Christmas Hits Hard At The Yard

Christmas Hits Hard At The Yard

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

TALKING SHOP

Every now and then there is a person or a group of people that some how manage to start right in the middle of an over populated and saturated market and somehow manage to not only wade through it to the front, but charge forward and tear through the restraints of recent clichés and deliver something truly special. It has now been just over a year since Wayland’s Yard opened its doors on Foregate Street in Worcester and they have done exactly that. I couldn’t be more impressed by how it has gone for Sam and his team as they seemingly just gets stronger and stronger, punching above it’s weight class when situated 50 yards from a newly opened Seattle based sugared bathwater shop it is a truly impressive feat that quality and care are maintaining peoples interest better than big brand corporate coffee. This is an exciting prospect as it means people are willing to stick with real produce and have an honest, genuine experience rather than just wanting to Instagram a take away coffee cup with your name written on the side in sharpie pen.

Wayland’s Yard represents something. 12 months ago it represented Sam’s own life after rugby and his own passion, now it stands for his whole team. You get a feeling it is all about the collective now (It always was in essence but you can feel how established it really is today) the controlled chaos of a busy moment where you have sporadic blasts of food walked past you from their impressive menu, silky hand shaped latte art, smiles on the faces of all the staff and the excitement and instant fuss and joy a new dog gets when walked in through the front door. It’s a spot where you can truly be safe, comfortable and happy in an environment that sets you up to do exactly that. The best part about this is that not only is the environment that surrounds you but the stuff that is getting dropped off before you. The food is to such a high quality I honestly don’t think I am capable of eating anywhere else in Worcester anymore. Seriously man this place just ticks all of my boxes and they look after everybody so well why would you want to go anywhere else?

FESTIVITIES

This visit was to have a look round their Christmas event which I believe was orchestrated by Polly, a friendly and attentive member of the team who looked after me while I was there. The festivities were marked by stalls from local hand made gift companies and crafters, which included things like hand made jewellery, Christmas cards and organic soaps. I managed to cop some soothing foot balm for my dog as he struggles with itchy paws so that was a life saver! There was some really interesting and talented people on show which really tapped into the philosophy of the whole business. Support the proper, honest and local people trying to make their way in the world against the constant incoming tide of mass produced mediocrity. I also got a few hand made Christmas cards for my family to add a bit of a unique twist to my gift giving this year, I can attest to this being a lovely little addition to Worcester in general not just to Wayland’s Yard. Almost the definition of ‘keeping it real’ without wanting to use too much a dead phrase from the early 90’s.

In the now fully developed Victorian high walled Yard mentioned in the name, was not only the mini festive market but also a showcase of local musical talent too. Throughout the weekend there was a variety of brilliant local solo artists and groups that added to the atmosphere and collective buzz of the event and it was a really nice touch. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the Saturday which Sam said was possibly the busiest day they have ever had, however, following on their Instagram story while I was helping to cater a family event allowed me to tap into the fun from afar. Again an element of the whole package that makes a difference to people. Even when I am not there I am still constantly connected to the comings and goings at the shop and it keeps people truly invested in the long term success of their favourite coffee shop.

FOOD

I might have to make a slight apology on this one actually. Upon finishing my meal Sam asked me how it was and I shook my head. I wasn’t shaking it in a negative way at all. It was just a little big ridiculous how good they managed to make 2 crumpets. Genuinely I am not just gushing for the sake of it here they were f***ing silly good. I don’t even usually like crumpets! so to start at the beginning, I was greeted by Polly and given a quick down-low of how the weekend was working and immediately directed towards the special board which had the words ‘eggy crumpets’ sitting on it. Not usually something that would bother me at all but upon really getting my eyes in a few keys words flew into my eye holes. Halloumi. Chorizo. Smoked Chilli Jam. ermmm… yes, yes and yes. I ordered this accompanied by my usual decaf white chocolate latte (Next level. regardless of its unleaded nature) and the Mrs had the ‘Fry up’ which I have touched on in a previous write up so I won’t review that again apart from saying its worth it for the sausages and the sweet potato hash alone.

The food came out really quickly and what I was presented was a vibrant looking dish that even made the humble crumpet look like a bit of a star. What graced my plate were two, soft and fluffy, eggy crumpets (think French toast with a crumpet) with 2 grilled pieces of halloumi, scattered with crunchy fried chorizo, finished with finely sliced red chili and lashings of rich smoked chilli jam. It was bloody ridiculous. Hence my initial head shake. The textures of the crumpet, cheese and chorizo just made it a constantly changing experience that you never really got settled in to, which is great as you don’t become complacent. You pay attention for the entire meal and then from the background the chilli jam gives you a sweet heat to melt away the saltiness from the cheese. Obviously this is followed by a size 8 fresh chili shaped foot up your arse but the best way to describe it is a comfortable heat that compliments the dish. Think of a size 8 jelly shoe rather than a size 8 steel toe cap. Subtle… Its certainly present but it could be a lot more aggressive! I like my heat anyway, so more of that please. Wicked good. Overall and as always, bang on. Only major draw back is that is currently a special and not on the main menu. Petition goes live Monday and the picket line outside the shop on Tuesday guys.

