Mother’s Day is fast approaching, which means the usual dilemma of what to buy for your mum. It remains an important occasion in the UK calendar, with the Royal Mail reporting that the amount of mail sent for Mother’s Day in 2012 topped 12 million – an increase on the previous year.
This year, instead of flowers or chocolates, how about giving your mum a hamper full of sweet treats which have one thing in common – they’re all handmade by Great North mams.
Five local producers, who are mums and members of Taste North East, the not-for-profit company that sells and promotes the region’s food and drink, have come together to produce a foodie gift for mums everywhere.
The hamper is available for £37.50 from the new Taste Club website, www.tasteclubhq.com, which is an online platform for Great North food and drink producers, retailers and restaurants. It will be delivered free of charge to your mum, anywhere in the UK, in time for Mother’s Day if you place your order by midnight on 28th February.
One of the products included is Ginger Pokey, which is cinder toffee made by ‘The Gingerbread Mam’, Liz Ramshaw.
Liz said: “I’ve always loved cooking, so three years ago my family and I came up with the idea of a farmers’ market stall selling unique ginger goodies, and chose the name as I’ve always been a ‘mam’ not a ‘mum’! The business grew from there, and it really is family-run from start to finish – we’re all passionate about food and drink. I make the products from our kitchen in Stockton-on-Tees, my husband Keith designs and produces all of our branding and packaging, and my three children – Lucy, Lewis and Ethan – all help out at the farmers’ markets and events we attend.
“Most of the products are made using recipes from my grandmothers, who were both fantastic cooks and an inspiration to me growing up.”
If you’re planning on treating your mum to breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day, then the handmade raspberry jam from Carlisle-based Carwinley Preserves will be perfect for spreading on toast. Owners Catherine and Chris Bomford make all of their jams and chutneys in their kitchen at Carwinley Cottage, using home-grown or locally-sourced fruit and vegetables and natural ingredients.
A chocolate pudding with cherries and Kirsch liqueur, made by Alnwick-based The Proof of the Pudding, makes a luxurious dessert. Susan Green owns the business with husband Richard, and is proud mam to Lance, Charles, Myles and Tristan.
Susan said: “The Proof of the Pudding was founded soon after the birth of our fourth son, Tristan, in 2000. We lived on a busy farm and I was keen to be at home with the baby, and also to be able to help out on the farm. As I had a lifelong love of baking, I started to make chocolate puddings from our kitchen in 2001. Tristan, who is now 12, is a big fan of the chocolate puds! The business has continued to grow since then and last year we even had a visit from Prince Charles, who helped to make our Alnwick Rum Christmas Pudding.”
For a sweet treat for your mum, the hamper includes a Sugar Crafted Cookie from Sugarbaby, which is run by Jacqueline Gascoigne from Birtley. She and her daughter, Rebecca, have always enjoyed cooking together, and when Rebecca left for university, Jacqueline decided to develop their passion for home baking into a small business.
Finally, it wouldn’t be Mother’s Day without a box of chocolates, and Kenspeckle Confectionery’s assorted handmade chocolates are hard to beat. Kenspeckle is an artisan chocolatier based in Lynemouth, and prides itself on making distinctive chocolate by bringing together the finest ingredients and the tastes and cultures of the North East – the word ‘Kenspeckle’ is a traditional Northumbrian word meaning ‘distinctive and easily recognised’.
All of the products come beautifully wrapped in a wooden heart-shaped box, which also includes a Geordie-themed Mother’s Day card from Geordie Mugs.
So spoil your mum this year with a hamper of local goodies ‘made by mams’ – with the added bonus that you will be helping to support both Great North independent businesses and also local charity, Hextol.
As well as purchasing the Mother’s Day hamper from www.tasteclubhq.com, fans of the region’s food and drink can also sign up free of charge to Taste Club. ‘Tasties’ – as we call signed up members of the club – will be able to access exclusive offers, events and competitions.