I was a lucky child. Neither my sister nor I experienced any major accidents, illnesses or health issues. Our occasional visits to hospital were brief and easily dealt with by our local hospital or local health services.

But some families are not so lucky. Some families have to deal with serious childhood sicknesses that are desperately worrying, may require specialist treatment and can result in short or long stays in hospitals far from home. How hard it must be for parents to handle the extra stress of journeys to and from home and hospital, trying to simultaneously provide love and support to the child in hospital and as normal an environment for their other children, let alone trying to keep on top of work commitments and everyday chores.

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The Sick Children’s Trust provides free, high quality ‘Home from Home’ accommodation as well as emotional and practical support to families who have seriously ill children in hospital. Founded in 1982 by two paediatric specialists Dr Jon Pritchard and Professor James Malpas, the charity has ten houses based at major paediatric hospitals across the UK and it costs them just £28 per night to provide their much-needed service. They currently support around 3,500 families a year and demand is growing, as children must increasingly travel long distances for the specialist treatment they need.

At a recent launch event for the trust’s Big Chocolate Tea Party, I listened first hand to the stories of parents who had stayed in one of the homes, and unsurprisingly, it made a huge difference to each and every one of them. The accommodation allows the parents and any siblings of the sick child to stay together in a location close to the hospital, providing not only a base to sleep but also a place to rest, to unwind and to emotionally recharge during a very tough time.

The Sick Children’s Trust is once again asking supporters to host their own Big Chocolate Tea Party between now and May to help raise funds to support the charity’s work.

They aim to raise £100,000 which will go a huge way in helping them support sick children and their families. Remember, just £28 provides a room in a Home from Home for a night.

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Edd Kimber’s S’more Choux Buns and John Whaite’s Chocolate Teaser soufflé

Paul A Young, master chocolatier and Vice President of the Sick Children’s Trust has been inspired and touched by the charity’s work. The Big Chocolate Tea Party gives him “the perfect opportunity to use [his] love of chocolate to fundraise in a fun and indulgent way while supporting many families who are facing the most difficult of circumstances miles from their home.”

Paul,  Raymond Blanc, Edd Kimber and John Whaite have provided recipes to inspire anyone keen to get involved, you can find ideas and download some of these recipes and fundraising materials here.

Alternatively, email email chocolate@sickchildrenstrust.org for a free party pack, which includes more recipes.

As a thank you for taking part and helping to raise funds to support the charity’s homes, all those who host a party or bake-off during the May 2015 Big Chocolate Tea Party campaign will be entered into a draw for a chocolate tea weekend for two in Paris, including Premium Leisure Eurostar tickets, two nights bed and breakfast accommodation in a five star Paris hotel and a pair of tickets to Salon du Chocolate, the prestigious annual chocolate show.

John Whaite’s Chocolate Teaser soufflé

This recipe is blissfully easy, but more importantly, it’s decadently perfect for a lazy, indulgent brunch. The mayonnaise isn’t a typing error – I use mayonnaise a lot when working with chocolate cakes I need to be gooey. The mayonnaise adds an egg-like texture, which helps create an unctuous inside because it doesn’t coagulate like an egg.

Makes four

Ingredients
2 tsp golden caster sugar
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped (60% is fine, don’t go overly bitter)
70g milk chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tbsp golden syrup
5 eggs, separated
1 tbsp mayonnaise
200g Maltesers, roughly bashed
For the sauce
100g milk chocolate
100ml double cream
100g Maltesers, bashed to fine pieces
Essential equipment
4 x 200ml ramekins, very well greased with butter
Baking sheet

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6.
  • Sprinkle the sugar into the greased ramekins and shake about so the sides and base are covered.
  • Place the chocolates and golden syrup into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of barely simmering water. Allow the chocolate to slowly melt together with the syrup, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, but not set.
  • Meanwhile, put the egg whites into a mixing bowl and whisk until they are fluffy and stiff.
  • Beat the egg yolks into the chocolate along with the mayonnaise. Gently fold in the roughly bashed Maltesers, before very gently folding in the whisked whites – you want the mixture to be a smooth, even- toned batter, though of course with humps of Malteser.
  • Divide the mixture between the ramekins, cleaning the rim of each with your thumb. Set on to the baking sheet and bake for 10–12 minutes, or until beautifully risen. They may crack on top, but who cares – you’re going to be diving in soon anyway.
  • To make the sauce, simply place the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Stirring occasionally, allow the chocolate to melt into the cream until you have a smooth, glossy sauce.
  • To serve, tell the eater to take a spoonful out of the centre, then pour in some of glorious, warm sauce.

