As I wrote in my blog last week the Speciality Fine Food Fair 2016 had over 850 suppliers exhibiting and I realised when I started writing the blog last week that I had too much to share in one post and so here is the second part.
I have concentrated on the sweet side of things this time with cakes, shortbread and chocolates. All of these categories were very well represented at the show and here are my 5 favourites for lots of reasons.
I was completely blown away with these incredible cakes from Sari Cakes in fact they describe their cakes as “edible artistry” and you can see why. Rish’s inspiration for the designs on all of his cakes is taken from traditional intricate henna artistry and all of these cakes are decorated free hand. When you see these up close you can see the incredible skill that is required to create such beautiful designs. After the cake is iced it is then spray painted with edible paint to create the beautiful base sheen on the icing and then Rish starts the decorating. Each colour on the design has to dry before the next layer is added to the pattern and so each cake takes at least a day to decorate. As everything is done free hand no two cakes are the same. Sari Cakes have a lovely website where you can see more of their beautiful designs and see how to order your own piece of edible artistry. www.saricakes.com
Country Fare is a multi award- winning family bakery which is based on Dalefoot Farm in the Upper Eden Valley, home of the Lake District. Over the 17 years that Dianne has been running the bakery she and her team have won 45 Great Taste Awards which are very well deserved. All of the cakes are handmade by the small team and the fruit cakes are all based on family recipes which have been handed down through the generations. All of the fruit cakes have a very high fruit content which makes them deliciously moist and packed full of flavour. I love the labelling on the cakes as Dianne and her team have been photographed and they are all included in the design. I think this is a lovely touch as it really showcases the essence of a friendly family business. To see the full range have a look on their website: www.country-fare.co.uk
Shortbread House Edinburgh
Shortbread House Edinburgh pride themselves on their “truly handmade” shortbread and they are right to. When I was the food buyer at Lakeland I tasted hundreds of shortbreads many good, many not so good and then the Shortbread House shortbread which is outstanding. A few years ago I was invited to their factory to see for myself how everything is made and in some ways it’s a step back in time as everything is hand made from making the shortbread, to rolling it to the correct thickness, to cutting each individual biscuit before its baked. It’s a mesmerising sight and it really shows the care and attention to detail that Anthony, Fiona and Rupert put into everything they do. They have created a multi award-winning range of shortbreads which are stocked in the top retailers across the UK and all over the world. Their website shares the company story beautifully and you can see the full range of their products. www.shortbreadhouse.co.uk
Chief Chocolate Officer
Who wouldn’t love to be known as the “Chief Chocolate Officer”? I really like the concept of what the team here have created as they have brought together their in depth knowledge of wine and their love of chocolate to create this wonderful range of chocolate bars which compliment specific wines. All of the chocolate is handmade in England by a family firm and they have been awarded 2 Great Taste Awards for their range. They have 50g and 100g bars and a gift box of 6 50g bars. The flavours are wonderful for example milk chocolate, pear and elderflower to compliment Sauvignon Blanc or dark chocolate, blueberry, vanilla and black peppercorn to compliment Cabernet Sauvignon. You can see the full range and read their story on the website: www.chiefchocolateofficer.com
Paul Tomlinson had the idea to create this range of flavoured chocolates after a trip on the Netravati Express in Kerala in India when he first tasted masala chai. He fell in love with the intoxicating flavours and decided that he wanted to create products that combined his two favourite flavours, chai and chocolate and the rest is history! Paul now has a beautiful range of milk and dark chocolate flavoured discs. He has recently updated his range from bars to discs and has created wonderful gift boxes. The artwork on these boxes harks back to the style of 1930’s railway posters which are so iconic and as part of his range he also sells posters of the artwork that he has created. The whole range is beautifully thought out and executed. To read Paul’s story in detail and see the posters go to the website: www.cocoahernando.com