I am an unapologetic hedonist when it comes to sweet things; the sheer indulgence of freshly baked cakes and cookies; the wonderful anticipation of delicious food that has been created using only the finest ingredients.

Researching this feature on Scarlet Bakes, therefore, I feel a little like an historian would if he were being allowed to view the original Stanzas of Dzyan! For in the world of quality, artisan baking mixes this innovative Hampshire-based company has a reputation for excellence that has spread far and wide very quickly indeed.

Run by two mums with a passion for baking, Scarlet Bakes has developed a portfolio of award-winning home baking mixes that have been snapped up by a wide range of discerning clients, including Selfridge’s, Lakeland and Amazon (the latter Scarlet Bakes sells to direct, not ‘through’ them). It also sells to a large and growing number of independent delis, farm shops and fine food outlets, as well as to customers in France and Spain, where it has an active distributor.

And all of this has been achieved in just three short years: in fact, it wasn’t until 2008 that founders Jo and Victoria even came up with the idea. Once they did though, it flew!

Selling via its own brand, Scarlet Bakes, and own label for several companies, this is a business that is both quality driven and highly imaginative. It produces a number of ‘specials’ throughout the year, for instance, and coming up in the not too distant future will be its ‘Valentine’s Special’, which will be a biscuit mix with a heart shaped cookie-cutter attached to the jar. Of course, it needed a good name … so Scarlet Bakes asked its fan base on Facebook and, after receiving a number of excellent suggestions, settled on ‘Love Bites’.
When the company began it was decided that no additives would be used. The reason for this was simple. Jo and Victoria bake regularly, but were surprised to find that very few of their friends ever made fresh cookies or cakes. They often bought packet mixes from the supermarket but just didn’t have the knowledge, ingredients or inclination to make something from scratch. However, they all agreed that they didn’t like the taste of the supermarket mixes or the thought of all the additives.

Consequently, Scarlet Bakes’ mixes are made with only the best ingredients (locally sourced where possible) and are very simple to make. All you need to add are the wet ingredients such as butter and eggs. Indeed, the company prides itself on the absence of anything artificial! The finished product therefore looks and tastes fabulous. Three of its products have now won Great Taste Awards – the Oscars of the food world!

And to underline just what a success story this is, Scarlet Bakes moved to new and bigger premises in November, giving it room to grow and develop. Yes, it’s still a small business in the great scheme of things, but it boasts creativity, talent and a solid commitment product development and fast, friendly customer service. Now that is a potent mix!

To find out more visit www.scarletbakes.co.uk.

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