Produce, whether meat, fish, grain, fruit or veg, is a result of its environment. How it is grown, reared or manufactured makes the difference between an average product or an outstanding one. The power of provenance is not lost on Sodexo. Choosing specialist suppliers and artisan producers for the ingredients they source is a crucial part of the supply chain that goes into creating delectable dishes and stunning suppers.
We recently visited three suppliers for Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events venues with the purpose of capturing their unique processes on film; Red Oak Farm who produce Heritage Black Beef, Chalk Stream Foods – purveyors of wonderful rainbow trout, and Whitelake Cheese who this year were commissioned to make a special bespoke cheese especially for Royal Ascot.
We visited Lower Bagborough Farm, in the West Country – the location for Whitelake Cheese.
In the family for three generations, Whitelake Cheese was formed by the grandparents of current boss Roger Longman. After making cheddar for many years, the family had to stop producing it in 1998 as they couldn’t complete with the big providers connected with major supermarkets. Shortly after, Roger started milking goats, and in 2004 formed a partnership with his colleague Pete. They started out going to farmers markets with their goat’s cheese and soon discovered that cheese-making is simple, but getting a consistent product is the hard part.
2016 saw the start of sheep’s cheese production. A local farmer had some sheep’s milk left over so Roger and Pete experimented, and as they say the rest is history. They now have a range of five sheep’s cheeses and even supply Alex James, formerly of Blur, now a well known cheese maker. Remaining true to their artisan roots, all processes are done by hand.
The guys met with Gemma Amor and Ben Dutson, Sodexo’s chefs at Ascot Racecourse during Salon Culinaire - the cooking competition and new supplier event - and there the concept of a cheese for Royal Ascot was born. Named after both chefs, the ‘Dutamor’ is washed in cider brandy rather than saltwater, which encourages a different yeast to develop on the rind. 100% sheep’s milk, it is like a softer Manchego, with slight acidity and hints of toffee and nuts in the after taste.
The Dutamor was enjoyed all over Ascot Racecourse – from private boxes to restaurants, and ended up a real winner with the race-goers.
WATCH THE VIDEO FROM OUR DAY AT LOWER BAGBOROUGH FARM.
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