Thank you to The Sick Children’s Trust for inviting me along to your launch event, and sharing with me the amazing work you do to help sick children and their families. Recipe and images courtesy of The Sick Children’s Trust.

 

I was dreadfully late in publishing the round up of entries into August’s Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream, which was a joint challenge with Belleau Kitchen’s Random Recipes. Since it seems a bit unfair to expect anyone to participate in a September challenge in the half month remaining, I’m merging with next month.

What’s more, I’m throwing it wide open to say that any kind of frozen treat – ice cream, gelato, granita, lollies, semi-freddo, slushie, sorbet – goes!

Ice cream desserts are welcome too so if you fancy trying your hand at baked alaska, ice cream pie or an ice cream sandwich, this BSFIC is for you!

No restriction on style, ingredients or theme; whatever you want to make, if it’s a frozen treat, do please share it with BSFIC.

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Images of frozen treats from
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Posts published any time in September or October are welcome, but if they’re already up, please edit them to add the link and badge and send me the entry email.

How To Take Part In BSFIC

  • Create and blog a suitable recipe any time in September or October. The deadline is October 28th.
  • In your post, mention and link to this Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream post.
  • Include the Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream badge (below).
  • Email me (by the 28th of the October) with your first name or nickname (as you prefer) and the link to your post.
  • Please include in your email an image for my roundup, sized to no larger than 500 pixels on the longest side.

You are welcome to submit your post to as many blogger challenge events as you like.

If the recipe is not your own, please be aware of copyright issues. Email me if you would like to discuss this.

I’ll post a round up of all the entries at the end of the month and I’ll also share your posts via Pinterest, Stumble and Twitter. If you tweet about your post using the hashtag #BSFIC. I’ll retweet any I see. You are also welcome to share the links to your posts on my Kavey Eats Facebook page.

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For more ideas, check out my my Pinterest ice cream board and past BSFIC Entries board.

 

For August’s Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream, I joined forces with my blog sibling Dom at Belleau Kitchen for a BSFIC-Random Recipes Mashup. Instead of an ingredient or style theme, the challenge was to pick your recipe randomly and make whatever you picked. Not only was August a tricky month when it came to encouraging people to make frozen treats – the beautiful summer we’d been enjoying for the last few months fizzled out into a damp squib and it seems like half the country took their annual holidays too – I went away to Iceland for two weeks and wasn’t home to pull together my round up at the end of the month.

Of course, Dom has already shared the entries on his blog, but today it’s (finally) my turn! Apologies for the delay.

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Here are all the entries, in date order!

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I was quick off the mark this month, picking this White Chocolate Vanilla Ice Cream from Divine Heavenly Chocolate Recipes with a Heart, which I served with powdered raspberry to add colour and flavour.

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Next, Elizabeth made a fresh and delicious Strawberry Ice Cream from Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book.

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Dom picked randomly from a book called Desert Island Dishes and made a tasty Salted Caramel Custard Ice Cream.

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Jane was worried about what to make since finding out she’s diabetic, but was relieved when her random pick turned out to be a G&T Granita which she adapted to make a Gin Slush Puppy.

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Corina’s recipe came from Michel Roux’ Eggs but as it was far too dense to churn, it didn’t quite work out as planned and she called the result a Chocolate Ice Cream Mousse.

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Alicia used the Eat Your Books membership she recently won from Kavey Eats to pick this Glace à l’abricot from Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking.

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Kate’s decided to choose her recipe from the set she has bookmarked from other food blogs, and picked No Churn Rhubarb Ice Cream from The Baking Beauties

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Having settled into her new blog home, Hannah made Orange Souffle Glaces from the same Divine chocolate cookery book I used for my entry.

