Burwash Manor in Barton, Cambridge was the place for lovers of food and drink over Valentine’s weekend, 13 and 14 February 2016. Love Food, the annual fabulous festival of food, was hosted by Burwash Food Hall, which includes The Larder and Leech & Sons Master Butchers. It was a great way to showcase local independent producers, some of which were already firm favourites, but I also discovered new ones too. It was good to meet the people behind the products they are so dedicated to making. These independent producers really put their heart and soul into their food or drink products and it shows. The proof is in the taste!
I celebrated all weekend and enjoyed tastings and demonstrations by The Larder’s suppliers. They were held in The Secret Garden marquee, a lovely space with lots of room to explore the various stalls.
Love was in the air but so was the aroma of street food throughout Burwash Manor. Steak & Honour, Guerrilla Kitchen, Churros Bar, Holy Schnitzels, Rösti Strasse and Coffee Angels were there to satiate the hungry masses.
Paulo and I knew we would be spending the afternoon indulging in some delicious food so we arrived ravenous. Over the two days we visited Guerrilla Kitchen for their sweet potato fries and bao (steamed buns), Steak & Honour whose epic burgers have spoiled us for any other and Churros Bar (twice!) for their warm, fresh churros and accompanying dips. There was even a special dip created for the occasion (Monkey Nuts) with nuts, fudge pieces and banana toffee.
I discovered THØR premium sparkling apple beverages at Love Food so I bought their refreshing Apple & Ginger flavour at The Larder to enjoy with my Steak & Honour burger. I took home all three of their flavours: Apple & Ginger, Apple and Mint. They have a crisp, natural taste with a lot less sweetness than soft drinks. The Mint flavour goes well with gin! And speaking of gin, Pinkster were there too! I love their gin and even got to visit their HQ a few months ago, which I wrote about here.
I have a jar of their Boozy Berries and I plan to use them in a pudding. Watch this space.
It was great to see Hibiscus Lily and help them mark the occasion of being stocked in The Larder for the first time. Kanwal Pattar, an accomplished cook and instructor, makes her own Indian-inspired chutneys, relishes, jellies, luxury fudge and spiced nuts.
I initially discovered Hibiscus Lily through Cambridge Artisan and was really impressed with Kanwal’s ‘lovingly homemade’ products using natural ingredients. Her products are fresh and delicious with no additives and artificial preservatives. I took the opportunity to stock up and got all of: Chilli Relish with Roasted Garlic, Sweet Chilli Jam, Caramelised Red Onion Marmalade, Pomegranate Jelly with Chilli Flakes, Apple Lemon & Mint Jelly, Spicy Cashew Nut Fudge, Honey Roasted Mixed Nuts and Cumin Cashews. There were various fudge flavours to taste and they are nothing like the mass produced sickeningly sweet fudges. The spiced nuts are seriously addictive and we found ourselves returning the next day to buy more Cumin Cashews!
Sarah Pettegree of Bray’s Cottage was unable to attend Love Food at the last minute but she still deserves a mention. I met Sarah before (above photo from last year’s festival). She really does make the perfect pork pie, using the very best pork from pigs reared outdoors in North Norfolk. It was a great consolation to be able to buy some of her pies at The Larder. In fact, we had one with Hisbiscus Lily’s Chilli Relish with Roasted Garlic and it was delicious.
I discovered a new producer, Chazwinkle’s, who create condiments based on preserving British fruit and vegetables. Mustardy and full of crunchy veggies, their Cauliflower & Friends also made a tasty accompaniment to Bray’s Cottage pork pies.
I also picked up a jar of Chazwinkle’s zingy Apple & Mint that I’m looking forward to trying with pork.
It’s always a pleasure to see Francesco Amato of Agrumia and Mauro Boero of Olioitalia. Agrumia is a Cambridgeshire-based online supplier of Italian delights. The variety of products is staggering: panettone, cookies, limoncello, wine, honey, pasta, jam, balsamic vinegar, olive oil… the list goes on! Francesco was accompanied by Mauro who is Cambridge’s Italian olive oil expert. His company, Olioitalia, is the importer of Le Opere e i Giorni organic infused extra virgin olive oils in the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Olioitalia is also the exclusive importer in the UK of a very high quality extra virgin olive oil, Antica Masseria Barbalace from Calabria, Italy.
