I really have been neglecting to send any newsletters...I think the last one was in the Spring! Now though, it is well and truly that special preparation time leading up to Christmas. There is anticipation in the air and, for us in Crich, the smell of baking rich fruit and spices as mince pies, stollen and Christmas cake all get their turns in the ovens!
So what are we baking?
As well as our usual full range of breads, we are baking the now favourite Cranberry, Oat and Apple sourdough during the couple of weeks leading up to Christmas. If you haven't tried it before, don't miss a treat. It is soft, moist and deliciously savoury with the addition of tart bramley apples and fresh cranberries.
We are also baking festive fruity focaccia using spiced fruit soaked in rum and then glazed with melting sweetened butter. It is a lovely tea time alternative to a mince pie...though there are plenty of those on offer too!
Finally among the breads, we are of course baking marzipan stollen again. If you get one of these on baking day, you will be amazed how different they are to the heavy, hard and somewhat dry fayre that seems to be ubiquitous on the supermarket shelves these days. Fresh is certainly best where stollen is concerned.
And that isn't where it ends...also on offer are spiced biscuits like Lebkuchen and Pfeffernuesse, dark chocolate florentines, butter shortbread petticoat tails, orange and cinnamon biscotti, Christmas cake both whole and in generous pieces and, of course, more mince pies!
Also, for the first year, we have made Christmas Puddings from Andrew's family recipe. They are deliciously dark and gently spiced with fresh apple and carrot in the recipe which makes them particularly moist. The perfect conclusion to your Christmas meal. We have made them in three sizes - small for 1-2 people; medium for 3-4 and large for 6-8.
They are proving very popular, and as made our last batch early this week, you would do well to order one by phoning 01773 857074 as soon as possible to make sure you don't miss out.
Christmas present ideas and stocking fillers
Rog has, as usual, been sourcing a great selection of interesting and delicious jars, pots, packets and tins for you to pick up and put together a lovely selection as a gift. There are plenty of locally produced goodies, so look out for the Derbyshire flag indicating something that is Derbyshire-made. If you find you can't make up your mind, he has done the hard work for you if you want by creating themed hampers...there is the Cheese-lover's Hamper, the Bread Baker's Hamper, the Confectionery Hamper, the Tea- or the Coffee-lover's Hamper and more...
Oooo and I nearly forgot...there is my book - Slow Dough, Real Bread! Well actually it is Chris Young of the Real Bread Campaign who has put together this new bread recipe book...but I do have a recipe in it. If you like the 100% Spelt sourdough with honey that we bake on a Thursday, then here's your chance to learn to bake it yourself! Get your copy from Crich at a special reduced price.
Christmas opening hours
Our opening hours are as follows over the Christmas and New Year period:
Sunday 18 December - closing at 3pm
Monday 19 December - CLOSED - but bread available from Crich Butchers
Tuesday 20 December - open as normal
Wednesday 21 December - open as normal
Thursday 22 December - open as normal
Friday 23 December - open as normal, orders for bread recommended
Saturday 24 December - open 8am - 1pm, bread to order only, no café service
Sunday 25 December - Thursday 29 December - CLOSED
Friday 30 December - open as normal, bread orders recommended
Saturday 31 December - open 8am - 3pm, normal café service, bread orders only
Sunday 1 January - CLOSED
Monday 2 January - CLOSED
Tuesday 3 January onwards - open as normal
To order bread for any of the above days, please download, complete and return to us in the shop a bread order form. You can also use this form to order cheeses and meats. Please make sure you get it back to us by Saturday 17 December at the very latest.
Don't forget to ask for a bread-baking course for Christmas!
The five courses I regularly run are a popular as ever. Whether is is back to basics, buttery brioche, challenging sourdough or heaps of Broetchen, you want to bake, all levels are welcome. All details of dates and availability are on the loaf courses web page.
I seem to have had a lot of carol singing on this December, which has been wonderful. If you haven't had a chance to sing any yet, you really must! Come along to the Carol Service at St Mary's Crich on Sunday 18th at 6.30pm, or Nine Lessons and Carols at St Peter's Church Edensor on Wednesday 21st at 7.30pm. Or of course join the villagers of Crich and Crich Brass round the tree in the Market Place on Thursday 22nd at 7pm.
Wishing you all a very happy and joyful Christmas tide, and all the best for a fun-packed 2017!
With all best wishes,
Andrew and Rog
PS This year, we will not be giving newly bought Christmas cards to customers and staff. Instead, we are recycling cards from previous years and for every card we write this way, we are giving a donation to Save Daycare at The Glebe equivalent to the amount we would have spent on cards and postage.
Please consider doing similar if you are local...there are details on the Save Daycare facebook page. This is a vital service in our community and they really need our help as funding has been withdrawn. Read more on the CACN site.
If you are every wondering what is on the menu at the loaf, or what the latest news is, then you might be interested in our facebook page. the loaf, Crich on facebook. Just make sure you are logged in to facebook, go to the relevant page and click on 'like'. You will then see regular updates from the blog and also fed through from Twitter.