This month’s bites of foodie news from around the region…
The finalists of the Heart of England Fine Foods Diamond Awards were announced at the Food and Drink Show in Cheltenham recently. Food businesses from Shropshire are well represented and here are just a few of them.
Exporting a story
Story Brands produce a range of premium natural sparkling fruit presses, for the foodservice and retail sector on a farm near Leintwardine, Ludlow. They are stocked in venues such as the Tower of London, Kew Gardens and Hampton Court Palace and wereThey were served at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee lunches. The company is a finalist for two of it’s presse flavours: red grape, blackcurrant and ginger and white grape and elderflower.
In the bakery and confectionery category of the awards, Kinver-based Louis Barnett is in the running with his Saffron Truffles. Louis hit the headlines when he became the youngest ever supplier to Waitrose at just 13 years old. His products are known for their quirky flavour combinations and their conservation credentials: they use no palm oil, artificial flavours, colours or additives.
Smoke & Pickle
Shrewsbury mother and son, Sara and Will Curtis, are the team behind Smoke & Pickle, whose Fish Soup and French Onion Soup are two of the five finalists in the prepared foods category. Mrs Curtis believes high quality natural ingredients, flavoursome recipes and proper production methods are the key to Smoke & Pickle’s success.
When Ursula Evans’ fruitcake won the ‘Cakes vs. Pies’ competition at Carfest South last year, Mary Berry said it was ‘the best fruitcake she had ever tasted’ and so it’s fitting that her Traditional Rich Fruitcake with Brandy is a finalist in the bakery and confectionary section. A retired midwife, Ursula set up My Cottage Kitchen in her home in Plealey, Shrewsbury, and now sends her Aga baked cakes all over the globe.
Also in the list of finalists are: Christmas Cracker beer, brewed by Craven Arms based Woods Brewery, The Christmas Sausage Roll by Coopers Gourmet Sausage Rolls (featured in January What’s What!), Wild Boar Classic Salami made by Shropshire Wild Boar Company, Shropshire Coppa made by Forest Pig Charcuterie (featured in March What’s What!), Wrekin Blue by Moydens Handmade Cheese, and for the ‘Innovate’ award, Hobsons and the ‘Excel’ special award, Sutton Maddock Vehicles with their refrigerated fleet
Müller expands in Shropshire
Müller has confirmed it will invest £17 million in a ‘state of the art’ butter manufacturing operation at its Market Drayton facility, creating 100 jobs and establishing the UK’s largest butter production centre. Müller UK and Ireland Group have also recently taken ownership of the Minsterley facility in Shropshire, which makes Cadbury chilled desserts, including Cadbury Mousse, Trifle and twin-pot products, which Müller sells under licence from Cadbury.
A St Georges Day tasting menu will be hosted at the TASTE kitchen on Tuesday 23 April from 7-9.30pm, £25 per person. On Saturday 27 April, learn Fish Skills with Fiona Asson and John Perry from Fish in a Box. No particular experience necessary, just a love of fish and a desire to get hands on! £75 per person to include tastings, a main course lunch and a glass of wine. Please telephone 01743 452810 to book either event which take place at the Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre, Battlefield Enterprise Park, Shrewsbury.
Ludlow Food Centre wins national award
The Shropshire food producer and retailer based in Bromfield, Ludlow, has been voted UK Farm Retailer of the Year 2013 at the FARMA (The National Farmers’ Retail and Markets’ Association) Awards. Presenting the awards was food hero and River Cottage star Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The town of Ludlow has long been associated with quality food but this is the first time the award has come to Shropshire. The Food Centre’s Managing Director, Edward Berry commented: “To win this award is the highest honour in our sector. It is testament to the passion and quality of our staff, the food they produce and the local food made by artisans in this region.” The Food Centre uniquely has eight glass-fronted production kitchens, employing over 80 local people making food on the premises, using ingredients from the Earl of Plymouth’s estate in Ludlow, Shropshire and surrounding counties.