The Chocolate Tree (Haddington) – Phantassie (East Linton) – Peelham Farm (Foulden)
Our supplier day trip was a fantastic experience for us at the Larder. After meeting at the café for a coffee before setting off, 7 of us piled nicely into two cars and set off to meet some of our fantastic suppliers. Giving us the opportunity to get to know our suppliers a little bit better, and what we found was a link. How they are all so passionate about local, ethical, sustainable foods, and each making their own fantastic contributions to the Scottish food scene!
First stop – The Chocolate Tree.
Where all the chocolate goodness happens! The Chocolate Tree’s venue is not what one would expect. It is situated in the centre of Haddington in what used to be a fish shop. Here, the small team make all their baked goods and chocolates. We were lucky to come by just before Easter to see all the small and intricate chocolates being made.Needless to say we were all drooling and looking forward to having a taste of a few chocolates – which Ali kindly let us choose from a wide variety.
What was the most interesting was the discussions with Ali about his chocolate suppliers, and how he is so keen on working with organically certified chocolate. Furthermore, he has developed relationships with cacao farmers so they can trade directly with them, offering them even better than fair-trade prices.
Did you know that The Chocolate Tree is one of few chocolatiers who can make bean to bar chocolate? What this means is that they know how to make chocolates straight from the bean. We got to see their bean grinders Bert and Ernie in action, which work all night as they grind anywhere from 24 to 100 hours.
If you’d like to have a taste of their bean to bar chocolate, please come and find some in the café. It’s very special!
Second stop – Phantassie
Located in East Linton, Phantassie is a fantastic organic farm. They have huge varieties of organic vegetables, herbs and even free range eggs! We are always using their vegetables in the Bistro and Café, so it was great to pay them a visit and see where all our lovely vegetables are coming from.
As we enjoyed a tour around, we got an idea of how they successfully use a rotation system for their crops, and discussed the harsh weather conditions and the impact it has had on the farm.
Then we were whisked away to an old van ‘The Green Goddess’ and had a chat with the workers of the farm, whilst we enjoyed some fantastic homemade soup. It never takes many ingredients to make soup taste good with all organic vegetables!!
If you haven’t heard of their box schemes it’s definitely worth a look. They can provide so much fantastic produce straight to your door. It really does make a difference, as it makes it easier for us all to always have local, organic food in our homes.
The farm is truly inspirational and we’re happy to be supporting them!
The Last Stop – Peelham Farm
When we arrived, Denise took us away to her lovely farmhouse for a cup of tea just before setting off to see their butchery. Looking keen in our whites, we had a browse around to see what goes on in the butchery, paying special attention to the delicious charcuterie being cured.
Denise offered us with some samples of their chorizo, fennel and chili salami, salami with nutmeg, and the new addition to their repertoire, ‘reested’ mutton. It was all so good, we could have eaten everything, but instead we bought a selection for our Charcuterie Platter for you to try at the café.
Of course, Peelham Farm is exceptional, with fantastic produce. We love using their meats, especially at the Bistro. So keep a look out on our menu next time you’re in.
What a fantastic experience! We should all be so proud of our food producers in Scotland, and support them as best we can.