I can’t believe it’s taken me up until now to write about this topic, but for my next Northants Food Guide, I’m going to be sharing my favourite Northamptonshire food and drink producers.
I am a huge advocate when it comes to supporting local businesses, especially when it comes to food & drink. Northamptonshire is literally THE food and drink county of the country and we are so lucky to be bursting with SO MANY independent businesses in this industry.
I truly 100% believe that we can’t do enough to support a local food & drink producer. That’s why I love spending my weekends visiting local food & drink fairs, food festivals and basically any event that has food and drink stalls.
Plus, it’s amazing to see the local food & drink producer industry get the love and appreciation it deserves. We have the prestigious Carlsberg Food & Drink awards which gets held annually and is a celebration of everything local and independent in the food and drink industry in the county.
And the latest buzz: Made in Northamptonshire has now launched Made in Northamptonshire Onlyne - the only place to source ONLY Northamptonshire local produce in its own dedicated online shop where you can get everything delivered to your home.
This is LITERALLY my dream come true - I can't wait to properly take advantage of this service when I move into my own place next month!
So I wanted to dedicate this blog post to SOME of the amazing food & drink producers I have grown to love, appreciate and have tried and tested myself. I could name SO MANY but we’d be here forever.
Not only do Friars Farm produce some delicious local produce, but Steve, the man behind the business, has become one of my biggest supporters - and in return, I will always try where I can to support him.
Friars Farm was established by Steve Reid, who wanted to create his very own bespoke jams, chutneys and more in Northamptonshire where he uses no artificial ingredients and are all homemade and are made in small batches, in order to maintain the quality and flavour of the fruit.
I’ve had the pleasure of being very satisfied by every product I have purchased from Steve in the past and he’s got a WHOLE RANGE! The Fig and Apple is one of my absolute favourites and it goes amazingly with some Cobblers Nibble and Northamptonshire Blue cheese! The sweetness of the apple, with the sourness of the Fig is just a taste sensation.
Other products I have had the pleasure of trying is the Tomato and Red Pepper Relish, Red Onion Chutney, Summer Fruits Jam and even their award-winning Gin and Orange Marmalade which is actually made from Phipps NBC Gin!
If you don’t know him for his incredible jams and chutneys, you will certainly know him for his big personality and his colourful clothing and hats! Not only is Steve the man behind Friars Farm, but he has recently taken residence as General Manager at The Albion Brewery in Northampton - another Northamptonshire treasure!
I don’t know of hardly any places that doesn’t stock Friars Farm, but you can check their current stockists here.
In my opinion, Saxby’s Cider is one of the best Ciders Northamptonshire has to offer!
For those who know me well, Saxby’s Cider is literally one of my favourite ciders to enjoy on a sunny afternoon in a pub garden, at a festival, or pretty much anywhere that stocks it!
Saxby’s Cider is a family-run business who produce real cider, using real fruit which they make using their own orchard apples at their very own cider farm in Farndish, Northamptonshire. They have won numerous awards for their ciders, which is by no surprise as their ciders are by far the best!
Some of my favourites include the Rhubarb, Strawberry and Plum cider, but they also have their own range of sloe gin which they partnered with Warner Edwards with. With Saxby’s Cider, you will never find any artificial flavourings, syrups or nasties.
You can find Saxby’s Cider at various food and drink festivals across the country, where they bring along their famous mobile cider pig bars and of course, their whole range of ciders for you to enjoy.
I was kindly invited to attend their Cidery tour and tasting where I wrote a blog post about our experience (hint: it was awesome!)
A fairly young local food producer who I am proud to say I have supported from the very start of their journey.
Dutch Delights UK, based in Towcester, was established early this year by Paul, along with his wife, Judy, together they have come up with a gap in the market by providing Northamptonshire with, literally, the ‘dutch delight’ that is the Stroopwafel.
A stroopwafel is a classic Dutch delicacy consisting of two thin layers of baked dough with a caramel syrup filling in the middle. Though it sounds simple, it goes bloody well as a cheeky snack with a cup of tea (don’t knock it until you try it!)
I went to visit them at their debut food fair at Kislingbury and ever since, they have taken the local food producer scene by storm and have attended many events since. They currently sell full packs of Stroopwafels, as well as crushed up bits, but I hear there are currently experimenting with new flavours and combinations. Watch this space!
