Miss Scarlett’s guide to life in Suffolk
Miss Scarlett (aka Sandy Ruddock) is a mother, step-mother, godmother, aunt, daughter, sibling, daughter-in-law, friend, boss and entrepreneur
Having just spent a few very hot days in France, oohing and aahing over the huge bunches of ripe purple grapes hanging heavily from rows of neat vines, waiting to be harvested, I am reminded that, here in Suffolk, we are in danger of rather quietly and gently beating others at their own game – the French at wine and cheese, the Germans at salami, the Italians at oil (rapeseed oil sales are up, olive oil going down – who’d have thought?) and the Spanish at Iberico style ham.
With some truly passionate local wine producers, such as Shawsgate Vineyard, Flint Vineyard, Giffords Hall and Wyken Hall, we can be very proud of our terroir, knowledge and innovation, particularly when it comes to the fizzy stuff. The Americans are, apparently, calling it British Fizz, which is a lot better than other suggestions, such as Cork Blimey, and Brubbles and ShamPain (yes really). Our local Framlingham vineyard has a fantastically named sparkler, Frampaign, a winner in this year’s East Anglian wine awards. Other Anglo Saxon suggestions have included Spearclen (Middle English for sparkling), Saxone and LizFizz, none of which have taken off. I rather liked Britagne, but perhaps it sounds too French. It’s time we settled on a name, once and for all. Perhaps Suffolk should have its own Appellation Controlée, non? Suggestions please!
When it came to wine, Mrs Beeton had some very strange ideas. One was a recipe for egg wine, made with an egg, water, sherry, sugar and nutmeg, which sounds perfectly disgusting. But perhaps the idea will catch on and the happy hens at Havensfield Eggs can start a new trend. It could appeal to faddish food bloggers. Mrs B’s recipes also included Cowslip Wine, Lemon Wine and Malt Wine, which have huge amounts of brandy and sugar in them and probably tasted more like medicine.
Out in the field on an autumnal day I recommend a cup of warm pumpkin soup followed by a crusty sausage roll (surely one of the world’s best comfort foods), washed down with a slug of one of DJ Wines delicious fruit liqueurs – made with fruit picked from the local hedgerows.