A regular Outstanding NZ Producer Awards winner, this year Bellefield won Gold Medal for Bellefield Craft Cultured Butter (Sea Salt) with the judges noting it was nicely seasoned with a good level of salt. A selection of Bellefield Butter is available at Farro.
Bellefield Butter Co. is a multi-award winner at the Outstanding New Zealand Food Producer Awards: Jan & Steve Dolan's honour's list includes: 2019 Gold Medal for their Miso Cultured Butter, two Bronze Medals for Bellefield Ghee Manuka and Bellefield Clotted Cream, in 2018 a Silver Medal for Bellefield Chilli & Lime Flavoured Butter and a highly commended – the equivalent of a Bronze Medal - for Bellefield Butter Sea Salt Cultured Butter.
If it hadn’t been for Jan having a serious horse riding accident, followed shortly afterward by both her husband Steve losing their jobs we might not be enjoying the Dolan's delicious hand churned butter. These life changes thrust upon them prompted a reassessment of their lives and they pursued their idea for a flavoured butter business.
The pair, who had grown up in Liverpool, saw an article about an English couple who were making traditional cultured butter, so they undertook research and found nobody making flavoured butters in New Zealand, deciding it could be a business.
Getting the business up and running from their Cambridge home was an 18 month marathon which included fitting out a purpose built container and endless red tape and paperwork. Steve says “apart from money, the initial legislation requirements were difficult, involving long hours around the kitchen table writing food control plans. It was very detailed and took longer than we thought it would. Even though it was a massive chore, it laid the ground rules and was an education for us.”
Jan picks up the story, explaining that now they are operational, running a small food business still throws up challenges.“Our products are very much ‘hands on’, from preparing the raw ingredients to selling the finished goods. Our working environment, a six metre shipping container squashed between our house and the garage and fitted out to MPI standards, can be a challenge. It’s not insulated and so in summer it can be stifling and in winter can be Antarctic-like! Altering our working day to suit the weather can be quite a trial to fit in production - as butter making requires moderate temperatures.”
Their labour-intensive production starts with north Waikato cream which receives a starter culture to convert its sugars to lactic acid creating depth of flavour and a delicious tang in the finished butter. The cream then sits for 24 hours to allow the culture to take, before refrigeration for a week to ripen. When its ripe the cream is batch-churned making butter, which is washed and strained. Steve works the butter by hand, removing the last of the buttermilk and adding salt and fresh flavourings. Finally Jan hand-rolls it into Bellefield's 100g logs.
However the pair are convinced all the effort is worth the reward. Jan says “We have created an award-winning cultured butter. It is fermented and is lower in lactose, has probiotic bacteria and also lactic acid which aids digestion. It is as close to traditional farmhouse butter we can make. Most importantly its delicious!”
Since they began Bellefield Butter Co. in 2017 they have extended their product range to include buttermilk, clotted cream, crème fraîche and ghee. When time permits they are always thinking about new products.
They say after investing so much time, money and energy bringing a traditional, quality product to Kiwis using the high quality milk available winning awards such as the Outstanding NZ Food Producers Awards affirms they are producing quality products.
Creating butter is a an exhausting time-consuming process which sees them selling at Farmer’s Markets around Cambridge most weekends, so their down time is limited. However, when they can snatch time they both do a bit of yoga. Steve loves a bit of cycling and Jan enjoys time with her horses which is her relaxation.
Meet Jan and Steve and buy Bellefield Butter Co. products at Cambridge Farmers’ Market every week. To find stockists and learn more check out their website
Orange & Hemp Seed Flour Cake
Uncle Joe's New Flours
Uncle Joe's walnut company originated in the early 1990s when a Nelson man named his business after his favourite Uncle Joe who lived in Blenheim. He enjoyed time with him sitting around the fire listening to the rugby, cracking walnuts and throwing the walnut shells into the fire.
Now owned by the Horwell family, the company has developed an impressive, award-winning product line which also includes hazelnuts, nut and seed oils and flours, pastes and meals. Many trees have been planted on their property just out of Blenheim but they also buy nuts from other parts of New Zealand.
"We all love the fact that we are growing good, healthy food," says Jenny Horwell
The nut and seed flours are a product started from their oil production.
"After the oil is squeezed from the kernels a dry pellet is formed and this is ground into a fine flour, again providing all the goodness of the seed or nut from which it is produced."
Walnut and seed flours are perfect for the health-conscious, gluten-free cook. One-hundred per cent natural, the flours add goodness, flavour and texture to coatings, bakes and desserts. For baking, you can use half nut or seed flour and half gluten-free flour as the nut flours are quite substantial.
The five Uncle Joe Gluten-free flours available are: walnut, blackcurrant seed, hemp seed, kiwifruit seed and grape seed.
For more information and delicious recipes go to unclejoes.co.nz