We'd love to hear from you

Please just provide your email address and let us know how we can be of service.

We'll be back in touch as soon as we can.

88b Walcot Street
Bath, England, BA1 5BD
United Kingdom

Freshly Ground PR is a PR and marketing agency based in Bath, specialising in independent food and drink, hospitality and lifestyle brands.

top.jpg

Press RELEASES

Here are some of the latest press releases from the people we work with. If you’re a journalist, blogger or writer and would like more information, images or samples, please get in touch.


 

3-month matured, but 500 years in the making, Buttery Cheddar delivers a true taste of Devon

Amy Brice

Buttery Cheddar

Smooth, rich and miles from mild, Buttery Clothbound Cheddar from Quicke’s is a grass fed wedge that celebrates the best of Devon’s lush pastures. Full of the character and depth that is often associated with more mature cheeses, this youthful and vibrant cheddar reflects the cheesemaker’s many years of care and respect for the land, a corner of England that the Quicke family has nurtured for 14 generations.

Guided by the ethos, ‘farm like you’re going to live forever’, Quicke’s has farmed in harmony with its ancient environment since the 16th century, more recently evolving practices in pursuit of great cheesemaking with the help of modern research and technology. An age-old respect for nature, combined with the introduction of advances such as the kiwi grazing system and specially bred hybrid cows, have led to outstanding milk for cheesemaking, capturing the best expression of the grass, soil and seasons.

Full of the rich creaminess and intensely buttery flavour that is found at the early stages of the maturing process, Buttery Clothbound Cheddar is ready to challenge any cheese lover who thinks top class cheddar must be mature. It may be the baby of the Quicke’s range, but this award-winning wedge owes much to centuries gone by and the spirit of slow at Home Farm that will ensure the land and the cheeses will be around for many years to come.

Quicke’s Buttery Clothbound Cheddar is available to purchase from www.quickes.co.uk (200g £4.25, 500g £8.70, 1.5kg £25.00), as well as from many independent retailers across the UK.

GAIL’s Bakery partners with Quicke’s to cut waste as well as wedges

Amy Brice

GAIL's

GAIL’s Bakery and Quicke’s are now working together to ensure that nothing from the Devon-based cheesemaker’s Clothbound Cheddar goes to waste. With Cheddar, whey butter and offcuts all incorporated into the London bakery’s menu, the bread heads at GAIL’s have now revealed the first batch of recipes inspired by the cheesemaking process.

Beginning with the need for a singularly special slice of cheese for its epic Ham & Cheese Sandwich, GAIL’s has combined Quicke’s Buttery Clothbound Cheddar with roasted ham, mustard butter and its French Dark Sourdough. With the core of the truckle removed to achieve a perfect slice and crumbly bits set aside along the way, GAIL’s has also created a new Cheddar Sourdough Stick to put these cheesy chunks to good use, with the number produced depending on how many Ham & Cheese Sandwiches get sold.

Not content with making use of the whole wheel, the craft bakery is also topping its toast with Quicke’s Whey Butter. Made using a rare heritage recipe and recognised by the Slow Food UK movement as one of the nation’s great ‘Forgotten Foods’, the butter combines the finest milk from Quicke’s grass-fed cows with whey cream, a by-product of the cheesemaking process which many drain away.

This latest waste cutting initiative comes just months after GAIL’s launched the UK’s first loaf made using leftover bread in October. The Waste Bread sourdough, made by turning surplus bread into a porridge which is then added into the dough, represents the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and the reduction of food waste.

United by a shared respect for food and the land which provides, Quicke’s and GAIL’s are committed to making the most of Home Farm’s award-winning Cheddar, a lovingly crafted cheese made from the ground up. With a slice of Devon now firmly behind the counter in bakeries across London, more recipes are set to be announced soon.

GAIL’s Ham & Cheese Sandwich and Cheddar Sourdough Stick, both made using Quicke’s Cheddar, are available to buy from its 48 bakeries across London, as well as online at gailsbread.co.uk. Quicke’s Cheddar can be purchased from www.quickes.co.uk.

Mike Burks announced as Garden Centre Association’s chairman elect for 2020

Amy Brice

Mike Burks GCA Elect

Mike Burks, managing director of The Gardens Group, will become chairman of the Garden Centre Association (GCA) in January 2020, heading up the trade organisation which represents nearly 200 garden centres nationwide. Elected by members of the GCA, Mike will work alongside the GCA executive and full board of elected directors to continue the association’s work in building relationships and promoting best practice across the industry.

Mike (pictured above), who has spent the past three decades running three multi award-winning garden centres in Dorset and Somerset, explains:

“I am greatly looking forward to my chairmanship and am lucky that the GCA has been in excellent hands with Mike Lind. With the association in such good shape, I can focus much of my time on driving forward with new initiatives and plan to visit many garden centres, attend meetings and work closely with the team to develop GROW, an e-learning tool that is very close to my heart, to make sure our members can get the most out of this valuable system. As well as sharing membership success stories, such as those of the recently awarded Fron Goch, Perrywood and The Old Railway Line, who also brought some exciting ideas and standards into the GCA, I'm keen to demonstrate the role that the industry can play in protecting wildlife and the environment, as well as bringing people together through plants and gardening to promote better health and wellbeing. We are in an enviable position, in that so many trends and needs of the modern world cross our path, so we need to work together to make the most of these opportunities.”

