It’s food festival season. So we’ve rounded up some of the region’s best producers who put nothing but passion into their produce. Get visiting some of them at this weekend’s North East Chilli Festival, Kells Lane Food Market, in Low Fell – as well as many other events.
And don’t miss part two of our Meet The Producers feature – online tomorrow.
THE CLUCKING PIG
The Clucking Pig Company is one stall you need to seek out during food festival season.
Did you know its gourmet Scotch eggs have been given royal approval and tasted by none other than the Queen’s chef and the Duke of York? Give that a mention when you’re tucking into one at your next picnic.
Made with the finest free-range ingredients and coated in homemade breadcrumbs, each Scotch egg is lovingly handcrafted by David and Christine Laing in Marske-by-the-Sea, near Saltburn. If you think you’re not a fan
of this delicacy though, think again. Some of David and Christine’s best-selling varieties include: wild rabbit with black pudding, wild boar, mixed game – and they even make a MacSween vegetarian haggis, as well as the more traditional rare-breed pork.
WHERE TO BUY: The North East Chilli Festival this weekend (June 30 to July 2) www.chillifest-ne.co.uk; Saltburn Food Festival on July 30, saltburnfoodfestival.com, as well as other local farmers’ markets events across the region.
Also stocked at Brickyard Bakery in Guisborough and Middlesbrough and Hops and Cheese in Hartlepool. www.thecluckingpig.com
Holy smoke! If you haven’t tried Boulevard Cuisine’s smoked salts, peppercorns or oils – you’re missing out. They’re the perfect store cupboard addition to raise your cooking game from mediocre to extra delicious.
Set up by Audrey Grieve in 2012, the products are smoked in one of only two surviving smokehouses in North Shields, using a traditional smoking process from 1883.
The bestseller is the garlic smoked salt. Once you buy it, you’ll never look back. It’s versatile and easy to use, just sprinkle it over potatoes and vegetables before popping them in the oven. For summer, try smoked pink peppercorns – which packs a punch in flavour.
It goes great with fish, seafood, salads – even scrambled eggs. Oh, and if you add it to a gin and tonic = game changer. We’re not kidding.
If you’re hosting a summer barbecue, Audrey’s smoked lemon olive oil is great for basting chicken, as well as sprucing up a salad or drizzling over a dish.
The smoking process releases the tangy flavour from the lemon flakes and will make your cooking taste light and fresh.
WHERE TO BUY: Find Boulevard Cuisine at the Proper Food and Drink Festivals across the region (www.properfoodanddrinkfestivals.co.uk) and the Border Union Show from July 28-29; and buy online at boulevardcuisine.com
FAIRLEY’S FINE CONDIMENTS
Hands up, who’s guilty of buying extravagant or unusual products at food festivals and then having no clue of what to do with them at home? It happens to the best of us. However, Fairley’s Fine Condiments produce a premium range of outstanding yet familiar products which are carefully made in small batches using natural, high-quality ingredients.
The products include mouthwatering ketchup, barbecue and steak sauces, as well as meat rubs that are perfect for pulled pork, shredded chicken and beef ribs. It all started when chef Nick Fairley decided to resurrect old family recipes after the death of his grandfather. This, coupled with his dislike for the taste of many leading-brand products, prompted him to produce his own.
The popularity of his products is a testament to how good they taste, and if you’re after heat, brace yourself for the Frightfully Hot range. All products have been developed to enhance and complement natural flavours in your food and are a fantastic addition to any summer barbecue.
WHERE TO BUY: Stock up at the Proper Food and Drink Festivals across the region (www.properfoodanddrinkfestivals.co.uk); The North East Chilli Festival (www.chillifest-ne.co.uk) June 30 – July 2 and the monthly Kells Lane Food Market (1st Saturday of each month) and Staiths Food Market (2nd Saturday of each month), in Gateshead. You can also buy the condiments online at www.fairleys.co.uk; Block & Bottle, Gateshead and Charlotte’s Butchery, Gosforth.
You scream, I scream, we all scream for Screaming Chimp’s sauces!
Not for the faint-hearted, these sauces pack a punch and are chock-full of chillies. It all started when Niall and Vicky McKay-Mount were given chilli seedlings from an old friend which sparked the desire to create a range of fun chilli sauces. The original Hot Sauce is a fiery feat with ghost peppers, Trinidad moruga scorpion, fatalii, scotch bonnet and Aji lemon chillies – you have been warned.
The other products range from the milder Vic’s Ol’ Smokey and Mango and Papaya to the aptly-named The Stinger; which are all made in small batches from Niall and Vicky’s kitchen at home in County Durham.
WHERE TO BUY: Find Screaming Chimp’s sauces at The Proper Food Festivals across the region (www.properfoodanddrinkfestivals.co.uk); the monthly Kells Lane Food Market, in Low Fell, and Staiths Food Market, in Gateshead; and The North East Chilli Festival (www.chillifest-ne.co.uk) from June 30 to July 2.
Also stocked in Fenwick Food Hall; New Close Farm Shop in Sacriston; Knitsley Farm Shop in Consett; Simply Local in Sunniside, Newcastle; Poplar Tree Garden Centre in Shincliffe; or online at www.screamingchimp.com
THE GOAT COMPANY
June and Martin Whiting have a long history of breeding, raising and managing goats.
Their business, The Goat Company – just outside of Morpeth – produces British goat and kid meat that is free-range and traceable.
Healthier than chicken, and low in cholesterol and saturated fat, goat meat is becoming more and more popular – and not just for making curries (although it’s brilliant for that). It can be slow cooked and used in casseroles and stews, or it can be minced to create great burgers and sausages. It is a really versatile meat to cook with, and is high in iron and B vitamins. For those unfamiliar to goat meat, it is a tender meat similar to lamb or beef but slightly more gamey in taste.
WHERE TO BUY: You can find The Goat Company at Newcastle’s popular food producers’ market at Grey’s Monument on the first Friday of each month, as well as the monthly Staiths Food Market, Gateshead, and Jesmond Food Market.
Meat can also be ordered online and delivered fresh or frozen to any location in the UK or collected from the farm. Why not try one of the goat meat boxes with a selection of cuts of meat? Recipes online, from Caribbean goat kebabs to goat pie will, give you some inspiration. Go on, give it a go. www.thegoatcompany.co.uk
Don’t miss Meet The Producers part two – online tomorrow.