Cotswold Gold rapeseed oil a big hit
PUBLISHED: 12:24 10 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:24 10 February 2020
If I were in charge of the New Year Honours list for 2020, I'd definitely want to see more local food and drink producers on there. The Cotswolds is full of unsung heroes, working tirelessly behind the scenes, who are putting the Cotswolds on the map with their truly great products.
First on my newly curated list would be Charlie Beldam, the creator of Cotswold Gold, an extra virgin, cold-pressed rapeseed oil that's grown, produced and bottled right here on our doorstep.
Charlie created his liquid gold while at university as a diversification project based around his family's arable farm near Broadway. The farm was already producing rapeseed oil, but largely for agricultural and manufacturing purposes, so Charlie - a self-confessed foodie - wanted to see if the product could be turned into a high-end quality oil that could be used in the food world, while promoting British farming at the same time.
Fast forward a decade or so and Cotswold Gold has a trophy cabinet full of awards. It is used by leading chefs such as Raymond Blanc, Martin Blunos, James Martin, Tom Sellers and Simon Rogan and has an established place in the kitchens of a number of top establishments around the country including Le Manoir, Claridges and Restaurant Story in London.
If you haven't yet tried this remarkable oil, I really urge you to do so. Because it is cold-pressed, it has a light and nutty flavour and comes with a staggering number of health properties. It also has a much higher flash point than olive oil so can be used in all sorts of cooking where you need to reach high temperatures. Think of it as a British version of olive oil but with added benefits.
Alongside the core product, there are a number of infused oils to try too - the chilli oil is a big hit in our house - as well as flavoured mayonnaises and drizzles. Try the new lemon mayonnaise with a bowl of chips and you'll never want to see a jar of Hellman's again!
So often with success stories like these, it can be difficult as a consumer to understand the amount of hard work that goes in to creating, marketing and growing a product from scratch. Charlie is one of the torch-bearers, who through sheer determination and belief in his product, has helped to make the Cotswolds a food destination in its own right.
Locally-owned company Warner's Budgens have six stores in the area - Bidford-on-Avon, Broadway, Moreton-in-Marsh, Quedgeley, Tewkesbury and Winchcombe. More information at warnersbudgens.co.uk
Best seller: Cotswold Gold Rapeseed Oil - this extra virgin, cold-pressed rapeseed oil is a proper Cotswolds gem. Used in place of oil or butter in all your cooking and baking, it is ideal for drizzling, frying, roasting and in salad dressings. Cold-pressing means the oil retains many of its health properties, too.
Local favourite: Cotswold Gold Basil Infusion - drizzle this basil-infused oil over a tomato and mozzarella salad for a blast of Italian flavour, or use it as a base for making pasta sauces. It's also rather good baked over chicken or aubergine dishes, which intensifies the basil's sweet, aromatic notes.
One to try: Cotswold Gold Chipotle Mayonnaise - full of omega 3s from the rapeseed oil, this delicately spiced mayo comes with added health benefits. The subtle yet smoky chipotle flavour means this is a great accompaniment for classic burger and fries dishes.
Cotswold Gold is available to buy online at cotswoldgold.co.uk, from farm shops and delis and Warner's Budgens stores.