The Norwich gourmet crumpets that you have to try
- Credit: Crumpetorium
If you’re away from your family and friends, food can provide a much-needed taste of home.
When Kat Ajomale and her boyfriend were travelling in Peru, one of the foods that they missed most was the humble crumpet.
“During long hikes around Peru with people from all over the world, the conversation turned to foods we all missed from home,” says Kat.
“Crumpets were a favourite with the British, and it was fun trying to describe them to everyone else who had never heard of them.
“After that, my boyfriend and I started daydreaming about learning to make crumpets and thought that trying to add some jazzy flavours to them could make a really great twist on a British classic.”
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So when they arrived back in the UK, jobless and were hit by the full effects of the pandemic, they thought why not try and turn that daydream into a reality.
And in April 2020, from their Norwich kitchen, the Crumpetorium was launched.
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“Whilst my boyfriend soon went back to work, I had the crumpet bug and wanted to see how far this venture could go.”
Kat, 31, who is originally from Brighton, has always enjoyed baking.
“I love that I’m still using my mum’s old Kenwood mixer that is older that I am, but still going strong, as it reminds me of baking cakes with her as a kid,” she says.
They scoured the internet for crumpet recipes and quickly discovered, like any Great British Bake Off contestant who has had to tackle them in the technical challenge, that they are surprisingly hard to perfect.
A cross between a muffin and a pancake, crumpets need to have a spongy texture – and, of course, those signature bubbles for the butter to melt into when the crumpets pop up in the toaster.
“They’re fiddly and time consuming to make,” says Kat. “The recipes seem simple at first, but there are definitely knacks to getting those bubbles right.
“So it took a while deciding which recipes worked and tasted best and I wanted to try and make the base mix vegan too, just to try and keep the range as inclusive as possible.”
Once the recipe was perfected, then came the fun part of experimenting with flavours.
“We had a few ideas of flavours that we thought would in theory be great when served hot from the toaster with melted butter – you can’t go wrong with cheese and chocolate," says Kat.
"So we began playing with amounts, ingredients, etc, working out how the flavours reacted with the yeast, etc, and getting our happy crumpet tasters – family and neighbours – to try them all and give opinions.
“The development process for each new flavour is quite time consuming because of how long it takes to prove the batters, but lots of tweaking later, and we finally had a range we were happy with.”
The regular flavours are original, cheese, ginger, chocolate chip and chocolate orange and then Kat does some limited edition flavours throughout the year – she made Hot Cross Crumpets for Easter and sundried tomato and feta for summer and is now starting work on her Christmas crumpet flavours.
“The crumpets have no added preservatives, which allows the yummy flavours to shine through, and whilst that means their shelf life is shorter than supermarket crumpets, I believe that’s a small price to pay for that extra delicious taste,” says Kat.
“The packaging is sustainable and the crumpets make a great and slightly unusual gift, which can be posted all over the UK.”
Kat’s background is in graphic/website design and marketing.
“I never thought I’d turn baking into a job, but always knew that I’d love to have a job that is a good mix of practical work as well as being on a computer, so this is perfect!”
Crumpetorium crumpets are available from a number of local stockists, including Blofield Farm Shop, Paddock Farm Shop in Mulbarton, Yare Valley Farm Shop at Surlingham, Barford Beef and Lamb, Eaton Post Office and Norfolk Cheese Company at Downham Market.
They’re also on the menu at Connaught Kitchen and Bar Hawthorn in Norwich and available online at crumpetorium.com, lovejamii.com and jarrold.co.uk, plus Panzers Deli in London and Cobbles and Clay in Yorkshire.