Love Food attendees had the opportunity to sample these olive oils that are available through Agrumia as well as various delis, including The Larder. We purchased some tarallini snacks, a bottle of Moscato sparkling sweet wine and a jar of Il Carato, a very high quality acacia honey aged in oak barrels for 9 months.
I visited Bonnie Yau Food Products who create and source a range of products made with natural ingredients. I was intrigued by the Binchotan Charcoal Noodles. The personable Bonnie herself had me try a little of the cooked noodles and they were delicious. She explained that binchotan charcoal originates from the Kishu region of Japan, where oak branches are first burned at very high temperatures before being quickly cooled. This produces “activated” charcoal which is used to absorb toxins and impurities, such as purifying drinking water. Its use in food results from the belief that as the charcoal passes through the body, it draws away toxins, pollutants and chemicals. These impurities are held in the tiny pores of the charcoal itself, which then harmlessly exits the body.
Yau’s also make some very tasty sauces and I got a bottle of the Black Bean Sauce made with naturally fermented black beans and less salt.
It’s been an exciting several months for Laura Brown of Canesmith & Co, who officially launched her gourmet sweets business last May. They’ve been going down quite a treat (I know I’m hooked) and I got to taste the Black Pepper Caramels for the first time (they’re already gone as I write this). I’m even going to try the Raspberry Sherbet Dipper, complete with raspberry lollipop, to satisfy my sweet tooth.
The Larder is the place to pick up Canesmith’s full range of caramels. Let’s not forget the various salt water taffy flavours and well as the sherbets!
Capsicana’s Ben held demonstrations and tastings of his new cook sauces, launched last year. He even brought along Pablina, his trusted piñata.
I’m a big fan of Capsicana’s cook sauces, especially the Brazilian one, which packs a spicy punch. It’s very easy to create a tasty meal… just add it to some cooked chicken, onions and peppers.
Joe Kennedy, the mastermind of BlackBar Brewery, was on hand for beer tastings. Long-haired Paulo bought 3 bottles of BlackBar’s Long Hair beer. Coincidence? Long Hair is a 6.2% Anglo-American Pale Ale. Other bottle beers include DoveStep, Theory and Dead Unicorn.
The Foraging Fox presented their beetroot ketchup and it really is “good with everything”. The flavours of beetroot, apple and mixed spices must be tasted to be believed. I particularly like it with sausage rolls! They have a new Hot version too.
It was lovely to meet Helen, White Cottage Bakery’s talented baker. The beautiful fresh bread at her stall sold out in record time. As you can see from the photo, I missed it. Fortunately, I know where to find her wonderful bread… The Larder being one of those places.
Bedfordshire-based Wodehill featured their handmade artisan cheeses. They were so good, I bought three: Chellington, which is made with a mix of milk from their own cows and goats; Wodehill Blue, a creamy, semi-soft blue cheese (Bedford Blue is the larger version, matured longer for firmer texture and stronger flavour) and a yet unnamed cheese made from sheep’s milk (I jokingly suggested “For Ewe”).
Even though I attended Love Food over two days, I wasn’t able to visit all of the stalls that my time and pocketbook would allow. There was a great variety of foodie fabulousness, so if I didn’t mention all of the producers here, it’s not because I wasn’t impressed. I am already a faithful customer of some of them, such as Breckland Orchard, Shemin’s Curry Paste, Gourmet Brownie and Mustard Mary. It’s a good thing I can regularly visit The Larder at Burwash Manor and stock up on the products created by all of the excellent producers!
The owners, managers or staff did not invite me to visit this establishment and were unaware that my experience would be the basis of a written review. It is based on my experience at my own cost and I did not receive compensation for my review.
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