Saturday, 7 January 2012

The Lordship Tea Room and Food Hall

At last!  
You can almost hear the Foodies of Essex shout with joy as the Lordship Tea Rooms, come deli, come gift shop arrives in Writtle, care of, Wilkin and  Sons Ltd, better known to you and me as Tiptree Jams.  A short bike ride from the centre of Chelmsford and you're in the world of 'local produce' far away from the crowded shopping lanes of Tesco and Asda. 


This charming shop is overseen by manageress, Tina, who said that since opening in December, business has been brisk and as we were stood chatting the place was certainly filling up quickly.  Not only is the shop providing a really important service to the people of Writtle and surrounding area but it is also providing jobs to several local people. With all the doom and gloom around it is good to hear that business is thriving! 


Apparently, Wilkin and Sons, have opened three other tearooms in Dedham, Heybridge and Tiptree all very lovely places to visit. 
The tea room seems to be particularly popular with cyclists even on a cold January day they were sat outside enjoying a sandwich or piece of cake to help them on the next leg of their journey.  I imagine in the summer the tearoom will be doing a roaring trade!


Wilkin and Sons:  The firm was originally founded as the Britannia Fruit Preserving Company in 1885. The then owner, Arthur Wilkin, stipulated that has jam should be free of preservatives, colouring and glucose. In 1905 the company renamed to Wilkin and Sons, to avoid confusion with 20 or so other companies running under the Britannia banner. In 2010 the Queen visited the Tiptree jam factory as the company celebrated 125 years of making preserves.



Ok, back to present day. I applaud Wilkin and Sons for sourcing as many of their products from local suppliers including sausages and raw meats from Great Garnetts, Barnston and handmade breads from Danbury Fine Foods to name just two.  
Tony Hopkins - Farm2Table
Nowadays all too often the traditional family butcher has been disappearing from our high street.  It is a wonder that children know what a cow or a turkey even looks like!  Fortunately, for many of us, Tony Hopkins, a butcher for 25 years, of Farm2Table is continuing the great traditions but with a modern approach.  He is very keen to ensure that animal welfare and complete traceability of his products remains of paramount importance.  


Coming from a catering background myself I understand how nowadays customers want to know where their Sunday fore-rib has come from and whether the eggs to make the Yorkshire pudding batter are British and Free Range.  You can either buy from Lordship Food Hall, online or find Tony at Great Garnetts Farmers Market which starts again on Saturday 11 February.  


We certainly enjoyed our handmade pheasant pate with a slice of delicious Poppy Seed Plait.  If you enjoy haggis I spotted a few in the chiller so I for one will be looking forward to Burns Night!


The place is packed with loads of other goodies including chocolates, handmade meringues, patisserie, cheese, Maldon Salt, and as you pay at the till you can consider ordering your vegetables from Rocket and Rhubarb.


I would have liked to see some smoked meats and perhaps a few more deli options such as olives but overall a great start to the New Year!