Monday, January 23, 2012
Eat. . . Cream tea
Many of you will know that I was born in Somerset, and some of you might even know that I absolutely LOVE clotted cream, which is a traditional ingredient of my beloved West Country "cream teas". But clotted cream is something I have never seen on sale in New Zealand, and I have been looking for almost 10 years now! Imagine my delight when I discovered that local dairying business Wangapeka Downs Ltd sells clotted cream, and this culinary delight has been on sale for the last two months just 20 mins drive from home, without me even knowing about it!
The reason I came by this knowledge is because one of my "New Year's plans" for this year is to learn to make at least one kind of cheese reasonably consistently well (not counting paneer which I have been making for years). In order to develop my fledgling cheese-making skills I need a source of raw cow's milk, and those in the know directed me to Wangapeka Downs. This dairy really ticks all the boxes - it has nothing to do with New Zealand's "dairy giant" Fonterra, their goal is to produce "quality products that are completely as nature intended them to be", they have a holistic approach to animal health and welfare, and they are very definitely local. For more details, try reading this article: "A life beyond dairying", from the Nelson Mail newspaper, July 2011.
I arranged to buy an initial 5 litres of Wangapeka raw milk for cheese-making purposes (more on that another time!) and to pick it up from the shop in Appleby, at "The Abbey" on the Appleby Highway. What an array of dairy goodness greeted us when we went to the little shop! Not only the creamiest milk I have ever seen (these cows are Jersey x Shorthorn) but a selection of cheeses, ghee, butter, kefir, quark, Greek yogurt, double cream, clotted cream, and ice-cream all made using their wonderful milk! Sonny Jim literally did a happy dance when he discovered that we could buy some clotted cream there, as he is as much a fan of it as I am! In the end, we bought clotted cream, natural Greek yogurt and a scoop of blueberry and plum ice cream to share, and all of them are of extraordinary quality! The clotted cream is just the same as the stuff which I have loved since childhood in Somerset. . . deliciously thick, laden with fat and with a wonderful thick crust formed on top (the best bit in my opinion!) Obviously not an "everyday food" as far as health maintenance goes, but a wonderful and decadent treat :)
When we got home with our clotted cream, there was nothing for it - I had to whip up a batch of scones! Luckily a few days earlier I had made some red plum jam, so we were able to have a traditional West Country cream tea in our own little corner of Aotearoa NZ -
homemade scones + homemade jam + best quality clotted cream = Heaven on a Plate!!