Archive | May 2017

May 18th | Winery visit – DJ Wines, Earl Soham

It was a bit of a “Mystery Tour” finding the way to DJ Wines at Monk Soham, but the Capel Ladies Club party were an intrepid group and didn’t give up until they found the exact location in a one-time piggery in the heart of Suffolk. This is where Derek Jones produces hand-made fruit wines, fruit liqueurs and mead, using mainly locally sourced fruit such as raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, gooseberries, elderflowers and honey.

Derek has been running his wine business for over five years. He used to be a cheesemaker and has also worked at Otley College. His change of career obviously paid off, as his business now sells his wine to the Co-op and also exhibits at fairs and shows.

He uses slow, natural methods to make his wines, adding only minimum amounts of sugar, plus yeast, so they taste “full of fruit and deliciously natural” according to him. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say – and so Capel Ladies were given the chance to try several different wines along with artisan breads from Framlingham, cheeses from “Suffolk Cheeses” plus salamis and rapeseed oil dip.

The three drivers in the party were given elderflower cordial but the rest of the party enjoyed sampling the wines and also mead made from Suffolk heather honey. A nice way to spend a sunny afternoon in May!

For more information see the website:

In Memorium – Sue Gilson

It was with much sadness that we learned of the death of Sue Gilson in April 2017. Sue was a much-loved member of Capel Ladies Club who will be sadly missed by all who knew her. Below is a collection of tributes to Sue, from our members.

Tributes to Sue Gilson (1955 – 2017)

There are so many nice things you could say about Sue and they would all be true.

She was always thinking of other people even until a few weeks before she passed away she was making sure everyone got their birthday cards from the club.

Sue, a thoroughly nice girl, kind, thoughtful and extremely brave.

Always so positive about her cancer, cheerful in the face of adversity, kind and caring especially when I was laid up. Friendly and welcoming at Capel Ladies.

Just a few words about Sue, she was a lovely lady, kind, caring and always willingly offered her help when needed.  She was good company and I feel we are very lucky to call her ‘our friend’. Above all she remained very optimistic and brave throughout her illness. We will miss her.

So sorry to hear the sad news of Sue’s passing, she will be greatly missed by family & friends, please pass on our condolences to Michael.

It’s always a great sadness to lose someone so young and vibrant. It seemed to me that Sue despite her illness was still joyful and fun loving. Life – and death- can be very cruel.

She was a very brave lady.   She had a wry sense of humour.

She always had that lovely smile. She had a mischievous grin.

She was very easy to have a laugh with.

She was just a lovely lady. Nothing was too much trouble for her.

She touched the hearts of everyone. Charming, warm, gentle lady.

Always so helpful on the committee, and very efficient.

Sue had a cheeriness about her, and a forthright and open manner. She was always willing to help with things, and was lively, feisty and sparky – with a cheeky sense of humour!

I will always remember Sue for being the person that made me feel so welcome when I first went along to Capel Ladies. I was very nervous as I walked through the door as I was new to the area and did not know many people but as I entered the library I saw this lady coming towards me with a big smile on her face. She introduced herself and then she started chatting to me and within minutes I was feeling at home. I will always remember Sue for that, she was a lovely person.

Sue my friend, I began to remember not just that you have gone, but that you lived, and your friendship will give me memories to treasure. You will be terribly missed.

Sue was a very genuine lady, what you saw was what you got. A kind and thoughtful friend who had a great sense of humour. She always put others before herself even when she was ill.

We will all miss her.

May 4th | Chocolate Making Evening with Sarah Knights

What to choose?

Our May meeting was not an evening for Weight-Watchers or Slimming World Members! Sarah Knights from Chappel Chocolate House, near Colchester, was on hand to give us a demonstration of the chocolate-making method, and to let us sample and buy her wares! Assisted by her friend Julia, Sarah talked us through the process of “tempering” the chocolate by adding cool chocolate button drops to a bowl of melted chocolate at a temperature of 60 degrees Celsius and stirring constantly until all the buttons melted.

Once the chocolate has been tempered it sets easily in moulds, has a sheen to it and snaps crisply when broken. These are the signs of good chocolate – not forgetting the taste, of course! The skills needed for a qualified chocolatier are similar to those of a chemist, and a chocolate-maker must have technical skills and a grasp of the science behind the art of chocolate-making!

Lots of goodies to buy!

Sarah Knights has an engineering background and she once worked for the M.O.D. as well as in the telecoms industry. Having gone to a patisserie evening class as part of a leisure pursuit she found she had chocolate-making skills and set up a small business 3 or 4 years ago doing Birthday Parties and  Easter Eggs as well as selling her chocolates at local Farmers’ Markets. She has attended a number of courses in the art of chocolate-making and her business has grown over the years since then.

Birthday Girl Dorothy gets to scrape the bowl!

Qualities needed to produce a good bar of chocolate depend on where it is grown and on the fermentation and roasting processes which can create different flavours, and the vital ingredient of cocoa butter.

On display was a wide range of chocolate bars, plus small filled chocolates in every flavour you could wish for! We sampled various types of chocolate, from plain (with up to 80% of cocoa beans and 5% sugar), to milk chocolate (with 30% cocoa beans plus milk and up to 33 ⅓% sugar), and also white chocolate (containing no cocoa beans and 54% sugar, plus milk solids and cocoa butter). We could then decide on which we preferred and make our purchases. The only problem was deciding which ones to buy! A very interesting and enjoyable evening was had by all!