The Garden Centre Association announced its Chairman elect for 2020/2021 at its annual conference, which was held at the Luton Hoo Hotel on Wednesday 23 January.

For more information about The Gardens Group, visit www.thegardensgroup.co.uk.

Quicke’s to launch first mixed milk cheese into Whole Foods Market

Amy Brice

Lady Prue WFM

One of the UK’s most respected cheesemakers, Quicke’s will launch its first ever mixed milk cheese into several Whole Foods Market stores later this month, with stores across the US set to stock wedges of the 6-month matured clothbound cheese, Lady Prue.

Named after Mary Quicke MBE’s mother, who built the original cheese dairy in Devon, England during the 1970s, Lady Prue has been created exclusively for the US market. Combining goat’s and cow’s milk to produce a youthful, pale and delicate cheese, with a subtle taste of goat and a gentle caramelly hint, the cheese has already landed its first major international award, winning a Silver at the World Cheese Awards in November 2018.

Joining Whole Foods Market’s extensive line-up of cheeses from around the world, Quicke’s newest cheese will be available from stores in the Pacific Northwest, South, North Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Northern California. One of only a handful of mixed milk cheeses currently being made in the UK, Lady Prue embodies both Quicke’s rich heritage and its continued dedication to experimentation and innovation, bringing a true taste of Devon to cheese counters across the country.

Mary Quicke MBE explains:

“Harking back to the very first truckles made at Home Farm, this cheese encapsulates so much about our past, present and future. My mother, Prue was trained as an artist and later established the dairy – with six children in tow – and it’s her artistry which still runs through the veins of the business today, pushing us to experiment with our craft. This commitment to pushing boundaries led us to mix goat’s and cow’s milk with the US market in mind and we’re delighted to be launching the resulting cheese into Whole Foods Market stores this month. As such big advocates of quality, provenance, sustainability and artisan cheesemaking in general, we couldn’t think of a better home for Lady Prue, so we can’t wait for our truckles to land on US soil and make their way from coast to coast.”

For more information about Quicke's, visit www.quickes.co.uk.

Italy to host World Cheese Awards 2019, as part of FORME festival in Bergamo

Amy Brice

Milan press launch 170119 (1).jpg

The World Cheese Awards will visit Italy for the first time, taking place in Bergamo on Friday 18 October 2019, as part of the city’s annual FORME cheese festival. Announced on Thursday 17 January at a the Palazzo Regione Lombardia in Milan, the main seat of the government for the Lombardy region, the news will see the planet’s largest cheese-only competition join a four day celebration of cheese in the Medieval heart of Bergamo.

Following an epic edition of the World Cheese Awards in Bergen, Norway in November 2018, where records were broken across the board with 3,472 cheeses from 41 different countries being judged in a single day, the 32nd edition will now be staged in the Capitale Europea dei Formaggi. Reaching out to cheesemakers and cheese experts in every corner of the globe, this year’s line-up is set to be bigger and more diverse than ever before.

As Bergamo plays host to the international cheese community, the World Cheese Awards will shine a spotlight on Lombardy’s culinary culture, giving the region’s producers an opportunity to showcase their food and drink on a world stage. The FORME festival itself will take consumer and trade visitors on a dairy journey, featuring tastings, panel discussions, training sessions, markets and an exhibition of all 50 Italian DOP cheeses.

John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, organisers of the World Cheese Awards, commented:

“The World Cheese Awards is extending its international reach year-on-year, so it's very important for us to partner with like-minded organisations that understand the power and potential of this global cheese gathering. Uniting with FORME feels like a very natural fit for us and we're hugely honoured to be bringing the competition to Bergamo in 2019, a beautiful city with a wealth of cheese heritage. With over 200 of the world's top cheese people set to fly in for the awards, Bergamo will become the very heart of the cheese world this October and the world will be watching as the city hosts this global celebration of cheese. We're anticipating yet another record breaking year, hoping to top 3,500 entries for the first time, and are looking forward to working together with the FORME team to create a lasting legacy in the region and raise awareness throughout the food and drink world.”

Francesco Maroni, president of the Progetto Forme, added:

“We are very proud to present the fourth edition of FORME, an event that over the years has been able to impress everyone - institutions, professionals and the public. The numbers from last year are already clear: over 40,000 visitors and participants, with 12,000 kilos of cheese sold and tasted at the market. Without losing sight of the importance of local heritage, this year's edition will see the Italian premiere of the World Cheese Awards, the most prestigious international competition for the best cheeses in the world. This huge event, alongside the new addition of the B2Cheese fair, will serve to promote excellence in production throughout Italy, with the aim of enhancing the reputation of our national cheeses and creating a culture of quality.”

The World Cheese Awards will take place on Friday 18 October 2019, forming part of the FORME festival, which will run from 18-20 October across a number of Bergamo’s most iconic venues.

For more information about the World Cheese Awards, visit www.gff.co.uk/wca.

The Seed Fund Academy opens for entry, reaching out to foragers, bakers, picklers and makers

Amy Brice

Dorset Sea Salt

On a mission to find the UK and Ireland’s future stars of food and drink, The Seed Fund will open for entry on Friday 1 February, offering 12 places on its summer Academy run in partnership with Great Taste, the world’s most coveted food awards. Open to award-winning start-ups and part-time producers alike, The Seed Fund is looking to unearth the hedgerow harvesters, rooftop beekeepers and back garden brewers who are ready to take their budding businesses to the next level.

