September news – apples, matches & soap

5th September 2018


This summer’s heatwave is leading to one of the best and earliest harvest of the late summer crops – the cold spring held back the blossom, it was hot, sunny and pests and diseases were kept at bay, then all that sunlight boosted sugars to create an abundance of tasty produce, all deliciously coming together at the same time  – plums, grapes, tomatoes and a good apple season on the way.

Do make the most of British apples though otherwise we will lose our wonderful varieties.  The arrival of cheap imported supermarket fruits with polished imposters of standard shape and size has led to a rapid decline of many orchards and loss of many old apple varieties.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away is a proven saying, as they along with other fruit, help improve life expectancy, containing essential vitamins and minerals, a good source of dietary fibre and vitamin C.

There are so many varieties for eating, cooking, cider making also crab apples for jelly and pickling and as they ripen at different times from August through until almost May, there’s only a few months when native apples aren’t available.  Wonderfully versatile too, delicious raw, cooked in sweet and savoury dishes, add sweetness to chutneys and jellies, and as rich in pectin, invaluable for ensuring homemade jams make a good set.

Available now are the Discovery, Robin, Raspberry Ripple, Bramley and soon you’ll find varieties such as Cox, Worcester, Russet and Pippin on the shelves.

For those of you who enjoy doing your own pickling, bags of onions and shallots are just in, together with the vinegars.  Dan will also be pickling soon and making up jars in time for – yes Christmas!

In the Shop


Have you discovered these new luxurious Kew Garden pure vegetable soaps yet – inspired by the Garden’s fragrance and beauty, these gorgeous silky moisturising and fragrant soaps are made in the traditional way with only the finest ingredients.  They are also beautifully presented wrapped with images from the historical archives.  The range includes bluebell & jasmine, elderflower & pomelo, mango, lemongrass & lime, pink lotus, bergamot & ginger and our favourite magnolia & pear.

Matches – practical as beautiful

With the evenings turning chilly, it’s always handy to have a few boxes of matches for lighting fires and candles – luxury Archivest matches are subtly scented, functional and safe – long enough so you won’t burn your fingertips – there’s even some very long ones – 290mm x 60mm.  They all come beautifully packaged in differently illustrated and shaped boxes, long, square, triangular and the apothecary glass bottles are filled with coloured matches and a cork top, all stylish enough to make a statement on the mantlepiece.


There is such an abundance of new and interesting drinks on the market nowadays we are enjoying researching them for you!

One Time Gin who produce the popular Flowerbomb Gin, now has a distillery on Dowsetts Farm, Colliers End just 3.5 miles away and has produced a new Red Leaf Gin, with autumnal flavours of roasted hazelnuts, blackberry leaves and Seville orange peel, for a pleasant seasonal tipple. Their Marmalade Gin is a hit too, distilled with pink grapefruit, blood orange and Seville orange marmalades – try as a breakfast martini for a citrus kick start to the day.

The bottles are rather eye-catching with beautiful and unique artwork by resident artist Manasses Machado.

The Lychee Gin liqueur is also new, made with 11 lychees for a fresh, fragrant vibrancy, it is perfect for cocktails with tonic, lemonade or just over ice.


There’s a new rum from the Manchester Still Inc – a company founded by a professor, doctor and phd student who have implemented a scientific methodology to precisely craft their spirits – Faraday’s Proof is a white rum, carefully distilled from natural unrefined molasses, pure, smooth and distinctive – ideal for cocktails, why not try in a daiquiri, mojito or a simple Cuba Libre.


Cheeses of the Month

We have four rather different cheeses for you this month that carry the 20% discount – look out for the red star.

Sparkenhoe Blue – a new unpasteurised blue cheese made by David and Jo Clarke on Sparkenhoe Farm in Warwickshire.  Creamy in texture and subtly flavoured with blue mould which laces its way through the cheese.  Tastes reminiscent of old Leicestershire blue cheese.

Sweet and salty is a most pleasurable and all together handy mnemonic for wine and cheese pairings, states Rob, our wine guru from Corney & Barrow and a classic is for the Blues to go with the dessert wines. He suggests the Chateau Septy Monbazillac as a fine example as well as the delicious comminglements of texture and flavour to be at play with each other as an after-dinner treat. Parfait!


Wensleydale with honey and lemon (v) – launched at the BBC Good Food Show this summer, this cheese has already proved most popular.  Comes in a yellow 200g wax, is delicious and tastes just like a cheesecake – lemony with hint of honey that blends well with the lovely Wensleydale cheese.

With a lovely Indian summer ahead of us, there’s something to toast and Rob recommends the Cecilia Berretta Prosecco to pair with this cheese. Let the similarities of the lemon and honeyed notes between the pair sing in harmony, while the finesse and burst of the fizz cut through the supple, crumbly and somewhat moist texture of the cheese. This should provide some gorgeous lift and refreshment – just like a bit more sunshine no doubt will too!


Vacherousse d’Argental – a very smooth, creamy French cheese made from fresh cows’ milk produced in the Lyonnais region.  The rind of the cheese is first washed with brine and annatto and then matured for a minimum of 2 weeks, when the exterior develops an orange, white mottled mould.  It has a texture of thick clotted cream and a fresh lively flavour.

The salt and sweet maxim suffices here too! The Vacherousse needs a bright, fruity red wine and Rob can think of none better than the Corney & Barrow Beaujolais-Villages ‘La Cave de la Croisee’ from P. Ferraud et Fils. It’s not too high in alcohol (and therefore a perfect luncheon or mid-week treat) and its lightness will add a loveliness to the thickness of the texture, without failing to match the sense of liveliness to the cheese.


Buche Ruffec – this high quality French goat’s cheese has been made in Ruffec, Southern France for centuries.  Matured for two months, it has a fresh herby nutty flavour and smooth creamy centre.

For Rob, Loire Sauvignon is always the wine with goats cheese! No better than the Corney & Barrow Pouilly-Fume ‘Les Chaumiennes’ by A&E Figeat, with its wispy, alluring smokiness over taut minerality and myriad green-fruit notes perfect for slicing right through the smoothness of the cheese, whilst going just as well with the fresh herby character of this belter from Ruffec!


The Pearces