Wednesday 13 January 2016

An open Secrett

No, that is not a typo. I'm writing today about a local family business called Secretts. It is situated in the town of Milford, Surrey, just a few miles from where I live.

Secretts is a fine example of what I think of as "Foodie Heaven" - the sort of place you go when you need something really special to eat (or drink). The term "Aladdin's Cave" comes to mind - a veritable treasure trove of edible goodies of every description!  Jane and I are long-time customers of Secretts and didn't hesitate when we received an invitation from Shirlee Posner, [@SecrettsMilford] who handles the social media presence for the business, to meet her at Milford and learn a bit more about the firm and its merchandise.

We met Shirlee at the Farm Shop, but since it was a cold wet Sunday afternoon we went straight away into Eliza's Tearoom (the on-site café) for a hot drink and a chat before exploring the shop.

We immediately realised that we had a lot in common - and it was not confined to social media! Like us, Shirlee lived for many years in the Far East (specifically Singapore and Taiwan), so she has an extensive knowledge of oriental cuisine. If you want to know more about Shirlee and her business, please visit her website Eat Surrey.

Naturally, our chief interest on this occasion was in renewing our acquaintance with the fabulous range of goodies available in the Secretts shop. Actually, to call it a shop is to underestimate it. It is a whole collection of shops. Apart from the main Farm Shop, there is also a high-class butcher (Black Barn Butchers), a wine-merchant (Hawkins Bros), a Café (Eliza's Tearoom), Jo's Jumpers fashion and jewellery shop, etc. The first thing you see when you go into the farm shop is this fabulous cheese counter, stocking over 300 varieties of cheese. As good as anything you could find in France!

Talking of France, I spotted some "Bleu des Causses", a cheese not well known in England, but coincidentally one that was served by our daughter Fiona when we visited her in France at Christmas.
(Top right in photo below). It is sometimes described as a milder version of Roquefort.

Moving on past the cheese you come (appropriately) to the biscuits section...

Some of these are really weird. I bet Charcoal Squares are an acquired taste!

It was nice to see that the chocolate section included several types that are sugar-free and thus acceptable for diabetics;

These candy-canes might appeal to the non-diabetics!

Secretts specialises in local products, and this fact was very evident. This fine selection of charcuterie emanates from the Weald Smokery in Flimwell on the Sussex Weald.

For any non-British readers, let me point out that Secretts is situated in the county of Surrey, which is next to West Sussex, from where comes this Sussex Fruit Cake. (Note: I was disappointed to see that that there was no sign of the famous Hampshire Lardy Cake.)

There are lots of fresh / perishable items too, such as these fantastic-looking sausage rolls and "man-size" samosas:

And of course the traditional British pies!

You want sweet things? What about these cakes?

or Gingerbread from Horsham, just a few miles down the road...

It was nice to see our local rapeseed oils on display (from Crondall, just near Fleet).

Of course there are exotic things too, such as this Himalayan Pink Salt:

And this lovely Pomegranate Molasses.

I was tempted by this shopping-bag. In retrospect, I really should have bought it!

I think our granddaughter Lara would love this Chocolate Cookie tin in the shape of an Aga cooker:

For the beer-lovers, how about these offerings from nearby Hog's Back Brewery in Farnham?

TEA is Traditional English Ale!

Of course, for me the high point of the visit was the vegetables...

Brussels Tops


Tomatoes - definitely NOT local!

A fine display of Winter veg

In view of my puny efforts with Celeriac, I suppose I have to show you these too...

This though is what Secretts is probably best known for - their salads - which they sell to most of the high-end restaurants in London and the South-East:

Well, I could go on and on, but I think I had better leave it there ("leave it" - get it? Salad leaves... )

Let me just say that my feeling is that shops like Secretts demonstrate that despite our perception that supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsburys dominate the food scene in the UK, there are still loads of high-quality artisan food-producers in our country, and they are not really that hard to find - so go out and find them please! (First stop: Secretts!)

Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment or inducement for writing this post, and all views and photographs are my own.


  1. I would love to go there!
    It is early morning here, this has made me so hungry! I've got to eat breakfast NOW!
    Have a great day!

  2. Heaven, indeed. I would probably got stuck at the cheese counter!

  3. It looks a good place Mark - a good review. We have a similar set up locally called the Hawarden Estate Farmshop which is also a great place to visit.

  4. I think you'll have to go back and buy that bag! It's nice to have that sort of place that is convenient to get to occasionally. I would haunt the cheese case if I lived nearby. Did you buy the Pomegranate molasses? That is one of my favorite condiments and I actually have two brands open at the moment, one of them is quite tart and the other sweet. I used some of the tart one in a marinade for lamb rib chops last night.

    1. You are right,that bag is/was so "me". I should have had it! And, no, I didn't buy the Pomegranate Molasses, mainly because I am unfamiliar with it - hence my asking on Twitter for ideas. Maybe next time we visit I'll get some, since I now have plenty of ideas about what to do with it.

  5. Looks like a great place to shop Mark. I didn't know that Hampshire was famous for lardy cake, it originated in Wiltshire. Being a Dorset girl I grew up with lardy cake, have you ever made it? it is easy.

    1. We Hampshire people claim the credit for Lardy Cake too! According to Wikipedia (unreliable, I know) its origin is disputed between Hants, Wilts, Glos and Dorset. It just means we all like it!

  6. Looks like a fantastic shop(s) My kind of place!

  7. I would love to have a place like that near me. It was interesting to see them selling broccoli tops, something I have never seen here. I will have to try using mine, if I ever grow sprouts again.


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