Finish

To end this visit to Wayland’s Yard I want to be open and say just how much they continue to impress me. As a business, as a team and as a coffee shop, it feels like so much more now. I address this to everybody there now when I say: You all clearly live and breathe the ethos Sam wanted to create when opening the shop and made what started as his personal next step into a real landmark on Worcester’s high street. The atmosphere and quality is down to all of your hard work and I hope that you continue to do what your doing as you all contribute to the heart and soul, which lots of your competitors lack. The soul of WY is what keeps people coming back for more and I am proud to say I contributed at the very beginning however little, in the crowd funding campaign. Sam, If you and the team keep doing what your doing, whatever comes next for Wayland’s Yard is going to be a big success. Keep it up and I and many others will keep coming back.

Overall a great morning was spent enjoying proper food and proper coffee… provided by proper people. Thank you Wayland’s Yard and Merry Christmas to all of my readers!

 

 

Advertisements
Wayland’s Yard Christmas Festival

Wayland’s Yard Christmas Festival

It turns out it has been so long since I last wrote anything on here that I had totally forgot my password. The last 6 months have been borderline ridiculous and I have had so much on that the blog has had to take a back seat. To give you a brief idea of just how busy I have been… work has been all consuming, I have sold a house, moved out of said house, moved back in with my parents and subsequently bought and moved into a new house… which has left me precious little time to sit down and do anything, let alone pontificate about food and drink.

I am looking to right the wrongs of the recent past and get back on the proverbial horse with a hell of a lot in the pipeline to get things moving again, but first and foremost there is a looming yule like presence breaching the horizon. I can hear nothing but Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra in the shops which means one thing and one thing only… Christmas is here. Strangely though, the day that it really dawned on me just how close the big day is, I had an incredibly well timed email from literally my favourite spot in Worcester… Wayland’s Yard. If you don’t know who Wayland’s Yard are, I covered their launch heavily last year and was really impressed with their local attitude and concentration on building an amazing culture that equates to equally amazing food and wonderful coffee. Sam, the man behind the yard, has been kind enough to invite me to their Christmas Festival and Craft Market which promises to be a festive celebration with their beautifully presented coffee flowing throughout the weekend, complimented by mulled wine, mince pies, and again…their genuinely good food. If you are an existing subscriber of the blog you know how I feel about their food. so I can’t wait to get back there and get involved with the guys.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Polly from Wayland’s Yard got in touch and said:

After our first anniversary in October and some successful Yard Parties over the Summer, we thought it was time to celebrate Christmas the Wayland’s way. Everything we do is about championing local produce, business and people – that’s why our Christmas Festival is going to give over 40 local crafters/business people the platform to sell their gifts to people just in time for Christmas. Add to this local musicians, a choir, mince pies, mulled cider and our usual food offering and we think we’ve got a pretty decent recipe for a party!!

I think everybody who loves what this blog is about loves the idea of a successful local business supporting other local business to give people something unique for the festive season.  So lets get down there and support them and get festive in the Yard!

3ADE67CA-9F59-4DD9-8251-4C5886E01BF6.JPG

 

If you want to attend.. clear your calendars on the 16th/17th December, WY is located at number 6 Foregate street, near the train station and the party gets started from 11am to 6pm on Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sunday.

 

I can’t wait! See you there for some Proper coffee… and proper food.

Day Dreaming of Donuts in Birmingham

Day Dreaming of Donuts in Birmingham

donutslider2.jpgIf somebody was to ask me to think of the thing I was most passionate about the majority of people would be relatively safe in the assumption that I would say food without any hesitation. I think about it to the point where I have seen fit to write about it for over 3 years so far, so it goes without saying that I want to meet, talk to and ultimately learn from other like minded individuals that love it as much as I do.

I love talking to people who have a deep seeded, hard wired love for food and drink and I feel like that comes across fairly well when I have worked with now stalwart friends of the blog like Wayland’s Yard, Feast Foods and Rub in the past, so naturally finding more people and organisations like this gets me quite excited. So it is no surprise that I am so enthusiastic about unearthing a hidden gem in Birmingham that I think represents food in its purest form. A new labour of love that is being developed from the ground up, with honest, genuine food and a lot of hard work. That labour of love is Donut Day Dream, run by a certain Jonathan Barrow.

I discovered the delights of Donut Day Dream while on an all day eating and drinking session with my girlfriend in Birmingham. I had already visited Purity bar, The Alchemist, India Brewery in Snow Hill and Lost and Found so by now I severely needed something to soak up some of the alcohol slowly beginning to rush to my head! Upon wandering around the market as I quite like to do I stumbled upon a stand that was covered with an array of fresh, crisply presented, glistening donuts that made us both stop in our tracks. I had a quick chat with Jonathan and decided to go for one of each of his remaining stock, it was nearing the end of the day for him and they had clearly sold super well! I took an Apple fritter, Chocolate, Smarties and a dream Glaze.

