A is for … Apple juice and Ale

… both of which can be found at The Pantry Christmas Market this Saturday.

First, for the second year running, we are very proud to offer our own Piddington Village Apple Juice, made exclusively from fruit grown in the village. The apples were all donated by villagers at the Apple Day in October, and, after the Piddington cider makers had filled their containers with sufficient freshly pressed juice to experiment with a 2017 vintage, the remaining apples were all taken to be pressed and bottled for us by Drovers Hill Farm in the Chilterns. Piddington Village Apple Juice makes a wonderful very locally sourced gift. And because it has been properly bottled, the juice has a long shelf-life.

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The Pantry Beer Stall features two new breweries this time: Loddon Brewery, near Reading, and The Shotover Brewing Company in Horspath, just outside Oxford.

From Loddon Brewery we’ll be selling four ales: Ferryman’s Gold (4.8%;
‘Golden, smooth, aromatic and zesty’), Hocus Pocus Old Ale (5.0%;
‘Rich, smooth and ruby in colour’), Hoppit (3.9%;
‘Highly hopped session ale’) and the quite special Night of the Stag (4.4%; ‘Murderously good beer’), brewed especially for an episode of Midsomer Murders of the same name that was filmed at the brewery. (Though the brewery was turned into a cider producer!) You can see some photos of the filming here.

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From The Shotover Brewing Company we have these four beers with an Oxford connection: Trinity (4.2%; ‘A pale gold intensely hoppy beer’), Prospect (3.7%; ‘A session bitter full of hoppy character and flavour’), Scholar (4.5%; A’ classic mid-strength, complex English bitter’) and Oxford Porter (5%; ‘A smooth, rich, dark, flavour packed beer’).

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And from our two regular breweries we’ll have:

From Vale Brewery, Good King Senseless (5.0%; ‘Rich ruby red seasonal ale’), Red Kite (4.3%; ‘Deep red hoppy chestnut bitter’) and Gravitas (4.8%; ‘Single hopped premium pale ale’.

And from XT Brewing Co., Penguin (4.6%; ‘Spiced seasonal ale’), XT 1 (4.2%; ‘Blonde’), XT 4 (3.8%; ‘Mellow amber’) and XT 9 (5.5%; ‘Black ale’).

All these ales and our own apple juice would make a perfect local gift hamper when combined with some other products made in the village or nearby, e.g. Piddington Apple Chutney, Rosemary’s Jams, Oxford Blue Cheese, Islip Mill Honey or Shaken Oak Mustard. You can find them all in the General Store.

We have some interesting new stallholders this time too. I’ll focus on some of them before the market.

The Pantry Spring Market

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A browse around the General Store

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When we started the market, we were all completely new to stocking and running a stall selling locally made high-quality foods and toiletries, and to be honest we had no idea of what would be popular and what wouldn’t. We wanted to offer as wide a range as possible of items that were a little bit special, but that were also affordable. We’ve offered a variety of products in the General Store over the last couple of years, but there are some ranges that people now ask for specifically, and which disappear very quickly!

Of course, the artisan breads from the Cornfield Bakery are always extremely popular, as are the tasty savoury products from Just Biscuits and the appealing little waxed cheeses from Little Shop of Cheese. But what is a hunk of cheese without a good tangy chutney or pickle?

Jim and Jules are a small family business making top-notch jellies, chutneys and pickles from locally sourced produce, and we find that once people have sampled their wares, they come back for more. Last year, they made a special Christmas chutney for us, using Piddington apples (provided by Karen and Derek – thank you!), which was hugely popular.

