What Dad Cooked was invited to the launch of the Mini British Food Hall at Liberty in London. We’re always interested in new food halls, especially if they’re in Liberty, one of our favourite stores.
Liberty is unashamedly posh. But not inaccessibly so, it sells its exclusive home, beauty and fashion goods with appropriate restraint and flair, but also with a quiet swagger and underlying quirkiness. There has always been an artiness about Liberty (as in the arts and crafts motifs and patterns of ‘Liberty’ prints) and they fill their floors with appealingly eclectic – and sometimes exotic – collections, each item chosen with impeccable taste and an eye for good design and quality production. It’s therefore natural that the store would adapt this same approach to satisfy current trends for food-based products. The Mini British Food Hall is an appropriate ‘Liberty’ response. The hall, comprising two rooms by the Carnaby Street entrance, is crammed with selected artisan goods, all handcrafted, handmade and beautifully packaged and presented. Anyone of the items on display would make a perfect foodie gift or gourmet souvenir of Britain.
Liberty says they were on a mission to uncover the best of British produce and scoured the UK to find the country’s finest micro-producers who could channel their passion and expertise into a new exclusive food and drink offering. The result is a well-balanced range of artisan food products covering, chocolates, condiments, sauces and seasoning, tea and coffee, jams and preserves, confectionery and biscuits, wines and spirits.
I was given – and picked up – a few examples of the chosen producer’s products, including Mermaid Confetti, by The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company – this is now on my kitchen counter waiting to sprinkle its umami kick into my sauces and grills; Dark Chocolate by Pump Street, based in Suffolk produces handmade responsibly sourced chocolate from Ecuador – wonderfully mellow chocolate, but with rich earthy and fruity taste notes; Manfood Bread and Butter Pickles made in Cambridgeshire – this will go on my next proper man-sized burger; I’m familiar with the produce of the South Devon Chilli Farm, their sauces are very good – my pot of Chilli Jam is crying out for a Thai fishcake to dip into; Classic Lemon Curd by Scarlett & Mustard, also based in Suffolk, is a rich, creamy and tangy curd and will work its magic in my lemon cupcake recipe.
There are many other producers. I’m familiar with Jensen’s gin from visits to Bermondsey, London (where they are based). Whether or not you like gin, buy their Old Tom Gin bottle from Liberty – it’s a thing of beauty. Like all the producers here, they have a fantastic story behind their business. As it happens, I have just started-off my first batch of foraged sloe gin, I was therefore particularly happy to see Sloemotion offering samples of their hedgerow fruit liqueurs from Yorkshire. If my sloe gin eventually tastes as good as theirs then I will be well chuffed. Prestat is a long-established chocolate company, I sampled their dark chocolate thins – what exquisite things to eat, an ideal way to enjoy good chocolate.
Most of the products are in the Food Hall are produced under Liberty’s in-house ‘Liberty London’ brand. In keeping with the store’s artistic ethos, the real clincher for WDC, is how Liberty decided to work with fifteen emerging creatives to illustrate unique labels for these producers, giving the impression that each piece of packaging is boasting a limited edition print. The whole operation fits snugly into the Liberty shopping experience. Of course, you would not expect to use the new Liberty Mini British Food Hall to do your food shopping, but if you’re looking for some fine examples of British food innovation, entrepreneurship and design – or just some tasty treats – you’ll be in the right place.
To see the range follow the link here.
To learn more about the producers follow the link here.
To learn more about the creatives follow the link here.