I don’t want to come across as a pensioner-in-the-making, but several of my rather more middle-aged tastes were inherited from my father. I was the only student who liked real ales, or the pleasure of gently warming a fine Cognac at the flame of a candle (I never really did that, okay – just once.) If you’ve not already had to slap yourself for momentarily becoming one of your parents trust me, it will happen – it really is just a matter of time. Anyway – now that I’m thirty I don’t mind admitting that I really do enjoy buying wine, boutique cheeses, locally-made chutneys, beers and fresh artisan bread. Why? Because they’re just really fucking good, that’s why – no apologies.
Now, I’m definitely not snobbish about having to always ‘buy local’ or wanting to be on first-name terms with all the nearby farmers. I don’t need to know the name of vineyard that produced my wine, or the history of the family that made the smelly cheese I put on my crackers – I just know that some of these things taste absolutely awesome and my knowledge of their existence needs to be shared, and if I’m helping out businesses that are local to me so much the better.
So, with all that in mind I’ve decided to set about doing some foodie reviews on my blog. I’m not going to be too prescriptive about the way I do it; whether it be a loaf of bread, a takeaway or a whole restaurant, if I have enjoyed it I shall let you know more about it – and I really hope that in turn you’ll do your bit to spread the word and pass the review on. Without further ado, there follows below a review of the very jar of chutney that put the idea in my head.
Old English Chutney with Cider is produced by Cottage Delight Speciality Foods – located in Leek, Staffordshire. To quote their website this chutney comprises of ‘Bramley apples, green beans, cauliflower, dates, onions and a dash of cider’. Cottage Delight recommend that I enjoy the chutney with hot sausage rolls (now that’s an interesting idea, I shall report back!) cheeses and pork pies. I love pork pies. If any Suffolk-based pork pie producers want to send me a batch to review please get in touch, they’re assured a warm welcome! By stroke of luck I had both mature cheddar and a pork pie in my fridge so I sampled the chutney with both. I realise it’s an unfair comparison but alongside Branston Pickle (yes, I know it’s not a chutney) there was no contest. The Branston is vinegary, sticky and diced in chunks – it’s nothing special. Sure, it goes okay with both the pork pie and the cheese but all the time it’s yelling ‘Hey, look at me, I’m Branston, I bet you can’t taste anything else now!’ On the other hand the Cottage Delight chutney is subtle, it knows it’s classy but remains modest about it. The cider makes it slightly sweet without crossing the line into sugary, the ‘apple-y-ness’ (no, you can’t use that in Scrabble) gives it a fresh taste that’s lacking in lesser chutneys. It’s got a great texture too, not blended into gunk – all the fruity chunks are still there. This is top-notch chutney at a great price, and I shall be getting more of it. Cottage Delight retail on their website, but if you’re local to Ipswich you’ll find many of their chutneys at Memorable Cheeses.
Old English Chutney with Cider from Cottage Delight Speciality Foods
£2.75 at Memorable Cheeses – 10 Dial Lane, Ipswich, IP1 1DL