As well as using as many local ingredients to bake and make my own products for the deli as possible, I also give a platform in-house to local food producers to sell their retail items. It is difficult to pick products as my retail area is small and with so many fabulous food producers out there I am truly spoilt for choice. I also like to showcase other products from other parts of the country and globally. The criteria for all always comes down to the same objectives: it has to be a good quality product of course, preferably with an award; the packaging, aesthetically, should sit well with other stock and be environmentally friendly; a product/supplier unique to the town and supplied in small batches so stocks can be replenished frequently to accommodate the bijou space offered.
One of my longest retail food producers whose products have graced the instore kitchen dresser since the opening of Granny Mo's Deli, is Bristol based 'GingerBeards Preserves'. Back in 2018 I approached Harry, owner and creator, and the guy with a ginger beard (hence the name), to try his preserves, chutneys, jams and pickles as they ticked every box on my criteria list. Guided by Harry, I initially started off with a few lines of each of the best sellers but four years on I am now proudly stocking GB's full range which has expanded over the years through sheer success and market demand. This is not at all surprising considering the quality, awards, local collaboration with independent brewers, distillieries and people like me, independent local shops, all knitted together with their fabulous service.
I could tell you a little of the history of GB's but why not let Harry himself do it, so here's a little bio about this local preserve producer taken from their 'About Us' page on their website.
GingerBeard’s Preserves - Est.2014
GingerBeard’s Preserves was founded in a one-bed basement flat in Montpellier, Bristol in 2014 by Harry Calvert and Claire Charras. The mission is to bring our awesome tasting preserves and sauces to the people of Bristol and beyond. We are a small batch and independent, now producing around 60,000 units a year by hand in our unit in Kingswood, Bristol.
As well as our traditional style jams, chutneys and marmalades, we produce a range of craft preserves and sauces ranging across several categories from hot sauce to mustard. We collaborate with a wide range of companies in the food & drinks industry, especially breweries. We pair their beers with carefully selected ingredients to create unique products with great depth and flavour. We currently produce 54 different products forged to complement cuisines from around the world.
We use only natural ingredients so you won’t find any chemicals preservatives or additives in our products!
As mentioned above, GB's products are made using only natural ingredients and most of the products are gluten free, and many, vegan. Using ingredients such as bacon and collaborating with local breweries and distillieries means that not all the products are suited to all but you know what it doesn't matter because there's oodles of choice, I promise you, you will find something to love and keep coming back for time and time again. Highly recommended from me if you're gluten free, vegan, alcohol free and not keen on heat is the Original Mango Chutney (Winner of Taste of the West Gold 2019). Not only does it go well with curries, bhajis or a cheeseboard, it is also delicious mixed with olive oil for tossing your veggies in before roasting. The same can be done, and I do this on a regular basis, with many of GB's chutneys and if you don't mind the heat, then try the Hot Mango Chutney it's got a real punch and also Winner of the Taste of the West Gold 2020.
But if we're talking heat then GB's range of chilli sauces are a must and I cannot tell you how many of these I have sold as a gift for the special man in someone's life. The guys simply love the chilli sauces and when gifted as three different varieties in GB's recyclable gift box they make a great present. I'm not saying the ladies don't like them too, it just seems, in my four year deli experience, that it's mainly 'a man thing'. From Sweet Chilli & Limoncello Sauce to Habanero Hot Sauce to Jalapeno Loco, it's your pick. And here's an extra bonus...there are more varieties, all with different heats and all with awards.
As well as the usual savoury accompaniments to meat and cheese there's a whole range of jams and marmalades. Hot toast slathered in local butter (also sold in the deli) and dolloped with any one of GB's jams or marmalades are a must. The taste of each and every one is amazing but so too are the colours. Harry has managed to capture each season in a jar and, if like me you're a baker, you cannot go wrong with filling a Victoria sponge with one of his jams or indulging in a cream tea with freshly baked scones and Cornish clotted cream. My all time favourite is the Raspberry Jam, made with British berries, it's taste and smell is evocative of summertime and brings back memories of my home county, Cornwall.
I am not a whisky lover but the Seville Orange and Whisky Marmalade has me hooked as my Sunday morning breakfast treat spread thickly on hot muffins dripping with butter. I have made a marmalade cake with it and it's perfect for glazing ham. If the whisky doesn't appeal to you then how about one of it's brothers in the form of Seville Orange Marmalade and Seville Orange and Ginger Marmalade? Again another perfect gift for anyone. Choose all three marmalades boxed, or a mix of jams and marmalades or any three of the many varieties of jams.
Products I haven't mentioned are the rubs which come in three flavours and screw top tins (perfect for re-purposing), mustards, pickles, pickled eggs, bar-be-que sauces plus one off collaborations during the year. There's a whole range of taste just waiting for you to experience so pop in to the shop or have a look on our website and we will be more than willing to give you a hand in choosing.
As an added bonus GB has put lots of information including heat ranking and what goes with what plus all the obligatory allergy info on the label for you. Oh and by the way the labels are printed on 100% biodegradable paper and all empty containers used from the making of the preserves are donated to the Children's Scrapstore in St Werburgh's, Bristol, to be up-cycled into artwork and children's playgrounds.
This is why I support local producers, everything is fabulous, and when you buy, you buy into their passion, care and consideration.