Chocolate Parfait

Choclette also used Eat Your Books to select this Chocolate Lavender Parfait from Green & Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes: The New Collection.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sundae

Karen turned to Delia Smith’s Summer Collection for this Hot Chocolate Fudge Sundae recipe, which she adapted to use milk chocolate instead of dark.

 

Thanks to everyone for joining in. I’ll post a new BSFIC challenge soon. In the meantime, head over to Dom’s for the next Random Recipes!

 

For July’s #BSFIC I asked you to take inspiration from holiday memories.

Here are the delicious ideas you came up with:

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Jo at Comfort Bites took inspiration for her grown up Coffee and Cinnamon Ice Cream from a holiday in Argentina.

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Kate, blogger behind What Kate Baked, considered lots of ideas before settling on this USA-inspired Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough No Churn Ice Cream.

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Sarah at The School of Balance created a Monkey Nut Dairy Free Vegan Ice Cream after a visit to the New York ice cream shop formerly known as Lula’s Sweet Apothecary.

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Stephen at All Things Speculaas has shared his wife Debbie’s Speculaas Ice Cream, based on the flavours of a biscuit traditionally enjoyed during the Christmas holidays.

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Corina at Searching For Spice remembered childhood holidays to Spain when creating her wonderfully vibrant Blackcurrant Frozen Yoghurt.

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Kate, the Gluten Free Alchemist, created these rather impressive Raspberry Ripple-White Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice-Cream Bars & Bites, thinking back to childhood summer holidays.

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My own entry was a Jungle Juice Sorbet inspired by a Jungle Juice Smoothie I encountered on safari holidays in Southern Africa.

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Amy, who writes Cooking, Cakes & Children, has made this beautiful Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream Roll in homage to memories of eating Arctic roll in the back garden during the summer holidays.

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Cheeky Dom at Belleau Kitchen didn’t make the Buffalo Milk Ice Cream he shared in his post about a very recent trip to Italy but he did enjoy it!

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Hannah, who’s just saying goodbye to the Corner Cottage Baker, harked back to childhood holidays with her grown up Boozy Ice Cream Floats.

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Shaheen, who writes A Seasonal Veg Table, made this bright Raw Vegan Raspberry Ice-Cream with vibrant Scottish raspberries.

Choclette, author of Chocolate Log Blog, remembered childhood visits to Switzerland when she made this Chocolate Sundae Royale.

 

A great round up, I hope you’ll agree.

August’s #BSFIC is joining forces with the Belleau Kitchen Random Recipes challenge – check it out and do join in!

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June’s fruity #BSFIC round up will be a little late, as I’m currently away on holiday. As soon as I’m back, I’ll get the round up finished and posted.

In the mean time, I’m throwing this month’s Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream challenge wide open by asking you to create an ice cream inspired by a holiday memory.

Do you remember your first trip abroad and the unfamiliar thrill of each new ingredient or dish? Where did you go on your last holiday and what tastes have stuck in your mind? Or are you more of a home body, enjoying your leisure time nearer to home? Whether you think back to those long summer breaks from school as a child or what you did during your most break at home or away, it’s the flavour memories of your holiday that I’m most interested in.

Please don’t feel constrained to recreate a specific ice cream treat – the holiday memory theme is merely a trigger for your imagination.

Downed more than your fair share of Caipirinhas in Brazil, Kir Royales in France, Mojitos in Cuba, Negronis in Italy, Pisco Sours in Peru, Sangrias in Spain? Maybe the flavours would work for a grown up ice lolly or granita?

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Images of cocktails from Shutterstock

Intrigued by an exotic ingredient such as Chinese glutinous black rice, red bean paste or Sichuan peppercorns (check out this ice cream I made last year), Indian cardamom, cassia bark or jackfruit, Japanese miso, matcha or sakura (cherry blossoms), Lebanese carob molasses, Mexican chillies including ancho, guajillo and poblano, Northern European juniper berries, lingonberries, sea buckthorn or cloudberries, Persian sumac or saffron, Peruvian purple potatoes, Syrian verjuice, Thai galangal or West African melegueta pepper aka grains of paradise? How might you incorporate it into a frozen dessert?

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Images of ingredients from Shutterstock

Perhaps you still can’t stop thinking about an indulgent dessert that could translate well into a frozen version?

