Recipe & Gift Idea — Homemade Sloe Gin

It’s that time of the year again where the dreaded words "holly", "turkey", and "presents" are starting to make an appearance.

Unless you fall under the age of adolescence, this time of the year can become a little bit of a drag – full of worry, stress, and copious amounts of wrapping paper – no wonder we swear by the words, "Eat, drink, and be merry!" during this season!

Sloe gin has made a huge comeback over recent years. It’s extremely easy to make and it can taste out-of-this-world if left to steep for long enough. Taking the steps to make your very own sloe gin requires minimal effort for maximum reward.


 Small bottles of homemade sloe gin tied with a little ribbon make the cutest gifts, and the act of making it will help you get into the spirit without the stress of the high streets. We guarantee it’ll soon become an annual ritual.

This autumn we took time out of our daily grind and headed up onto Dartmoor to start picking our wild sloes. With the fresh, crisp air and those beautiful moorland colours, autumn is the perfect time for picking sloes; they're at their ripest and are fairly easier to find.

Foraging for sloes in autumn also allows you enough time for the alcohol to soak up their beautiful flavour, not to mention that gorgeous berry red colour to get you in the mood for the Christmas season.

For storage, we like to use Kilner Jars – they’re the prefect size, are easy to pour and, of course, they’re air tight making them perfect for batch production for all your friends and family! 



  • 280g ripe sloes, washed
  • 140g sugar
  • 600ml of gin


  1. Put the sloes in a 1 litre Kilner jar, pour over the sugar and the gin. Close the lid and shake.
  2. Store the jar preferably in a dark cupboard, shaking once every day until sugar has all dissolved.
  3. Depending on the preference, between 2- 6 months strain out the sloes, using a muslin-lined funnel placed in a bottle. We used our Kilner bottles.

Tip: If your gin looks slightly cloudy, filter out the offending particles using filter paper in a funnel.

Abby Millar
Winter Recipe – Spiced Carrot Porridge

That time has come — the clocks have turned back, the days are shorter, and it’s suddenly turned that little bit chillier. As the alarm sounds before 7am, we swoop open our curtains hoping to be greeted by a beautiful day, but instead we find darkness.

At this time of year, we know it’s difficult to muster up the courage not to wrap up in your dressing gown and jump back into bed. Everyone has experienced a little bit of S.A.D. with lower mood and energy levels as we have less sunlight, so we’ve been working on a delicious winter spiced porridge recipe for you to wake up to. And, even better, you can tick-off as many of your five a day as you like by adding fruit!

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This winter spiced carrot porridge is made using hearty, slow-release rolled oats and naturally sweet grated carrot. With warming winter spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, this comforting bowl will keep you going until your elevenses Devonshire Tea break, whilst fuelling your body with the goodness it needs to combat those dreaded early-winter colds.

Oats have been proven to have many benefits, including helping with weight loss, lowering blood sugar levels and a reducing the risk of heart disease. This recipe is suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and it’s perfect to enjoy with with a cup of Classic Breakfast.

Why not give this delicious recipe a try as we move into winter and see if it you feel a little more energetic? If you do, we’d love to see your creations, so be sure to share and tag us!

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  • 50g (½ cup) porridge oats
  • 250ml (1 cup) unsweetened almond milk (or cows milk if you prefer)
  • 50g (½ cup) raw grated carrot
  • 1 tsp maple / agave syrup (or your favourite natural sweetener)
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp ground ginger
  • A pinch of sea salt


  1. Place all ingredients into a pan over a medium heat.
  2. Stirring frequently, simmer gently for 5-7 minutes, or until it reaches your desired consistency. Add more milk to suit.
  3. Serve and top with oats, seeds and fruit. We think this recipe works nicely topped with pecan nuts, pumpkin seeds and a little more maple syrup.


Abby Millar
Elegant Earl Grey Chocolate — A Collaboration & Competition with Chococo

We’ve always maintained that chocolate and tea is a match made in heaven, so we were delighted when Chococo asked Devonshire Tea to be the very first Devon brand to collaborate with them to create a brand new flavour infusion, and to help celebrate the success of their Exeter Chocolate House.

