CHRISTMAS really has come early for one Manx food producer.
Cocoa Red and Berries at Aaron House in Port St Mary have scooped a prestigious three star gold award at this year’s Guild of Fine Food’s Great Taste Awards for their Vintage Christmas Puddings - an accolade that has led them to being invited to supply the iconic top London department store Fortnum & Mason.
These award-winning Vintage Christmas Puddings will be launched at Fortnum & Mason’s Piccadilly store next month under the Berries at Aaron House brand name.
Karl Berrie, head chocolatier for Cocoa Red said: ‘We have only been producing Christmas puddings commercially for two years and are proud to have received such a fantastic award.
‘Our Vintage Christmas Pudding received the highest award at this year’s Great Taste Awards and was the only Christmas Pudding to have received three Gold Stars. Our pudding was also one out of only 123 food products out of a total of 8,800 applicants which received this 3 Star Gold Award.
‘Our Vintage Christmas Puddings are made to a well-loved, old family recipe which has been passed down to me through several generations of my family.
‘We use the finest of ingredients which I source personally. We use the finest new season vine fruits, nuts and spices from around the world and fresh produce from excellent Manx food producers including the Apple Orphanage, Bushy’s Ale, Isle of Man Creameries, Laxey Glen Mills and Staarvey Farm.
‘Martin Brunnschwieler from Bushy’s Ale helped me greatly when we started creating Christmas puddings, to decide the perfect brew of ale to complement our puddings. We also blend our own spices, confit our own fruits and bake all of our own bread in-house which we use for the very much needed breadcrumbs.
‘All of our Vintage Christmas Puddings are matured for a minimum of nine months using a fine champagne mature cask cognac. We are so excited that our Vintage Christmas Puddings are being launched at Fortnum & Mason in London as we can highlight the fantastic quality of our own Manx food producers.’
Karl’s mother Kath, who has run the Victorian-styled guesthouse Aaron House in Port St Mary since 1999, explained that the hand-written recipe for the Vintage Christmas Pudding had been passed down to her from her great aunt who had moved from Ireland to England to work in service.
Karl began talks with Fortnum & Mason a year ago. However, it was only with the widespread interest that followed the announcement of their 3 Gold Star Great Taste Award, that he secured the deal to supply the store. In total, Berries at Aaron House and Cocoa Red, have received nine Great Taste Awards for their chocolates, fruit cakes and puddings.
All of Berries and Cocoa Red’s’ award winning products will be available to buy at this year’s Isle of Man Food & Drink Festival on September 22 and 23. Karl, 40, explained that because of limited space in the Victorian kitchens at Aaron House, the Christmas puddings have only been made in small batches. ‘They are, however, made with a great passion for quality, perfection and most importantly taste!’ he said.
Karl added: ‘We do advise you pre-order your Vintage Christmas Pudding as soon as possible, due to the limited number available. Our Vintage Puddings were made earlier on in the year to gain full maturity and, therefore, no more can be made!’
A Christmas shop is opening at Aaron House during the last two weeks of November, up until Christmas 2012 where you will be able to buy all of their award winning items - and more. Opening hours will be every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 4.30pm (or anytime by appointment).
l To pre-order a Vintage or Traditional Christmas Pudding, you can either complete the order form below or contact 01624 838384. You can also purchase the Christmas puddings, fruit cake and fine chocolates from Cocoa Red’s new website www.cocoared.com due to launch at the beginning of October.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Isle of Man
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 8 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west