Salty Dog Devon - Seafaring Food for Events and Gifts
My Saturday didn't get off to the best start; I'd forgotten to buy bread for breakfast and then it was time to de-Christmas the house. The dagger-eyes my son was giving me after telling him the Christmas tree has to come down didn't help either but when the doorbell rang, the day suddenly got a whole load better as our friendly neighbourhood postman delivered a box of goodies from a new fish in the sea - Salty Dog Devon.
Cales is the brainchild behind Salty Dog Devon, and I asked her how this new business venture came about: "My background is in design and PR, but my love of food has taken me all over the world. I am passionate about healthy, fresh, qualty produce. I have attended cookery master classes and a range of courses from patisserie in Paris, to spices in Marrakech and street food in Beijing.
However, it was not until I visited San Francisco that my love of seafood reached a whole new level. I sampled some of the most delicious shellfish dishes ever before while driving down the west coast of California. It was at that point I decided to turn my passion into a business".
After a pop-up event late 2016 in Cullompton, with dishes like seafood bisque (a favourite of mine), whole oven baked mackerel and seafood linguine on the menu was a huge sucess it was time to take the business to the next level.
With inspiration from Channel 4's George Clarks Amazing Spaces and a search on ebay, a Rice Beaufort horse box was bought and converted. She was proudly given the name Salty Dog and sent on her maiden voyage late 2027 to Launceston, serving happy locals steaming seafood chowder and non-alcoholic mulled punch.
Salty Dog is described by Cales as a catering company; I would have to disagree with this - what she is doing, with the help of her partner and her mum, is creating an artisan food company with an added benefit of being mobile. She can cater for your wedding, event and private party and treat you and your guests to personally tailored menus as well as provide beautiful presented favours all wrapped up with a nautical theme. She is also creating a range of homemade products which will be available to buy when the website is up and running in the next week or two.
As I open my box, the first thing I notice is how well the products are packaged with a concise branding thanks to the earthy brown labels, blue tones and nautical trinkets attached to individual items.My box contained pork scratchings, plum and gin jam, gin and elderflower tea (clearly made by hand), sloe gin, fish shaped jelly sweets and pickled eggs.
I love pork scratchings; even though I'm more of a fish eater than a meat eater, I was delighted to have a bag of chilli, rock salt and rosemary flavoured ones.
What better way to wash down my scratchings than with a sloe gin. I served mine neat over ice; this drink packed a real fruity punch, almost medicinal - very rich and powerful, this would make a perfect wedding favour to warm your guests up at a crisp winter wedding.
If you ever been to a fish and chip shop, I'm sure you've all seen large glass jars of pickled eggs sat bobbing on the counter, looking like spare eyeballs for frankenstein? Well these ones are in a league of their own; lovingly pickled in Tequila and lime, these were truly amazing. The flavour penetrating the egg but still able to taste the egg, it was like a margarita and knocks socks off your shop bought ones with their harsh pickling vinegar.
Next up was the plum and gin jam - a smooth, firm jam, with similar flavour profile of the sloe gin and had a beautiful, deep colour. Last but certainly not least, was the elderflower and gin tea bags - I'm not a lover of herbal teas but I brewed it up anyway and it had a fresh vibrant smell; I get the feeling that Cales may be fond of the odd gin and tonic!
Salty Dog Devon has certainly got my taste buds tingling. With the quality of the products I have been lucky enough to taste, I'm very excited to see where 2018 will take them and, with pop up events taking place around the South West and an ever expanding product range, this is so much more than a catering company. With all the hard work that has gone into the brand, I wish them every success and will be hunting down that horse box for a lemon meringue or salted caramel cupcake or two in the near future!
Salty Dog Devon are holding a Valentines pop-up dining event in Cullompton, in aid of the charity Mind and, at only £15 per person, this sounds a salty steal.
Until their website is launched, you can find out more and follow them on Facebook and Twitter and don't forget to use their hashtags #vitaminsea and #SDD.
If you see them at an event, don't forget to give them a wave and hopefully their food will have you 'hook, line and sinker'.