A new addition to our cookbook shelf arrived last week. And the most exciting part is that we’re in it! The book is called Food Stories and it is the very first edition of a new seasonal recipe collection celebrating rare food brands. This inaugural edition features over 50 seasonal recipes, each one showcasing a different award winning artisan food or drink. In addition there are articles on food trends, inspiring producer profiles, and mouth-watering photography throughout.
We were invited to be part of the book as one of the top 50 Great Taste Winners. A special recipe featuring our Golden Fork-winning Vilberie cider was created by James Golding, chef director at The Pig Group. James’s whole food ethos at The Pig is about using quality local foods from small producers. He takes 6 months getting to know local suppliers before they open a new restaurant. So we knew our Vilberie was in good hands. He’s put together a rustic but indulgent cider braised chicken recipe which features our crisp, dry, cider plus apples, garlic, mustard, and a good slug of cream. It’s an instant hit in the Culpin household!
Among the articles that whet the appetite at the start of the book, is ‘Cider Goes Suave.’ Cider has certainly climbed the social ladder from traditional farm labourers’ drink, to now feature on posh drinks lists of even the most exclusive venues. Food Stories interviewed Matteo Malison, bar manager at London’s stylish Zetter Townhouse on what factors have contributed to the recent elevation of cider. They mention: health interests, such as cider’s lower glycaemic index; the marketing investment by the big mass market brands; and the modern look of new cider brands. Mixologists such as Matteo himself, creating cider cocktails in the smartest bars, have also played a role in establishing the trend.
From the range of cider-drinkers we chat to through Apple County we hear that people are more interested than ever in the craft behind the products they’re choosing. They are rightly demanding quality, purity and authenticity that real cider can deliver in spades. We rather like the sound of the cider cocktails though, and would be happy to debate it further over one or two of those!
One of the most interesting parts of Food Stories is that for every recipe there is a profile and some pictures of the artisan producer. We’re as inspired by these little stories as we are by the recipes. It’s great to see some other local great tastes in Food Stories such as Talgarth Mill – just the other side of the Black Mountains from Apple County. This community enterprise produces an award-winning array of stone-ground flours. It’s well worth stopping by if you’re in the area as you can take a guided tour of their renovated water mill and enjoy wonderful goodies in the Baker’s Table Café and Bakery. Just don’t tell our Ben (who can’t eat gluten)!
Another entry is for CoalTown Coffee Roasters from the far West side of the Brecon Beacons. Based in a former mining town, whose colliery closed in 2003, father and son team are now making a new kind of Welsh Black Gold. Still based in their garage, they hand roast their fresh coffees in small batches. The business is just a year old, but already on the Food Stories radar.
A familiar face in the book is our friend Joanna, from Radnor Preserves in Mid-Wales. The preserves were born in very humble beginnings and were first cooked in an off-grid cottage. But Radnor Preserves have nonetheless found their way to Selfridges via double gold at the World Marmalade Awards. We know that these jewel-like preserves never fail to impress.
The Food Stories recipes are arranged by small plates, lunches, suppers and desserts. There is more than enough inspiration to pack your entire spring and summer full of new foody delights. Top of our fantasy dinner list right now are:
To start: white bean with black garlic dip, with a glass of Vilberie,
To follow: honey*-glazed pork fillet with rhubarb (*Coedcanlas Wild Lemon Blossom Honey), accompanied with a glass of our fruity Dabinett cider.
To finish: Radnor Preserves Posh Paddington Tart.
We’d we pretty stuffed by this point but very happy!
Food Stories has a very stylish contemporary feel and it’s a big thrill for us to feature in it, amongst the very best of the artisan food world. The culinary inspiration for the recipes in Food Stories are drawn from all around the globe but one pairing is universal – good food and good drink should always go together in our book.
To WIN Your Own copy of Food Stories, just tell us your favourite cider recipe! One winner will be selected at random from all entries and will win a copy of Food Stories, plus a bottle of our Gold Fork-winning Vilberie cider to use in the recipe!
To submit your favourite recipe and enter the prize draw, just reply to our Facebook post, tweet @apple_countyco with #BestCiderRecipes or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NB – We are planning to collate a list of the best cider recipes on our blog next month, so the recipe you submit must either be your own (that you are happy for us to publish on our website), or publicly available online (please provide the URL) so that we can post a link to it.