Now in its seventh year, the entirely philanthropic project is supported by mentors including Renée Elliott, founder of Planet Organic, the Guild of Fine Food’s John Farrand and Camilla Barnard from Rude Health. Covering branding, funding, finance, PR, social media and much more, these handpicked industry experts will put the Academy through its paces with a game-changing series of workshops, presentations and one-on-one sessions, run between May and September.

Beginning with a hands-on Breaking Bread event at the Guild of Fine Food in London, the Academy will culminate in a brand new investment pitch day held at Piper Private Equity in Notting Hill, where the fledgling producers will have an opportunity to present to the panel and win investment for their brands. One eventual winner also will be awarded a further year of business support and brand development, estimated to be worth over £100,000.

The Seed Fund can accept entries from any food and drink start-ups that have been trading for less than three years, with a turnover under £1,000,000 per annum. The Seed Fund Academy’s Class of 2019 will be announced in May, with this year’s winner due to be unveiled at the Great Taste Golden Fork Awards Dinner in London this autumn.

The Seed Fund will be open for entry from Friday 1 February until Monday 1 April. To apply, visit www.theseedfund.co.uk.

Cheese Tours announced for 2019

Amy Brice

Quicke's cow

Distinguished Devon-based cheesemaker, Quicke’s will open its gates for a series of Cheese Tours in 2019, offering curd nerds the chance to meet its world famous cows, witness cheddar being made first-hand and explore the closely guarded ‘Cathedral of Cheese’ where huge truckles come of age.

Hosted by Quicke’s ambassador, Stuart Dowle, eight tours will be held between April and September next year. Visitors will learn about grass, the art of grazing and the unique macrobiotics of Home Farm’s soils, discovering how Quicke’s cheese is made from the ground up to become a true expression of the land from which it came.

Meeting cheesemakers with over a century of experience, the group will look on as world-class milk becomes award-winning cheddar with the help of heritage starters, natural rennet and Cornish Sea Salt, before heading across the farmyard to the cheese stores to take in the awe-inspiring sight and smell of hundreds of cheeses stacked high. Following an education in grading, mould gardens and the maturing room’s unique microflora, it will be time to tuck into a tutored tasting.

Having worked up an appetite around the farm, the tour will end with lunch at Devon’s oldest working brew pub, The Beer Engine in Newton St Cyres, with plenty of Quicke’s clothbound best on the menu.

Cheese Tour itinerary:

9.30am - Meet at Home Farm in time for a 10am start. Welcome talk from Stuart Dowle.

10.30am - Take a tour of the dairy, watching the cheesemakers craft each truckle by hand.

11.00am - Whizz around the cheese stores and see how Quicke’s ages its clothbound cheddar.

11.30am - Tuck in to a tutored tasting.

12pm - Take a guided tour of Home Farm and meet the world famous Quicke's cows.

1pm - Explore the farm shop and then visit The Beer Engine for lunch.

2019 tour dates:

Friday 26 April

Friday 31 May

Friday 28 June

Friday 19 July

Friday 26 July

Friday 30 August

Friday 20 September

Friday 27 September

Tickets to the Quicke’s Cheese Tours cost £35 and can be booked online at www.quickes.co.uk/pages/cheese-tours or by calling 01392 851 222.

A time of celebration and innovation, as Quicke’s toasts 45 years in cheese

Amy Brice

Cheese and fizz

As cheeseboards are planned and Christmas trees adorned, the celebrations have already begun at Home Farm, as Quicke’s marks its 45th anniversary. Many seasons have passed and truckles been traded since the first cheese left the dairy in 1973, but the Devon-based cheesemaker continues to be guided by tradition, innovation and respect for the land that the Quicke family has nurtured for almost 500 years.

Beginning in the early 1970s as milk prices fell, Mary Quicke’s parents, Sir John and Prudence Quicke, became inspired by the cheesemakers that they were selling their milk to and set their sights on producing “something unique, something akin to chateau-bottled wine instead of a commodity.” Sir John’s work in London meant that it was Prue who would establish the dairy, find a cheesemaker and sell the cheese, before eventually handing over the reins to Mary Quicke MBE following her return to the farm in 1984.

Bringing her experience of journalism in London, as well as a year working on a cheesemaking farm in Shropshire in 1982 and completing a Diploma in Farm Management at Seale-Hayne College in 1983, Mary was ready to make her mark in cheese. Working in the soft boundary between admiration and partnership with the land, Mary has overseen huge steps forward in the ensuing decades, from the switch to specially bred hybrid cows and the introduction of the kiwi grazing system to the development of an eco-friendly cheese mite management system that employs a high-pressure blower to blast the mites off Quicke’s clothbound cheese.

International acclaim and a huge haul of awards have followed, but Quicke’s remains as committed as ever to making the very best of what nature provides. Cornish Sea Salt was introduced into the cheesemaker’s carefully honed recipe in 2016, while this year saw the launch of its first ever mixed milk cheese, Lady Prue, named in tribute to Mary’s mother. Collaborations, educational initiatives, experiments and events have kept Quicke’s at the forefront of British cheese movement that continues to win plaudits around the world, but life at Home Farm continues to be shaped by one simple ethos; “farm like you're going to live forever.”

For more information about Quicke's, visit www.quickes.co.uk.

