The Treats from the Kitchen Story
We are a small family run business working in our home kitchen in the beautiful East Hertfordshire countryside.
We love to bake artisan treats by hand, in small batches, for everyone to enjoy.
Karen is our baker, she has always baked. Learning to bake by watching her Nan, she made fairy cakes, bread and butter pudding, donuts and hazelnut toffee for her Dad. All the old favourites. It was a win win situation.
We started Treats from the Kitchen in 2011 at the Folk by the Oak Festival.
Running a cake stall for the first time, we didn't know what to expect, so baked a few cupcakes and treats and they started selling like hot cakes! We had soon sold out.
We learnt a lot from this first experience and we also got asked if we had any gluten free treats or any for people that suffered from diabetes.
The following year, we were invited back and baked more, including some gluten free and diabetic treats.
As the last year was so busy we asked an experienced friend to join us at the festival to help with the sales. It all went well and we sold out again. Many people enjoyed the gluten free and diabetic treats and we got more interest.
2013 came and we were back at Folk by the Oak. By this time we had created many more gluten free treats and some dairy free treats also.
We had baked a cardamom loaf cake and a customer asked for more details. Our friend said "Its cake, it tastes of cardamom, what more do you need to know?" it was so funny. He is our secret weapon and has got the patter to sell any treat.
We also baked oak shaped lavender shortbread biscuits for backstage and the bands that were performing on the day got to enjoy these.
2014 came around and we baked even more treats for Folk by the Oak. The festival was getting bigger and more people were coming to our stall for their fix of treats.
Some of the treats were gluten free, some dairy free, some vegan and not gluten free, some were not gluten and dairy free. We tried to cater for everyone with their own allergies or intolerances.
The labels for the treats had to be clear for our customers so they could choose their treats. It all got very confusing! But was another sell out for us.
So it continued and 2015 and 2016 were very similar. We were grateful for our returning customers, and we saw some buying earlier as they knew we would sell out again.
It was after Folk by the Oak 2016 that it all got serious. We started experimenting with various gluten free flours to see if we could make our own blend. We were never satisfied with the shop bought gluten free flours.
After lots of trial and error (more errors to be honest, but that's how you learn) our own blend of flours came together. We could now create a beautifully risen, moist, non-crumbly, nice tasting sponge. We had finally cracked it.
Although now all our bakes were gluten free, they were not all dairy free. So we started experimenting with the various dairy free spreads on the market. We eventually found one which met our standards for taste. We could now create dairy free cream frosting.
In 2017 at Folk by the Oak, we moved outside the craft tent into our own marquee. By now every treat was gluten, wheat and dairy free with some vegan options too. It was so much simpler for us and our customers.
Customers would come over and ask what is gluten free / dairy free and we could now say all of it. Their eyes lit up as they had so much choice, they couldn't believe it and thought we were joking. They never knew what to buy.
Another first in 2017 was that all our plates, forks and bags also became recyclable and compostable. Talking to our customers and learning about their allergies is something we enjoy very much and we have found out that some customers have very complex allergies.
Some vegans can have an allergy to peanuts or other nuts. Other customers have an allergy to citrus peel or certain fruits. Others have and allergy to some nuts, but not to others.
We always have an ingredient list on our stall, listing the allergens in our treats. Customers can now check to see for themselves.
2018 find us with up to 4 of us working on the stall.
All our treats are now made gluten, wheat and dairy free and a good few are now vegan too.
We have recently cracked the secret of a vegan vanilla sponge, which made its debut at the first Theatre in the Fields in July 2018.
Gluten and dairy free Yorkshire puddings are available but not vegan just yet - watch this space though.
There are now more vegan treats available this year and we have also stated accepting card payments.
It has been a long journey and we are still learning. The next challenge will be to look into bread and pastries.
Over this last year we have ventured further afield to food festivals and other types of festivals as we look to expand and take our mission out further.