Cumbria’s Country Puddings, the business behind handmade puddings and creamy custard, has been shortlisted for Best Food Producer in the BBC Radio 4 Food & Farming Awards. The shortlist for this particular award was whittled down to three businesses, from an incredible 800!
Farmers wife Lynne Mallinson began Country Puddings in 2000 with a single iconic product – Sticky Toffee Pudding, made in her farmhouse kitchen for the local farm shop. Today, the business has expanded, now producing 18 award winning puddings and sauces from a purpose built industrial kitchen just a mile from the farm.
Lynne’s passion for family life and enjoying mealtimes around the table, triggered the birth of Country Puddings – with a little help from husband David who declared Lynne’s Sticky Toffee Pudding the best in the world.
Sharing her appetite for family life and traditional puddings ‘like Grandma made’, Lynne grew the business alongside raising her family – enabling her growing team to do so too.
The Country Puddings business began in a farmhouse kitchen, then a converted barn on the family farm, but the operation outgrew this so Lynne and her team moved to a purpose built industrial kitchen in 2007. Lynne is supported by husband David and a small but dedicated team which includes Cumbrian mums and seasonal staff.
Commenting on the shortlisting nomination Lynne said “I was surprised when I got a call from Sheila Dillon the BBC Food Programme presenter. She said we were shortlisted from 800 into the final three. It’s exciting to think our family run Cumbrian food business caught the judge’s eyes. There are so many fantastic food producers in the UK, so we’re honoured to fly the flag for Cumbria and the Lake District, and our newly acquired World Heritage Site. Sheila explained that she will visit the kitchen and farm with another judge soon. We’re excited about that because there’s only so much they can find out on a piece of paper.”
Going back into milk production and being able to produce more of their own ingredients may have hit the mark with the judges. David and Lynne’s son Rory has returned home to farm, reversing dairying decline and producing milk which goes into their puddings and custard. The judges will have chance to visit the farm too.
“We’ve always focused on quality puddings – because our family wouldn’t eat anything else and we know the judges have already tried the puds. When they visit, they’re welcome to sample more – so that should count in our favour!”
Lynne has also been speculating that her shortlisting could be because of the feedback from their strong social media relationships. “We’re told that we’re helping time poor consumers enjoy family time and hearty puds at the dinner table. And the more people who know how widely available our products are – all the better.”
Over the years, the essence of the business hasn’t changed, quality and consistency remain at the heart of their great tasting puds. Country Puddings has won Great Taste Awards every year since first entering in 2009 – amassing 16 awards. From one small farm shop, Country Puddings now sells their traditional favourite British puddings and custard sauces to independent retailers, catering wholesalers and grocery multiples in the UK and overseas.
You can find out more about Country Puddings on their website www.countrypuddings.co.uk or visit the Country Puddings Face Book page.