Food Heroes: Belinda Clark Confectioner
Belinda Clark’s handmade gourmet marshmallows are a very distant relative of the pink and white childhood treats that may spring to mind when you hear the word “marshmallows”. Intrigued? You should be! In our latest interview we talk to Yumbles seller Belinda Clark and find out more about how her journey as a gourmet confectioner began.
When and how did you start making marshmallows?
We started about a year and a half ago. It all began because I tried a recipe for raspberry marshmallow – and it was a revelation! So, so different from the typical pink and whites. I gave some to friends and family…and it grew from there really! I got requests to make marshmallows, went on a one day business course, and made my first tentative enquiry to see if a shop would like to stock them. By August 2013 I was so busy that I decided to take the leap and give up the day job to focus on the business (I was a Project Manager for 11 Local Authorities working on a fostering contract).
What makes your marshmallows special?
An obsession with quality – taste and texture. I have made and discarded so many flavours that are not ‘true’ to themselves. For example, I have made peach marshmallows using fresh peach puree, but they just didn’t taste like fresh peach! Everything I use – whether its home made salted caramel or Belgian chocolate – is about a true flavour and a melt-in-the-mouth texture.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Coffee and toast. Then down to emails and orders, reviewing and responding enquiries, planning the production schedule, and working out what ingredients we need to order in. Often, I spend time experimenting with new flavours – it’s my favourite part of the job!
I work with the apprentice I have just recruited to explain how to make the different flavours, pointing out critical points such as temperature and how to tell when the batter has reached its peak.
There is usually a meeting or phone call with a new potential customer. Then there are accounts to deal with, couriers to book, cutting and packing to supervise. I have never had a more varied or challenging job!
What is your favourite of your flavours and why? How do you like to eat it?
I love the Passion Fruit marshmallow. I eat it just as it is. Unadulterated. Although having said that I have just made a new Rose marshmallow with crystallized rose petals. Hmmmm…..honestly – if you have never tried a gourmet marshmallow – whatever flavour you try, you are in for a treat.
What is your food heaven, and food hell?
Food heaven combines the worst (or best) of both worlds. Depending on your point of view. You see, fat AND sugar together are addictive. And bad for you – I know. So a home made brownie with a raspberry marshmallow topping really hits the spot!
Food hell – for me it’s a spam fritter. Fat deep fried. Yuk!
mouth-watering to share?