After lots of planning and development by their chocolatiers, the Elegant Earl Grey chocolate was born. A delightfully fragrant creation, these inspired chocolates are created by infusing real Earl Grey loose leaf tea with fresh Dorset cream and a Venezuelan-origin 43% milk chocolate ganache. This delicate filling is then piped into a Madagascan 67% dark chocolate shell.

Subtle and sophisticated — serious chocolate!

Since we had so much fun collaborating on these wonderful chocolates, we popped into Chococo’s Exeter Chocolate House on Gandy Street to meet with founder and chocolate aficionado, Claire Burnet.

We chatted over steaming mugs of Madagascan hot chocolate (well, it can’t always be tea!), and discussed everything from the wonders of cocoa beans and the differences with real chocolate, to the importance of South West businesses supporting each other.

Here’s what Claire had to say...

When did you establish Chococo and what inspired you to do so?

I established Chococo back in 2002 with my husband Andy. We were inspired by the fact that no-one was making truly fresh chocolates using local ingredients or origin chocolate at that time in the UK. The inspiration came from the chocolate experiences I had on the continent back in the late 1980s, when my parents lived in Brussels and Holland where we used to visit artisan chocolatiers making truly fresh chocolates on their premises. I wanted to recreate this connection with fine, fresh chocolate when setting up Chococo.

Why did you choose Exeter as the location for your third shop?

Exeter is a fantastic vibrant city with a buzzing local food culture and a number of thriving independent businesses. It’s also close enough for us to supply our chocolate house on Gandy Street from our chocolate kitchen in Wareham, in Dorset. When we saw the unit on Gandy Street, we knew it would make a perfect location for our third chocolate house; as there is space for both our chocolate shop and for seating. We pictured our customers sitting back and enjoying our origin hot chocolates, locally roasted Crankhouse coffees and Devonshire Tea all in one spot.

How would you describe a Chococo customer?

We appeal to customers of all ages. Chococo is a shop for anyone who appreciates fine chocolate and spending quality time with their friends and family.   

Why is it important for you to work with local businesses such as ourselves?

Working with local suppliers has been part of our DNA since we set up Chococo back in 2002 and we have built strong relationships with other food producers over the years. For example, we have worked with Trevor Craig of Craig’s Farm Dairy based just outside Weymouth (suppliers of all Chococo’s fresh cream since day one).

We love to support local producers because together we can help support the local economy and spread the word about the amazing food and drink that is being produced in Dorset, Hampshire and Devon. Collaboration also allows us to create chocolates with unusual local ingredients - and believe me, we’ve done just that. Blue Vinny cheese, fresh wasabi, watercress & Black Cow vodka are all ingredients that have all made their way into our products in one way or another. We love the challenge of creating new and innovative chocolates.

We also love to champion local food and drink producers in our cafés too. The coffee our customers enjoy in our Exeter chocolate house is slightly different to that served in our Swanage or Winchester houses. In Exeter, we work with Crankhouse Coffee, roasted in Exeter, and in Winchester we work with Moonroast Coffee. This also applies to our tea suppliers, so naturally our Exeter customers enjoy a cup of Devonshire Tea.

Can you give us an example of how you’ve worked with another local producer?

Would you believe we’ve used watercress in one of our chocolates? We ran a competition in our Winchester chocolate house where we asked our customers to suggest a chocolate with local flavours that would capture the essence of Hampshire. The final result was our Totally Twisted Nose chocolate, which is a blend of fresh Dorset cream infused with fresh watercress from the Watercress company (Dorset and Hampshire), origin white chocolate, and Twisted Nose Gin. This unique gin is crafted by Paul Bowler of the Winchester Distillery and one of the botanicals he uses is watercress, so this totally bonkers chocolate is a real taste of Hampshire! It is also quite delicious and won a Gold Academy of Chocolate Award in 2015.

Competition Time!

