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Company News

Showtime!

 

Following our successful entries at Great Taste 2014, we are launching these award winning recipes in beautiful new bottles.

All our British fruit vinegars are set to become even fruitier this year, following extensive research and customer feedback. Our recipes are still true to our long heritage, but reflect a keenness to reduce sugar intake, resulting in even more vibrant and intense fruit and herb tastes. No wonder they won the Nigel Barden Heritage Award at Great Taste 2014 (Golden Raspberry & Apache Chilli Vinegar).

The 100ml bottles make ideal impulse and gift purchases as well as being an excellent introduction to the joys of our intensely fruity vinegars. An essential for hampers.

We also produce all our range in handy plastic, kitchen-safe bottles for catering, ideal for fine food outlets whom serve food to eat on their premises as well as for chefs.

And we will have all of these for you to try for the first time on 6-8th September at Olympia, London. Please check the Speciality website for more news on this year's premium TRADE ONLY show.

Then it is off to the beautiful town of Abergavenny for what is definitely one of the highlights of the food calendar. Once again, I will be in the Market Hall, armed and ready for you to try and buy our whole new range. Please chack the organisers' website for festival news and tickets.

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And then the month is rounded off with a return to the delightful market place in Thame for the year's annual foodie get together in this pretty corner of my home county. This year, we will be on Cornmarket, at the Eastern end of the town centre. For further information on the festival, please visit the Thame Festival website.

 

See you there!

 

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50 Food Stars to celebrate the future of UK food and drink

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We are very excited to report that the Government, and specifically DEFRA, have launched a new initiative in which we are included.

Fifty of the country’s most promising food and drink entrepreneurs have been recognised as Food Stars for their contribution to the UK’s growing economy. These 50 are proud entrepreneurs and innovators who showcase the best of British foods. You can read more about the initiative and see a list of all the others involved on the DEFRA website.

The official launch is on Thursday 26th February 2015 and we will be there to see the start of this exciting new idea. Do follow developments on social media using #50FoodStars.

This comes at an exciting time for us, as we are just about to launch our new (significantly improved) website and online shop, followed by our whole new range of "fruitier" recipes in Spring. More on this soon, but here is a teaser of our beautiful new bottles. We think all this news is worth celebrating, so here is some Raspberry Vinegar in a glass or two of Prosecco: "honky tonks!"

Womersley's new bottles available from Spring 2015

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We are on a much needed holiday until 24th August but there are lots of exciting things happening soon: keep a look out for the results of this year's Great Taste Awards on 11th August...

Please send any orders to sales@womersleyfoods.co.uk and they will be fulfilled in the last week of August.


Finally, we will be launching our online shop in September: AT LAST!


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We are delighted to report that our Raspberry Vinegar has just been awarded Highly Commended at the prestigious 2013 FreeFrom Food Awards in the Grocery Ambient category. Our Raspberry vinegar was one of over 340 products that were entered for the FreeFrom Food Awards, a record 37% increase on last year!

 

A team of 50 expert judges tested freefrom products across 15 categories including Plant ‘Milk’, Spread, Cheese & Desserts; FreeFrom Breakfast Cereals; Grocery; Ready Meals; and Savoury Biscuits and Snacks. In order to be eligible to enter the awards the products must be free from one or more of the ingredients (including wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, yeast, nuts and soya) that trouble so many people. It is estimated that globally between 220 and 250 million people suffer from food allergies (World Allergy Organisation) and this figure is continuing to rise. 
 
Rupert Parsons from Womersley attended the Awards and commented that “for those with a restricted diet, it is a bonus to have a key ingredient to enhance your dishes so we are particularly pleased that the first vinegar my father made has proved so popular in the FreeFrom diet.” 




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Well, what a year it has been! Highlights this year include awards, Olympics, our best year of sales ever, lots of shows, appearances on Radio, a successful trip to Scandinavia to launch our vinegars there and lots of plans in the pipeline for 2013....

We entered our Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender Vinegar into the Taste Awards this year and the judges awarded it Gold**, describing it as "drop dead gorgeous!" Also, we decided to enter our Raspberry Vinegar since this was the first one my father, Martin, ever made and a good Yorkshire tradition with your roast beef and Yorkshire puddings.

Much of the year was taken up for us with providing LOCOG with our vinegars. We feel that we did our small part for providing a lasting legacy, showcasing some of the best of what food this country has to offer and we are proud to have been invited to supply our vinegars.