Pipers Farm serves up a sustainable Sunday roast to nourish those nearest

Amy Brice

Topside beef

As the nation continues to diversify its diet, discovering fresh world flavours and opting for more meat free meals throughout the week, Pipers Farm’s Grass Fed Beef Topside, a classic roasting joint laced with a fine-grained texture and flavour releasing bite, remains King of the Sunday lunch table. Slow grown and 100% grass fed, this wholesome and nutritious beef can be enjoyed by the whole family with assurance that it has been produced in harmony with nature.

Spending their entire lives outside, the native Red Ruby Cattle are perfectly suited to the Devon landscape and its natural resources. The calves build up their natural immunity free from antibiotics with a diet of mother’s milk, which is converted from rough native pasture and heather. Once this milk source dries up after nine months, the ruminant Red Ruby Cattle enjoy a natural diet of forage, herb-rich grass and hay. This 100% grass-fed diet ensures a healthy gut, feeding their own microbiome as well as helping the cattle play a vital role in the cyclical maintenance of the land, grazing the pasture while nurturing the soil and providing food and habitats for insects in the process.

Once the Red Ruby Cattle reach natural maturity around 31-36 months old, as opposed to the industrialised method where cereal, grains and chemicals are fed to the cattle to speed up the growing process, they are taken to a local family-run farmyard-based abattoir. The entire carcass is then hung on the bone for at least four weeks, a time-honoured technique, which develops an intense depth of flavour and mouth-watering texture.

Served alongside golden potatoes, roasted in Pipers Farm’s Free Range Goose Fat, fluffy Yorkshire Puddings and seasonal vegetables all drizzled in homemade gravy using Pipers Farms Pure Beef Stock, the Grass Fed Beef Topside can provide the centrepiece for a delicious, nourishing and truly traditional Sunday roast with minimal impact on the environment.

Pipers Farm’s Grass Fed Beef Topside is all available to order from www.pipersfarm.com, £21 per kg.

Golden Cross wins Best British Cheese at World Cheese Awards 2018

Amy Brice

Photo credit: Tim Johnston Photography.

Photo credit: Tim Johnston Photography.

Golden Cross from the Golden Cross Cheese Company has been named the Best British Cheese, sponsored by the Academy of Cheese, at the 31st edition of the World Cheese Awards in Bergen, Norway following a record breaking 3,472 entries being judged in a single day at the city’s iconic Grieg Hall.

Produced in East Sussex, this log shaped and lightly charcoaled goat’s cheese achieved a Super Gold rating and made the final 16 alongside this year’s top cheeses. Other honours around the UK went to Celtic Promise from Caws Teifi Cheese, which picked up the Best Welsh Cheese trophy, sponsored by The Abergavenny Creamery, and Arran Blue from the Island Cheese Company, which was named Best Scottish Cheese.

Visiting Norway for the first time this year to form part of the brand new food festival, Matnasjonen Norge, the World Cheese Awards judged entries from over 40 different countries on Friday 2 November. Nine hours of judging later, the Super Jury named Fanaost, made by Norwegian cheesemaker, Ostegården, World Champion Cheese 2018, after the aged gouda stood out at every stage of the blind tasting process.

With a total of 12 Super Gold, 53 Gold, 84 Silver and 93 Bronze awards going to entries from Britain this year, the World Cheese Awards has once again provided an internationally recognised seal of approval for many of the UK’s cheesemakers. Among the other winners bringing awards back the UK are a Super Gold winning Cornish Blue from the Cornish Cheese Co, a Gold winning Corra Linn from Errington Cheese and a Gold winning Abergavenny British Soft Goat’s Cheese from The Abergavenny Fine Foods Co.

Records were broken across the board this year, as more nations than ever before entered cheeses into the world’s biggest cheese-only event. Representing 41 different countries, entries made their way by boat, truck, train and plane via 12 consolidation points around the world, from places including Brazil, Kenya, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa and the USA. 235 judges from 30 countries then tasted, nosed and graded cheeses from six continents, giving Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold awards to worthy entries.

As 3,472 eventually became 16, the crowds then watched on as the International Super Jury debated the world’s top cheese. Made up of the finest palates from the international cheese community, this year’s panel featured cheese makers, cheesemongers, buyers, chefs, retailers and writers. Judges including José Pizarro, critically acclaimed Spanish chef, Cathy Strange, global executive coordinator for Whole Foods Market in the USA, Claus Meyer, co-founder of Noma in Denmark, and Nick Tsioros, owner of Olympic Cheese in Toronto, all put forward their chosen cheeses live on World Cheese TV, before crowning this year’s World Champion Cheese.

For more information about the World Cheese Awards, visit www.gff.co.uk/wca.

Quicke’s wins three World Cheese Awards in Norway

Amy Brice

Festive cheese

Distinguished Devon-based cheesemaker, Quicke’s has landed three honours at the World Cheese Awards in Norway, standing out from the crowd among a record-breaking field of 3,472 entries from 41 different countries that were judged in Bergen on Friday 2 November.

Continuing its impressive run of awards success, Quicke’s Goat's Milk Clothbound Cheese took a Gold following the blind-tasting judging process, joined by Mature Clothbound Cheddar which also achieved a Gold rating. New for 2018, Lady Prue impressed the panel too, with the youthful and delicate mixed milk cheese winning a Silver during its first appearance at the competition.

Mary Quicke MBE and Tom Chatfield, head of sales and marketing at Quicke’s, joined a 235-strong team of judges from 30 different countries at the planet’s largest cheese-only event, which took place at Bergen’s iconic Grieg Hall in the heart of the city. Having flown the flag for Devon as the global curd community gathered in Norway for the 31st edition of the competition, Quicke’s has once again been recognised as one of the world’s top cheesemakers.