WIN a box of Elegant Earl Grey Chocolates and a selection of Devonshire Tea with Chococo

To celebrate our partnership with Chococo, we have teamed up to offer a delicious prize of a box of their Elegant Earl Grey chocolates and a set of 4 boxes of Devonshire Tea: Earl Grey, Classic Breakfast, Delightful Afternoon and Assam Origin. Visit the competition page over on the Chococo website to enter — good luck!

Richard Heath
Wonderful Spring Events in the South West

We can’t wait to get out and enjoy the spring sunshine at one of the many wonderful events taking place across the South West this season. There’s everything on offer, from colourful foodie markets to action packed polo on the beach! So, whether you would prefer to dance the night away or play a leisurely game of boules, there’s guaranteed to be something on our list for you and friends & family to enjoy…

Bristol Foodies Festival

12-14 May • Durdham Downs, Bristol


Dubbed the “Gastronomic Glastonbury”, Bristol Foodies Festival is the UK's largest celebration of food and drink. This year, visitors can expect a new and exciting Healthy Living focus, with stalls and demonstrations themed around topics such as ‘Grow Your Own’, and Gluten Free Cooking. There will also be a Dessert & Cake Theatre for guests with a sweet tooth, and a Kids' Cookery Theatre for budding little chefs. →

Dart Music Festival

12-14 May • Dartmouth, Devon


Now in its 20th year, the Dart Music Festival will play host to a number of fabulous acts spanning almost every musical genre. Expect an eclectic mix of orchestral, rock, choral, blues, opera, folk, and jazz performances at a variety of indoor and outdoor venues including hotels, pubs, restaurants – and even two churches – throughout the weekend.

This popular event is free to attend and is set against the marvellous backdrop of the River Dart. →

St. Ives Food & Drink Festival

13-14 May • Porthminster Beach, St Ives, Cornwall


Taste, try and buy the finest flavours and tastes that Cornwall has to offer at this two day event. Some of the best chefs in the county will be on hand to give cooking demonstrations and visitors can peruse stalls filled with food and drink from fantastic producers from across the UK.

The event blends cooking and baking, so whether you’re more at home with a saucepan or a cake tin, you’ll no doubt come away with plenty of tips and tricks to improve your cookery thanks to the many expert demonstrations on offer. →

Polo on the Beach

19-21 May • Watergate Bay, Newquay, Cornwall

Watergate Bay’s award-winning Aspall Polo on the Beach is back in 2017 for its tenth year. The action packed spectacle attracts thousands of people every year and showcases world-class polo, equestrian displays, and family entertainment against the fabulous backdrop of Watergate Bay.

In addition to the polo matches, visitors can also look forward to various forms of arena entertainment, such as horse jousting and stunt displays, polo demonstrations, and even Segway polo! Beach entertainment will include family activities, Segway taster sessions and delicious food and drink stalls. →

Falmouth Street Food Festival

26-29 May • Falmouth Harbour, Cornwall

Events Square will once again host a variety of pop up stalls from some of Cornwall’s finest street food producers. The event brings together flavours from around the world as well as craft ales from the numerous Cornish micro breweries like Padstow Brewing Company and Keltek Cornish Brewery.

Look forward to live performances right through the weekend and undercover seating, so you can eat, drink, shop and dance all weekend long – regardless of the weather! → 

River Cottage Spring Fair

27-29 May • River Cottage HQ, Axminster, Devon


Set against the idyllic backdrop of River Cottage HQ, the Spring Fair promises to be a wonderful occasion for the entire family.

Not only do children under 16 come for free, but the event will be brimming with activities, including chef demonstrations, artisan food stalls, live music and garden and foraging tours from River Cottage’s very own foraging guru John Wright. → 

Flavour Fest  

2-4 June • Plymouth City Centre, Devon

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This exciting weekend event will see Plymouth Piazza transformed into a lively festival, brimming with local delicacies and live music.

You’ll find more than 100 traders showcasing the very best regional produce, and live cookery demonstrations from talented celebrity chefs such the Tanner Brothers and Mitch Tonks.

The Fun Kitchen will also return to Sundial Square this year, hosting three days of hourly workshops to keep children entertained throughout the event. → 

Bath Boules

9-11 June • Queen Square, Bath

Without a doubt Bath Boules is one of the highlights of this historic city’s calendar. Combining the most English of occasions with a quintessentially French game, participants and onlookers are guaranteed to have a terrific time.

