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31 July 2012

The Artisan Food Trail in the palm of your hand – Download our iPhone app today!

Our phone app has been around for a while now, but for those who haven't yet heard about it, we thought we'd let you know how you can carry The Artisan Food Trail everywhere you go.

It's simple, it's easy to download and it's free!

Okay, it might not generate quirky sound effects, whirly moving graphics or recreate the battle sequence from Star Wars with lasers and light sabres but it is packed full of information about the best of British artisan food producers, which is what we hoped you'd expect.

The Artisan Food Trail app feeds you with the latest news, views and general food chat from our sources:
Our Twitter
Our Facebook
Our Blog
Our website is readily available
and for the business minded, you can access our LinkedIn company page

Isn't modern technology brilliant?
You can stay in touch with The Artisan Food Trail from anywhere!
Discover real food today and download yours now

AFT iPhone App*
Now you can keep up to date with the latest news from The Artisan Food Trail on your iPhone – and best of all it's completely FREE.
When we publish something new about any of our producers, it'll appear in the news stream the next time you use the app. You'll also receive image updates, app screen changes and exclusive offers.

The Artisan Food Trail app lets you keep up to date with the latest news about new producers, events, shows, recipes and more, Just hit 'more' at the end of every news post and you'll be taken straight to our blog for the full information, reviews, pictures and links.

We'll be constantly changing these to give you snippets of info about our producers, events and as time goes on we hope to be able to offer some special offers that will only be available through the app via limited time codes sent straight to your iPhone

A bit about The Artisan Food Trail and all the links you'll need to find us anywhere online or to email us.

Why not share The Artisan Food Trail with your friends and colleagues?
Perhaps you know of a producer that might like to be included in the website so that more people get to know about their great produce. You can share our app with them simply by emailing or sending an SMS from within the app.
Share us or follow us on twitter and follow us on Facebook and if you're business minded, visit our company page on LinkedIn – all with just the tap of the screen.

If you need to contact us, all our details are included.

To download our app directly to your iPhone click here
You'll need to enter your email address or iPhone number to be sent your FREE app download.

* In downloading the AFT iPhone app you are agreeing that The Artisan Food Trail and any of their partners are not liable for any possible problems or damage caused to any of your equipment or for the loss of any stored data.Please do not download if you do not agree with these terms.

23 July 2012

Competition time! Win passes to Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival

Photos: © childsdesign
Courtesy of The Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, The Artisan Food Trail has 2 pairs of day passes to give away for this year's festival being held on the 29th and 30th of September – if you win, choose the day that suits you.

Sorry this competition is now closed

More about the festival
The Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival began in 2006 to celebrate and publicise the abundance of Suffolks local produce and also to help people reconnect with the countryside and the food it provides. One of the objectives of the festival is to demonstrate the strong connection between food and the market towns, the villages, the countryside, the rivers and the sea. It returns again this year, running from 29th September to 14th October 2012 with the food and drink weekend being held over the weekend of 29th – 30th September 2012.

Photos: © childsdesign
The festival is held each year at Snape Maltings, situated on the river Alde in a landscape of open skies, marshland and reedbeds. The historic Victorian maltings are the best-preserved brick malt kilns in Britain and are home to the world-famous concert halls of the Aldeburgh Festival of Music as well as a collection of shops selling food, kitchenware, crafts, art, books and much else. In this uniquely beautiful setting, the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival has become established as one of the foremost food festivals in Britain.

This year the festival is expecting over 90 exhibitors showcasing organic vegetables, fresh and smoked fish, rare breed meat and game, cheeses, frozen yoghurt, jams, beer, wine and lager. Virtually all of the exhibitors’ businesses are based in East Suffolk, reflecting the high quality and tremendous variety of food and drink in the region.

