Bilby Bites - the food blog from Bilby Marketing

LittlePod Vanilla Beer launch

I have to start out by saying that I have been in love with vanilla since I was very young. Having discovered LittlePod’s special vanilla products at Dart’s Farm about a year ago, I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to attend the launch of their latest product, a vanilla infused dark ale, at the impressive 540 year old Tuckers Hall in Exeter. LittlePod was launched in 2010 by Janet Sawyer and has just celebrated it’s 2nd anniversary. The product range currently includes Madagascan bourbon vanilla pods, natural vanilla paste, pure bourbon vanilla extract, pure chocolate extract, as well as gift sets that make unusual and fabulous presents for friends and relatives who love to cook.

The focus of the launch was the Vanilla Beer, the result of LittlePod’s collaboration with Hunter’s Brewery, based at Ipplepen. Here, Littlepod have ventured away from their current extract and paste products, and come up with a very smooth, dark ale that I found reminiscent of a dark Czech beer from the U Fleku micro-brewery in Prague I tried, and very much enjoyed, nearly 20 years ago. I have to confess, I am not a regular beer drinker, although I do indulge if the mood takes me. The addition of vanilla and honey make this tipple very creamy and easy to drink. At 6% ABV, it is above your average beer alcohol content so I would hazard a guess that it is also plucky enough to appeal to serious ale fans.

Initially, the beer is set to be part of a £60 LittlePod hamper, put together especially to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, but is set to be rolled out as a product for separate retail sale towards the end of the year. The hampers, will include vanilla pods, extract and paste including a new coffee extract, as well as special edition vanilla soap and chocolate and vanilla fudges, further collaborations with local businesses. LittlePod, based in East Devon, run a sustainable operation, with a focus on the environment – their products are packaged in aluminium and glass for ease of recycling – and their main supplier is certified organic.

Janet and her team exude creative energy and the LittlePod branding is stylish, attractive and enticing. Janet is not only selling a quality range of products, she is behind a campaign to awaken people to the ‘enchanting story of vanilla’. Chefs, bakers and food producers across the country are already singing the praises of LittlePod’s products, including London chef Yotam Ottolenghi, pâtissier Leonel Gouveia and TV chef Manju Malhi, as well as our own local baking wonders, Ollie at The Exploding Bakery (Queen St Exeter) and Emma at The Real Food Store (Paris St Exeter). LittlePod have even been named as one of the Top 10 upcoming brands in the beautifully presented Army and Navy Club ‘Best of British’ commemorative book for the Queen’s Jubilee.

You can buy LittlePod products locally at both Dart’s Farm on the edge of Exeter or right in the middle of town at The Real Food Store in Paris Street.