On 19 November 2015, I had the pleasure of attending a momentous occasion: the official launch of online gift box and hamper company Cambridge Artisan, held at the Bridge Street branch of Cambridge Wine Merchants. Cambridge Artisan is the brainchild of enterprising 15-year-old Amélise Burr who has been wanting to start her own business for years. Her goal is to not only earn money to fund her university education (she aims to be a naval architect), it’s also to showcase independent local produce right here at our doorstep in Cambridgeshire and East Anglia in general.
With the full support of her father Robert Burr, who runs the popular mobile street food trailer Churros Bar with his wife Charlotte, they set off to source the variety of excellent products from local artisan producers. The result? Some of the very best food and drink the region has to offer… all of it available in a one-stop online shop and delivered right to your door. There are 30 local producers gathered under Cambridge Artisan’s virtual roof and best of all, their products can be accessed even when the markets are closed. There is a choice of several themed gift hampers or boxes and you can also purchase particular products separately, thus ensuring you are stocking your cupboards and “keeping it local”.
Cambridge Artisan’s beautifully packaged and thoughtfully curated hampers make great gifts, although with so many of my favourite local products available all in one place, I am gifting myself some hampers! I’ve got my eye on the Girls Night In hamper (it includes Pinkster’s boozy berries and gin!) but there are several other themes as well, such as Gentlemen’s Cheer, Student Survival Kit, Lazy Sunday Morning and The Gluten Free. Have a look at all the options here!
All of the delicious products were on display at the launch, with many of them offered as samples (Hibiscus Lily’s chutneys, fudge and nuts, Canesmith & Co’s gourmet sweets, Dulcedo Patisserie’s dragée, The Moonbeam Food Company’s hazelnut pralines, The Truckle Cheese Co’s stilton and cheddar, Sedgwick’s Charcuterie coppa and chorizo, to name a few). Our goody bags were filled with more deliciousness… apple, lemon & mint jelly (Hibiscus Lily), onion marmalade biscuits (The Truckle Cheese Co), organic, dairy/gluten free mint chocolate (Rawr), tea bags (Kandula) and a selection of curry kits (Curry With Love).
I was pleased to see so many of my favourite local products in Cambridge Artisan’s offerings, but I also had the opportunity to discover new ones as well. Products include cured meat, coffee, tea, gin, ales, chutneys, fudge, nuts, cheese, biscuits, brownie kits, dressings, oils, curds, curry kits, sweets, jams, jellies, pickles, sauces, ketchup, chocolate and vinegars. That’s quite the variety!
Throughout the launch, Amélise spoke passionately about the independent local products she supports. She answered questions about Cambridge Artisan’s services and showed people the brand new website, available to view on a laptop. Amélise is also involved in the company’s social media: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Amélise’s father Robert, who is helping her manage the company, stood proudly as she gave her welcome speech, which everyone applauded. I could see that Amélise had the right commitment and work ethic, patiently posing for photographs and participating in a series of interviews with the local media.
In fact, Amélise is no stranger to hard work. She is often seen helping out her parents Robert and Charlotte at Churros Bar outside of school hours. She is also coaching a local rowing team, practicing for her Grade 4 piano, studying for a D of E award and learning to play saxophone with her school band.
The idea for Cambridge Artisan came from Amélise’s love for her local market – and for business. It’s a win-win situation for us, the customers. We get to access some of the incredible local food and drink producers in our region, all the while supporting a future generation aiming to keep artisan independent produce at the forefront.
“Cambridge has become a hub for remarkable artisan foods. There’s such an abundance of luscious produce, it’s not surprising it’s been voted the fastest-growing food and drink city in the UK. We hope Cambridge Artisan will provide anyone looking to buy a unique gift – or simply because they love to buy ‘local’ – with a large selection of excellent products made with locally sourced ingredients.” (Robert Burr, Cambridge Artisan)
UPDATE: My interview with Cambridge Artisan was broadcast on Flavour, the food and drink radio programme on Cambridge 105, on 28 November 2015. Please go to my Media page to listen to the interview.
I was invited to attend the launch of Cambridge Artisan. I did not receive compensation for my review. All views are my own.
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