So far these are the The Artisan Food Trail producers/businesses that will be attending:
(Click the names to find out more about them)

Alder Tree
Breckland Orchard
Food Safari
The Artisan Smokehouse

The festival also hosts an impressive two-day programme of talks, workshops and cookery demonstrations from top chefs. Confirmed Chefs that will be visiting in 2012 include Henry Harris, Matthew Fort, Angela Hartnett, Valentine Warner and Emma Crowhurst as well as many of the finest local Suffolk chefs.

For more more information about the event visit www.aldeburghfoodanddrink.co.uk

20 July 2012

The past is brought to life in Alan Coxon's historic vinegars

Photo: © childsdesign

With twinkling eyes and a disarming smile, Alan Coxon is a man brimming with enthusiasm and a head full of interesting food and history facts. Some would say he is the Stephen Fry of the culinary world.
We have ‘known’ him since the 90s when he was on many television cooking programmes. We finally got to meet Alan giving one of his informative and engaging cookery demonstrations last year at Woburn Food & Crafts Festival.

Read full review

We are pleased to give Alan Coxon ‘Artisan Food Trail Approved’ status for his Roman Vinaigre™ and Ancient Greek Vinaigre™

For more information about Alan Coxon see his page on 
The Artisan Food Trail here

17 July 2012

The Pylewell Park Food & Lifestyle Festival: >>>> 21st – 22nd July 2012

The Pylewell Park Food & Lifestyle Festival is on this weekend,
21st – 22nd July 2012.
Set in the grounds of the magnificent country estate of Pylewell Park, the 80 acre showground boasts probably one of the best views in the country looking down to the Solent and across to the Isle of Wight, with the back drop of Pylewell House and its 17th Century origins.

This year's festival will feature BBC1 Saturday Kitchen Chef Adam Byatt's Award Winning Restaurant, Trinity.

Other features to delight the taste buds include:
• International Food Arena
• Wine Tasting
• Champagne Bar
• Real Ale
• Cookery Theatre including demonstrations by Adam Byatt, Douglas Santi, James Golding and Mrs Tee

…And for your entertainment:
• Traditional fairground rides including a big wheel and a beautiful carousel
• Live Music

…And the best part? Several AFT producers are listed as attending:

Edible Ornamentals – Passionate, slightly obsessive chilli growers from Bedfordshire.

David's Chilli Oil – A rich, exotic, healthy and intensely flavoured chilli oil perfect for drizzling over food, cooking, marinating and dipping. Made with quality produce from the Cotswolds.

Alan Coxon – A unique multi award winning historic food range consisting of an Old English Ale-Gar, a Roman Vinegar and an Ancient Greek Vinegar from TV celebrity chef and food archaeologist, Alan Coxon.

A last minute addition to the producer list is:

The Artisan Smokehouse – A small family run and owned smokehouse on the Suffolk coast producing award-winning smoked food, made in small quantities to ensure quality and freshness.

For more information about the event visit the website: newforestfoodfairs.co.uk

16 July 2012

A Cherry on Top for National Cherry Day

Photo: © childsdesign

When travelling around Britain it is not difficult to notice that the word orchard is synonymous with many roads, avenues, views, places etc., but the most unnerving thing is that these locations do not lead to vast collections of fruit trees, but instead they are occupied by housing developments.
Once, Britain was covered with acres of majestic cherry trees, but these have given way to our burgeoning population and they’ve also suffered losses due to the Second World War that demanded other types of food production to be implemented to save our country from starvation, not to mention the further collapse of the cherry growing industry due to foreign imports.

Growers are being encouraged to reinstate the great British cherry by planting up new orchards with old varieties and with National Cherry Day on 16th July we should all be buying and using British cherries.

Are cherries native to Britain?
Wild cherries (Prunus avium) have been eaten in Britain since prehistoric times. The Romans had a particular taste for them too and it is said that it’s possible to trace the route of ancient roads by the cherry trees growing there. Romans marching through Britain would munch on cherries, spitting out the stones as they went, and new trees grew as a result.