Mary Quicke explains:

“It’s a truly special experience to join the panel each year at the World Cheese Awards and although judging is a serious business, it’s incredibly fun and exciting to taste so many diverse cheeses from every corner of the planet. Judging serves as a great reminder of just how good cheese can be when we work in harmony with the land around us and let the cheese tell a story of the pastures, the animals, the climate and even the unique microflora that exists in every cheesemaker’s maturing rooms. To be among the winners at this global gathering of cheese is an honour and shows that we are doing something right with our little patch of Devon.”

For more information about Quicke's, visit www.quickes.co.uk.

Fanaost from Norway crowned World Champion Cheese 2018 in Bergen

Amy Brice

Photo credit: Tim Johnston Photography.

Photo credit: Tim Johnston Photography.

Fanaost, an aged gouda made by Norwegian cheesemaker, Ostegården, has been named World Champion Cheese at the 31st edition of the World Cheese Awards in Bergen, Norway. Produced from a herd of just 12 cows on a farm less than 20km from Bergen, Fanaost rose to the top among a record breaking 3,472 entries judged in a single day at the city’s iconic Grieg Hall.

This truly artisan cheese stood out at every stage of the blind tasting process on Friday 2 November, as the competition visited Norway for the first time to form part of the brand new food festival, Matnasjonen Norge, in partnership with HANEN. Beating finalists from countries including Italy, France, Israel and South Africa in the final 16, cheesemaker Jørn Hafslund was in attendance to claim his trophy and receive a rapturous reception from the home crowd.

Jørn Hafslund from Ostegården commented:

“I have no words. Our herd of 12 cows produces nice milk to make this Dutch-inspired Fanaost cheese, which we have been making for 12 years. Cheese makers here look out for each other and work together, so this is for Norway!”

Having taken this year’s top prize at the largest cheese-only competition on the planet, Ostegården now joins a select group of cheesemakers to have earned this prestigious accolade over the past three decades. Jason Hinds from Neal's Yard Dairy in the UK, who also received an Exceptional Contribution to Cheese award at this year’s World Cheese Awards, championed the cheese during the final round of judging, saying:

“This was a refreshing thing to taste with none of that confected sweetness that can be sometimes be prevalent in this style of cheese. I was looking for terroir and this cheese, which turned out to be from Norway, really delivers a sense of place with a great texture and wonderful marriage of sweet and savoury notes.”

The rest of the International Super Jury, representing nations including Brazil, Japan, Russia, Norway and Spain, concurred, awarding Fanaost the highest score of the final judging stage.

Fanaost was awarded 71 points out of a possible 80 by the Super Jury of 16 judges, ahead of two cheeses in joint-second place with 65 points; Agour Pur Brebis AOP Ossau Iraty from France, made by Fromagerie Agour and entered by QST International Limited; and Helfeit, Brun Geitost – Tinntradisjon, a traditional brown goat’s cheese from Norway, made by Stordalen Gardsbruk.

John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, organisers of the World Cheese Awards, commented:

“The World Cheese Awards was set up to champion artisan cheesemakers, so it feels very fitting that this year’s winner should be a small family farm making cheese just a few miles south from here. Our hosts, including HANEN, Norway’s Minister of Agriculture and Food, Bård Hoksrud, and the Bergen city government, have understood the power of this global cheese gathering from the outset and besides the honour of having over 200 of the world’s top cheese people to hang out with for a few days, we know that the competition will leave a lasting legacy for food and drink in this part of the world. With just a dozen cows, I think it’s safe to say that Ostegården is our smallest ever champion and I hope as many people as possible get to taste this rare and special cheese. More importantly though, this result has shone a spotlight on just how good artisan cheese can be, so I’d encourage the world to revisit the cheese counter and take a closer look at what’s being produced on their doorsteps.”

Records were broken across the board this year, as more nations than ever before entered cheeses into the world’s biggest cheese-only event. Representing 41 different countries, entries made their way by boat, truck, train and plane via 12 consolidation points around the world, from places including Brazil, Kenya, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa and the USA. 235 judges from 30 countries then tasted, nosed and graded cheeses from six continents, giving Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold awards to worthy entries.

As 3,472 eventually became 16, the crowds then watched on as the International Super Jury debated the world’s top cheese. Made up of the finest palates from the international cheese community, this year’s panel featured cheese makers, cheesemongers, buyers, chefs, retailers and writers. Judges including José Pizarro, critically acclaimed Spanish chef, Cathy Strange, global executive coordinator for Whole Foods Market in the USA, Claus Meyer, co-founder of Noma in Denmark, and Carlos Yescas, author and cheesemonger from Mexico, all put forward their chosen cheeses live on World Cheese TV, before crowning this year’s World Champion Cheese.

For more information about the World Cheese Awards, visit www.gff.co.uk/wca.

Breaking bread with Gill Meller to celebrate autumnal abundance at Home Farm

Amy Brice

Soda bread

A quick loaf that’s packed full of texture and flavour, Gill Meller’s Cheddar and Whey Hazelnut Soda Bread recipe has been created with autumn’s bounty in mind. The latest in a series of seasonal recipes developed by Gill using Quicke’s award-winning clothbound cheese, the soda bread takes inspiration from all corners of this ancient Devon landscape, from the dairy and ancient woodlands to Mary Quicke’s own back garden.

