Welcome to the official home of Biddulph's biggest export - the oatcake!
Povey's Oatcakes was started by Steve Povey in 1994. Having grown up in Leek Steve was well known as a local councillor and fervent supporter of the local community.
Steve explained: "There was an oatcake shop in town before - at one time you could find a baker in every street in someone's back kitchen - but the proprietor went bankrupt and I took a gamble, rescued the machinery from his garage, copied the recipe, and the rest is history."
Sadly Steve passed away in 2011 and his untimely death could have meant the end of Poveys Oatcakes.
Step forward his son Alex. At just 23 Alex decided the best tribute to his father would be to grab the bull by the horns and take on the business, and that's just what he did. Continuing the production of Staffordshire's favourite fast food with an eye to growing the business and spreading the oatcake gospel far and wide.
Alex has increased production steadily since taking over not only selling oatcakes from his shop but at numerous outlets including local shops and supermarkets. At busy times production reaches 80 dozen oatcakes per hour - but Alex has plans afoot to double this.
He is investing in a brand new production unit in Biddulph and has ambitious plans to supply more leading supermarkets and chains. Expanding the business in this way is the logical step to Alex: "I'm young, ambitious and have total confidence that my investment will pay off many times over." he commented. " Everyone who tries the oatcake for the first time is knocked out by how good they taste and I see it as my personal crusade to introduce the oatcake to a global market."
Ex-pats working abroad so crave their taste of home they are prepared to stump up the high cost of postage to have them sent out, a recent order coming from Barclays Bank staff based in Japan who buy eight dozen oatcakes every month.
Locally, Alex has Alton Towers and both Stoke City and Port Vale football clubs on his ever-growing list of regular customers.
His recipe is a closely guarded secret, but he will tell you that the oatcakes contain no artificial additives, fine oatmeal, plain flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, yeast and water.
Stories abound on the history of the oatcake. Many believe it to be a Potteries tradition and it's been called all sorts of names, from Tunstall Tortilla, through Potteries Poppadom to Clay Suzzette. But Alex reckons that it actually has its origins in the Staffordshire Moorlands where isolated farmers would eat oatcakes when they were cut off by bad weather and couldn't reach the shops to get bread.
He revealed: "My dad was handed a very old recipe from Ecton in the Manifold Valley where farmers would make their oatcakes from milk and oats. There is a Derbyshire version of the oatcake which is much thicker and stodgier. The recipe seems to have been adapted as it spread."
" But one thing is for sure, there's nowhere in the world serving up traditional oatcakes like we do in North Staffordshire and it's a tradition I'm proud to uphold."