Made in Somerset: Valentine's Day gift guide
PUBLISHED: 15:29 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:25 14 February 2017
This Valentine's Day why not give a gift made in our own fair county? Rachel Sharpe rounds up a selection of favourites
The last records for distilling Cider Brandy in England date back to 1678, before The Somerset Cider Brandy Company revived the tradition in 1987, when they obtained the first commercial distilling license in English recorded history. Based in Burrow Hill, everything from growing the apples through to distilling in the copper tower stills and then maturing in oak casks for up to 20 years is done on site. There’s no need for Calvados when you’ve got this superior tipple distilled on your doorstep.
Founded by Mary Temperley, MAKE Skincare provides luxurious natural products using only the finest quality ingredients available. On discovering that many skincare products are not quite what they say they are and that they often contain a multitude of dubious ingredients, Mary started making her own products. Today all products are still made made by hand in a converted barn tucked away in Isle Abbotts and are now stocked in outlets including John Lewis. The MAKE ethos is that just as we care about what we eat, we should also place the same importance on what we put on our skin, so they use only the finest natural ingredients available – they are actually safe enough to eat. Made using a wide array of exotic oils and plant-derived ingredients, they make a great gift for a beauty buff.
The Merchant Fox is a celebration of British tradition, design and manufacture, based in Wellington. Part of Fox Brothers, the renowned woollen and worsted cloth mill, the brand utilizes world-class, timeless design for the creation of beautiful, remarkable things, including their hand worked cloth. Their products demonstrate the classic combination of British made luxury and British design and you can be assured the collection is made in Britain using the finest of materials and expert craftsmanship. Founded in 1772, in its illustrious history ‘Fox Flannel’ has been worn by all manner of folk and famous faces, adorning amongst many others, the Duke of Windsor, Sir Winston Churchill and Hollywood legend, Cary Grant.
All you need is love. But some artisan chocolates don’t hurt either. The Choc on Choc story started in 2003 in Rode Villiage, Bath, when father and daughter, Kerr Dunlop and Flo Broughton, were messing about in the kitchen, filling rubber moulds shaped as noughts and crosses with chocolate, thinking that that they would make nice presents for the family. Soon enough they decided to go into business, had orders from several shops and came up with the original, and now patented, idea of layering chocolate on top of chocolate, creating beautiful and unique designs. Today, the company us still run by Kerr and Flo and based in Rode Villiage. The creative range has something for everyone and is a feast for both the eyes and the tastebuds.
Living and working in Bath, independent jewellery designer and maker Su Trindle works in silver and resin. Her handmade pieces are bold, colourful and geometric with strong linear elements – perfect for adding a stylish pop of colour to your outfits. Abstract sculpture of the early 20th century is a recurring source of inspiration for Su.
Doris & Co, based in Chard, is devoted to making English creamware pottery and home wares using old fashioned methods traditional to England. The shapes and designs are based on Georgian or Early Industrial shapes, from the time that pottery and home wares were still made by hand. In our opinion these mugs are the perfect mix of beauty and utility. Sometimes nothing says ‘I love you’ like a mug of hot tea in a new mug.
Did you know that the ‘candle in a tin’ was invented here in Somerset? Well it was, by Lily-Flame! After discovering her passion for candle making, former model Jo Nicholls and her business partner Luc drove Jo’s handmade candles all over the UK from their trusty ex-Royal Mail van, ‘Martha’, for eight years. These days their successful range is manufactured in the wilds of the Glastonbury countryside, in a converted cowshed. Yep, Lily-Flame is as far removed from a faceless corporation as you can get. We love the eye-catching packaging but it’s the exquisite scents that’ll win your heart, or win you Brownie points.
Looking for an exclusive, beautifully crafted tote bag? There’s no need to look outside of the county. Jinny Wessel designs and makes her luxury hand stitched leather goods – stunning tote bags, beautifully made messenger bags, clutch bags, travel wallets and more – right here in Somerset. Jinny uses the finest vegetable tanned leathers from Italy and the strongest waxed French linen thread to produce each design to order, resulting in a truly unique finish to each and every item. Practical, beautiful and made to last.