Taking just 45 minutes to prepare, this is a recipe designed for the busiest of seasons, a time of harvesting, gathering and preparation for the months ahead. Beneath a golden cheesy crown, made using Quicke’s Buttery Clothbound Cheddar, the bread is crammed with sweet roast red onions and rosemary from the garden, along with bashed hazelnuts and jumbo oats to give the most satisfying of bites. All brought together using whey left over from the cheesemaking process, this loaf sets out to make the most of what the pastures provide.

Following the publication of Gill’s latest book, Time, which moves through the seasons with recipes created for morning, daytime and night, this new soda bread recipe is firmly rooted in autumn at Home Farm. Just as the milk shifts with the changing seasons, giving new complexities to truckles entering the cheese stores for anything from three up to 24 months, minds turn to feasting, comfort and shelter as the colours change across Home Farm. Created to tell help tell the story of the land as autumn brings about shorter days and thicker jumpers, Gill’s recipe is a warm invitation to gather with friends and hunker down with a good hunk of bread.

The recipe for Gill Meller’s Cheddar and Whey Hazelnut Soda Bread can be found at www.quickes.co.uk/blogs/recipes.

Butcher becomes baker as Pipers Farm launches new range of pies

Amy Brice

Pies

Devon-based online butcher, Pipers Farm has launched a new range of Handmade Pies this week, bringing wholesome lunches, hearty snacks and simple suppers for the whole family to enjoy. With crisp buttery pastry and the finest natural ingredients, including generous chunks of moreish slow-grown and grass fed meat, which has been traditionally farmed in harmony with nature, these rustic pies are now available for home delivery nationwide.

Taking inspiration from classic recipes, Pipers Farm has created four regular fillings, including a Steak and Otter Ale Pie crammed with its nutritious and award-winning Red Ruby beef and root vegetables, immersed in local ale gravy. Slow grown and grass fed for their entire lives, the native Red Ruby cattle build up a natural immunity from their mothers’ milk without the need for antibiotics, before playing a vital role in the cyclical maintenance of the land, grazing the pasture while nurturing the soil and providing food and habitats for insects in the process.

Other recipes make use of hand-picked cuts from across the farm, including the Chicken and Ham Pie which combines two of Pipers Farm’s most celebrated meats. The Butter Chicken Pie puts poultry centre stage, championing the Properly Free Range Chicken that provided the cornerstone for Pipers Farm when it was founded over 30 years ago, while the Pumpkin, Goat’s Cheese and Spinach Pie delivers a hearty vegetarian option that makes the most of autumnal abundance.

Suitable for home freezing, the Handmade Pies are best cooked from frozen and take a total of 40 minutes to cook. Served warm with seasonal vegetables or cooled overnight for the next day’s lunchbox, the new pies from Pipers Farm are designed with modern family life in mind.

Pipers Farm’s entire range of Handmade Pies are all available to order from www.pipersfarm.com, RRP £3.95.

Take a gander at goose for a time-honoured festive feast

Amy Brice

Goose

Golden, plump and juicy, a Pipers Farm Properly Free Range Goose, which is slow reared especially for Christmas and New Year, can be the crowning glory of any festive dinner table. A Christmas favourite for centuries gone by and a popular alternative to turkey, the Devon-based online butcher’s free range goose makes for truly traditional fare and can feed the whole family and more, with succulent, seasonal and nutritious meat, which has been reared in harmony with nature.

Hatched in April and slow grown on a two-generation-run farm tucked into a steep Devon hillside, the properly free range geese enjoy a natural diet and plenty of space to flap, fly, scratch and honk. Once the birds reach natural maturity in late November they are slaughtered, dry plucked by hand and hung for 12 days, time-honoured methods honed to perfect that unmistakable texture and rich lingering flavour.

Stuffed with roughly chopped prunes, Bramley apples and onions, then served with seasonal vegetables and gravy made from the giblets, alongside wonderfully fluffy roast potatoes cooked under the goose to catch the delicious fat, this Properly Free Range Goose will make a grand centrepiece this Christmas or New Year. For smaller gatherings or last minute get-togethers, the Free Range Goose Breast and Free Range Confit Goose Leg deliver those same comforting and indulgent flavours, leaving more time to take on the nibbles, dessert and wine.

Pipers Farm’s Properly Free Range Goose, which includes the giblets for making stocks and gravy, the Free Range Goose Breast and the Free Range Confit Goose Leg, are all available to order from www.pipersfarm.com for delivery after Monday 10 December.

A truckle with a tale to tell, Oak Smoked Cheddar delivers Home Farm charm this Christmas

Amy Brice

Smoked cheddar

A cheese shaped by every corner of the Quicke’s estate, the award-winning Oak Smoked Clothbound Cheddar can bring a true taste of Devon to this year’s Christmas festivities. Combining a subtle smoke with the cheesemaker’s distinctive buttery cheddar, this is a wedge ready to shake up the Christmas cheeseboard, pair up with the drinks cabinet and bring homely flavours and aromas to a range of recipes.

Beginning with the grass out on the pastures of Home Farm, an unadulterated Devon diet for Quicke’s world-famous hybrid cows, this lush resource provides milk like no other for the dairy. A true taste of the land from which it came, this milk is then combined with natural rennet, heritage starters and Cornish Sea Salt to create the cheese’s unique flavour profile. Wrapped in cloth and moved onto the maturing rooms for 9-12 months, the farm’s unique microflora impacts upon its taste, texture and appearance as the cheese slowly comes of age.

