Every now and then we are going to hang out with some of the cool foodie folk we get to work with to find out a little bit more about what makes them tick, both on the ‘shop floor’ and in life more generally.
We call the series “5 Food Minutes with …“
This week, we are deli-ghted to be hanging out with our favourite distiller, Chris Marshall of Forager’s Gin. Chris hand-forages the ingredients for his stunning gins in the hills of Snowdonia, carefully and slowly working his magic to produce outstanding blends of botanicals. We have been looking forward to finding out more about his food influences.
Who are you and what foodie mischief do you get up to in your day job?
Hello, I am Chris Marshall, co-Founder & owner of Snowdonia Distillery, home to Forager’s Gin and Marsette Liqueurs.
What inspires you?
I guess there are three main things: (1) Nature: the changing seasons, the diversity and abundant beauty that surrounds us in North Wales. (2) Creative people who not only have great ideas, but also the tenacity to risk it all chasing them. (3) Anything well-made and handcrafted by real people with thought and passion – food, clothing, spirits, wine, anything really: you really can tell the difference.
Where in the world do you get to hang out doing your foodie thing? Can you tell us a little of what is so special to you about ‘place’?
For the most part, I get to hang out in one of the most beautiful places in the world: the foothills of Snowdonia – the Welsh Rockies – in our copper micro distillery with our two beautiful handmade copper stills. Not a bad place to work from!
Which 3 food (or drink) producers should the foodie world know more about?
Ooh, now it’s going to be hard to list just three, but here are three that would be amongst the top of my list:
1. Heartland Coffi – tiny little coffee roasters located 15 mins from our distillery in the seaside town of Llandudno. These guys and the quality of what they do are very much part of the secret behind many of the amazing local coffee shops – and our own Marsette’s hand-roasted coffee liqueur. A great team – bags of skill and experience – run with family values.
2. Manzanos Wines – I had the pleasure of popping out to see the Manzanos family a few weeks back to tour their vineyards and wineries in the Rioja and Navarra regions of Northern Spain. Wow! These wines are created by taking the best from wine making traditions and seamlessly blending them with the best modern methods – discarding anything that does yield a step-up in quality. Not only do they own some of the oldest vines in the region, their viticulture approach sees them use no artificial chemicals and they control their perfect harvesting by clever use of irrigation. Look out for their Voche range; the Voche Blanco and their Voche Grand Reserve are simply stunning.
3. Siesta Key Rum from Drum Circle Distillery in Florida has to be on the list. Simply the best rum I have found. Fresh ingredients, small batches, no compromising on quality. We have learnt a lot from these guys.
Is it bad that my three are all drinks and related to alcohol in some way? I’ll let you decide!
Where was your last holiday … any ‘hidden gem’ recommendations?
This summer, my wife and I spent a wonderful couple of weeks in France with our two young kids. Great food, amazing wine, friendly people, and to top it off beautiful historic towns that shade you from the heat of the day. The hidden gem for us on this trip has to be the historic town of Beaune. We’ll be going back.
What is your favorite meal?
Well, to be honest, I’m a little biased on this one. Fish, chips and mushy peas, but it has to be from my brother-in-law’s fish and chip shop (The Galleon, in Conwy, N.Wales) where they cook using beef dripping and a three-generation ‘secret‘ recipe for their batter. Insiders tip: find a table upstairs and steal the chair looking out the window! You can sit and eat the most amazing fish and chips you’ll ever taste whilst looking straight out of the window at Conwy Castle.
You have £30 in your wallet/purse and an open mind about supper – where do you head to locally and what do you buy?
Do you know I would probably have to pop into one of the local deli’s and pick up enough goodies to create a sharing platter – cured meats, cheeses, pickles, with some tasty sauces and freshly baked sourdough bread (it’s ok, Chris … we know just the place!)
Favourite food writer?
I think it would have to be Jamie Oliver. From a young age, I was fascinated by the combining of flavors, and I was brought up on a steady diet of following Jamie’s recipes and uncomplicated cooking style. In fact, whilst writing this, I am sat in the kitchen and 8 out of the 12 cookery books we keep to hand are his.
Most comforting ‘comfort food’?
Tartiflette. The ultimate comfort food: potatoes, bacon, onion and reblochon cheese. (Preferably eaten in an alpine chalet with a roaring log burner, and snow gently falling outside).