Community

Community

NDALI VANILLA

The Ndali estate stretches over 1000 acres of mixed tropical farm amid the explosion craters of the Ndali Volcanic Field in Western Uganda. The farm specialises in exquisite quality vanilla, our chef's favourite.

Lulu Sturdy is the woman to honour for this incredible initiative, turning the family acreage into a fine Fairtrade and organic vanilla estate.

The vanilla that we use in our creamy Camomile Apple dessert is a vanilla composite of skin, seeds and fleshy pulp - all finely milled into a fine powder. A pure way to use the pods and particularly perfect for ice cream. In fact, a decent amount of the flavour of the vanilla bean is in the skin, and not just the seeds. Ndali vanilla powder is also dark because it's 100% vanilla bean, and strong because the beans are in the best condition. Vanilla powder of this quality has been preferred by chocolatiers and artisanal ice cream makers for years. It is entirely natural - no sugar, no gum, no carrier, no fibre.
The powder fineness ensures the full flavour of the pods and beans to be captured in our ice cream, since so many flavour compounds are within the skin of the bean itself.

The Ndali vanilla has complex notes of smokey dates, honey, musk and butterscotch. Ndali only use their best beans for this powder composition, and a generous portion of these beans are covered in rare and exquisite iridescent vanillin crystals – the strongest vanilla in the world are the most precious little diamonds.

VALRHONA, ANDOA NOIR

The origin of Valrhona chocolate dates back to 1922 in the Rhone valley where the company La Chocolaterie de Vivarais was founded by pastry chef M. Guironnet. The company was established from the ideologically mission i.e. to manufacture and deliver exquisite and fine gourmet chocolate for chocolatiers, patisseries and restaurants.  20 years later the compound brand name Valrhona of Valley Rhone saw the light of day.

Since then Valrhona has been synonym with fine chocolate and is respected for maintaining premium quality still evolving over the years.

Valrhona provides some of the best chocolatiers, pastry chefs and restaurants of the world. The Valrhona chocolate that we use in our Chocolate Sea buckthorn dessert is a product of that natural evolvement and our chef’s favourite.

The Andoa Noire 70% organic dark chocolate found in the Mariage de Grand Crus collection, consists of a carefully selection of the best cocoa beans. It is a unique blend that heats the palate with refreshing and powerful bitter sweetness making it a perfect ingredient in our exquisite dessert.

LIQUORICE

Liquorice is experiencing a rebirth. No longer just for children, today’s liquorice is aimed at adults - foodies looking for a new flavour.

It may come as a surprise but the best quality liquorice acutally comes from Calabria, Italy, where for over three centuries Amarelli has been extracting liquorice from the plants that grow naturally over the Calabrian coastline. Amarelli only uses local produce. 

The liquorice manufacturing is characterised by a mix of traditional craftsmanship techniques and high-tech procedures. For example, harvesting is done initially by machines and then completed by hand: liquorice roots have to be ripped manually from the ground, as they risk being damaged by a mechanised process. In fact, it's the only way to give liquorice it's trademark black colouring.

Top chefs were quick to recognise the quality produced in Italy and today this particular liquorice is used by the some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the Nordics.
 
 

RASPBERRY

With its intense, sweet taste, the raspberry is a perennial summer favourite.

When most people think of raspberries they think of the familiar dusty red colour but there are less common varieties ranging from yellow to almost black.

Each berry is made up of around a hundred tiny individual fruits -called ‘drupelets’- each with its own seed.

While wonderfully refreshing on their own, raspberries are celebrated for their ability to combine with other ingredients. Classically paired with white chocolate, peaches or almonds, the flavour also works well in more unusual combinations such as liquorice, basil or coconut. 

APPLE

There are over 7,500 varieties of apples – some as small as cherries while some can become the size of grapefruits. Grown all over the world, it’s unsurprising that the apple plays a symbolic role in religion and folklore. In Norse mythology, the goddess Idun was responsible for guarding the apples that provide the gods with eternal youth.