It is always fun to contribute to radio food programmes and so I was delighted to be invited to appear on Vanessa Kimbell's show on BBC Radio Northampton as well as Bill Buckley's Radio Oxford slot. Both are delightful and entertaining hosts and we were also joined by "Great British Bake Off's" Urvashi Roe and food journalist Hazel Paterson. You can listen again to these on the radio widget on the right, numbers 4 and 5.

Our Wendy went to Copenhagen recently and we have already received our first order to supply to Denmark. This is particularly exciting for us, since our brand designs are deliciously Scandinavian and they sure know their fruit vinegars in that part of Europe. More news on this soon....

And the year has been rounded off very nicely by Theo Paphitis awarding us an SBS award on 23rd December: the day which would have been Martin's 74th Birthday.

Thank you to all of you who have kept up the fruity enthusiasm this year, we hope you will find plenty more to keep your imagination flowing next year.

We wish you a very happy and peaceful New Year.

 

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At the start of May, we spent a warm sunny day at the Kingham Plough Market fair and I was delighted to see, for the first time, an intriguing new business called The Chipping Norton Tea Set. I was even happier when I saw that this is the idea of a friend, Victoria Wills, who I'd not seen for ages but who has a clear idea of what she would like to achieve.
Vicky had the idea of bringing back the vintage tea party, but using her artistic flair and feminine touches, she applies this to making every party from a children's noisy, sticky tea party injected with fun to a corporate affair being much more relaxed and enjoyable.
We got chatting, and it immediately became clear that we have the opportunity to come up with some "fruity" ways of making Vicky's tea parties stand out from the crowd. Already, she has managed to find some beautiful china and great recipe ideas; with the occasional inclusion of some of our fruity Womersley vinegars and chutneys, Vicky has cleverly found a way of raising her tea party idea to a new level, even using our Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender as a mystery cupcake ingredient to win this prize of a box of twelve Lemon and Chocolate cakes:

 
Vicky has written a few words for us here:


"The idea for The Chipping Norton Tea-Set came from my daughter, she wanted a tea party for her 18th birthday, so I organised the whole event and thoroughly enjoyed it. Many friends and family suggested that I should do it as a business so I took the bull by the horns.... 
We have gone from strength to strength with both social and corporate tea parties under our belts, as well as children's cake decorating parties, providing cupcakes and cakepops for birthdays, weddings, hen do's etc. We use only the best, freshest ingredients in our menus and we have a firm favourite in the chutneys from Womersley Foods. We like to experiment with our cupcake flavours and are currently trying out Lavender cupcakes with a drizzle topping made with Womersley Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender dressing.  We were asked to provide cupcakes for The Chipping Norton Literary Festival and are mid-organisation of The Diamond Jubilee Tea Dance Party. And I am really excited to have been included in the BBC3 "Be Your Own Boss" programme!"
 

It looks like Vicky has well and truly grabbed the horns of that bull... 

We look forward to coming up with more recipes with Vicky so do look out for some particularly fruity cupcakes, all you Chipping Norton tea set. For now, these are some of Vicky's beautifully presented scones and cakes:


 
 
 
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It was such an amazingly warm day yesterday, that we decided to go for a leisurely walk in the Cotswolds. It had been a few years since we last visited Batsford Arboretum near Moreton in Marsh, so this was the ideal opportunity to make a return trip...

 

Lichen on the trees in front of Batsford House
 


The majority of the layout of Batsford Arboretum was little more than a dream when its creator inherited the Batsford Estates from John Freeman-Mitford in 1886.During the 1860s Algernon Bertram (Bertie) Freeman-Mitford (later 1st Lord Redesdale) travelled widely in oriental Asia and was deeply influenced by the landscapes in China and Japan. He became fascinated by many of the plants he found there, especially the bamboos. However, it was not until 1890 that Bertie was able to turn his attention to the gardens.

One of the many Maple trees in Batsford  


He adopted a radical approach, almost erasing all traces of the original layout. He created a 'wild' garden of near natural plantings inspired by his observations of plant groupings in the Japanese landscape. He was able to create a garden which combined conventional parkland with a garden landscape. Most of the major trees, many of which are most unusual, were his original plantings.



The Late afternoon sun shines on the Bamboos

He also created one of the foremost bamboo collections of the time and some of these still live on today. As well as introducing a multitude of unusual plants, Bertie Mitford created an artificial watercourse some 600 metres long down the west side of the gardens. He enlisted the help of the well known landscapers, the Pulham Brothers, to build other major features which can still be seen today including the rockeries, streams and waterfalls, lake and the hermits cave.

