MARKET MATTERS: Treats to tempt your sweet tooth

Market Matters Nathan Williams Tudor's Pralines. ANL-150402-235634009
Market Matters Nathan Williams Tudor's Pralines. ANL-150402-235634009

The recipe for Tudor’s Pralines is a carefully guarded secret, which has travelled with owner Nathan Williams all the way from the Lake District.

You can smell Nathan’s almonds from a distance. The caramelised nuts offer a tempting sugar hit, but don’t expect to get the recipe out of their charismatic producer.

He and wife Susan first spotted a man selling caramelised nuts 10 years ago on a market in Keswick, in Cumbria, where Nathan was working as a blacksmith

“I could see it was something no-one was doing,” explains Nathan, as he tosses almonds and sugar in one of his two original Victorian copper pans.

After unsuccessfully offering to buy the man’s kit from him, Nathan turned to the chef’s friends for the recipe.

“I took a group of people who’d been talking to him to the pub, bought them drinks, and asked them about how he did it,” said Nathan.

“Turns out it was very complicated! After wasting kilos of nuts, and a small fortune, there was a ‘eureka’ moment and we have used it ever since.

“Initially, I was very careful, but now I can do it blind. I haven’t burnt a batch in alsmost 10 years!”

The moreish recipe comes from the traditional French pralines – ‘not the chocolate ones’, Nathan points out – which date back to the 16th century.

Nathan said he and his wife had tweaked the recipe, adding: “I reckon it’s better than the French version.”

Still a blacksmith by trade, Nathan said Tudor’s Pralines was initially intended to be a supplement to his income, but it has morphed into a ‘full-on business’.

As well as operating a regular stall, which he contructed himself, on Bury St Edmunds’ market for around two years, Nathan also sells his crunchy treats on other markets and at festivals.

Ordering his two primary ingredients in bulk, Nathan purchases 3-4kg of almonds and sugar at a time.

“But in busy periods, in the summer and at Christmas, we can go through 60kg of nuts and sugar in a week,” he said.

After witnessing customers purchase multiple bags from his stall to take home, and even to take overseas, Nathan is keen to make people aware of the wholesale business he also operates.

Almond-lovers can order single or multiple packets of nuts, and have them boxed or gift-wrapped.

“The main part of our business is supplying other outlets. We sell to coffee shops, confectioners and bakeries,” siad Nathan.

To order some of Nathan’s tasty nuts, visit the Tudor’s Pralines website.