And of course, you are always welcome to recreate an actual ice cream, gelato, sorbet, granita, shaved ice, slushy or other icy treat that reminds you of a cherished holiday – there’s no obligation to create something exotic or unusual!

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Images of frozen treats from Shutterstock

How To Take Part In BSFIC

  • Create and blog a recipe that fits the challenge by the 28th of this month.
  • In your post, mention and link to this Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream post.
  • Include the Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream badge (below).
  • Email me (by the 28th of the month) with your first name or nickname (as you prefer), the link to your post and an image for my roundup, sized to no larger than 500 pixels on the longest side.

You are welcome to submit your post to as many blogger challenge events as you like.

If the recipe is not your own, please be aware of copyright issues. Email me if you would like to discuss this.

If you like, tweet about your post using the hashtag #BSFIC. I’ll retweet any I see. You are also welcome to share the links to your posts on the Kavey Eats Facebook page.

I’ll post a round up of all the entries at the end of the month.

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For more ideas, check out my my Pinterest ice cream board and past BSFIC Entries board.

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Summer is here and with it a bounty of delicious fruit. Not only is home-grown fruit fantastic at this time of year, imported tropical delights are also available. Although I’m still in mourning over the ban on import of fresh alphonso mangoes, I shall certainly make the most of the abundance all around me.

And so this month’s Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream challenge is to make a tasty ice cream, sorbet, granita, semi freddo, slushy or ice lolly featuring your favourite fruit!

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Images of fruit ice cream, sorbet and granita from Shutterstock

 How To Take Part In BSFIC

  • Create and blog a recipe that fits the challenge by the end of June.
  • In your post, mention and link to this Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream post.
  • Include the Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream badge (below).
  • Email me (by the 1st of July) with your first name or nickname (as you prefer), the link to your post and an image for my roundup, sized to no larger than 500 pixels on the longest side.

You are welcome to submit your post to as many blogger challenge events as you like.

If the recipe is not your own, please be aware of copyright issues. Email me if you would like to discuss this.

If you like, tweet about your post using the hashtag #BSFIC. I’ll retweet any I see. You are also welcome to share the links to your posts on the Kavey Eats Facebook page.

I’ll post a round up of all the entries at the end of the month.

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For more ideas, check out my my Pinterest ice cream board and past BSFIC Entries board. You may also enjoy looking through the entries from the last Fruit-themed BSFIC.

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Images of fruit ice cream, sorbet and granita from Shutterstock

 

For May’s #BSFIC I set the challenge of making an ice cream (or any other frozen treat) inspired by a hot drink.

As always, those who took part showed great creativity and came up with these inventive and fun ideas on the theme.

Earl Grey Ice Cream

Michael, author of Me My Food & I, thought I was a mind reader when I announced the challenge theme just a day after he’d shared his recipe for Earl Grey Ice Cream. Of course, I was happy to bend the entry rules by a day, so he could include his creation as our first entry. Like me, he usually drinks his tea black, but enjoyed the addition of milk and cream in ice cream form.

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It’s no secret that I’m in love with Japanese food – two recent trips to Japan leave me longing for more. So it was a no brainer for me to use matcha in my own entry for BSFIC. Ever the lazy cook, I made a super Quick & Easy Matcha Ice Cream using ready made custard and it worked wonderfully well!

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For Gary aka Big Spud, the hot drinks ice cream theme got him thinking about affogato but rather than taking an easy option, he turned affogato on its head by creating his Inside Out Affogato consisting of coffee ice cream scattered with vanilla-flavoured Italian meringue. He reckons its one of the best ice creams he’s ever eaten, which is high praise indeed!

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Phil is, as always, In Search Of Heston, and what better way than to use Heston’s dry ice technique to make a Heston-Style Earl Grey Dry Ice Ice Cream? If you’ve ever wanted to know more about adapting the dry ice technique to try at home, do read Phil’s blog for more on his fire extinguisher method which works a treat.

Luchia of Luchia Cooks chose one of my favourite hot drinks as her inspiration – delicious hot chocolate. Her Chocolate & Marshmallow No Churn Ice Cream is a perfect example of the no churn technique many of us used when I ran a Condensed Milk BSFIC a couple of years ago. Her addition of chocolate liqueur makes this a grown up treat, and no doubt helps to keep it beautifully soft.

