At Bondgate Bakery we get on with our Christmas baking early – we like to get our Christmas cakes baked by the end of October. The reason? It allows all the ingredients to mature and consolidate, producing the lovely rich flavour of our Christmas cakes. Traditionally, Christmas treats such as Christmas Pudding would be made on Stir Up Sunday, the last Sunday before Advent. Each member of the family would take their turn stirring the pudding mix, making a wish for the year ahead as they did it.
We don’t make Christmas Puddings, however when you’re making the sheer numbers of Christmas cakes that we make here in Otley, there’s lots of opportunity when you’re stirring the mix to reflect on the year past and to make wishes for the year ahead. It has been an interesting year to say the least.
As an independent business what has hit home hardest is the price of nuts. It’s funny how world politics can affect something like a Christmas cake, but apparently it’s all down to exchange rates. All I know is that the price of nuts has gone through the roof. Dried fruit is really expensive too and flour has started to creep up.
A number of food producers have started putting their prices up so I know that it’s hitting everyone. If you’re making your own marzipan, as we do for our Stollen (we don’t use almond essence, which can be found in some of the cheaper Stollen) you’ll notice that almonds are more expensive.
However, now’s the time of year when we traditionally use fine ingredients and enjoy the best of food, to be shared with friends and family. It’s really important and a way of treasuring and thanking those we love.
At all times of the year I’m proud to see the wonderful ingredients we use in our baking. Free range eggs, locally sourced produce where possible, ethically sourced too. We call it baking with integrity. It’s about making everything the best we can so that our customers can enjoy the results.
Wishing all our customers a very merry Christmas and a peaceful 2017.