Fabulous foodie treats in Buckinghamshire
PUBLISHED: 12:38 09 May 2014 | UPDATED: 12:38 09 May 2014
Yes, it’s more mouth-watering local produce, with all the details you need on where to buy some of the best Buckinghamshire taste sensations
Golden flavours to savour
Within a couple of months many Buckinghamshire fields will be a bright yellow colour, rippling in the breeze as the rape crops blossom. It will be a busy time at Wilstone Great Farm where they make the celebrated Chiltern Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil.
The Mead family have been growing rape for some 20 years, but that’s no time at all when you consider generations have worked the land there since 1860.
The oil is now sold in a variety of flavours, but you can always be sure that no artificial flavourings or preservatives have been used.
You’ll find it on sale at: Roots, Crendon St, High Wycombe; Peterley Manor Farm Shop, Prestwood, Great Missenden; 10 Mile Menu of Speen (www.tenmilemenu.co.uk): The Pantry on Platform 1, Great Missenden Railway Station; Seasons Cafe Deli, Old Amersham; Budgens in Wendover, Bedgrove and Chalfont St Peter; Frosts Garden Centre, Woburn Sands; Much Ado Deli, Olney; Clays of Buckingham; Boycott Farm Shop, Stowe; Blooming Fruity, Haddenham; Seasons Farm Shop in North Dean.
The golden girls’ cream of the crop
How about some local ice cream with the first of that delicious rhubarb? You won’t go wrong with Beechdean Dairies of North Dean where founders Andrew and Susie Howard have grown their business in the last 25 years into the UK’s third largest ice cream manufacturer.
This means you’ll find it in many supermarkets as well as farm shops. They’ve stuck to their original mission over the years, so although the varieties have increased and there’s been the addition of sorbets and frozen yoghurts, you won’t find any artificial flavours, colouring or additives.
At this time of the year Beechdean’s Jersey cows, known as ‘the girls’, head out to pasture to start munching on the Chiltern grass. The result is the creamy ice cream which has gained so many fans. See www.beechdean.co.uk.
The freshest rhubarb and asparagus
From mid-April our farms should be offering the first delicious crops, so keep a close eye on those farm shops. The weather could well play a part in the success of these plantings and we may have to wait until May in some cases. Asparagus likes well-drained soil, sunshine and protection from the wind (we’re keeping our fingers crossed!); rhubarb has a sturdier constitution and also prefers moist but drained soil.
Most asparagus growers run smallish operations, such as one at Brackley in Bucks. The Copas pick your own farms at Iver and Cookham will open towards the end of April. They mainly grow the Geignlim variety, but you’ll also find Baklim, and one of the Cookham patches is now 20 years old. Keep an eye out for opening times and availability at www.copasfarms.co.uk.
Enjoy these seasonal specialities at farm restaurants and tea shops such as The Hayloft at Boycott Farm, Stowe, where the best of seasonal, local produce is used in recipes (see www.boycottfarm.co.uk).
Delicious soups with tang
For that ‘home made’ flavour, fresh soups are hard to beat and it’s been a recipe for success for Gerrards Cross-based The Mouthfull Food Company, founded just over five years ago John Fackrell.
Originally sold through farmers’ market, the products were so successful that you’ll now find them in farm shops as well as many local shops. These include AA Fishers of Gerrards Cross; Roots Delicatessen in Crendon Street, High Wycombe; Budgens in Chalfont St Peter; Forsts of Newport Road, Woburn Sands; and Hambleden Stores.
Condiments that hit all the right spots
The story of Chilliqueen is a fascinating one – going back to a trip to the States in 1979 by Lee Everett Alkin, then the wife of DJ and comedian Kenny Everett. An accomplished cook, she came across a chilli pepper jelly there, and decided to make her own version at home.
Today the delicious brand, produced in Newbury, has expanded to include sauces, ingredients and marinades, with ginger and lime versions added to a product list also featuring coriander and shallots. It’s popular with both meat eaters for glazes, barbecues and roasts, as well as with vegetarians who use the condiments in numerous recipes.
Find Chilliqueen in Olney Delicatessen in Market Place. See www.chilliqueen.co.uk.
Three cheeses to enjoy
Anne and Andy Wigmore’s Village Maid Cheese started out over 25 years ago in a garden outbuilding. Today its operation at Riseley, Berkshire, produces three celebrated and award winning hand-made cheeses: Spenwood, Waterloo and Wigmore.
Spenwood is named after the village where it all started. A nutty, hard-pressed ewe’s milk cheese, it makes a good substitute for parmesan if you store it a while. Semi-soft and buttery Waterloo is produced from a herd of Guernsey cows near Henley. Wigmore, made from unpasteurised ewe’s milk, is a hand-made washed curd cheese.
You’ll find the cheeses in many good farm shops and stockists include: Local Roots, High Wycombe; Premier Cheese, High Wycombe; Gather and Hunt, High St, Marlow; and Fieldmouse Cheese Store and Deli, Duke St, Princes Risborough.
The versatile curry paste
Shemin Macgregor now presides over a family business that grew from childhood memories in Uganda as her mother combined fresh and fragrant herbs and spices into delicious treats for a host of recipes.
Using no additives, preservatives, sugar or colouring has led to a huge fanbase, also attracted, of course, by the award-winning products’ flavours. Shemin offers a free, recipe book at www.shemins.co.uk. You can buy online or find the products at Chalfont St Peter Budgens.