Venturing around the farm more than most, the Oak Smoked Clothbound Cheddar is finally cold smoked using oak chips from trees grown in the ancient woodlands of the Quicke’s estate, which have been dried for many months in an old barn nestled in the farm’s winding lanes. Making the most of every gift that the landscape has provided, this is a smoked cheddar that’s worth the wait, pairing well with Devon tipples ranging from Sandford Orchards’ Devon Red Cider to Lyme Bay Winery’s Damson Liqueur.

Quicke’s Oak Smoked Clothbound Cheddar is available to buy at selected Marks & Spencer and Whole Foods Market stores, as well as from many independent retailers across the UK. The cheese can also be purchased from www.quickes.co.uk; 200g £4.75, 500g £11.10, 1.5kg £30.00.

Saddleback Pork Steak a cut above the rest, as Great Taste crowns the best in the South West

Amy Brice

Saddleback

Slow-grown with plenty of space to roam, Pipers Farm’s Saddleback Pork Steaks have been awarded the Great Taste Golden Fork for the best food or drink from the South West, coming out on top among thousands of other entries from the region. Founders, Peter and Henri Greig, collected the trophy at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner in London earlier this month, where it was also revealed that the Devon-based online butcher’s pork steaks had made it all the way to the final panel, as one of Great Taste 2018’s Top 18 products from over 12,600 entries.

Packed full of rich buttery fat, cutting through the sweet Saddleback meat, this pork was applauded by the Great Taste judges for its “full frontal flavour”, with one judge describing it as “deliciously juicy, beautifully soft and fabulously piggy”. Boasting a “porky complexity” that set this product apart from the crowd, the Great Taste 3-star steaks are a testament to what can be achieved by farming in harmony with nature, while allowing the native Wessex Saddlebacks to enjoy a natural life without stress.

Properly farrow and living outside for the duration of their lives, these old-fashioned pigs stay on their mother for eight weeks, to get the full benefit of their mother's milk. Rooting outside from only a few days old, Pipers Farm’s piglets build up a strong natural immunity, helping them to reach maturity without the need for antibiotics. Fed on a simple cereal diet, while also foraging on herb-rich grass, acorns, apples and fodder beet, all grown on the farm they call home, these family groups provide the most sustainable way of managing a mixed farm, ploughing and fertilising the ground in the most natural way and minimising the need for machinery and inorganic fertilisers.

Peter Greig, founder of Pipers Farm, explains:

“This is a special day for Pipers Farm, but it was all the sweeter for Henri and I to share the stage with the young farmers who reared these wonderful pigs for us. The Snells epitomise what Pipers Farm is all about, partnering with family-run farms to provide a sustainable alternative to the industrialised farming methods that consumers have been told to accept as the only way to feed the masses. We believe strongly that small-scale family farming is the future and feel honoured to be providing an outlet for the work of these great young people, which is ultimately benefiting the community, the pastures and the animals themselves, while giving us some superb meat along the way. Having judged with Great Taste for the first time this year, I now know what a rigorous blind-tasting process it is, so I’m incredibly proud to be bringing this trophy back down to Devon with us. Our Golden Fork shows just what can be achieved when you farm with respect for mother nature, who rewards us with some sensational and sustainable meat that we can feed to our families with confidence.”

Pipers Farm’s Saddleback Pork Steak is available to order from www.pipersfarm.com.

Shop of the Year 2018 winners announced

Amy Brice

Photo credit: Tim Johnston Photography.

Photo credit: Tim Johnston Photography.

On Thursday 20 September, the Guild of Fine Food crowned the UK’s best independent retailers, as Shop of the Year 2018 reached its exciting finale in London. Established to recognise and promote excellence in the industry, the accreditation scheme was newly expanded this year to offer even more opportunities for small independent retailers.

Delifonseca Dockside in Liverpool was awarded Best Delicatessen, Bradford-based Keelham Farm Shop won Best Farm Shop with Food Hall and Cheshire’s specialist grocer, Godfrey C. Williams & Son, claimed Best Grocer, Village or Community Shop. With this trio of top honours going to retailers from the North, The Cheese Society in Lincoln completed the line-up, taking home Best Specialist Cheese Shop.

All the trophies were presented at No. 42 Southwark Street, the Guild of Fine Food’s London base, where the world of fine food gathered to find out the winners of each category, selected following two rounds of judging over the summer, which included an announced visit from one of the industry expert judges and a mystery shop by customer experience experts, Insight6.

With a “spacious, well stocked and laid out food hall”, Delifonseca Dockside, which has a “good atmosphere and low staff turnover”, was applauded for its “wide range of local, national and international produce, from local honey and bread to global beers and 120 cheeses from all over the world”. Packed with all the “farm shop classics, such as meat, fruits and vegetables,” Keelham Farm Shop also impressed the judges with its more novel offerings, from a range of pulses and a juice bar to its new product development, which now includes a curry range.

A family business since 1875, Godfrey C. Williams & Son received high praise for its “excellent customer service values”, vast range of certain brands and merchandising. While further off the beaten track, innovative ideas, such as a Cheese Lucky Dip, “very cool’ branded cool bags and a cheese café scooped The Cheese Society its gong, with the panel commenting on its excellent layout and “perfect balance of cheese, accompaniments and tools”.