There will be a cafe and bar on site as well as plenty of street food, an evening party, and ample entertainment for the kids. Bath Boules is a real mini festival in the heart of the city and, best of all, proceeds from the event will go toward local charities. →

Gabriella Dyson
Tea with… Artist Becky Bettesworth

Few artists can capture the essence of the British coastline like Becky Bettesworth. Her vintage seaside posters are instantly recognisable, with their explosive colours and iconic subject matter.

Inspired by vintage 1930s travel posters, Becky celebrates the natural beauty of the South West of England and has created a series of high quality poster prints in homage to some of her favourite locations in the region.

Becky moved to Devon in 2001, where she now lives with her husband, three children and golden retriever Twiggy, just a stone’s throw from one of South Devon’s many idyllic beaches. With such talent right on our doorstep we were keen to get together and find out more about her creative process and what she loves about living in this part of the world…

What inspires you?

The beautiful beaches I am lucky to have on our doorstep in Devon. The natural beauty and natural elements, glistening seas, wide windswept beaches, rugged coastal paths all make up the scenery of where I live. Sharing special times and moments with my family and friends.

Your work is instantly recognisable. How long did it take you to perfect your style?

My style has evolved very naturally. I am true to myself and I ensure that each picture isn’t rushed but created individually in order to capture the unique and individual elements of what makes each place so special.

Can you describe your studio space?

I surround myself with things I love and that hold a special meaning and memory to me. I have an eclectic mix of mementos which I have collected over time, all of which inspire me. My postal room is organised by my amazing team with everything still being packaged and posted from my studio at home to add that personal touch.

What would you say your favourite part of your job is?

Being creative! Seeing an initial idea and thought process right through to the fruition of creating a final picture is wonderful and I never lose that complete joy at producing a new piece.

What about least favourite?

Admin and emails! But I luckily have an amazing assistant who helps to keep me organised!

Are you a tea drinker or a coffee fan?

Tea every time! It tastes all the better in a pretty china cup, probably picked up in a second hand shop and served from a beautiful tea pot.

What do you love about living in this part of the world?

I am so lucky to have all this stunning coastal and countryside right on my doorstep in Devon. The rugged coastline, pretty unspoilt coves and long sandy beaches contrasting with the wild beauty of Dartmoor.

Where is your favourite place to take a stroll with the family?

We can walk straight from home along the coastal path to a variety of picturesque beaches. We’ll stop off with a thermos of tea, cakes for the children and throw some stones into the sea for our dog, Twiggy.

You give a lot back to the local community through your work. What charities and causes are you most passionate about?

I get many requests to support both local and national charities and causes and I certainly try to help whenever I am able. I love the fact that my pictures give pleasure to so many people and this can help many wonderful and worthy causes, this certainly touches my heart.

Where can our readers buy your prints?

My full collection can be bought directly from my website which includes my newly released North West pictures. I also supply a few lovely shops within the local area.

Wonderful Festive Events in the South West

Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year, and there are few better places to celebrate this magical time of year than here in the South West.

Whether it’s an illuminated walk with all the family, putting your feet up with a glass of mulled wine or simply doing a spot of shopping, these 10 events are sure to get you in the mood for the festive season…

Longleat Festival of Light

11 Nov - 2 Jan • Warminster, Wiltshire

Longleat park has been transformed into a glowing winter wonderland to mark the Safari Park’s 50th Anniversary the park.

This year it will play host to Europe’s largest Chinese Lantern Festival in a celebration of all creatures great and small, alongside the help of a host of Beatrix Potter characters.

Join Peter Rabbit and his friends among famous scenes from the books and watch as the historic location lights up the night sky. →

Candlelit Dartmouth

25-26 Nov • Dartmouth, Devon

Rekindle the childhood magic of Christmas by attending this beautiful candlelit procession in the South Devon town of Dartmouth.

Set alongside the river Dart, the Elizabethan streets of Dartmouth will come alive with the glow of Christmas lanterns generating a marvellous seasonal atmosphere that attracts revelers from all across the country.

