When you say South West produce, people’s minds inevitably jump to pasties and cider. Now, at the studio, we’re pretty fond of a good pasty and a pint of cider, but we feel that the South West has so much more to offer. Great chefs like Nathan Outlaw, Paul Ainsworth, Michael Caines and Rick Stein have revolutionized the restaurant scene in our end of the country over the last couple of decades, and events like the cooking demos at the Padstow Christmas Festival really showcase the chef talent in the South West. However, we also have some incredible, award-winning, producers in the South West, some of them pretty much on our doorstep at the studio, who quietly create amazing products, and are incredibly passionate about what they do.
St Austell Brewery reckon their Tribute Ale is the South West’s favourite beer, and they’re probably right. However, they’re also one of Cornwall’s largest employers, and I love the excellent food served in their tenanted pubs as much as I love their beer.
These guys won a Gold Award for their baguettes at the World Bread Awards, and it’s really no surprise. It’s a beautiful loaf to look at and even better to eat – crunchy on the outside with a beautifully aerated crumb, love it with a thick spread of Trewithen salted butter.
The Tregothnan estate dates all the way back to the 13th Century, but they only started growing it at the turn of the century. However, they are the only company in England ever to grow tea. I love their classic tea, which has a really great flavour and doesn’t brew too strong. Tea is such a British thing, I love drinking a cup and knowing how little distance it’s had to travel. It’s now served on all First Great Western trains, so getting a taste of it has never been easier.
Deli Farm Charcuterie came about because the Edwards struggled to buy good quality charcuterie in England – the idea of air drying it themselves, was at first a joke, but by February 2006 they had started trading. Since then Deli Farm has achieved a ton Great Taste and Taste of the West awards. One of my favourite products is their Traditional Cornish Coppa – a dry cured pork shoulder joint coated with their own spice mix recipe, which virtually melts in the mouth.
Their product is just amazing. My salt pig is sat proudly by the oven in the kitchen studio and I love their flavour pots – the salt and pepper mix is just perfect to throw over anything that needs a little bit of seasoning.
These guys might be a little further down the road, but I just adore their cheese. As it turns out, so does everyone else! It recently won the World Champion Trophy at the 2014 World Cheese Awards, which is no small feat –it beat over 2500 other cheeses to the title. The cheese is made from milk from their own organic cow herd, and is unbelievably good – they also make it completely by hand, so fingers crossed I can make my homemade cheese taste half as good!
Camel Valley are pretty much our neighbors here at the studio; we interviewed Sam Lindo for the blog a couple of months ago, to get his lowdown on all things alcoholic. Basically, these guys produce some incredible wine, and you don’t have to take my word for it – they’ve won a ton of awards for their still and sparkling wines, including a trophy at the International Wine Challenge. They’re one of the best English winemakers around, and I love breaking out a bottle of their Bacchus on a warm summer’s day, knowing it was grown about three fields away.
Doom Bar beer is Sharps Brewery’s flagship beer and is brewed right down on the Camel Estuary, not far from the studio, and the infamous sandbank the beer is named after. It’s the No1 selling cask beer in the country – meaning that I can visit a pub pretty much anywhere in England and there’s a good chance I’ll find it.
I raved about these guys’ butter in my post on bulletproof coffee, and it’s one of the staples in my fridge. I’m also a big fan of their branding, which won bronze at the European design awards – it’s quirky but not too OTT. I also like chatting to Trewdy the cow on Twitter, genius idea.
Even though Australia is where I grew up, Cornwall is definitely where I’ve made my home. I’ve recently been travelling, for work and to visit family, and I found myself missing England – even when in the beautiful sunny valleys of South Australia. However, I found comfort and familiarity on my travels – Ben’s Independent Grocers is a beautiful shop in Kuala Lumpur selling a massive variety of quality produce, and on their shelves I found two Cornish stalwarts – Furniss biscuits and Carley’s Spread. A taste of home indeed! Even better, on my flight home from Dubai, Emirates Airline served me a scone with jam and a very familiar looking pot of Roddas Cornish Clotted Cream – the perfect welcome home!