It seems there are many theories about how the cherry came to Britain, its origins beginning in the area between the Black and Caspian Seas of Asia Minor and suggestions that birds consuming the fruit would have deposited the pips in their droppings over Europe.

Photo: © childsdesign

History and cultivation
Cultivation probably began with the ancient Greeks and perpetuated by the Romans, where it was believed to be an essential part of the Legionnaires’ diets.
During the Middle Ages cherries were a common sight in gardens and were sold in street markets, however, at this time, Europe was still the main source of the fruit, where the climate afforded a more plentiful crop.

It wasn’t until the sixteenth century that heavier cultivation took place, Kent becoming the centre of Britain’s fruit growing due to good transport links to London’s markets and the connection with growers and gardeners across the Channel.

It was customary to cultivate cherry trees as tall standards with grass beneath. The orchards would be grazed by sheep. Until the twentieth century rootstocks were obtained from the wild cherry which produced towering trees, requiring long ladders to pick the fruit. Climbing so high was not always appealing as well as dangerous so producers began experimenting with less vigorous rootstocks to produce shorter trees but still giving a high fruit yield.

The science bit (sort of)
As with most fresh fruit it is not surprising to know that cherries are good for us. Cherries contain anthocyanins, the compound that makes them red. Anthocyanins have been shown to have antioxidant properties, which can guard against certain cancers and diabetes. Other studies have shown that cherries can also help to ease the pain of arthritis, fight memory loss, lower cholesterol and help our sleep patterns. And to top it all they contain 20 times more beta carotene than blueberries.

Cherries do pack a lot of goodness but they also contain cyanide. Our bodies are able to break down the small quantites that the fruit contain, so there’s no need for concern. The toxin is greatly concentrated in the pips, but if one or two were swallowed, no harm would occur as they’re unlikely to be broken down enough in the digestive system.

What is the best way to serve them?
When the cherries are red, shiny and fully ripe and in their prime, then eat them as they are. They need no accompaniment, just simply plucked from the bowl and enjoyed at their natural best.

Cherry and Goat's Cheese Salad.
Recipe here
Desserts, are of course, one of the most-fitting ways to use them, most obviously pies and tarts or the clafoutis a French dish where marinated cherries are cooked in a rich batter. Cherries are also a perfect partner to chocolate too.
They can be made into a traditional sauce for duck or game, and they ideally complement soft white cheeses as well.
Try them with Smoked Duck from The Artisan Smokehouse.

Womersley Fruit and Herb Vinegars make a Cherry Vinegar which they say is a heavenly match for Italian cuisine. It can be married with Parma Ham, grilled scallops and mozzarella salads, or united with desserts that have lashings of chocolate, mascarpone and ice-cream. The robust character makes it good to add to sauces for duck and turkey, or teamed with sparkling wine for a vivid aperitif.

Cherry picks
Some interesting and fun facts about cherries
:: Charles V of France loved cherries so much, he planted more than 1000 trees in his garden.
:: Hot cherry stones were used in bed pans to warm beds.
:: The word ‘cherry’ comes from the French word ‘cerise,’ which in turn comes from the Latin words cerasum and Cerasus, the classical name of the modern city Giresun in Turkey.
:: Cherries are drupes, or stone fruits, and are related to plums, peaches and nectarines.
:: The world's heaviest cherry was grown by Gerardo Maggipinto (Italy) and weighed 21.69 g on June 21, 2003. The cherry was presented at La Grande Ciliegia, in Sammichele di Bari, Italy.
:: In Japan, the cherry symbolises the brevity of life. The saying goes ‘The cherry is among flowers as the samurai is among men’.
:: If you dream of cherries...
Ripe cherries off the tree mean success and happiness .
Eating cherries means possession of something desired
A cherry tree is an omen of good fortune.
:: The name for cherry liqueur – Kirsch – comes from the Mesopotamian karshu, the word for the first cultivated cherries in Mesopotamia in 8BC.
:: Shakespeare used cherries as a symbol of love and romance in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
:: A posh pudding in country houses a couple of centuries ago was to have small cherry trees grown in pots and brought to the table with the fruit still hanging on the branch.

