It was with utter delight that I scurried along ‘tout de suite’ to the Symondsbury Estate produce kitchen to meet Santina and Barbara who are entirely responsible for the enticing selection that they offer. The first thing I noticed apart from the sweet aroma of Seville oranges permeating the air is the impressive number of awards they have already scooped up. This year they are thrilled to have won a few Taste of the West awards which promote produce from the South West. Their standards must be exceptionally high as they are lucky to have H.R.H. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales as its patron.
The best seller is Seville Orange Marmalade which is, according to Santina, a family recipe that has been handed down from Julia Colfox’s Mother. It can be time consuming cooking marmalade, so I was relieved they had a few spare jars. Whilst Santina chatted to me she never stopped finely slicing the orange peel which must be soaked overnight. The original recipe is painstakingly adhered to with absolutely no corners cut. Made in small batches it tastes just as it should, as if lovingly made in your own kitchen! Stylishly packaged it is the ideal present for friends of a discerning nature, or indeed a cheats short cut to impress guests. Remember proper cut glass marmalade jars with silver lids? I daresay you get my drift.
Dorset County Show
This year the Estate will have a stand at Dorset County Show (1st & 2nd September).
Santina and Barbara have been tirelessly working to ensure that supplies are aplenty for you to sample and buy. This year there will be Shortbread (crumbly melt in the mouth), Cheese Sables (a pleasing ‘kick’ as you savour them), Oatcakes (delightfully slim), Spiced Beetroot & Orange Chutney along with Medlar and Apple Chutney (accompanies every savoury dish beautifully), Honey from hives on the Estate and more. Their infectious enthusiasm for the produce is a clear indication that it is all made with love and care. Santina confides in me that a 7am-7pm workday before the show means she goes to bed filled with dreams of steaming stainless-steel pans gently simmering with goodness. She is allergic to wasps so takes a midday break when they are at their most inquisitive, a dedicated team member if ever there was one!
The kitchen is producing a delectable and mouth-watering selection of produce. Everything is carefully sourced although it is hoped eventually that the Estate will be fully self-sufficient wherever possible.
Should you wish to purchase non-perishable items these are available from the Symondsbury Store or online.
Put the dates in your diary for the show, it’s a marvellous day out for all the family, not forgetting to come and say ‘Hello’ and enjoy our free tastings on offer.