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Appropriately, given the name of her blog is Something Missing, I had completely forgotten about hot malted drinks like Horlicks and Ovaltine until Julia posted her challenge entry. She made a Dairy Free Malted Milk Ice Cream using an almond milk base with cocoa powder and malt extract for flavour.

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FoodyCat Alicia is a regular contributor to BSFIC, enjoying the challenge of coming up with new ideas to fit each theme. But this time she’s outdone herself by creating not one but two different entries. Her first idea was a Mulled Wine Granita, featuring red wine, apple juice and mulling spices. She liked the result but when Paul dismissed it as tasting like cough syrup she decided to make a second recipe. That was a cream based Frozen Caffè Latte in individual glasses, made with both instant and Camp coffee and a slug of kirsch too.

coffee turkish delight granita

Hannah from Corner Cottage Bakery let her handbag decide what to make for this month’s BSFIC – yes you heard that right, her handbag! A delve into its depths revealed a sachet of instant coffee and a turkish delight bar and lo! her idea was born. She created a Coffee and Turkish Delight Granita that puts me in mind of the end of a wonderful meal in a Turkish restaurant – a lovely combination!

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Monica from Smarter Fitter made a Coffee Ice Cream using whole Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans, which she infused into sugar, milk and cream over heat. That resulted in a rich, complex flavour and an attractive pale ice cream, since the recipe doesn’t include brewed coffee.

 

My Pete (who writes Pete Drinks) muttered about making a Hot Toddy inspired ice cream featuring whisky and stem ginger in the no-churn base and lemon curd rippled through it before freezing. Sadly, he realised it was very similar to a Whisky Mac Ice Cream he made previously, and I couldn’t persuade him to go ahead and make it anyway, though I think it would have been utterly delicious!

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As always, thank you to everyone who entered.

If you’re reading, and you’re a blogger, do please join in with an upcoming challenge. June’s theme will be up very soon!

 

Two months ago, I spent an afternoon at Somerset House with Heston Blumenthal. I was one of the lucky group invited to his grand chocolate box restaurant, which meant a few happy hours giggling with delight as we tasted one clever creation after another. Most of the audience were chocolate specialists (producers, artisan chocolatiers, retailers…) so I was very fortunate indeed to be there. That was thanks to my dear friend Jen who couldn’t attend but responded to the researcher’s request to recommend others who might fit the bill. The fact I’d written a fair bit about chocolate here on Kavey Eats won the day and I was given my golden ticket.

After an hour or two waiting in a nearby hotel lobby we were finally walked into the grounds of Somerset House, where a giant Black Magic-style chocolate box awaited. It slowly opened out to reveal a small bar and stage in front of which tables, chairs, linen, cutlery and menus were quickly laid out, within a roped-off area. There were pretty plants in pots; there was even a Maitre d’s stand at the entrance. Shown to our seats, we spent the next few hours enjoying the Heston experience.

We were served chocolate-themed drinks – my favourite was the black forest gâteau hot chocolate with a cloud of “chocolate essence” squirted into the glass but we also sampled a gin cocktail, sweet chocolate wine and a chocolate stout. A beautifully painted edible chocolate box with pretty chocolates inside was delivered to each table. And we were fascinated by Heston’s Moos Bar, a beefy version of a Mars-Twix-Milkyway combo. I wish the beef taste was less subtle – I would have liked more evident beefiness!

Lastly, the tables were cleared away and a vast chocolate bar arrived. Each piece had been made by different companies, from mainstream brands to artisan chocolatiers, before being assembled onto a giant bar by Heston’s chefs. With chisels and mallets, Heston and his team broke into the chocolate, piece by piece, and we had a crazy feast, trying the many different fillings.

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The giant chocolate box, opening out, to reveal Heston’s House of Chocolate, BFG hot chocolate, Moos bar advert, Heston’s team, Heston telling us about his Moos bar, the Moos bars being delivered to our table, a Moos bar, me tasting the Moos bar and declaring “More cow, more cow!”, our reaction to the edible chocolate box, the giant chocolate bar arriving on a forklift, us reacting to the giant chocolate bar, Heston breaking into the first piece, his staff taking over the job, the crowd enjoying the chocolate, me at the end saying “it’s the best one ever – it’s chocolate, and it’s fantastic and it’s in a magical box!”, Heston summing up at the end

If you missed this episode, or the rest of the series, you can catch it on 4OD for a few weeks, here.