Liquidambar Styraciflua, "Sweetgum"  


In 1916 Bertie, now the 1st Lord Redesdale, died and was succeeded by his second son David who was father of the famous Mitford girls. The five older girls and their brother Tom all lived at Batsford during the first world war. The oldest, Nancy, based the early part of her novel 'Love in a Cold Climate' on their time at Batsford. 

The estate was sold to cover death duties in 1919 to Gilbert Hamilton Wills, later the 1st Lord Dulverton. His wife, Victoria took a great interest in the gardens making many additions. During the war years and for some time after 1945, the wild gardens were neglected and became somewhat overgrown. Frederick Hamilton Wills succeeded his father as the 2nd Lord Dulverton in 1956. Fortunately he had a great passion for trees and together with Mr. Ken Hope, his head forester, he proceeded throughout the 1960s to halt the decline. With great vigour and enthusiasm he consolidated the existing collections as well as adding a multitude of other trees to Batsford. He was single-handedly responsible for raising the status of Batsford to an arboretum of international standing.



The Autumn colours in front of the house

In 1984 Batsford Park was donated to a charitable trust founded by the 2nd Lord Dulverton to ensure the future of the arboretum. The 2nd Lord Dulverton died in 1992 and the Batsford Arboretum continues to be administered by the Batsford Foundation who proceed to develop the arboretum as a place of great beauty to enjoy as an educational resource.

The last two years have seen a major rebuilding plan in the garden centre and cafe/restaurant area. There is now plenty on offer for a family visit, with excellent food and drinks. Plenty of visitors were tucking into their Sunday roast when we visited: Roast Beef and Yorkshire puddings. Fortunately, the arboretum is large enough to walk off even the heartiest lunch!

The new build and border


If you would like to visit, please check the Batsford website for opening times and charges as well as details on the important Conservation work carried out there. We will certainly not be leaving it so long before returning again...
More pictures on my Flickr page

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LOOK!! We're not the only ones to be Botanically Enthused: Fiona Sciolti has developed a great reputation as an inventive Artisan chocolatier who uses herbs in her garden and many other local flavours including teas and honey.
Fiona is half Italian and she certainly combines that famous Italian passion with a good palate to produce beautiful and delicious chocolates, many of them seasonal.
Fiona Sciolti

The last time I saw the beautiful Sciolti chocolates was at Bath Love Food Fest, where Giles Sciolti was joined by their daughter to show off the chocolates Fiona had stayed up till 4am making!

The Sciolti Display  
 

Earlier this year, Fiona approached us with the idea of using our flavours for her chocolates and we are delighted that she has now made three different varieties which Fiona describes:

 

 

 
 

Rosemary & Blackcurrant

Womersley are to vinegars and jellies, what I am to chocolates.  They grow and use natural English flavours to infuse into their amazing range.  This is the second of three chocolates that I have created especially for Womersley, combining their Apple & Rosemary Jelly and enhanced with their Blackcurrant & Rosemary Vinegar to create a chocolate cleverly matched and packed full of surprising flavour.


Dandelion & Apache Chilli Vinegar

A chocolate with humour! Never mind all these lovely herbs and blossoms and fruits found in the garden; I figured we had way too many dandelions. Dandelions have been used for cooking for thousands of years and in Italy the new leaves are harvested for salads. However, in my chocolate, I've incorporated the beautiful yellow petals, and you'll see them running through the ganache, like strands of saffron. Team this with Womersley's stunning Golden Raspberry & Apache Chilli Vinegar Dressing, to sharpen it up a little, and suddenly you have honey from a weed.

 
 

Geranium

The third in the trilogy of Womersley/ Sciolti Botanical Chocolates. Actually I have been hunting pelagoniums all Summer long... they're surprisingly difficult to find.  Anyway Womersley conveniently helped me out with their stunning Geranium Jelly, with it's sensual and fragrant Turkish Delight tones. I love this one, and as a thank you, have decored the chocolate with a lustred Womersley W.


You can see all these and more on the Sciolti Chocolate website, where you can buy your own. Just type in "Womersley" in the search box. Also, do have a read of Andy Hunting's blog piece on Fiona's use of our vinegars in her chocolates.
Like us, Fiona does Food shows (we will both be at The Festival of Pride this weekend, near Newark, Notts.)

