also a tool to find your local pub serving their beer.
This is a butchers in Silverton near Exeter, I first visited this place when my older brother lived in Exeter and now make a detour to visit whenever in the area. Quite honestly it is some of the best meat you can buy, but that isn’t why I visit. I go for the pork pies! They’re handmade on site and are 10 times better than those little Melton Mowbray things in the supermarket. Last time I went in there the butcher was telling me how they were freshly made so could be frozen etc, he offered to seal wrap the pie if that was my intention. He was slightly surprised when I informed him I was going to tuck into it immediately. No point delaying these things is there? Unfortunately they don’t have a website, but if you’re interested in visiting you can call 01392 860226 or just visit the village. It’s not a big place and the butchers is right in the middle.
A bit of a different animal this one being a cafe/bar rather than a food producer, but hey it’s my food category so I’ll make up the rules as I go along. This is a small group of cafe bar’s dotted around Bristol, mainly in small neighbourhoods away from the city centre. We lived in many different locations in Bristol over the years we were there and were fortunate to be near 4 of their locations at one point or another. The ethos of this company is to find premises that are a little bit different (an old bank for example) and deck them out with a hotch potch of tables and old church pews and chairs. They serve a simple menu of meals and some tapas style dishes along with one of the best cooked breakfasts in the west. The atmosphere in them on a Sunday morning is just perfect, lots of people in their with their children drinking coffee and eating cooked breakfasts. One of the main things we miss about living in Bristol and unfortunately quite rare to find such a collection of independent cafe’s these days. (it turns out after looking at their website that they have now expanded to other cities, so their may be one near you!)
For March’s installment of food heroes I have 3 more fine food companies for you, as ever these are companies that are a regular feature in our household and ones that you really do have to check out.
Box Steam Brewery
You may notice a theme starting in these food posts – beer. The UK really does have some great small breweries and thankfully have become fashionable again. We really should celebrate them and there is nothing I enjoy more than discovering a new one. When we moved to Wiltshire last year we came across these guys based in the pretty village of Box, famous for its rather long tunnel. The beer is sold in a few of our favourite pubs that are conveniently placed on good dog walks. The Golden Bolt is a perfect light, summer beer with citrus flavours, while Funnel Blower is a much darker malty beer. The beer can be ordered from their website in bottles or casks.
The Real Olive Company
I have to be honest, this one isn’t a favourite of mine, but rather the lady of the manor. She LOVES olives and this company based in Bristol sell some of the best. They have a regular market stall in St. Nicholas market in Bristol and also attend some of the farmers markets. They also have a shop and a very nice restaurant that has a fabulous location right on the harbour in Bristol. They sell every type of Olive you could ever wish for along with other tapas style delicacies such as stuffed vine leaves. If you’re a real addict you can also order them wholesale….
Ok, I know these aren’t exactly a small, unknown company but I love them. They are in fact local to me and represent everything that a good food company should be. They produce fabulous tasting products, they care about how the food is produced and they try to give something back to the community. My favourite are the Greek Style yoghurt with honey, in fact I have one every day on muesli in the morning. They also have a rather fab website so go check it out!
So my new regular feature started in December has been so regular that I missed January! Oh well I’m sure no one noticed. So here is my February food heroes, 3 great companies who are firm favourites in this household. Please go and take a look and try something new, if you do try them I’d love to hear your feedback.
The lady of the manor and I first tried cheddar from the lovely folk at Godminster when visiting the Soil Association Organic Food fair in Bristol. I often struggle to find a cheddar that isn’t so strong that it’s sour and tastes like vegetables, but also isn’t bland and lifeless. Their vintage cheddar fits the bill perfectly, it comes in beautiful purple wax and is aged for 12 months before being selected by Godminster. Plus if you have a cheese obsessed partner then they also do the cheese in a heart shape, perfect for the upcoming valentines day! Their website has lots more information about how the cheese’s are made if you’re interested and you can order online if there isn’t a stockist near you.
St. Peter’s Brewery
My brother introduced me to this beer, the wine merchants he worked for were one of the first places to stock it, although you can now find it in most supermarkets. I love the unusual shape of the bottles, nothing else is like this and the contents certainly match expectations. My personal favourite is the golden ale, a perfect light beer for a summer’s evening, especially when combined with barbequed pork steaks! The beer is brewed using British malt and hops and water drawn from chalk below the brewery in Suffolk. I buy mixed cases from Majestic Wine whenever I visit which is good way to get a variety to try and they often have deals on as a bonus.
The Bath Pig
Chorizo? From England? Surely not?! But yes, fabulous chorizo at that, love the spicy one, a few chunks gently fried and added to a tomato sauce and pasta is just yummy! The Bath Pig sell a few different flavours of chorizo, in both cured and semi cured depending on your preference and desired use. The chorizo is of course made with 100% British pork and the finest natural ingredients. I have seen it for a sale in farm shops and the like but check out their website for more info on stockists.