 

With enormous thanks to production company Betty for letting me be part of this wonderful experience.

 

Call myself a foodie* and never been to the home of the pork pie? Shame on me!

Luckily, an invitation to attend the Artisan Cheese Fair in Melton Mowbray gave me the chance to fix this oversight and Pete and I made our way North on the first Saturday in May.

Held in the Cattle Market, which itself is in the heart of this ancient market town, the Artisan Cheese Fair is now in its fourth year and bigger and better than ever. We spoke to organiser Matthew O’Callaghan about how he came to create the event.

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Unlike other cheese festivals we’ve attended, entrance is just £1 and there are no hidden costs to worry about. Free on site car parking is available and the various talks and musical entertainment don’t require additional payment.

The majority of the stalls were given over to cheese, as you’d expect, though of course, the famous local pork pie was represented by a couple of producers, as was locally produced beer. There were also a few non-cheese stalls selling fudge, cakes, bread and other bakery goods, a variety of alcoholic and soft drinks, ice cream, jam and samosas (though, surprisingly, no paneer-filled ones!)

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Hunt Cake and Pork Pies at Dickinson & Morris aka Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe – I can recommend both!

As Matthew said, over 50 British cheese makers were represented, most of them showcasing multiple cheeses. We spent a few hours at the Fair so I was able to sample at least one cheese from nearly all of them. Here are my top picks.

Kavey’s Favourites From The 2014 Artisan Cheese Fair

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Quickes Oak Smoked Cheddar & Goat Cheddar

Smoked with oak chips from their own woodland and made with milk from their own dairy, the Quickes oak smoked cheddar had a beautifully natural smoke flavour which was perfectly balanced with the cheese itself – in so many smoked cheeses, the only flavour is the smoke itself. The texture of the cheese was lovely with a pleasing creaminess from the fat content and I liked the level of salty sharpness.

The Goat Cheddar was also fantastic, indeed it’s one of three cheeses I purchased to bring home.

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Cote Hill Blue

Mary Davenport’s family have been dairy farmers in Lincolnshire for 40 years, but turned to making cheese 9 years ago when the falling price of milk made running the business solely as a dairy less viable.

I loved Cote Hill’s soft mild blue cheese made in particular; though the cheese is mild, the blue flavour comes through clearly and the rind is lovely. The Cote Hill Reserve was also delicious – a semi-hard washed-rind cheese which uses Tom Wood Beers’ Bomber County to add flavour to the rind.

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Cheesemakers of Canterbury’s Canterbury Cobble

This stand had a wider range of cheeses on display than most exhibitors, as well as butter and biscuits. It was their Canterbury Cobble that appealed the most. Cheesemaker Jane Bowyer explained that it is made like a brie but then matured into a hard cheese. It was creamy but sharp, with a lovely hint of lemony citrus.

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Belvoir Ridge Rutland Slipcote

Jane and Alan Hewson from Belvoir Ridge Creamery were showcasing a new soft curd cheese called Colwick, having recently revived an old 17th century recipe. It was perfectly pleasant but it was the oozing Rutland Slipcote that stole my attention, and was another cheese I purchased to bring home. Slipcote is a white mould-ripened cheese and is delightfully pungent and gooey when ripe. The Hewsons make their cheeses with milk from their rare breed Red Poll & Blue Albion cattle.

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Hafod Welsh Organic Cheddar

As she cut me a sample, Rachel Holden explained that her father Patrick (who was busy cutting and wrapping cheese) looks after the family dairy while she and brother Sam make cheese. The milk from their brown and white Ayshire cows produces a creamy nutty cheddar with a distinct brassica flavour. It’s the kind of cheese you could accidentally eat far too much of!

