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meet

Cotswold Gold

Winner of the ‘Best Food Product or Producer’ at this year’s Cotswold Life Food & Drink awards, and finalist in the ‘Sustainability and Environment’ category, Cotswold Gold is a shining example of how small-scale producers can think big. Charlie Beldam, founder and producer of Cotswold Gold, tells us why we should all be switching to olive oil’s home-grown alternative…

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1. How did Cotswold Gold come about?

I started Cotswold Gold in 2010 after completing a successful project on adding value to crops during my finals at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester. My family farm near Broadway already grew rapeseed so the project was based around diversifying into creating the highest quality cold pressed rapeseed oil for cooking. On graduating, I took the decision to put my business idea into action and today Cotswold Gold produces about 300,000 litres of oil a year.

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2. How have you managed to build such a popular following?

We started out at a grass roots level spending most weekends at food shows getting as many people as we could to try our products and spread the word not only of Cotswold Gold but the benefits of using cold pressed rapeseed oil generally. A number of TV appearances alongside chefs such as Raymond Blanc and James Martin as well as winning quite a trophy cabinet of awards over the years has helped to build Cotswold Gold into a leading rapeseed oil brand.

3. Describe the flavour of Cotswold Gold oil…

Cotswold Gold oil has a delicious light nutty flavour which is smooth and disappears off the palate quickly leaving no oily film within the mouth. These flavour qualities make it the ideal oil to use for everything from dressings, dips and marinades to frying, roasting and even baking.

We also have a range of natural infusions, including, chilli, lemon, rosemary, dill, garlic and smoked, as well as two Drizzle dressings and mayonnaises.

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4. We’ve all been using olive oil for years – why should we convert to rapeseed oil?

Cold pressed rapeseed oil* is a healthy alternative to other cooking oils on the market because of its natural range of nutritional benefits which are preserved during the cold pressing process, including;

  • High levels of omegas 3, 6, 9
  • Rich in vitamin E
  • It has less than half the saturated fat of olive oil
  • It is very low cholesterol (0.1%).

One of the main advantages of using our rapeseed oil over olive oil is that it has a flash point of 240°C, olive oil is only 110°C, after which it burns. This makes cold pressed rapeseed oil the best oil to use for roasting, stir-frying and wok cooking.

We also think it’s important to support British agriculture and by using Cotswold Gold you are enjoying a product that is 100% grown, pressed and bottled in the UK (the Cotswolds to be precise).

*It is important to distinguish between cold pressed rapeseed oil and standard rapeseed oil which does not contain the same health benefits.

5. What is your best-selling product?

Our best-seller in terms of volume is our original Cotswold Gold Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil because it is such a versatile kitchen staple for all of your everyday cooking. We also have people who claim to be addicted to our Raspberry Drizzle and it’s often a sell-out at food shows. It’s great over salads but can also be used as a marinade for meat and vegetables.

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6. As well as the recent Cotswold Life Food & Drink awards, what other awards have you won?

We have been very lucky to have picked up a number of awards over the years, including, Cotswold Life Food Hero of the Year for Charlie Beldam, the Western Daily Press Best Food Business of the Year, Taste of Gloucestershire Food Business of the Year and Charlie won Best Young Farmer of the Year.

Our products have won gold stars at the Guild of Fine Food, Cotswold Life Food Product of the year, Best Food Product in the Heart of England as well as Best Business and Young Entrepreneur awards.

Whilst it’s not all about shiny awards we believe this recognition demonstrates our commitment to producing really high-quality products.

7. We’ve heard that some top celebrity chefs use your oil?

Cotswold Gold is a staple in many restaurant kitchens of top chefs including Raymond Blanc, Martin Blunos, James Martin, Tom Sellers and Simon Rogan to name a few. We currently supply Le Manoir, Claridges and Restaurant Story in London as well as The Lygon Arms in Broadway.

We work closely with a number of chefs both locally and across the UK and feel that the quality product and personal service we have to offer has helped us to build a sustainable business in the restaurant sector, whether fine dining or fish and chips like that at Russell’s of Broadway.

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8. How should we use Cotswold Gold oils at home?

Cotswold Gold can be used in place of any oil in your kitchen and can even replace butter in cakes and bread. We believe our oil will cook better roast potatoes than goose fat!

Try mixing the infusions together to create new flavours, for example, use equal parts of smoked, chilli and garlic oil as a base to a stir-fry.

9. Which product should Warner’s customers try next?

The White Truffle Oil. We’ve been making this oil for about nine years and it is really popular. The richness of our oil is a great carrier for truffle. The White Truffle Oil is best used as a finishing oil drizzled over pasta dishes, risotto (especially mushroom or chicken), mashed potato and soups. It has a strong, earthy flavour so a few drops go a long way. 

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