We dragged our now quite wavy selves over to near the church and sat on the marble wall to take a look at what we had got our hands on and straight away the apple fritter seemed to jump right out of the bag and into my mouth. Guilty. What followed was a rush of rich, sweetness and a twinge of warm spice that complimented the apple perfectly. Would have been superb with a coffee or any hot drink frankly.

Next was the Chocolate and the Smarties, both very similar but I really like Smarties so sod it I got both. Again the rich buttery brioche dough really shone through and was complimented by the velvety chocolate that adorned its bronzed, crispy crown. It was banging to be fair!

Last but not least was the Dream Glaze… A very simple and incredibly well executed piece of confectionary that stands out for its pure, unadulterated self being bold enough to stand up against the other, more complex donuts in the range, very good indeed. All of them can put up a hell of a fight when put next to those other ‘Krispy’ varieties that are scattered throughout service stations and Tesco stores across the land… they are poor imitations of a truly well crafted product such as Jonathans. top marks.

donutslider1

I managed to catch up with him properly to see how things were going and what got him started on his journey…

 

Phil: First of all thanks for lending me some of your time to answer some questions for me, I found your stall a few weeks ago and really wanted to get in touch and get involved. I suppose the first question is how long have you been making these badboys?

Jonathan: It’s my pleasure to take some time out to answer some questions and give the reader a little more insight into me and my company, so thank you. So, my business has been open now for just over a month, and have been selling to the public in this time but it has taken me around 6 months to get the dough just right, adding and subtracting ingredients, getting the rise times and rise temperatures just right.

Phil: The quality is right there man. As I have touched on in the rest of the article I loved every minute of all them. Do you have a favourite?..

Jonathan: Well, of course as you can imagine I love all my creations, but out of the first 5 flavours I would have to say the apple fritter. The warm, soft, sweetness and spice of the apples as you bite into the donut is just another level of delicious.

Phil: Its a pretty ballsy move going into business in a competitive market, in the days of ‘big brand’ Donuts at service stations and Tesco, what inspired you to take the plunge?

Jonathan: Well I believe whole heartedly in my product and after being in business for the last month or so, I have realised I have come up with a product that people love and are willing to make the trip back to my stall to get their donut fix. What inspired me in the beginning was the fact you have very little choice for this snack choice in Birmingham and I believed that I could come up with great creations that the general public would fall in love with.

Phil: What sets you apart from those ‘big brand’ donuts? I wont mention the name they don’t need the PR…!

Jonathan: What sets me apart from the big brands is the love, care and time I have put into my product and branding. From my dough, to fillings, to toppings many are made from scratch. We don’t use any fillers, preservatives or colourings in our donuts which I believe makes a huge difference to taste and texture.

Phil: So what’s the long term goal for you? Where would you like to be with DDD in 5 years time?

Jonathan: The long term goal for Donut Day Dream is to be, the go to place within the Birmingham and surrounding areas for good quality donuts. The aim is to have multiple outlets, at the same time cater for other businesses and events, including coffee shops, food festivals, weddings, parties etc.

Phil: If you could pitch your donuts or even your business as a whole to my readers, how would you do it?

Jonathan: Well, first of all, my name is Jonathan, I’m 30 years old and my main passions in life are family, food and fitness. I have always wanted to run my own business, and from a young age have had a passion for cooking and baking. Once I decided that donuts were the way to go, I started experimenting with different recipes and flavours, and understanding the science behind making donut dough. From the beginning I knew that quality ingredients and taste had to be top priority. I respect honest food, and believe the consumer would value that my dough consists of 100% natural ingredients. I love what I do and my heart and soul goes into each and every single donut, so when a customer tastes my product and I hear that ‘ummm’ it makes it all worth while. In the 6months leading up to opening I literally sat and dreamt about most aspects of the business, including branding, flavours and the overall vibe I wanted customers to feel. So this is how I decided the name ‘Donut Day Dream’. To the many people this blog may reach I hope by reading you’ve been tempted to come and visit us, taste our donuts, have a chat and tell us what you think. And finally for people who don’t know, where can they find you? We are currently located in the Birmingham outdoor Bullring markets on stall A3. You can also keep an eye out for us at various festivals and events. We have recently done a yearly Barbados festival in Coventry ‘A lil bit of bim’ at the Coventry and Warwickshire sports club, where we SOLD OUT! And we have the Birmingham coffee festival coming up on the 1st and 2nd of July at the custard factory.

Phil: Thanks man, I honestly wish you all the best and hope that this brings a few more people to the stand and helps you grow. We need more people like you takings risks to deliver some good produce to people that isn’t churned out on a conveyor belt. I know what I would choose.

You can find out more about Donut Day Dream here: Donut Day Dream… Click here!!!!