A Taste of Wimborne
PUBLISHED: 11:20 28 September 2011 | UPDATED: 20:04 20 February 2013
As the town gears up for its annual celebration of local food and drink, we meet some of the local producers who will be at this year's festival
It has taken just four years for the Wimborne Food Festival to emerge as one of the countys biggest and most popular culinary events. And no wonder. The heady mix of dedicated local food producers, talented chefs and an enthusiastic foodie population all set against the background of a town that is one of Dorsets historic and architectural jewels have been a real recipe for success.
Blue Hen Dorset
When Andria Maidment was a little girl she helped her grandmother bake cakes using fresh eggs from the family hens. Today, with husband Martin, she has adapted those time-honoured recipes to create homemade fruit cakes with a modern twist through their company Blue Hen Dorset.
My grandmothers recipes have been tweaked so much that she probably wouldnt recognise them anymore, says Andria. The thought of having chocolate in a fruit cake for instance; Im not sure she would have thought much about that idea but I like experimenting and weve worked out some delicious flavour combinations.
The name Blue Hen Dorset comes from the lavender blue Araucana hens which form part of the couples flock along with black Araucanas, legbars, buff and speckled Sussex, Rhode Island Red, Welsummer and Minorcan hens.
Its lovely to be able to use your own eggs in your own cakes, enthuses Andria, Though we now have to buy in quite a few extra eggs because the more unusual breeds dont lay as many eggs but we always buy free range and as local as possible.
Blue Hen Dorset is very much a family affair with all the cakes being handmade in the couples Highcliffe kitchen and sold at food festivals in and around the county. The cakes, which range from the classic rich fruit cake to more exotic creations such as chocolate chilli, apricot, almond and amaretto, flake chocolate hazelnut and the award-winning honeymead, are also available in selected delis and online.
From Dorset With Love
Making the award-winning jams and chutneys at From Dorset With Love is a real family affair for Karl and Chrissy Regler. Chrissys dad, Tom, is chief onion peeler and her mum, Sheree, can often be found helping with the veg prep or looking after the couples two boys, Koen and Jensen. The boys love helping pick the blueberries to go into our Purbeck blueberry jam, although the hardest part is stopping them from eating their body weight in fruit! laughs Chrissy.
From Dorset With Love only began last year as something of a hobby, but their products are proving so popular that things are really starting to take off. We are now stocked in a small number of delis and shops across Dorset and we have new enquiries every day thanks to the power of Twitter, says Chrissy. Feedback has been incredible.
I have been given so many recipes from my mum and her mum and then on Karls side, his nan and great aunt Jess, says Chrissy. They have all been incredibly supportive. They were probably the first to try my Pear and Walnut Chutney which won two gold stars at this years Great Taste Awards!
The couple use as much Dorset produce as possible in their jams and chutneys and insist on top quality. Our products are truly handmade as we chop, peel and hull every fruit or vegetable we use, and we only make in small batches, says Chrissy proudly, adding, We want our boys to know that there is more to food than just buying it at a supermarket.