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Summerdown Mint: reviving a forgotten British herb

 

When I wanted to bring something different but essentially British as a gift on my recent business trip to Australia, there was one brand that sprung to mind immediately – Summerdown Mint.

Their story is a fascinating one. The company was started by Sir Michael Colman, of mustard fame, who set out reviving an English variety of peppermint that in bygone days was famous around the world for its distinct flavour. Frustrated by the fact that British food producers were having to rely on inferior imported peppermint oils, Sir Michael decided to produce and distill the Black Mitcham mint variety at his Hampshire Farm.

You would have thought that after racking up many years at the helm of the family business that you might want to spend your latter years sitting back and enjoying a slower pace of life, but that is not the case for Sir Michael.

Summerdown Mint has become a successful premium brand bearing all the hallmarks of attention to detail, value and fastidious customer service. I enjoyed working with the brand when I was asked to help write some copy to describe the chocolate peppermint. Products are beautifully packaged and the awards for them are steadily growing.

Sir Michael’s vision for the company is very clear. Speaking to Country Life magazine he said: “I’m an “added value” man. I’m not good at cutting costs. That may work in the short term but, for the future, you need to add value.”

Summerdown won’t be found on the supermarket shelves anytime soon (Sir Michael prefers farm shops) and it’s now easy to buy them online direct from the Summerdown Mint website. So as the gift season approaches, why not step back in time and discover a forgotten but beautiful flavour.

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Jane Milton

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Let Me Introduce You To Francis Gimblett, author of the Gimblett's Guide to The Best of British Cheese, and Co-Owner of Taste of the Vine, an Interactive Food and Drink Events Business. ,
byJane Milton

Let Me Introduce You to Francis Gimblett, Author of Gimblett’s Guide to the Best of British Cheeses, and co Owner of Taste of the Vine, an interactive food and drink event company.

Francis and I met in Spring 2021 when I joined one of his monthly Friday evening meet the cheesemaker tasting sessions. I learned so much and loved meeting the cheesemakers. I told other people and very quickly was joined on screen by 10-12 friends each month ….

My copy of Francis book , Gimblett’s Guide to the Best of British Cheeses has become very well thumbed and through it i have tracked down cheesemakers around the UK and even found a cheesemaking course in Tottenham, London inspired by him.

He is a great story teller so i know you will enjoy hearing about :

  • his journey in food and drink
  • people who have inspired or encouraged him
  • his French mother’s cooking and how that added to his food journey
  • how he has for many years, resisted repitition and always desired change, t learn or to reinvent things BUT
  • how possibly now after almost 2 years of constant change, he my just be happy for a little more predictability for a while
  • we talk about work life balance and partnering in business with his wife
  • about the importance of understanding your P&L and planning for your business right from Day 1
  • we also get a hint or two about his next taste adventure….

I cannot wait


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