One of our main suppliers is Germany’s family-run Voelkel Naturkostsafte. For three generations, the company has been producing exquisite biodynamic fruit and vegetable juices, a thriving business that started from the family’s private orchard.

Winterspring has also begun a collaboration with Strynø Frugthave fruit orchard, which sits on an island in the southern archipelago of Denmark. The unique environment -clay soil, sea air, extended summer sunshine- makes Stynø’s apples unforgettably delicious. 

SEA BUCKTHORN

Harvesting sea buckthorn is notoriously difficult. The all-important berries are usually hidden behind a dense thicket of thorns. But for those who persevere, the reward is a thick, sour, highly nutritious juice squeezed from the tiny fruit. 
They are used in an array of culinary dishes as well as health and cosmetic products. 

And because sea buckthorn (known also as sallow thorn or seaberry) retains these bright orange berries well into winter, it’s been used for centuries in northern climates as a vitally important source of Vitamin C at a time of year when it was almost impossible to come by naturally.

CAMOMILE FLOWER

​With its yellow centre and white petals, the camomile flower could easily be confused with the common daisy. Its strong fragrance, however, is unmistakable –perfumed, floral with a hint of lemon.

The calming properties of camomile are by no means a recent discovery. Papyruses from Ancient Egypt make reference to the plant, meaning its benefits have been known about for at least 3500 years. 

Until recently, camomile was commonly enjoyed as a herbal infusion, but it has come a long way from its humble roots. It now features as a star ingredient on the menus of award-winning chefs.

Oialla

Oialla is an organic Danish chocolate, made from wild, Bolivian beans. The cocoa trees grow in the Amazon border between Brazil and Bolivia. It is in the area of Itenez and the municipality of  Baures, where the cocoa trees can be found growing wild and harvested on small islands during the rainy seasons. 

In a humid and warm jungle, everything rots exceptionally fast. That goes for cocoa too. In order to preserve the beans and enhance their flavour, they are fermented immediately after harvest. During fermentation, the white flesh covering the cocoa slowly melts away, exposing the naked bean. Beniano beans are small and fatty and the fermentation is shorter. A shorter fermentation preserves fruity aromas and gives Oialla its distinct notes of berries and red fruit.
Most cocoa beans contain 48-52% fat, while Beniano beans hold 63-65%. 

NATURMÆLK

When it comes to dairy, we believe strongly that there is a clear relationship between the ethical rearing of cows and the quality of the milk they produce. That’s why we found the perfect partners in Naturmælk. They feel as strongly about this as we do.

The dairy itself is in Tinglev, southern Jutland near the border with Germany. It’s a bright yellow building that’s hard to miss and almost part of the landscape, having been in operation since 1887.

Today over 30 farmers form part of a cooperative dairy, each rearing their animals according to organic principles, some using biodynamic methods, and with a mix of livestock breeds.

If you stood and looked across the meadows of a Naturmælk farmer, you would notice colourful flowers and herbs growing amongst the grass. Eating this mixture of herbs, clover and grass improves the flavour and increases the amount of omega 3 in the milk. Allowed outside at least 150 days of the year, the cows are able to move around, get exercise and graze naturally.

Top chefs were quick to recognise the quality produced by Naturmælk and the products are used by some of the most well-known restaurants in Denmark. 
 

LIS KNUDSEN

From her organic farm by the sea near Kolding in Denmark, Lis Knudsen is one of our suppliers of the delicate flower petals that go into winterspring’s rose hip sorbet.  

She says the farm situated by the Kolding Fjord brings her peace. 

“I am surrounded by open spaces, fields, woods, the sea and the sky. From here I watch the seasons change. I can also spot birds, hares, pheasants, roe deer and foxes,” Lis explains.  

Lis runs Skarregaard farm, a small organic farm growing potatoes, onions, carrots and a large variety of herbs and edible flowers. One of the leading organic growers in the area, she supplies some of Denmark’s top restaurants. The chefs are regularly invited to events at her farm to exchange ideas and recipes. 

Lis follows a Swedish technique of growing produce in raised beds filled with gravel and sand. 