10 July 2012

::UPDATED:: Samphire Smallholding Open Day: July 15th 2012

After a break last year, Samphire is set to open its gates again on Sunday 15th July 2012 for their Open Day.
Before The Artisan Food Trail was born, we paid a visit in 2010 and had a very enjoyable day.

NOTE: We've now added a slideshow of pictures from the event which can be viewed here

The open day is a well organised and friendly affair offering visitors the chance to savour a relaxing day of food, arts & crafts, education and entertainment.

There will be number of local producers selling everything from preserves to beer and even hand made dog treats!  One of the preserve makers will be Peachey's Preserves, another food trail member. It's a great opportunity to chat with them about what they do and hopefully stock up on their lovely hand crafted products. And of course Samphire will have a stall selling their fine rare breed pork pies and sausages plus more besides.

If you fancy keeping livestock yourself there will be some interesting organisations there, including a better hen rescue centre and local beekeepers who will be on hand to answer your questions. Last time Karen, Samphire's owner, gave a very interesting tour and talk on her pigs, so no doubt it will be on the timetable again.

To give you an idea of what to expect, Karen's Pinterest board here will show you the flavour of the day and judging by the growing number of pictures, the event looks like it will be an interesting and colourful affair. We can't wait to see Samphire's newest collection of fancy poultry.

Providing the soundtrack to the day and back by popular demand are the fabulous Rum Kelter. So many people loved their lively set of traditional folk music when they played at the last Open Day.

To keep you sustained and refreshed there will be food and drink, straw bales to sit on, tables and chairs laid out under the trees and tours around the smallholding.

The Open Day will take place from 11am until 4pm
on Sunday 15th July 2012
at Sycamore Farm,
Pristow Green Lane,
NR16 1PU

For more information about Samphire and location please visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here

Where is the event?

View AFT_Samphire in a larger map

Two Artisan Food Trail producers scoop Taste of the West Awards

We are proud to announce that two of
The Artisan Food Trail's producers have received recognition in the Taste of the West Awards 2012.

Established nineteen years ago, the Taste of the West Awards is one of the most highly respected in the food and drink industry which highlights many successful and high quality businesses across food and drink production, hospitality and food retail.

David's Chilli Oil based in Gloucestershire, 
received two awards, both GOLD 
for their Hot Chilli Oil and Medium Chilli Oil

Filbert's Fine Foods in Dorset also picked up two awards. GOLD for their Californian Lightly Salted Almonds with
Fresh Rosemary & Sea Salt and BRONZE for their
Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil

You can see all the winners here

4 July 2012

Where to go this weekend for fine food

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

3rd – 8th July 2012
In addition to the usual garden displays, this year the event has added a new section – Great Tastes Market and Artisan Food.
Featuring award-winning food and drink producers from Great Taste, the market offers visitors the chance to taste and buy from these artisan producers. Come and talk to the makers and hear first hand how it’s made and how you can you enjoy it.

The Artisan Food trail producers that will be at this event are:

Handmade luxury fudge hand-crafted to a special recipe for 25 years using traditional methods and a lot of love.

For more information about the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show visit the website

Taste of Edinburgh

6th – 8th July 2012
Each year Taste of Edinburgh brings together not just restaurants and food and wine suppliers, but a line-up of innovative and interactive programmes on cooking and eating as well as a producers' market.

The Artisan Food trail producer that will be at this event is:

Trotter's Independent Condiments
Purveyor of unusual, delicious and seasonal condiments based in Fife. Mr. Trotter says “my condiments are the finest and most tasty in all the land, but I am biased so don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself”

For more information about Taste of Edinburgh visit the website

Dorset Seafood Festival

7th – 8th July 2012
Weymouth harbour is the perfect backdrop to the annual Dorset Seafood Festival. With over 80 stalls, mouth-watering seafood menus, celebrity chefs, Pommery champagne, local ales and a fabulous atmosphere, the festival also raises money for The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen.

