There’s never been a better time to support independent businesses. The artisan product market is becoming more and more sophisticated and ever more high-quality. Over the last decade, demand for artisan produce has skyrocketed. Even Londoners have witnessed the exponential growth of artisan bakeries “Under Hackney railway arches, Rastafarian beekeepers in Wanstead and soya producers trading just off Brick Lane”. Today, people are crying out for artisan gins, honey, jams and chutneys. They fill hampers and gift boxes for birthdays, anniversary and special occasions across the country, so what should you look out for on your next weekend in the Forest of Dean? Here are our highlights of the Forest of Dean’s artisan produce.
All hail honey
One of the things that the Forest of Dean is most famous for is local honey. The area is known for being populated by beekeepers who record prolific levels of honey. That’s because the honey that bees in the Forest of Dean produce is flavoured by the wildflower meadows and lime trees that dominate the area. The unique flavour of the honey is due to the mixture of wildflower and rape seed pollen that the bees get to enjoy. Forest of Dean beeswax is also excellent for the same reasons as honey. It’s the perfect all-natural product for polishing your woodwork or for gorgeous handmade artisan candles.
Cotswold Gold is known for creating delicious oils, chutneys and sauces. Their Cotswold Gold rapeseed oil is their star product and can be found anywhere in Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and the surrounding counties.
The Forest of Dean is home to many incredible artisan breweries, vineyards, distilleries and cider makers. Gin has been the spirit of choice for a long time, but it’s renaissance began a few years ago and it doesn’t seem to have peaked just yet. Gin is a botanical, so you can imagine that producers of gin in the Forest of Dean, an area famed for its wildlife and glorious countryside, would be able to create incomparable distillations. Forest Distillery, a family-run business in the heart of the Forest of Dean, creates exemplary gin. You can even go for a tour of their distillery. We heartily recommend a trip.
Taste a tipple
In terms of beers and ciders, The Forest of Dean is a parallel-less producer of beers and ciders of the highest quality. Severn Cider produces real cider and perry using high quality artisan products. Fresh fruit is pressed and fermented with indigenous wild yeasts to create award-winning ciders and perries.
Born to be wild
Wild Boar were once common in the Forest of Dean. In fact, they are one of the reasons that the woodland has survived today and is one of Britain’s few surviving ancient areas of woodland. As far back as the Ancient Romans, respect was granted to the Forest of Dean as an area to be protected in order to preserve the wild animals hunted there. However, during the medieval era, boar were over hunted leading to their extinction. Since the 1970s efforts to revive indigenous breeds of wild boar have increased and now boar are feral throughout the Forest of Dean.
As with cider production, the West Country is famous for producing cheese and other dairy goods. Smarts Traditional Cheesemaking create traditional, artisan single and double Gloucester cheeses that are worth stocking up on for your own personal supply as well as making perfect gifts.
All this shows how right @VisitDeanWye are in saying that the Forest of Dean has “A rich heritage we’re very proud of and love celebrating”.
Speak to us now by calling on 01594 833666 to book your en-suite bedroom.