The hint is in the name: their ice cream is real and it tastes real good!
i’m real ice cream is another family-run business that has been making gelato for generations, in fact, the family has grown up with it as they recall making it in the Grandfather’s ice cream factory. They bring a new twist on some of our favourite classic flavours, but still keep the with their initial passion of making good, tasty gelato.
I’m really fussy when it comes to ice cream. A good ice cream for me is all about texture; if it’s too icy, forget about it! That’s why I’m a big fan of i’m real ice cream because it’s incredibly silky and smooth to the touch, but on top of that, their flavours are outstanding.
As it states in their name, they use real ingredients in their gelato and combine fresh milk and cane sugar to create the ultimate sweet experience. I can’t help but always have a taster or two of their ice creams when they attend local food festivals. I love ice cream when it’s simple, so the Vanilla flavour is a firm favourite of mine.
Their Roasted Coffee Beans and Walnut flavour is literally like eating a creamy latte and I can’t get enough of their Homemade Cookie flavour!
You can find i’m real ice cream in various farm shops and deli’s across Northamptonshire, but look out for them at the next food festival.
I couldn’t write a post about my favourite local food & drink producers without mentioning Warner’s.
Founded in 2012 and previously known as Warner Edwards, Warner’s is a crafted gin that’s distilled on Falls Farm based in Harrington, Northamptonshire.
Founded by Tom Warner and Tina Warner-Keogh who together after many years of experimenting and planning, they created their first award-winning London Dry Gin… and then they only grew and got bigger and better than ever!
Their ethos is crafting gin with nature with dirty hands, hard work, full hearts and a deep love of the land. All their gins are sustainable and their mission is to apparently save the world from mediocre gin - well, mission completed, because their gin is by far my favourite and when I discovered that they were Northamptonshire, I loved them even more!
I was never a fan of gin (I know, it comes at a shock!) So when I was introduced to Warner’s Rhubarb Gin, that was the moment I became a gin drinker.
That’s why I always advise those who are not gin drinkers to give Warner’s a go, as upon the first sip, you’re never going to get that harsh gin taste. Instead, you just get a smooth flavour that’s easily drinkable with every sip.
Rhubarb Gin with a nice tonic is one I can never say no to, but I recently fell in love with their Limited Edition Spring Blossom gin, which I need to stock up with before it goes for good! Another fabulous conjunction I tried was an Elderflower Gin cocktail using their Elderflower Gin, along with an Elderflower tonic topped with cucumber.
Lisa from The Beauty Type wrote a very good blog post on when she visited the distillery for the day and I’ll be honest - I was jealous! It’s been a huge dream of mine to visit the distillery, so much so, I’ve asked Josh to get me tickets for the experience for my birthday!
I don’t mean to sound cheesy (ha ha) but I LOVE Hamm Tun Fine Foods (I think so much so, they now recognise me at food festivals!!)
Hamm Tun Fine Foods, based in Hannington, Northamptonshire is the multi-award making company behind the creation of some of Northamptonshire’s most delicious hard cheese, such as Cobblers Nibble, which is made from pasturised local cows milk from a local Northamptonshire Friesian herd. Everything about it is homemade and the cheeses distinctive flavour and crumbly texture is what makes it so great and recognisable.
In fact, I am always so sure when I am eating Cobblers Nibble, so much so, at a recent Supper Club when they brought a cheese board out, from the first bite, I knew it was Cobblers Nibble and announced it out loud feeling very proud of myself!
Now let me tell you now: if you’re Northamptonshire based and you haven’t had the wonderful experience that is eating Cobblers Nibble. Another solid favourite which I can’t get enough of is their Northamptonshire Blue cheese, which is especially yummy if you love a strong, smelly cheese like I do - it goes great grated on top of beans on toast!
Likewise, they are always present at many local food & drink festivals and they are more than happy to give people samples to try before they buy - you won’t regret it if you’re a cheese lover like I am!
As like the rest of my Northants food guides, I will be adding to this guide with plenty more local food & drink producers. There are SO many I would love to showcase and highlight, as Northamptonshire literally is the foodie county of the country and our local food and drink producers is one big element on why our county is so unique.
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