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Thimble Little Anne & Dorothy

I confess I ended up spending ages chatting to cheese maker Paul Thomas and his wife Hannah Roche. The couple have been in the cheese industry for many years and Paul is also the head cheese maker for Lyburn Farmhouse Cheesemakers. Their own cheese making business is in its first year and currently has just two adorable little cheeses called Little Anne and Dorothy. Little Anne is a fresh lactic cheese and Dorothy is a soft washed-rind cheese; both are made from unpasteurised raw cow’s milk.

Paul also teaches cheese making classes at the The School of Artisan Food.

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Hampshire Cheeses Tunworth

I almost didn’t stop at the HC stall, as I’m already so familiar with Tunworth – it’s a cheese a buy nearly every time I visit Neal’s Yard Dairy. But I saw a window of opportunity when the stall was miraculously free of fellow visitors and took the chance to chat with cheese maker Stacey Hedges.

Of course, the Tunworth was delicious as always, but I was particularly excited by Stacey’s news that they started making a new cheese last year. Called Winslade, the new cheese is wrapped in a band of spruce bark, which adds flavour to the rind. It’s currently produced in limited volume, but she told me to look out for it in Neal’s Yard Dairy.

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Whitelake’s Goddess

I didn’t mean to make cheese maker Peter Humphries blush when I asked if one of his cheeses was named for someone in particular but his embarrassed expression as he said “yes” was utterly charming. As too was his cheese. It was the oozing yellow centre making a break for it that drew me to the stall – the cheese is (commercially) known as Goddess and is produced (for musician-cum-cheeseman Alex James). Made from Guernsey milk, this is a delicious mild and creamy soft cheese.

Ticklemore Harbourne Blue (no photo)

Ticklemore had three cheeses on sale – Devon Blue (made from cow’s milk), Beenliegh Blue (made from sheep’s milk) and Harbourne Blue (made from goat’s milk). The Devon was a bit plain and the Beenliegh too acidic but the Harbourne Blue was a wonderfully tasty cheese. The balance between sweet, salty and blue was delicious and the rich full fat creaminess was a real delight. This was another of the cheeses I bought to bring home.

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Sparkenhoe Red Leicester

I wasn’t able to chat to anyone at this busy stall as they were busy selling cheese but did taste both their hand made Red Leicester and a mild and chalky blue cheese.

 

Talks & Entertainment

Luckily, we learned a lot about the history of Red Leicester (and exactly how anatto came to be used to give it that distinctive bright colour) by attending one of the free talks, An Unusual History of Cheese. In this entertaining and hugely informative talk, Matthew O’Callaghan shared a light-hearted history of cheese that was perfectly pitched to convey lots of information in a very engaging way. His abiding love for cheese itself and for local and national history was self evident!

Outside, visitors were entertained by the Melstrum Ukulele Band and the New St Georges Morris Dancers.

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I was drawn to a recreation of an old milking parlour, set up in an open-sided trailer.

 

The Melton Cheeseboard

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A special thank you to Tim Brown of The Melton Cheeseboard, a local shop specialising in a wide range of British cheeses and local specialities, for his very warm welcome and the generous selection of cheeses and local products he gave us. His shop is located in the heart of Melton Mowbray at 8 Windsor Street and is open 6 days a week.

 

* Actually, I’m more likely to refer to myself as a greedy glutton than a foodie, but you catch my drift…

Kavey Eats was a guest of the Artisan Cheese Fair. Thanks to Matthew, Lin, Rachel and Tim.

 

I’ve written before about my addiction to Pinterest. I think it’s a super tool – fun to use and hugely useful too. Recently, Pinterest UK have formed a community of keen UK pinners and have been busy facilitating discussions and organising events to engage with the group.

Recently, I attended a delightful evening with Paul A Young, one of my favourite chocolatiers, organised by Pinterest and Great British Chefs. The event was not only fun but also informative and hands on. Paul taught us his signature Port & Stilton Truffle recipe, making it in front of us from scratch so we could see just how achievable it is. Once the filling was made, everyone was invited to roll and dip to finish the truffles and of course, to taste!

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Here’s an old post featuring a fun video interview I did with Paul back in 2011, just after he opened his Soho shop. Do watch the video, it’s wonderful to see creative forces like Paul talk about what they do – he just lights up as he talks.

Kavey Eats attended this event as a guest of Pinterest UK.

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