7 Great Taste Awards!

We achieved a massive 7 Great Taste Awards from the Guild of fine Food this year – a personal best!

Our Raspberry cream ice received the Guilds highest award of 3 Gold Stars, the judges praising the ‘excellent fresh raspberry taste, creaminess and wonderfully ripe fruit’.  Only two other products received top marks in the ice cream and frozen dessert categories, putting usfirmly among the very best in the country!

The Great Taste Awards, run by the Guild of Fine Food is the recognised mark for excellence in fine food.  Of a total of over 8,800 products entered across all categories in 2012 only 123 were awarded the coveted 3 stars.

Judges this year included Masterchef winner and restaurateur Mat Follas, restaurant critic and Masterchef judge Charles Campion, food writers Lucas Hollweg and Xanthe Clay and over 300 food buyers from leading food halls, delicatessens and farm shops, including Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason.

Guild of Fine Food chairman Bob Farrand said that each of the food and drink products entered into Great Taste undergoes the most rigorous scrutiny. “To achieve a 3-star grading involves at least 25 experts blind-tasting and unanimously agreeing that the product tastes divine,” he said. “These products all deliver the most extraordinary taste.”

Our Gooseberry & Elderflower, Damson, Toffee Apple & Blackcurrant also received a ‘faultless’ 2 stars and ourTayberry and Morello Cherry received a ‘perfect’ 1 star. Giving a personal best of 7 Great Taste Awards, and 13 stars.

We have been smiling all week!

 

An Eventful Weekend

Well, it was always going to happen at some point, we finally had our first breakdown this weekend.  And not once, but twice – Aprille chose a very good weekend to be away!  Thankfully both times we were close to home so I was easily rescued.

Dad & Graham to the Rescue

Dad & Graham to the Rescue

My first breakdown was in Bildeston on the way back from the Sudbury Farmers Market- the clutch stopped working so I made some awful crunching sounds.  Lots of kind people stopped to ask if I was ok – including local farmer James Buckle – but it was a pretty good spot for a breakdown and not too far from home.  I also got to meet Hazel Bradshaw from Brook Farm Studio - do pop in if your passing, or visit her during Suffolk Open Studios in June: http://www.suffolkopenstudios.co.uk/artists/babergh/hazel-bradshaw/

The Tool Box
The Tool Box

Fortunately all Audrey seemed to need was a top up of clutch fluid until we can get a replacement ‘master cylinder’ – I am certainly learning lots about vehicles these days! So on Saturday I set off with some trepidation to the Flavours Festival at Henham Park near Southwold (http://flavoursof2012.co.uk/foodanddrinkfestival/) – one of our furthest events this year.

We made it safe and sound and had a lovely day in the walled gardens.  I met Wilma from www.Wildwoodmakers.co.uk who handmakes beautiful fairies and wands – perfect if you’re looking for a girly gift!  I was very naughty and bought a beautiful  picture she had for sale by Lucy Loveheart http://www.lucyloveheart.com/ I might have to see if she will paint Audrey one day when I’m rich and famous!

Common Mallow
Common Mallow

Unfortunately things didn’t go so well on Sunday morning and I broke down at Coddenham on the way to the festival, with a leaky radiator hose.  At least she chose a lovely spot to breakdown, quite close to home, and I took some flower photos and read the Suffolk magazine, while I waited to be rescued.  I had two rescuers this time, Dad and Graham turned up with a piece of pipe which amazingly fitted perfectly (now Mum will never let him throw anything away!) After a little bit of drying out time I was off again and made it, if a little late, at least just in time for ‘ice cream o’clock’.

I’m hoping thats it for breakdowns for now but, although I’m not very superstitious, I can’t help feeling that the third time will probably come along soon enough - fingers crossed it will be just as close to home!

The Artisan Food Trail – Advocate of the little guys!

 

We just wanted to tell you about the Artisan Food Trail – because they are such a great supporter of small businesses! We need all the help we can get in the fight against the march of the multiples and having them on our side gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling.