There will be street stalls selling a range of locally made fare, plenty of carol singing, and traditional hot chestnuts roasting over open fires. →

MAKE 2016 at The Devon Guild of Craftsmen

19 Nov - 2 Jan • Bovey Tracey, Devon

To find a truly unique gift this season pay a visit to the Devon Guild of Craftsmen’s annual Christmas selling exhibition 'MAKE'.

The event showcases over 50 designer-makers from across the UK and contains works in a variety of disciplines at a range of prices to suit everyone. →

Après Ski Bar at The Abbey Hotel, Bath

24 Nov - 8 Jan • North Parade, Bath

For the past four years The Abbey Hotel’s Après Ski Bar has become a much loved part of the Bath Christmas scene, bringing a much needed dash of alpine ambience to the city centre.

The venue acts as the perfect spot to put your feet up and enjoy a glass of something festive and also doubles up as a magical winter wonderland for children. →

Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt

25 Nov - 18 Dec • Tetbury, Gloucestershire

Illuminated walks don’t get much prettier than the Enchanted Christmas trail at Westonbirt. The magically lit-up trail is 1-mile-long and perfect for the whole family.

Along the way you will find plenty of interactive features to get involved in and afterward you can look forward to warming up with mulled wine and hot chocolate while listening to Christmas carols.

The trail is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening from 25 November to 18 December. →

Festive Selection

Our Festive Selection includes all four of our blends collected for Christmas: Classic Breakfast, Earl Grey, Delightful Afternoon, and Assam Origin.

20 stitched & wrapped teabags (5 of each).

All of our tea is from estates monitored by the Ethical Tea Partnership to protect workers and the environment.

FREE DELIVERY with personal orders of 3+ packs.

Add To Cart

Festive Pop-Up Shop at the Architecture Centre

19 Nov - 23 Dec • Bristol

This year the Architecture Centre will once again collaborate with Made in Bristol by transforming its gallery space into a seasonal shopping hub.

Head along to this exciting pop-up for tips on sustainable ways to shop and to meet local makers. You can learn first-hand about their creative process, discover the latest trends and support the South West’s thriving creative economy. →

Festival of Light at The Eden Project

25 Nov - 2 Jan • Bodelva, Cornwall

Christmas is a magical time at the Eden Project.

From twilight, the whole site will light up with thousands of glistening lights and children can look forward to a visit from Father Christmas and his elves.

Skate on the specially-built ice rink or head over to the Eden Project café for some hearty seasonal food. →

Hartley Farm Christmas Fayre

26 Nov • Winsley, Wiltshire

Get out into the countryside and into the festive spirit at Hartley Farm this month. Enjoy a glass of mulled wine and food from over 15 of the region’s best local producers as well as live music courtesy of S4xophony and Courgae Choir.

There will be a bar full of festive, warming drinks and a fantastic line up of cooking demos, including Henry Herbert (of the Fabulous Baker Boys) and Hartley’s very own Head Chef & Head Butcher. →

Made in Bristol Gift Fair

26 Nov & 3/10/11 Dec • Colston Hall, Bristol

The Made in Bristol Gift Fair takes place in the majestic foyer of Colston Hall and offers visitors the chance to browse more than 200 stalls of hand-crafted products and artwork.

The event is ideal for those looking to source unique and original Christmas gifts this year, with each show offering a unique selection of the region’s most skilled designer-makers, from weavers to carpenters; ceramicists to print makers.

Entry to the event is free and it will take place throughout four separate days during November and December.

madeinbristol →

Bowood House Christmas Extravaganza

24 Nov • Calne, Wiltshire

This year Bowood House – the family home of the Marchioness of Lansdown – is getting a spectacular Christmas makeover and visitors are invited along to indulge in a touch of festive shopping.

Peruse a variety of stunning stalls filled with handmade toys, food, clothes, books, silk flowers, handbags and table decorations, plus a choir singing in the chapel. A Christmas café serving hot drinks and festive favourites will be open throughout the day. →

Gabriella Dyson