Food & Drink Awards 2018

Page 40 LUX 2018 Food & Drink Awards Matthews Cotswold Flour is an artisan flour mill based in the heart of the Cotswolds owned and run by father and son team, Paul and Bertie Matthews. As part of our overview of a selection of the winners of the Food & Drink Awards for 2018 we invited Bertie to tell us more. Matthews Cotswold Flour (FWP Matthews Ltd) Best Artisan Flour Mill 2018 - UK Situated on the edge of the beautiful Cotswold hills in the village of Shipton under Wychwood, Matthews Cotswold Flour is a traditional mill that produces a wide range of quality organic, continental and artisan flour. Bertie and the team still use the original building that was completed in 1912, and as such they are able to produce the very highest possible standard of flour. Bertie talks us through the process and how it produces a range of delicious products that far outstrip mass produced products. “Here at Matthews Flour, we produce specialist flour including bakers flour; continental French and Italian; organic; and a selection of healthy, artisan mixes such as spelt and rye. We work with artisan bakeries around the UK, sell to restaurants and pubs as well as selling straight to home bakers. Our business got going in earnest around 1912 with my great, great, great grandfather Frederick “the Builder” Matthews. He built the foundation of the mill, but sadly died before completion. Since then we have gone from supplying sacks of flour via rail on site to Ireland and Liverpool to selling next day delivery online. Over time the mill has had many technological revamps and of course, this has improved the way we work and provided a safe working environment for all employees. It means we can produce Britain’s finest flour. “Today, the process remains similar and we are still committed to quality products. When making our flour, everything starts with the selection of the right grain from the right farm. We only buy grade 1 (the best) wheat from our Cotswold Farming partnership, farmers around the rest of the UK and premium grain from Canada. We test the wheat before it enters the mill and again after it has been conditioned. We have quality controls at every part of the process from the farm to the oven. We have a test baker on site and we test all new batches of flour - we use the bread for sandwiches and cakes for the staff.” Quality flower is produced through traditional methods, but, as Bertie explains, technology and equipment are also vital to ensuring that the production is efficient and effective. “Technology and equipment is a key part of our work and as such we like to keep up to date, and now we have a new packing machine that packs 16kg and 1.5kg bags. We have an updated software management system to streamline our administration process with our 300+ customers and thousands of retail customers. This has enabled us to service our customers in a more efficient way. “Despite enjoying the benefits of technology, we are also keen to continue using the traditional methods to create our products. After all, good flour is a combination of the grain, the milling process and the atmosphere of the mill itself. Matthews Cotswold mill, in its countryside setting, is a relatively small mill with traditional equipment including a stone mill which is still used every day. Something like sourdough is so simple, so natural it can vary enormously according to the quality of grain and milling. Even the enzyme action of the flour will vary from mill to mill, because it picks this up, in part, from the air in the mill our inhouse baker actually came to us because he tried every flour on the market and found that Matthews Cotswold Flour consistently gave him the best loaf.” Moving forward, Bertie and the team at Matthews Flour will remain committed to quality products and traditional values, as he proudly concludes. “Looking to the future, we see the future of our business serving the artisan baking community. Such as sourdough; authentic continental produce French and Italian; healthy baking and milling; stoneground milled; organic mixes and blends including spelt, rye and stoneground wholemeal. “Ultimately, my father and I are dedicated to taking our family business into the next generation. This generation is all about authenticity, quality and versatility. We want to help push healthy baking and milling by not only producing the widest range of specialist products for the consumer and baker but promoting the methods and knowledge, and this will remain our ongoing focus over the years ahead.” Company: Matthews Cotswold Flour (FWP Matthews Ltd) Contact: Bertie Matthews Address: Station Road, Shipton under Wychwood, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7 6BH, UK Phone: 01993 830342 Website: