Meet Freya Downie.
Freya loves the freedom of being on the land in the Derwent Valley. Her family home, Clarendon Estate in Gretna, is a historic property established in 1821. The property’s current incarnation is as a dairy farm supplying Fonterra. Together with her 2 sisters and 1 brother, Freya is the fourth generation of her family to live here.
At home she enjoys swimming in the Derwent River, camping with friends, and working outdoors with her dad – but cooking is her true passion. At 12-years-old she runs the small confectionery business Freya’s Delights.
“I have school 5 days a week, soccer and babysitting. I do a lot of my cooking in the school holidays.”
Running her small business also involves careful decisions about marketing, customer relations and packaging. Freya takes traditional sweet favourites and makes them her own. Dulche de leche – a divinely thick caramel sauce – is her best-known product.
A simple concoction of farm-fresh milk and sugar is lovingly cooked on very low heat for six hours until it reaches exactly the right colour and consistency, before being bottled and beautifully labelled.
Freya cooked with her mum from a young age, but it was watching a Master Chef contestant make spun sugar that made 6 year old Freya decide to start setting her own culinary challenges. Her aunt, a Country Women’s Association Australia cake competition judge, taught her to make the perfect sponge cake. These days Alistair Wise of North Hobart’s cake and ice cream parlour Sweet Envy is a mentor.
A new product Freya has in development is ruby-red spreadable quince paste. Home-grown quince is supplemented by fruit she picks at Glen Derwent a historic property in New Norfolk, which was owned by Freya’s ancestors for over a century from 1854 until the Downies purchased Clarendon Estate.
Another product she is mastering is pickled walnuts using her grandfather Poppy Chook’s recipe. In the Downie family pickled walnuts are a favourite served with Arnott’s Savoy crackers and sliced tasty cheese.
“It’s not the easiest thing to make because you have to pick the walnuts at just the right time, before the woody shell forms.”
Based on her track record, Freya will have this delicacy mastered in no time.
You too can enjoy Freya’s Delights.
Come visit the Derwent Valley and purchase her products from stockists including:
Hawthorn Lodge (Bushy Park),
Patchwork Café (New Norfolk) and
Top of the Town Bakery (New Norfolk).
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