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 and a blog –  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!

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.


Big tubs and little pots – but very pretty pots!

We had such great responses to our new tubs last year that we decided to bring up the rest of the packaging to match; same colours but the little ones have the colours sort of inverted – have a look at the picture below to see what I mean;

New 125ml pot photo

Our new 125ml pots alongside our 'sharing tubs' (sharing not compulsory!)

They are also a little bit bigger.  125ml now as opposed to the 100ml of the older pots.  People always told us that they were too small, so we listened and made them bigger.  Sometimes even that isn’t enough; last week yet another customer admitted to eating a whole 500ml tub. By herself.  She wanted to know the calorific content so we have sent a sample off to be analysed but we did some sums of our own and we think that our strawberry flavour is about 33% fewer calories than a big competitor’s strawberry shortcake,  Not bad, eh?  Ours is made with real fruit too, lots of fruit. So better for you too (do I have to write an official disclaimer here?! – um, all natural, no additives,no preservatives, lots and lots of fruit….)



Off on a jolly…

This year we didn’t attend Feast East as exhibitors as we are busy bees at Alder Tree HQ working on top secret stuff (read the blog next week for insider info!).  Luckily for us, Tastes of Anglia, who worked with the organisers on this event, agreed to hand out some samples and be our temporary sales team from their stand!  It’s a win-win situation, although I wonder how many samples were handed out and how many were, um, “sampled” by the Tastes Team.  No problem with that as whenever Stephany and I are out and about we find that we work just as hard at sampling as we do at selling.  Call it a perk of the job.

Anyway.  I managed to sneak out of the office and pop over to Feast East for a couple of hours, which was great!  These events are where we catch up with old friends and I love seeing my old stallholders from when we had the Farmers’ Market here at Alder Carr, some of whom have gone on to great things and win lots of awards too.

The Artisan Smokehouse were on great form, as always.  What a lovely pair of foodies they are!  The smoked garlic bits that Tim suggested that I try might have been a mistake at 10am though as they were really potent and lingered somewhat!

Lucinda and Zara at Munchy Seeds are always a delight to see.  I am especially addicted to their Choccy Munchy Seeds.  Despite being coated with some rather delicious chocolate, they are seeds, so they must be good for you?!  Zara gave me a pot of the new honey coated seeds to try as a sprinkle on our ices which I think will work really well.  We have since had to hide the tub from Graham though as he is already addicted and has somewhat depleted the samples.  oops.


Claire at Breckland was celebrating the company’s 3rd birthday and had a lovely big cake which she was keen to cut into – but I desisted, as having just eaten Tim’s garlic chips I wasn’t sure about the flavour combo…

I also said hello to Jules and Sharpie, Hadley’s dairy, the Chilli Co, Hillfarm Oils and loads more.  It was lovely to have the time to do that, rather than being behind our cream ice cart smiling and handing out our own samples, although that is often fun too!


Best of British

Food trend experts are predicting that Great British cooking will be a major trend for 2012.  The continuing economic uncertainty is supposed to be driving us to seek comfort, familiarity and emotional connection.  Along with the Olympics and Queens Jubilee it is thought this will increase the demand for traditional English dishes and old favourites with a twist.

Lets hope they are right, it would be great new for all those small artisan producers produces out there, help increase the demand for local food, and reduce our food miles!

You can find out more on the Big Hospitality website – click on the title ‘Best of British’ for a direct link.