Sussex is chocolate heaven with artisans making mouth-watering goodies perfect for Easter treats. Local Food Britain puts the spotlight on some of its members in the March issue of Sussex lifestyle magazine Etc.
By now, Fay Millar will be going almost cross-eyed as she hand-finishes around two thousand Easter marshmallows with tiny chocolate eggs, each gently pushed into the cooling mix before it sets.
But patience and a steady hand have long been mastered by the 39-year-old who, as the name behind Miss Millar’s Marvellous Marshmallows and Brighton Cakes, has been hand-finishing edible creations since the age of 10.
“I loved making weird and wonderful celebration cakes for the family - one of the first ones I did was a messy bedroom cake for my brother,” she said.
Her business is a classic case of a hobby turned into a success as Fay, a journalist, made show-stopping cakes for friends - then friends of friends. Since Brighton Cakes was formed 12 years ago (and now operating from commercial kitchens near Hove Lagoon) Fay has produced cakes for celebrity blogger, Zoella, and her boyfriend Alfie Deyes and for the 70th birthday of actor Brian Capron (Coronation Street’s serial killer Richard Hillman).
A huge steady hand, and the help of her late father and engineer, James Millar, was needed to create the two-metre-high scale model of the British Airways i-360 for the iconic building’s anniversary last year.
Hand-finishing Easter marshmallows and creating carrot-holding rabbits for her triple-layered Easter cake must seem a doddle in comparison.
*The Easter marshmallows are available to buy online, £4.50 for a box of eight www.missmillars.com and the Easter cake from www.brightoncakes.com Get the kids in the kitchen to bake Easter cookies. Fay has an easy recipe on her website and shares some of her decorating tips. See her blog page.
More chocolate treats………….
Downsview Farmhouse Ice-Cream
At the family-run Downsview Farm in Ringmer, they are getting ready for their busiest time of year. From Easter to September they will be making around 200 litres of their luxury Downsview Farmhouse Sussex Ice Cream every day to keep up with demand - and chocolate is a key feature.
A new After Eight flavour will be joining the range just for Easter, or chocoholics can delve into tubs of chocolate orange, or keep it simple with plain. The Farnes family has been making ice-cream for the past 11 years with milk from their 130-strong herd of British Friesians. You can buy it from various farm shops across Sussex including Mile Oak Farm in Hove, Swains in Henfield, Park Farm in Falmer and Rushfields in Poynings.
Or says, Sarah Farnes, “you can come and buy it direct from our farm if you don’t mind travelling over rough terrain”. www.downsviewfarm.co.uk
Chocolatier, Lindsey Williams’ home kitchen in Horsham is filled with rabbits, lambs and Easter eggs at this time of year.
As owner of Wimblehurst Chocolates, she has been making mouth-watering fillings and crafting quality melted chocolate into beautiful edible shapes for the past seven years. Every Easter, her customers loyally seek her out at farmers’ markets to buy her famous solid chocolate rabbits and lambs, and exquisitely wrapped Easter eggs adorned with sweets, fruits or crystallised ginger.
“I have customers who come back every year to buy the same Easter egg that they say their grandchildren love,” says Lindsey.
She is a proud supporter of Sussex produce and uses local ingredients in her fillings such as salted caramel from Bartie’s Sussex Faire, award-winning butter from Bookham Harrison Farms, and honey from family-run Bee Cosmetics, based in Horsham.
In the run up to Easter, you can find Lindsey and her husband, Lance, at the Horsham Market on Saturdays, March 3, 17 and 31.
Rowdy & Fancy’s
Cadbury’s isn’t the only producer to put white chocolate back on the map this Easter. Artisan chocolate maker, Rowdy & Fancy’s, has brought out its new Just White bar in time for the annual chocolate fest. Made in North Chailey and dressed in beautiful wrappers designed by a local artist, the Milky Bar Kid won’t get a look-in as these are definitely for adults. Available in local farm shops, independent retailers or you can buy them online www.rowdyandfancyschocolate.co.uk
Tags: ice cream