For a taste of Kent, nothing comes closer than a Kentish Huffkin, cherry picked by the cherry pickers themselves’.
The artisan bakers of Margate, Speciality Breads, are delighted to announce that for the first time in many a year, true Kentish Huffkins are being baked in the county.
Speciality Breads is working with Eckley Farms in Staplehurst, Kent so that the wheat used to make the stoneground flour for Kentish Huffkins, is actually grown and milled in Kent. In fact, some of the wheat is produced in Henry VIII’s own garden, Leeds Castle.
The history of the Kentish Huffkins is fascinating, dating back to the first planting of cherry trees in Kent, at the request of Henry VIII. Apparently, Henry VIII acquired a taste for cherries when he was in France and on his return, gave a chunk of land around Faversham to his mate, Richard Harrys, to grow cherries for the royal table; this is the reason why Kent is called the Garden of England. The soil and climate around Faversham are perfect for growing cherries but how did they know that in Tudor England?
The Kentish Huffkin is one of the oldest bread recipes in existence and was created to feed the cherry pickers during harvest time. Created by a farmer’s wife in Faversham who uniquely used her thumb to make an indentation at the top of the bake to hold a cherry of a spoon of cherry jam. Sadly, the name of the farmer’s wife has been lost in time but her recipe lives on. Most of the harvest workers came from London to pick the cherries and would return again, later in the year, to pick the hops. Locally there are lots of stories around the harvest workers. Much of the harvesting was carried out by women and their children, with the men joining them at the weekend.
Although Speciality Breads has baked Kentish Huffkins for many years, it previously had to import the flour from over the county line. Now, thanks to Eckley Farms, Kentish Huffkins will now be the true taste of Kent.