I run Northumbrian Pantry, with my husband David, from our family home in the small village of Simonburn. Surrounded by the North Tyne Valley, growing up on the Nunwick Estate, I gained a great passion for cooking as a youngster before attending Leith’s School of Food and Wine where my skills really flourished.
After working in the UK for several years, David and I moved to Botswana to manage a Relais and Chateaux Safari Camp in the Okavango Delta, returning to Northumberland in 2014. We both wanted to start our own local enterprise using our combined skills and so the vision for Northumbrian Pantry was born.
Our goal has always been a simple one, to create the highest quality of produce achievable, with robust flavours always at the foundation of that. In order to do this, we knew we needed to be precise in everything we do, from selecting the best ingredients through to being exact in our cooking using traditional methods throughout.
We learned early on that there is a true art in preserve making where a great deal of care and attention is needed, and tactile tasting to reach a perfect balance of flavours. We also found there is something magical in the huge diversity in peoples tastes. Some recipes are loved by some and less so than others who in turn love other creations more. It’s fascinating and set us out on a road of discovery to that perfect jam, jelly or chutney filled with passion and excitement as we expand on our range.
Having grown up in such a close-knit community I have always been very proud of and full of passion for the county. We have always looked to create something representative of the region and are committed, wherever possible, to supporting other local businesses in our supply chain. Our selection of designers, marketing, printers, jar manufacturing and ingredients suppliers have all been influenced with our policy of buy local. We are proud to be accredited members of Northumberland Country Council’s “Produced in Northumberland” scheme and look to fly the Northumberland flag everywhere that we might go.
We lived in Botswana for five years, where we worked in conservation tourism helping protect the wildlife of the Okavango Delta. We learned a huge amount about the world of conservation, so having this at the core of our philosophy is very important to us. We have an environmental policy and are committed to a positive environmental approach to all our business practises and reducing our carbon footprint. We have focussed on limiting the use of any plastics and use as many recyclable materials in our packaging as possible. All our glass jars are made from partially recycled glass and are of course fully recyclable themselves. We also look to limit our carbon footprint by sourcing our ingredients from local suppliers. We openly welcome any ideas and ways of how we might improve our practises for the betterment of the planet.
Our jam, jelly and chutney recipes all draw inspiration from Alice’s travels far and wide and her upbringing in the Northumberland countryside. Many of them are very traditional influenced as far back as the Victorian era whilst others are dreamt up in the Kitchen on the spot. What’s important is whether they taste really good and are full of flavour.