All kinds of conversations spring up at supper club. As I settle down with a nice glass of wine post pudding I find myself chatting away to my guests about all sorts of things. Obviously they ask about the origins and inspiration for the supper club but they are equally interested in my suppliers, the food on the menu and the ’30 mile radius’ ethos I try to stick to. It’s a lovely time for everyone to get to know each other and for me to explain my reasons for doing this (aside from my love of food and entertaining).Popularity for Moel Faban has certainly grown and I think it is partly to do with my support for local producers and as I explained at our last supper club, I’m keen to show local people that they can get pretty much anything they want on their own doorstep.
Ok, fair enough it takes a bit of extra time and imagination, a change in our conditioned way of thinking, to return to using seasonal, local produce. One guest talked long and heatedly about how Asda buy their chickens from Thailand claiming that “it just doesn’t make sense, surely there’s enough chickens here?”. Its true, it can be quite difficult to find British produce in our local supermarkets and I often find myself asking assistants what they have from the UK. I wonder why that is?
I guess it’s about cost: keeping it cheap, but why does buying British mean its twice the price? I don’t think it does and I find myself quite bemused at how it can possibly be cheaper to fly things in from South Africa, or Spain or wherever than to buy produce locally or at least from UK farmers. I think we been convinced by the big supermarkets not to ask questions, to shop like automatons, not to focus on the profit they make for their shareholders and to just accept what they put on the shelves. Weve become lazy, thinking we are far too busy to go to small shops, producers and butchers etc. A few years ago I would probably have said the same thing, but then I saw the light!
These days I only buy basics in the supermarket and some things you really can’t get in this country (mostly bananas, lemons and oranges!). I also try to make some time to get to know my suppliers visiting them at their own place (and not just the produce market), to see what they are up to. Last week I took a trip to visit Dave, owner of Derimon, the only smokery on Anglesey and the one featured in ‘The Hairy Bikers Tour of Anglesey’, who was kind enough to show me around, explaining the process of smoking, before I stopped off at the shop to buy some stuff for supper club.
I arrived as he was returning from an eel fishing trip. We chatted and I watched as he unloaded his slippery cargo, tipping them into their storage tank, while another tank of large and rather angry-looking lobsters scuttled around at my side (he sells these too. I was very tempted but at £10 a pound I thought it was a bit OTT for a midweek supper).
We headed into smoke house where Dave explained the process of brining, cold smoking (to preserve) and then hot smoking to cook. Without this laborious process the produce would just go off. When they began, the fires which create the smoke were all inside the main building but the heat generated made it impossible to work, so they had the inspired idea of building two outside fire boxes created which have proved very effective.
Dave smokes all kinds of stuff, from mussels and mackerel and the eels he catches to chicken, paprika, cheese and butter, in fact I’m sure he would have a go at smoking most things! Their smoked brie is a massive success at supper club, although I’ve never quite got my head round how you smoke butter!
Once we finished our trip around the smoke room I headed into the shop to stock up on goodies for supper club. The building which houses the shop was the original smokery for the house, but once business expanded it was too small so they extended to the rear. These days Dave’s award-winning range of products can be found at a number of markets across the local area, in selected shops, restaurants, at Hootons farm shop and online here.
Derimon can be found just outside City Dulas in Anglesey. It’s not easy to locate but there are signs! They are open 9.30 til 4.30 Monday to Friday and 9.30 til 5 on Saturday. For more information call 01248 410536 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The main house is also run as a bed and breakfast. The perfect place to stay when visiting Anglesey and set in stunning surroundings.