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5 fantastic local producers that need your support right now

delicious. magazine have long been advocates of shopping locally and supporting independent businesses. And with numerous retailers having to close their doors during lockdown, it’s never been more important to do so.

So, with the help of our friends at The Guild of Fine Food, the organisers of Great Taste, we’re championing 5 standout producers from all over the UK that have a story to tell and a fantastic product to go with it. We understand that it’s difficult, or in many cases impossible, to get to the shops right now, which is why all these products can be purchased online or via a delivery service. From vegan gelato to the cheesiest biscuits you’ve ever eaten, treat yourself to one of these award-winning products and support a local business along the way.

5 fantastic local producers that need your support right now

THE PLANT-BASED GELATO MADE FROM OAT MILK

The producer: Gelato Gusto

gelato-gusto-team

Who are they?
This Brighton-born business are putting oat milk through its paces with their innovative vegan spin on Italian gelato. Yes, they make normal gelato too, but it’s the dairy-free stuff that’s captured our (and everyone else’s) attention. It all started when BAFTA award-winning producer and director Jon Adams left his day job to pursue his dream of becoming an artisan gelato producer. He trained first at the Gelato University of Bologna in Italy and went on to open the doors to his first Gelataria in 2012, in Brighton’s North Lane. When it comes to making vegan gelato, ‘it’s not as simple as swapping cow’s milk for oat milk’, says Adams, as ‘there’s a danger it can become hard and icy’. We’re glad that he persisted though, with their vegan gelato offering the same rich creaminess that makes this cooling treat so good.

How you can help
If you’re local to Brighton, you can still get Gelato Gusto delivered to your door with Deliveroo.

Great Taste 3-star winner from 2019: Vegan Salted Caramel & Liquorice Gelato

How to use it?
The gelato’s sweet-salty flavour requires something neutral, such as shortbread, which also contrasts with the smooth texture. A refreshing cold glass of schnapps is also recommended.  

THE COFFEE ROASTER THAT’S ACTUALLY AN OLD TEXTILE MILL

The producer: Dark Woods Coffee

dark-woods-coffee

Who are they?
It’s fair to say that Dark Woods aren’t your everyday coffee roaster. They roast all their beans in an old Victorian textile mill situated in the heart of the Pennines, with its stunning surrounds acting as inspiration for their diverse range of coffee flavours. The beans are sourced from a variety of skilled farmers and roasted on a 1950s German drum roaster to bring out their distinctive flavours. It all sounds very idyllic, but ‘you need to be in the zone when you’re roasting to hear, see and smell the beans, so it’s good to work in a peaceful space’, say co-founders Paul Meikle-Janney and Ian Agnew.

The beans for their Panama La Huella coffee are carefully sourced from a variety of producers and dried ‘naturally’ in the sun, which lends them an extra-sweet fruitiness and chocolatey flavour. Unlocking the natural sweetness and acidity is a delicate job with only 5kg roasted at a time. It’s the attention to detail at every stage of the process that makes the final drink so delicious – a taste of Panama with a hint of the Pennines in every cup.

How you can help
You can still pick up a bag of Dark Woods Coffee via their online shop. Choose from an array of flavours including their 2019 GTA Golden Fork winning coffee: Panama La Huella “Cafe de Panama” (Natural).

Great Taste 3-star winner from 2019: Panama La Huella, ‘Café de Panama’

How to use it?
Serve with a fresh pain au chocolat to complement the milk chocolate notes in the coffee. For something completely different, try thin slices of sweet and spicy salami.

THE MULTIFACETED CIDER THAT’S GOOD FOR THE PLANET

The producer: Longueville House Cider

longuevil-house-cider

Who are they?
There certainly isn’t a shortage of good things to say about Longueville House Cider. Firstly, all their cider is made from 100% apples – so no concentrates, preservatives, sulphates or extra water is added. They’re also committed to implementing good, sustainable initiatives and they don’t use any pesticides or chemicals in the orchards or on the apples. There’s also the fact that Longueville House has a four-star hotel, an award-winning restaurant and offers tours of the distillery and its 25-acre orchard, so drinkers can see exactly what they’re getting in every bottle. In fact, their blossom-to-bottle ethos is exactly what makes Longueville House Cider so special – this is a drink that tastes good and does good too.

How you can help
While you may not be able to pay a visit to Longueville House at the moment, you can still purchase their brilliant Irish ciders and brandies online.

Great Taste 3-star winner from 2019: Longueville Mór

How to use it?
The rich, sweet notes of Mór cider is calling out to be enjoyed with cheese. We suggest an extra mature cheddar or comte.

THE SMALL-BATCH HONEY COMPANY THAT REALLY IS THE BEES KNEES

Name: New Quay Honey Farm

new-quay-honey-farm

Who are they?
New Quay Honey Farm in West Wales has been producing raw honey since 1995, selling it to independent retailers and through a shop on their 40-acre farm. The rich biodiversity in the area means the bees have an extensive menu to choose from – try sycamore, willow, clover and blackberry – keeping these furry workers happy and the flavour of the honey… well, that speaks for itself. Rather excitingly, New Quay Honey Farm have diversified the business into the drinks category with their distinctive heather honey mead. Company owner Sam Cooper discovered a way of fermenting the honey with Champagne yeast to make the ancient alcoholic drink, while keeping intact the rich and floral flavour that makes heather honey so unique. Note: New Quay only makes the mead in small batches, so you better get in there quick!

How you can help
Browse and buy their range of honeys, honey preserves and meads at their online shop.

Great Taste 3-star winner from 2019: Afon Mêl Heather Mead

How to use it?
The sweetness of the honey means Heather Mead can be treated a bit like a dessert wine or Port. Serve at room temperature and match with spicy blue or pungent washed-and-rind cheeses.

THE CHEESE BISCUITS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEEDED IN YOUR LIFE

Name: Shortbread House of Edinburgh

cheese-sables

Who are they?
Anything made with a mouth-watering mix of 24-month Parmigiano Reggiano and Scottish Mature Cheddar is bound to taste good, a fact that Shortbread House of Edinburgh have well and truly put to the test. In fact, according to director Rupert Laing, it takes a lot of skill cramming as much cheese and butter into a biscuit as they do – and still keep it looking like a biscuit! The recipe hasn’t changed since Hugh and Pam Corbin came up with it in 2010; their daughter began making the sablés at her bakery Pea Green Boat but couldn’t make them fast enough to meet demand. Shortbread House of Edinburgh stepped in to lend a hand and the rest speaks for itself. Now, they sell their sablés all over the world and have multiple awards to their name. Bravo!

How you can help
Shortbread House in Edinburgh are still accepting orders to meet all your cheese-craving needs. Take your pick from all their products here.

Great Taste 3-star winner from 2019: Pea Green Boat Cheese Sablés – Fennel and chilli

How to use it?
Cheese sablés are perfect as an aperitif. The warm spicy notes of the fennel and chilli flavour work well with the aromatic botanicals in a gin and tonic, as well as with beer or cider.

Find out more about The Great Taste Awards, here.

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