Shop of the Year 2018 winners

Best Delicatessen sponsored by Le Gruyere AOP

Delifonseca Dockside, Liverpool

Best Farm Shop or Garden Centre with Food Hall sponsored by Petty Wood

Keelham Farm Shop, Bradford

Best Grocer, Village or Community Shop sponsored by Le Gruyere AOP

Godfrey C. Williams & Son, Cheshire

Best Specialist Cheese Shop sponsored by Le Gruyere AOP

The Cheese Society, Lincoln

Special Shop of the Year Awards

Newcomer Award sponsored by Le Gruyere AOP

Fillet & Bone, Gloucestershire

Retail Hero sponsored by Le Gruyere AOP

Clare Jones from Delifonseca Dockside, Liverpool

From overall shopping experience and financial performance to staff training opportunities and environmental initiatives in place, the panel of judges, which includes Edward Berry of The Flying Fork, Stuart Gates, who has worked for both Harrods and Fortnum & Mason, food journalist Patrick McGuigan, award-winning retailer Tracey Colley and food industry advisor, Sam Rosen-Nash, rated, scored and fed back on every aspect of the shops before agreeing on an overall category winner.

As of Friday 21 September, entry will open for Shop of the Year 2019 at gff.co.uk/awards/shop-of-the-year, with independent retailers now invited to submit a written submission for Best Delicatessen & Grocer; Specialist Cheese Shop; Farm Shop (farmer owned); Food Hall; Specialist Food or Drink Shop; and Newcomer. Judging will begin in November before the winners are announced at Fine Food Show North, Harrogate, which takes place on Sunday 10 and Monday 11 March 2019.

Unwrap the charms of cheddar this Christmas with a tasting box from Quicke’s

Amy Brice

cheddar box

Packed with five Devon-sent wedges, ready to take cheese lovers on a journey in cheddar, the Cheddar Tasting Box from Quicke’s is the perfect gift for curd nerds this Christmas. Celebrating the diversity and complexities of Quicke’s award-winning range of clothbound cheddars, the box also contains a flavour profile wheel to help festive folk identify the unique tasting notes and aromas within.

A chance to indulge and geek out on Britain’s undisputed cheeseboard champ, the Cheddar Tasting Box includes the full suite of Quicke’s cheddars. From the smooth and rich 3-month matured Buttery, through to Mature, Extra Mature and the 2-year matured Vintage Cheddar, the UK’s longest aged clothbound cheddar, every wedge brings its own unique characteristics to the table.

Accompanied by Oak Smoked Clothbound Cheddar, cold smoked using oak chips from trees grown on the Quicke’s estate, the tasting box is a true expression of the landscape around Home Farm. Whether nestled on a cheeseboard, grated onto gratin or paired with cider, sloe gin, whisky or wine, these cheddars will be well at home once the presents are unwrapped and the season of greeting and eating gets underway.

The Quicke’s Cheddar Tasting Box is available to buy from www.quickes.co.uk, priced at £25, and contains a flavour wheel, cheddar tasting notes, a ‘What’s in a Wedge’ guide and five 200g wedges; Buttery Clothbound Cheddar, Mature Clothbound Cheddar, Extra Mature Clothbound Cheddar, Vintage Clothbound Cheddar and Oak Smoked Cheddar.

A moment to relish… The Quirky Cook wins Great Taste Ambient Product of the Year

Amy Brice

Fig relish

Paving a new way for preserves, Derby-based The Quirky Cook is now celebrating its runaway success at this year’s Great Taste awards, with its punchy and pioneering Honeyed Fig Relish with Black Garlic winning the Golden Fork for Ambient Product of the Year. Impressing the judging panel with its “bright explosive flavour” and “wonderful complexity”, this brand new product came out on top to claim one of Great Taste’s most fiercely competed honours.

Founder, Kay Hawkins collected the award at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner earlier this month, where the Great Taste 3-star winning Honeyed Fig Relish was named among this year’s Top 18 products and was also nominated for the Golden Fork for the best food or drink from the Midlands. Having been the first UK producer to launch condiments using black garlic back in 2016, three of The Quirky Cook’s black garlic relishes scooped Great Taste awards this year, with Honeyed Fig Relish joined by the 2-star winning Red Pepper & Apricot Relish and 1-star winning Apple & Date Relish.

Balancing the delicate sweetness of honey and figs with the earthy savoury notes of black garlic, the Honeyed Fig Relish had the Great Taste panel dreaming of smearing it on toast, crackers, cheese and gammon, with one judge saying it “would be perfect used with roasted root vegetables in the middle of winter.” Packed with fig seeds “which pop in your mouth”, adding “a crispy texture that you wouldn’t normally get with a chutney”, this innovative handmade product stood out from the crowd at the world’s most coveted food awards.

Kay Hawkins, founder of The Quirky Cook, explains:

“It’s been a whirlwind since our name was read out at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner, catapulting my fig relish from a lovingly honed kitchen creation to a critically acclaimed product that’s now in demand nationwide. It makes me so proud to have achieved this accolade while staying true to principles of honest food that my mum taught me when I was growing up and it just goes to show what can be achieved when treating natural ingredients with respect. I’ve always been driven by the desire to make people happy with my cooking, but it was my turn to smile at the Golden Forks – and I haven’t stopped since. This is a life changing moment for me and my boys and I can’t wait to share my award-winning preserves with as many people as possible!”

The Quirky Cook’s full range of black garlic relishes are available to purchase from www.thequirkycook.co.uk, as well as a growing number of independent retailers, RRP £4.50.