Guy Warner: Why our local jam-makers need your support
PUBLISHED: 12:07 30 October 2018
If we can continue to show our support for talented and industrious jam-makers like these, we might just pull our favourite preserve out of the sticky situation it's supposed to be in!
I read some alarming news earlier this year – peanut butter is set to overtake jam as the nation’s favourite spread! Now, as someone who loves a great big dollop of strawberry jam on my toast (and who gets excited on discovering a whole syrupy strawberry or two hiding in the jar), I’m wondering how can this be?
Fortunately, I don’t think jam is likely to go out of fashion just yet as we’ve got some outstanding local jam producers in the Cotswolds who are helping to preserve our once-loved conserves.
Founded in 2011, The Artisan Kitchen is a relative newcomer to the jam world but has already clocked up well over 200 awards for its products. The talent behind The Artisan Kitchen is chef Sarah Churchill who created her first preserve from the rescued fruit of a local Mirabelle plum tree. This earned Sarah a Great Taste Award, and since then, she has been hard at work developing new flavours for today’s palates. This year alone, Sarah’s jams and marmalades have gained 46 awards, including 16 Great Taste Awards, with the Seville Orange Marmalade Vino de Naranja being put forward for the prestigious Golden Fork Award earlier this month.
What’s so exciting about The Artisan Kitchen is the mix of old and new. Sarah makes each of the preserves by hand in a big copper pot in her Gloucestershire kitchen. But the flavours are thoroughly modern and forward-thinking – Gin & Tonic Citrus Marmalade, Sweet Orange Espresso Marmalade, Apricot Vanilla Elderflower Jam, Blackcurrant Sloe Gin Jam. It’s these clever flavour combinations that were noted by our judges at this year’s Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards, earning the Gloucester Marmalade, made from Gloucestershire cider, local apple juice and sweet and bitter oranges, the title of Food Product of the Year 2018.
Kitchen Garden is another Warner’s Budgens favourite, founded by Barbara Moinet from her kitchen table in 1989. As well as jams and marmalades, Kitchen Garden offers jellies, chutneys and dressings, all ‘made by hand in the Cotswolds’. Over the years, Kitchen Garden has built up a strong and loyal fan base but is now seeking to attract a younger audience too, with fresh new flavours and new-look labelling.
The company has a repertoire of over 60 products, many of them award-winners, with classics such as Blackberry & Apple Jam, Traditional Rhubarb Jam, Orange Marmalade with Brandy and Three Fruit Marmalade. Last year, Kitchen Garden was crowned Best Local Producer at the Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards, and Barbara Moinet received a posthumous award as Cotswold Food Hero 2017. At this year’s awards, Kitchen Garden was a finalist in the Best Local Producer category.
All of which leads me to believe that it’s not yet over for jam. If we can continue to show our support for talented and industrious jam-makers like these, we might just pull our favourite preserve out of the sticky situation it’s supposed to be in!
For the latest news on The Artisan Kitchen’s seasonal flavours and stockists, visit theartisankitchen.co.uk.
Locally-owned company Warner’s Budgens have six stores in the area - Bidford-upon-Avon, Moreton-in-Marsh, Quedgeley, Tewkesbury and Winchcombe. Visit the website here.