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This year, we’ll again be selling the little gift sets ‘A Piddington Pair’ – a jar of Piddington Christmas Chutney paired with a jar of Rosemary’s Hedgerow Jam in a ready labelled gift bag. Honestly, you couldn’t get a more local and unique gift for a foodie friend! As well as our own special chutney, you’ll find some other delicious-sounding items made by Jim and Jules (unless someone else has snapped them up first):

  • Jim and Jules Onion & Chilli Gubbins
  • Apple & Chilli Jelly
  • Pops’ Perfect Piccalilli
  • Beetroot & Orange
  • Hearty Ale Chutney – made with beer from Tring Brewery
  • Jingleberry Jelly – a very special edition made with Hedgerow fruits after a family forage along the canals
  • Cranberry & Red Onion
  • Quince & Apple Jelly – made with Quince from Jim and Jules’s village
  • Green Tomato Chutney – made with Tomatoes from Jim and Jules’s greenhouse

Jacobs

Another much loved range is Jacobs Field Lavender. These toiletries are made from extracted oils produced from lavender grown in Jacobs Field in Islip, Oxfordshire. The venture is an inspiring example of ‘land share’, bringing together like-minded people who own land with those who would like to share and cultivate it for a greater good. Profits are given to local charities; local schoolchildren come to learn about growing veg, and there are beehives producing honey. The products themselves are gorgeous. You’ll find all your favourites – Hand Cream, Hand Wash, Linen Water, Moisture Lotion, Pillow Spray – but you’ll also be among the first to try their brand-new products – Body Butter, Body Latte and Essential Oil. We’ll be selling Jacobs Field Lavender products in beautifully presented ready labelled gift bags, to make your life a bit simpler. If you buy two or more products, the gift bag is free.

There are lots more interesting products on the General Store. Why not make up your own hamper from the tempting array of goods on offer? Ask for a basket at the stall.

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A Market on a Plate – are you coming?

Posters and leaflets are everywhere now, so there’s no excuse for missing out on what should be a really great foodie night. There’ll be lots of different foods to taste, all supplied by our favourite Pantry suppliers, and lots of local drinks to sample alongside them, together with expert advice on good – and not so good – food and drink pairings. You’ll have fun, learn something new and perhaps make a few surprising discoveries about exactly what food and drink is being produced very close to home. And of course you’ll be able to buy products from the General Store after the tasting.

So do come along and help to make it a really buzzing night.

Incidentally, as this is an expensive event for a small group like ours to put on, The Pantry has decided to subsidise it, to keep the price of the tickets at £15, as we really want to bring something a little bit different to Piddington.

So please support The Pantry by joining us on 13 September, and please encourage anyone you think might be interested about our Market on a Plate to buy a ticket. The more people that come, the better the atmosphere.

See you there!

A Market on a Plate – please spread the word!

Posters and leaflets have been distributed, but the best publicity is word of mouth. So please spread the word about this exciting event – get a group of like-minded friends together and have fun sharing the various tasting platters and comparing notes on the different food and drink pairings.

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A closer look: Jim & Jules Big Adventure

Do you know, in exactly one month, it’ll be Boxing Day! By this time, you’ll have demolished the turkey (or whatever festive alternative you have planned), and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be looking forward to the real highlight of the festive season – days of picking at a variety of cold meats, stuffings, cheeses, breads, savoury biscuits, etc. And what’s the essential accompaniment to all these delights? Why, a good range of pickles and chutneys and jellies, of course, preferably homemade.

Another stallholder new to The Pantry can supply these delicious comestibles, to make your Christmas feast even more delicious. Jim & Jules Big Adventure will be bringing all sorts of good things – as well as much festive spirit and cheer. A real special this year is their Piddington Christmas Chutney, made by them with apples grown in our village. They will also have their Christmas special editions including Boxing Day Badboy, which is always a hit, Cranberry and Red Onion Yummo, Hearty Ale Chutney and Cranberry Sauce.

If you’d like to pre-order anything for collection on the day, please contact them directly in good time before market day. You can phone them on 07976 284746 or send an email to jules@jimandjules.co.uk.

We’re looking forward to welcoming Jim & Jules to Piddington, so please say hello to them at the market.