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Producer of the Month: Nigel Cope, Chairman, Cottage Delight, Staffordshire

Producer of the Month: Nigel Cope, Chairman, Cottage Delight, Staffordshire

Producer of the Month: Nigel Cope, Chairman, Cottage Delight, Staffordshire

In 1974, chairman, Nigel Cope, established Cottage Delight - a British, family company passionate about good food. Cottage Delight produces an extensive range of speciality jams, marmalades, chutneys, pickles, sauces and fudge all made, packed and labelled in the heart of the Staffordshire Moorlands. 

It all began with fudge. Nigel started making it in the family kitchen, using an authentic traditional Scottish recipe. The fudge, with its delicious, crumbly texture became instantly popular. In the early eighties a small range of curds, jams, marmalades and pickles were the first jarred products to carry the Cottage Delight mop top label. Nigel's wife, Diana, hand-drew the labels and the logo, a version of which is still used today. It created a unique and striking homemade look for the brand, which was distributed to independent stores within a 100-mile radius of Leek. A great leap forward came in 1987 when it was decided to take Cottage Delight to the International Food Exhibition at Olympia, London. The response was overwhelming and Nigel returned to Leek with over 200 enquiries from all over the UK and abroad. 

Passionate about quality, Cottage Delight continues to use only the finest ingredients to create its award winning products, using traditional, small batch methods. In fact, all ingredients are measured by hand, with pickles, chutneys, jams and marmalades hand-stirred in open pans. The strawberry jam is even poured by hand to ensure the fruit remains whole. Working closely with other local and European artisan producers, Cottage Delight now offers more than 700 products, all with the renowned homemade taste. Dedicated to supporting independent retailers, Cottage Delight can only be found in quality butcher's shops and fishmongers, farm shops and delicatessens, garden centres, select department stores and tourist attractions. 

The products are created with the gourmet food lover in mind and it is this commitment to quality that is reflected in Cottage Delight's current tally of 119 Great Taste Awards to date, receiving no less than 10 Gold Awards in 2011. This year Cottage Delight is proud to present the Great British Pantry range for 2012 to celebrate The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Inspired by traditional British flavours, the delicious collection includes unique recipes reflecting the company's heritage and ongoing contribution to the world of fine food. 

  • Why do you do what you do? 

Good food is so important to our well-being, both physically and socially. I am passionate about producing fine foods that everyone can enjoy without compromising on quality and taste. There's no greater feeling than discovering a new flavour or recipe that can be shared.

  • What achievement are you most proud of? 
I’m so proud of our fantastic range. The range is produced, labelled, packed and distributed by our cheerful, loyal and hardworking 150-strong workforce. 

  • What is your most memorable moment? 
It has to be the resounding success of our then modest range at the 1987 IFE, resulting in national distribution. 

  • If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you do to encourage more people to eat British food? 
There are so many incredible British regional food producers selling their wares across the country. We would encourage the nation to choose to shop at independent retailers, rather than solely at the supermarkets, in order to maintain and support their local food heritage. 

  • What is your favourite food and why? 
Crumbly Staffordshire Cheese made by Cottage Delight. It's the most delicious crumbly white cheese and is perfect with all our pickles and chutneys. It also makes the most scrumptious cheese on toast and is great with our locally brewed beer. Handmade to a rediscovered 13th century recipe, it has a character of its own which changes as it matures. 

  • What are your predictions for the future of British food? 
I think British food will become a more popular choice for the nation's families in the future. More and more people are looking for value for money but are not prepared to compromise on quality when it comes to their food. 

  • If you were an advertising executive what slogan would you use to promote British food? 
British Food – first for quality, first for taste. 

  • Beat the recession tip? 
Don't buy cheap – choose quality over quantity for real value for money. 

  • What's on the menu this evening? 
Local sausages with onion gravy made with our Caramelised Onion Chutney and local potato mash followed by homemade Victoria sponge cake with whipped cream and our Great British Pantry, Sherry Trifle Jam. Might even indulge in a bottle of cold, Golden Premium Beer from our Staffordshire Brewery, too. 

  • How can people get hold of your produce? 
Find your local stockist online at Cottage Delight products are available from quality butcher's shops and fishmongers, farm shops and delicatessens, garden centres, select department stores and tourist attractions.