“I am enchanted by nature’s colours and smells. I love having things growing and flowering around me. I just love experimenting and finding new ways to dry plants and flowers,” she says.

This experimenting led to a sideline in bespoke tea. What started as a hobby, soon led to her supplying a small range of organic teas to Geranium, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Copenhagen. 

When we were looking for suppliers of rose hip flowers for our ice desserts, Skarregaard was an obvious choice to be one of them. 

“The smell of rose hip is so intense and beautiful. It fills me with wonder and makes me happy. And of course rose hip is bursting with vitamin C,” Lis says.

Her idyllic surroundings provide constant inspiration. 

“Right now I am excited by the smells of my dried herbs and flowers. Particularly sweet woodruff, chocolate mint, elderflower and horsemint.

METTE MELDGAARD

Mette Meldgaard is one of a select number of suppliers of the apple juice that goes into winterspring’s apple sorbet. 

Look beyond the trees at Strynø’s fruit orchard and you will spot the sea. You can’t really miss it. The island itself is less than five kilometres square and only a ferry will get you there.

Mette Meldgaard runs a fruit plantation here – Strynø Frugthave.

“For apple growing, the climate and soil with the surrounding water is excellent. As an entrepreneur the community life on the island is fantastically inspiring,” Mette says.

And Strynø doesn’t just grow apples. Pears, hazelnuts, plums, quinces, apricots, berries – they all benefit from the slightly warmer temperatures.

From the outset, Mette has been passionate about organic production. 

“For me, organic methods are the basis for superior taste and quality. Neither my customers nor I want to be in contact with pesticides. I see organic farming as a modern way to grow food, but one that is inspired by generations before me.”

That respect for history continues with the choice of apples. More than fifteen varieties are grown on the property, a mix of modern types which lend well to organic farming and the more traditional ones whose flavours have stood the test of time. Mette does have her favourites.

“I am thrilled with the diversity of apples, but of course for eating, the summer apple Guldborg and winter apple Bodil Nergård, two old Danish varieties, eaten at the exactly right maturing time, are fantastic,” she says.

The strong influence of the island of Strynø has on Mette is clear. Working closely with nature, next to the sea, she is acutely attuned to the changing seasons.

“My favourite time of year is the autumn - harvest time and a time where there are such fantastic evening light here.”

When she looks out the window, this is Mette Meldgaard’s view.

“I see a small plot on this earth, which gives me great joy. Hopefully, I transfer that into the taste, in concentrated form.”

MIKKEL KARSTAD

Mikkel Karsted has been working with winterspring as a food stylist, bringing the ice desserts to life on photo shoots.

Mikkel is a busy man - chef, food stylist, food writer and blogger (weyoutheyate.com). Based in Copenhagen, during his long career, he’s found himself cooking in some fascinating places – from the Danish Navy to its Parliament to Michelin-starred restaurants. 

Mikkel has also developed some fabulous recipes and serving suggestions for winterspring. 

“I’m seeing a shift from very large, ostentatious and sweet desserts to cleaner, sharper flavours and smaller portions. People would rather have a little bit of something really high quality.” 

We catch up with Mikkel as an unseasonably mild winter is coming to an end. With limited snowfall and frost, the first snowdrops and buttercups are already starting to emerge.

“When the days get longer and we approach spring I want to make and eat finer, more delicate food like new wild herbs, lump fish roe, asparagus, baby salad leaves, the first edible flowers of the year. “

It’s hard not to get caught up in the changing seasons in a climate with such a strong contrast in daylight between winter and summer.  

“I’m inspired by my everyday life and the people who surround me, the changes in seasons and the produce and the colours that they bring. I’m really into vegetables at the moment and I have been for a while. Each vegetable has its season. During the winter it’s cabbages and root veg and after months of that, I look forward to new, fresh spring ingredients.”

Mikkel has worked as a chef in some of Copenhagen’s top restaurants – Era Ora, Kommandant and M/S Amerika. But he has noticed a change in the way people dine out these days. 

“People seem to want exclusive experiences that only a few others are a part of – pop up restaurants, events that only run a few days.”

His approach to food is hard to argue with.