The clever peeps do lots of tweeting and tell people about producers that they like, and they retweet our stuff, and they put it all in a newsletter.  They are really good at all of that.  They also have a website http://www.artisanfoodtrail.co.uk/ and a blog – http://theartisanfoodtrail.blogspot.co.uk/  and use them to try to connect people who like to eat with people who like to make yummy food…to eat…

They are also pretty clever with photo editing – check this out (we didn’t even know they had done it!)

 

Isn’t it fab!

So thanks Artisan Food Trail, for caring!

 

Xylonite. What on Earth….?!

We like to think of our vintage ex-ambulance, Audrey, as being a bit of a superhero, so we were excited to hear that she used to work at the British Xylonite Co. Ltd.

It turns out that we got a bit confused:

Xylonite – REAL

Kryptonite – Superman’s only poison – NOT REAL

Perhaps it is better that way, as she’s a lovely vehicle and was an ambulance, so was better at helping real people and now, in her newest role as a cream ice van she is where people buy lovely fruity ices.  We don’t like to think of her having any involvement in harming superheroes!

Xylonite is another name for Celluloid, which is a term that more people are familiar with.  It was first used in the mid 1800′s to make products that were synthetic versions of the more expensive horn, ivory or tortoiseshell, such as combs and jewellery.

Here’s a picture of our own little superheroes, “helping”!

Audrey’s first outing..

We took our wonderful Audrey out to Framfest this weekend.  We hesitated at being asked to trundle down the steep grassy hill (she is an old girl, after all!) and got a prime spot near the entrance which was great as everyone saw her as they walked in!

It was also April’s first trip out with Alder Tree.  April has recently joined our team as expert cream ice seller and she got the scary job of taking our prize vehicle out for the first time.  She did a great job, although as Audrey’s top speed is about 55mph these days she wasn’t really at risk of getting a speeding ticket!  (Apparently she used to be able to hit 70 in her prime, but we all slow down as we get older!)

It was also the first time we went out with our new CHOCOLATE flavour.  It was our best seller of the weekend and everyone loved it!

Were you at Framfest or did you spot Audrey on the road?  Let us know!

Suffolk Green 100 – that’s us!

We are delighted to tell you that we have been accepted as one of Suffolk’s Green 100 Businesses. We have always done our best to be nice to the world and our environment and when people notice it always feels lovely!

We are off to an event on April 27th at Wherstead Park, to meet the rest of the green 100 gang; all those others who green their business, reduce their carbon footprint and energy bills and to work together to make Suffolk the Greenest County. Watch this space for photos of us dressed up in our finest rather than the fetching overalls and hairnets we wear in the kitchen!

One thing that helped us to get into the Green 100 was the new solar panels that we installed last year.  They have ticked over during the winter months and we are really excited to see how much power they generate when the sun shines in the summertime! If you’re down at the farm have a look at the roof by the courtyard – lots of power when it’s sunny right there!

We also source all of our ingredients as locally as we can; sugar is from British Sugar, just up the road in Bury St Edmunds, and fruit comes from our own farm as much as we can and from local farms when we run out!

 

 

Chocs Away!

We have  added something rather special to the range.  It took us 20 years to make vanilla and so we are rather pleased that it has only taken us 2 more to add….chocolate!  It is has passed the taste test of some serious chocoholics, including my 9 year old daughter who is extremely picky when it comes to chocolate!

 

To celebrate we will be giving away a pot to the first 25 lucky children who take part in the Easter Farm Trail at Alder Carr Farm this Easter weekend.   There will also be vouchers in the EADT on Saturday; pop over to the farm on Sunday and be one of the first to see Audrey, our vintage Morris Ice Cream Van, and swap your voucher for a free pot of choc as well!

At the moment chocolate is available in the new 125 mls and 4 litre catering tubs - but look out for 500mls later in the year.

 

Thank you to James Newell & Son

We collected Audrey from James Newell & Son in Stowmarket today who have done a wonderful job of fixing her up.

James Newell & Team

James Newell & Team

Graham drove her to Tony Blackman in Debenham who is converting the inside into a lovely little kitchen to serve our fruit ices from.

Graham drives Audrey to Debenham

Graham drives Audrey to Debenham

Look out for her at Alder Carr Farm soon, and her first outing launch at Framlingham Country Show on the 14th & 15th April http://www.theframlinghamcountryshow.com/