Go on, give yourself a double dose of Botanical Enthusiasm... 

Note: Many thanks to Fiona and Giles Sciolti for their help in providing photos and words for this post.

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Amidst lots of publicity around Raspberry Vinegar, I was looking forward to a weekend at our old family home in Sussex and witnessing our visitors getting the "wow factor" when they tasted ours. A good variety of exhibitors at the Nymans annual Green Gardening Festival enjoyed a warm sunny weekend and my neighbours, Yummy Lollies sold out of their delicious fruit ice lollies on both days.
 
 
The Summer Borders in October!            
Strangely, it always seemed to rain when I visited my grandparents at Nymans and this persisted into my visit to the Green Garden Fair last year. So I was really delighted to feel the warmth of the sun in October this time and to have the opportunity to get a few photos of Nymans looking its best.
 
Fuschia Detail
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In the late 19th century, the Messel family bought the Nymans estate, in the picturesque High Weald landscape of Sussex, to make a home in the country. It became a happy family home and refuge from their town house at 18 Stafford Terrace in Kensington. Inspired by the setting and the soil, the Messels created one of the great gardens, with experimental designs and new plants from around the world. Here they entertained family and friends, enjoying relaxing times, strolling in the garden, playing, picnicking and walking in the woods. 
 
The Entrance Wild Flowers
My father, Martin Parsons, was the only member of the family to be born at Nymans and it was this start in his life which made him the "Botanically Enthused" person he became. As a child, he suffered terribly from croup and it was inhaling the fragrance of the hyssop grown under his bedroom window which gave him some relief from the incessant coughing. Years later, having moved to Womersley, my father used the kitchen garden to grow the masses of fruit and herbs which were eventually used in his concoctions which we make to this day.
 
The Summer Borders
Nymans is now a very popular National Trust property and rejoices in being an excellent location for family visits. The team has done a superb job over the past few years of maintaining the colourful and abundant gardens whilst making the whole property feel like it is still a family home. I believe it is precisely this connection with the family which persists in ensuring that Nymans attracts many new AND repeat visitors. 
 
The Ruins of the House

I was delighted to greet Urvashi Roe and her family on our stand. Urvashi was fresh from her appearance on the popular BBC programme "The Great British Bake Off" and we both enjoyed sharing our views on being "Botanically Enthused."

Urvashi Roe getting all Botanical
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And now, as they say, for something completely different....

My wife, Jani, and I have taken the young 'un to Kephalonia in the past two years, so we fancied a slight change this year- the Peloponnese!

View from Ilyria  

The Greek economy is highly reliant on tourism these days and we find the mixture of Summer heat, welcoming people and good Mediterranean food is a winning combination. 

Know your onions in Petalidi  


Through our local Travel Agent in Chipping Norton, we were introduced to a lovely family-run place in the village of Chranoi, in the famous olive-growing region of Kalamata. We have two weeks to forget about everything which ususally crowds in and just relax as much as posible: this was the perfect place for that.
Jani and I could enjoy the relative peace and health of the sea a few metres away whilst young 'un enjoyed the company of others of his age in and around the pool. Bliss!

We decided to visit the local market one Friday morning, but after waiting for "Greek time" for the bus to arrive, it was the afternnon when we arrived at the harbour town of Petalidi. We stocked up on the juiciest, ripest peaches, massive tomatoes and dark plums. A good Greek salad lunch preceded another long wait for the bus back....


Watching the dragonflies


Following this experience, we sought a charming local who hired us a tiny car (the best sort when driving in this part of the world, some of the streets are VERY tight) so we could explore the area for a couple of days.

Once we had the car, we were able to travel to the lush forest surroundings of Polilimnio which has the most stunning setting of lakes and waterfalls, resplendent with wildlife. We enjoyed a long, cool walk with irridescent dragonflies fluttering around us as we made our way through the rustic path.

The waters are invitingly crystal clear, but beware of the freshwater crabs. There are some delightful myths surrounding the pools and falls which are told in an interesting translation on a few boards along the way. This walk would certainly not pass UK health and safety guidelines, being very treachorous in plases- all part of the fun!


There are a lot of Australian plants in Greece, including several varieties of Eucalyptus and bottle brush, but I was particularly taken with this fabulously colourful bush which we found in the mountain village of Kallithea. Can you identify this:

 
 
Fredo Cappuccino  





Made a discovery whilst on holiday, as well. I do love my coffee, but it is just too hot for a mid-morning cappuccino, so we were both delighted to discover the refreshing delights of a Fredo Cappuccino...