The Artisan Food trail producers that will be at this event are:

Yorkshire artisan maker of fine fruit vinegars and herb jellies. Balanced recipes allow maximum versatility in the kitchen ensuring that the true aromas of all the flavours shine through.

Producers of amazing award winning hot air roasted nut snacks – made with 100% natural ingredients and each with their own unique flavour twist.

For more information about the Dorset Seafood Festival visit the website

North East Chilli Fest

7th – 8th July 2012
The UK's hottest chilli producers will be heading to the north east this for this event. You will be able to feast your eyes on hot chilli sauces, pickles, chutneys, oils and more. Plus pick up great UK-grown chillies too.
There will be lots to do, including food to go, picnic areas, great music, family activities and more. And of course you get to see the magnificent grounds of Seaton Delaval Hall.

The Artisan Food trail producers that will be at this event are:

Situated in Chawston, Bedfordshire where market gardens are abundant and growing delicious vegetables is simply a way of life. Passionate, slightly obsessive chilli growers.

David's Chilli Oil
A rich, exotic, healthy and intensely flavoured chilli oil perfect for drizzling over food, cooking, marinating and dipping. Made with quality produce from the Cotswolds.

For more information about the NE Chilli Fest visit the website

Heveningham Country Fair

8th July 2012
Heveningham Hall is an 18th century estate set in the heart of Suffolk. The Fair has been running for 15 years and last year over 10,000 people attended. All proceeds go to charity and there is something for everyone.
The Country Fair always has a wonderful selection of food and drink for you to buy and take home. The producers at the Fair all supply the finest quality local or home made produce so you're sure to be impressed.

The Artisan Food trail producers that will be at this event are:

A small family run and owned smokehouse on the Suffolk coast producing award-winning smoked food, made in small quantities to ensure quality and freshness!

Award winning ices are handmade on their fruit farm in Suffolk to a traditional family recipe. Made with only fruit, cream and sugar, they are naturally delicious.

For more information about the Heveningham Country Fair visit the website

Oil's Well – why rapeseed oil is good for you

You may have heard about the endless health benefits of olive oil and the Mediterranean Diet, but did you know that Britain produces an oil that equals, and may even rival it?
Intrigued by this information we spoke to our Industry Expert, Priya Tew of Dietitian UK, to find out more about Britain’s golden elixir, that is rapeseed oil.

AFT: Rapeseed oil has been around for a very long time but not as a gourmet culinary ingredient, we’ve even heard that it was quite unpalatable.
PT: It was used in Asia and Europe as a lamp fuel and in WWII as a lubricant for steam engines. Now all these years later we have a version that has been bred to taste better and is actually good for us.

AFT: It is amazing to think that rapeseed oil was not considered a food, so now with it becoming part of our diet, what makes it so special for our health?
PT: Like olive oil, rapeseed oil is low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fats, in fact it is made of about 60% Oleic acid (MUFA). This specific fat has been shown to have some significant health benefits.

AFT: Olive oil has become an ubiquitous store cupboard essential and we’d like to see more British people using rapeseed oil as it tastes good and is good for you. You say that rapeseed oil has much in common with olive oil, so how is it better for us?
PT: Back in the 1980’s some landmark research was conducted that looked at the diet and death rate of over 11,000 middle aged men in 7 Countries. They found that the Mediterranean men had a lower death rate from cancer and heart disease which was related to their diet. Eating less saturated fat and more monounsaturated fats (MUFA) was the key and Oleic acid was the main source of the monounsaturated fat that these men were eating (1). This is the main fat in rapeseed oil.

