Based in a corner of rural north Norfolk, Jane Steward is a committed grower of food, but she has a particular passion for a fruit you don’t hear much about these days: the medlar. Jane is on a quest to revive them. Popular in the UK and Europe for hundreds of years, medlars became neglected after the 19th century as more fashionable fruits came to the fore.
Jane makes medlar jelly and ‘fruit cheese’ using only Norfolk-grown fruit, with as much as possible coming from her own orchards. The jelly is an excellent accompaniment to all kinds of cheeses, patés, charcuterie, game and other meats. The medlar fruit cheese is a set puree made from medlar pulp and goes well with top quality hard or blue cheese, is a fine partner to a slice of gammon and tastes wonderful simply spread on toast.
Eastgate Larder is collaborating with Wild Craft Brewery to add medlars to a smooth bitter, resulting in a beautiful toffee apple finish. It is also planning production of a limited edition of Jane’s aromatic medlar chutney.
Eastgate Larder is a member of ‘Norfolk Food & Drink’ and ‘Proudly Norfolk Food & Drink’ and its products are approved by The Artisan Food Trail. In 2017, its medlar jelly won a Great Taste Award and was named ‘Best British Brand’ in Speciality Food Magazine’s ‘New Producer’ category.
Eastgate Larder products are available in various delicatessens and farm shops in Norfolk – and further afield including Neal’s Yard Dairy at Borough Market in London. Jane also attends Creake Abbey Farmers’ Market on the first Saturday of every month (except January).
By Tracy Macheta, Norfolk editor