Sadly, even the best holidays have to come to an end, and it was on a glorious morning that we had to say goodbye to this delightful little corner of Greece. Full of pounds of feta, olives, tomatoes, Total Greek yoghurt and baclava, we made our way back to our green and pleasant land...

Sunrise in Chranoi on our last day

 

 
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Lots of families and foodies turned up, did some shooting, shopping and munching and were spoilt for choice with hundreds of stands ranging from ethnic clothing and tax planning to gunshops and fine foods.
Some of the stands at the CLA Game Fair 2011
Chef Rachel Green
Chef Ralph Skripek loving our Fruity vinegars
The cookery theatre was fortunate enough to have the very entertaining chef, Rachel Green doing a couple of demonstrations on the Friday. Rachel was her usual flamboyant self as she used our Lemon, Basil, Bay and Juniper Dressing to add succulence and flavour to salmon fillets wrapped in foil and baked in the oven.
And, to show how versatile it is, Rachel also used the Lemon dressing to tenderise and enhance the flavours of the mixed vegetables she prepared to go with her main Duck dish; though this was nearly ruined as Rachel went to entertain the audience, leaving a worried Alex Albone (Piper's Crisps) to tend the pan! Also doing demonstrations was chef Ralph Skripek who specialises in doing Game recipes at food and county shows. We were delighted to welcome him to our stand afterwards, not least because we were at opposite ends of the show ground (about 20 minutes walk through the crowds)!


 
The stand we shared with Cotswold Gold
 

We had three long and very busy days on the stand, too. We decided to share with our friends at Cotswold Gold, to show how the mix of a good quality extra virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil and our fruit vinegars makes an excellent dressing. We used our Taste Award winner, Blackberry Vinegar for the first day, then had to switch to the equally intensely fruit flavoured Raspberry for the other two days after we sold out of Blackberry!

Next year's CLA Game Fair will be held at Belvoir Castle in Lincolnshire.

 
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We are delighted to report that we have won 3 awards today at the Guild of Fine Foods' annual 
Two Gold** 
 
One Gold* 
Blackberry Vinegar

 

 

And all this on the night when our friends at
The Secret Supper Society served our Geranium Jelly
looking wonderful:

My father, Martin Parsons, was particularly pleased with his "sweet and heat" blend of Golden Raspberry and Apache Chilli so, on this one year anniversary since he died, he would have been particularly pleased to see his recipe honoured in this way.

The Geranium we use was a gift from a friend many years ago and my father tended it for the rest of his life, taking cuttings every yea. So this is another lovely story rounded off in his memory.

Our Blackberry Vinegar was used by Stephanie Moon for her pigeon Breast starter on BBC2's Great British Menu this year. She has already written to us to say:

"Brilliant news Rupert,but I'm not suprised Blackberry won Gold it is Fab! Stuff."
We increased the amount of blackberries we use for this recipe this year and we now use the fruit grown on the farm where we have our office, so less than one food mile!




  

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Calling all Yorkshire Chefs
Your County needs You!


To celebrate this Yorkshire Day on Sunday 1st August
we want all Yorkshire Chefs to serve Yorkshire Pudding the traditional way…
as a Starter with a zingy drizzle of Womersley Raspberry Vinegar.

For far too long – under the influence of ‘southerners’ –
the noble Yorkshire Pudding has been consigned to the main course,
jostling for space amongst the meat and veg.
Now it’s time to return it to its rightful place at the head of Sunday Lunch.

Yorkshire Chefs – be proud of your Heritage!
Make the ultimate Sunday Starter your
Blackboard ‘Special’ this Yorkshire Day

Join our Facebook page for recipe info and to spread the word!


Womersley Fruit & Herb Vinegars
www.womersleyfoods.co.uk

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Womersley Packaging Designs by Mayday and Petra Borner
The Penta Award Winning Designs

"The Womersley brand was launched by Martin and Aline Parsons from their home, Womersley Hall, in 1979 and has become one of Yorkshire and England’s leading Gourmet Brands. When refreshing the Womersley brand this year, Petra Börner was commissioned by Mayday Living Brands to develop their logo and illustrate 24 packaging designs for their jellies and vinegar ranges. Each design is individually inspired by each flavour. To find out more about Womersley and to see the whole, beautiful product range, please visit the product pages.

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