AFT: Obviously in addition to using rapeseed oil we would need to follow a balanced diet to enjoy all the health benefits. What is the Mediterranean diet?
PT: The Mediterranean diet contains plenty of fresh and unprocessed foods. With an emphasis on eating fruit and vegetables, beans and pulses, wholegrains, olive oil and nuts. Dairy foods, fish, poultry and red wine are eaten in moderate amounts. Only a small amount of saturated fats, salt and processed foods are eaten, most meals are cooked from scratch and flavoured with plenty of herbs and spices. Eating this type of diet can reduce death from heart disease by 10% and can also reduce cholesterol levels (2).

AFT: Rapeseed oil is still a fat, so how can it help people looking after their heart?
PT: Some small studies have suggested that using specifically more rapeseed oil could lower total cholesterol levels and more importantly lower the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels (3,4), once again supporting the fact that eating rapeseed oil can be good for your heart.
Rapeseed oil is a healthy fat to be choosing to include in your diet on a regular basis. Reducing your intake of saturated fats such as butter, cheese and processed foods and increasing avocados, nuts, seeds and rapeseed oil can help lower your risk of heart disease.

Priya Tew is a registered dietitian who runs her own nutrition consultancy business, Dietitian UK.
As a mum and food lover she is passionate about helping people to discover good quality food and to show them how healthy eating is not just tasty but vitally important.

If you haven’t yet tried rapeseed oil, we’d urge you to do so. It is great for cooking – use it for shallow frying and roasting – potatoes turn out wonderfully crisp. It is perfect for making dressings too.

To find out where you can get rapeseed oil from, take a look at our Oils section on The Artisan Food Trail here

For more about rapeseed oil the following articles and recipes should inspire you:
Say hello to yellow or why you should buy extra virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil
Zingy Honey Chilli Chicken recipe
‘A Very British’ Watercress Pesto recipe
Carrot Cake recipe
Roast Potatoes recipe

1. Keys A et al (1986). The diet and 15 year death rate in the Seven Countries Study. Am J Epidemiology 124: 903-15.
2. Sofi F, Abbate R, Gensini GF, Casini A. Accruing evidence on benefits of adherence to the Mediterranean diet on health: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Nov [cited 2011 Oct 24];92(5):1189-96. Abstract available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20810976
3. Gillingham LG et al (2011). High oleic canola and flaxseed oils modulate serum lipids and inflammatory biomarkers in hypercholesterolaemic subjects. Br J Nutrition 105 (3) 417-27
4. Iggman D et al (2011). Replacing dairy fat with rapeseed oil causes rapid improvement of hyperlipidaemia: a randomized controlled study. J Intern Med 270 (4): 356-64.

Wakes Cakes

Photo: © childsdesign

Many foods have a story to tell and often the things we eat today have their roots firmly embedded in our British heritage and this time of year seems appropriate to look at Wakes Cakes.

For many, summer signals the moment to head off to the coast and countryside and relax from our daily toil for a week or two. These days a quick discussion with work colleagues and an approval from the manager will get some holiday time booked. All relatively simple.

During the 18th and 19th centuries time-off was practically unheard of. Textile mill workers would often labour seven days a week for long hours and low pay. Obviously this regime put a lot of strain on families and absenteeism was a common problem for mill owners.

Wakes were originally religious festivals that commemorated church dedications, a time when people normally would want to take time off work and be with their families. Mill owners, not being overly generous with rights for their employees, found that their workers would often be absent at this time, so eventually seeing sense, they agreed that all the mills should close for a week to give everyone a (unpaid) holiday.

Eventually, the wakes were adapted into a regular summer break when the week would be the focus for fairs where Wakes Cakes were sold and eagerly eaten. These weeks, occurring at different times, are still celebrated in the Midlands and Northern England albeit in different ways.

This recipe is an old Derbyshire Peak District version and although referred to as ‘cakes’ the end product is actually much more a biscuit. They have a rich crisp texture with chewy currants and interesting little flavour hits from the caraway seeds.

View recipe