Frequently Asked Questions
What do I write on my slate cheeseboard with?
Can I put my slate plates in the dishwasher?
How do I restore the dark colour to my slate cheeseboard / plates?
What is the best way to keep cheese on a slate cheeseboard in the fridge?
What is Slate? How was Slate made?
Why is there a pale line across the darker slate?
Why are visible fossils rare in slate
What must be done to make Slate food-safe?
Why does annmade use different types of slate?
Why does annmade use Royal Mail? Can I get my order sent faster if I need to?Having investigated the use of a courier for all anmade products I found that on half my products it would cost my customers significantly more – and the other half about the same. I opted to stay with Royal Mail as in normal circumstances they provide a good service (this only comes under pressure in the run-up to Christmas) and currently the prices offer my customers the best deal. Also, it helps support the post office in my village and thereby the village shop, which, if we want it to survive here, is something we need to do. However, you may request a price for sending first class (where within weight and size limits) and I will let you know what the extra would be and arrange a special purchase box just for you, or Annmade does offer a COURIER UP-GRADE for when time is of the essence and cost is merely secondary - find this on the House and the Garden pages or click on the link - lowest right on the checkout page.
Why does annmade use Google-Checkout?
Annmade uses Google Checkout - for YOUR Security.
Shop with confidence: Google Checkout fraud protection covers you against unauthorised purchases made though Google Checkout, and they don't share your purchase history or full card details with sellers.
Control Spam: You can keep your email address confidential if your wish and easily turn off unwanted emails from stores where you use Google Checkout.
Shop faster and safer online with Google Checkout. If anyone on the internet can keep your details safe it is probably Google.
*Once you are registered with Google Checkout you go on to use your Mastercard/ Visa/ Maestro/ card. You can cancel the google-checkout account once the purchase has been shipped if you wish - however if you have ordered multiple items please do not do this until one week from shipping as, if I am able to refund you some postage, the account still needs to be open to do this. You may also pay via Paypal now - go through to checkout where you will be offered the choice of payment systems
I don’t want to open a Google-Checkout account - Can I pay any other way?
You may also pay via Paypal now - go through to checkout where you will be offered the choice of payment systems Or you may pay by cheque (allowing time for your cheque to be cleared before dispatch) or postal order.
Please make out to annmade and send to Radland, St. Dominick, Saltash, Cornwall. PL12 6TR enclosing the full title of the item ordered, your name and address for shipping and your email address* (*to notify you that the order has been dispatched - and for any problems or queries, only)
Business customers may also arrange to pay by instant bank transfer or by BACS, go to 'contact ann' to discuss this type of arrangement.
We do not have the facilities to take payments over the phone.
What do I write on my slate cheeseboard with?You can write on your cheeseboards with a stick of ordinary chalk, as supplied with the annmade cheeseboards, or with a liquid chalk pen and I have even read of people using tailor’s chalk to write the names of their cheeses on their slate cheeseboards.
Can I put my slate plates in the dishwasher?Dishwashing is not recommended for these products as the high temperatures and harsh detergents strip out the olive oil that they have been conditioned with. Hot water and a dishwashing detergent can be used to clean these items thoroughly.
How do I restore the dark colour to my slate cheeseboard / plates?Annmade slate cheeseboards, plates and platters have undergone a special conditioning process and as such now only need you to apply a little warm olive oil and then to rub off the excess and they shall look as beautiful as the day you bought them.
What is the best way to keep cheese on a slate cheeseboard in the fridge?I like to use a slate cheese board at all times and just pop it back in the fridge, then when you bring out your cheeses the board is nice and cool keeping the cheese at optimum levels on the table. However, there is the problem of the cheese drying out and these are my solutions.
The simplest way is to drape a piece of cling film over the whole lot, do not tuck it in or seal it up as this causes sweating of the cheeses - they need to breathe in the fridge or else they will become slimy!
It might seem that the best would be a cheese-dome, however I have had glass domes only to find them a bit vulnerable to being caught when moving stuff in and out of the fridge, fragile and usually being a high dome they do tend to monopolise the space.
When it comes to it you rarely put the cheese complete with the dome on the table so here is my recommended solution. Plastic Microwave Plate Covers. Specifically the ones made by Microcook (which have a row of tiny holes around the top to let the cheese breathe) or by Beaufort (which has a pop-up sealable air hole in the top) Both I have found available in supermarkets and department stores at a few pounds.
Having a flat top these plate covers are extra useful as you can still stand other things on top, so the space is not monopolised by your cheese selection.
What is Slate? How was Slate made?Slate is a metamorphosis of shale. Shale is a Sedimentary rock, basically mud laid down over time which through pressure has become lithified (made stone) Shale is characterised by being formed in flat or gently undulating layers, as when the clay particles (flaky silicates) settle out in water this is the orientation they take, and so the shales will tend to break along these layers; in slabs along the line of sedimentation.
Slate is formed when both an immense side-ways pressure and heat is applied to these Shale layers. The heat gives this sedimentary rock a degree of plasticity and the enormous pressure not only causes folding but also the realignment of the ‘flaky’ minerals (such as mica and silica) from the horizontal into the vertical. It is this that gives this newly hardened rock its ‘slaty cleave’, which means that slate breaks naturally across the sedimentary layers rather than along them. Slate is a metamorphic rock, it has undergone a change of its nature due to heat and pressure through the intrusion of a molten igneous rock, such as granite, and its change of nature produces slate and the effect known as 'slaty cleave'.
Formation of Slate
Why is there a pale line across the darker slate?The paler lines that sometimes run across the dark banded layers visible in the surface of the slate are made by lines of another mineral that intruded in molten form in the folding and pressuring stage of the slate's formation and are usually even stronger than the slate itself and gives another interesting feature to this natural and varied material.
Why are visible fossils rare in slateAs you will see from reading the section on How Slate is Made the characteristic 'slaty cleave' means that the flat surface you see on as a slate is in reality a cross section across many former sedimentary layers. It would be in one of these sedimentary layers that a fossil may have been formed and would lie parallel to the layer. So any fossil would only appear as a very thin slice through it, mere dots perhaps, except where the slate is folded and the slaty cleave is weak, when a stretched, distorted fossil may be found - usually only in slates from the edges of the effect from the intrusion.
What must be done to make Slate food-safe?For slate to be food-safe it needs to meet criteria accepted by Environmental Food-Safety and Health Officers and have an in-use sample tested and passed by them, to do this we must ensure that there are no sharp edges and that physical contamination from small flakes or shards of slate from the surfaces cannot occur. That it does not present a surface that cannot be cleaned sufficiently well to prevent build up of bacterial contamination from food on the surface, so it must be smoothed by rubbing down and be washable with detergent and hot water (wiping with a damp cloth does not meet EHO standards). That there is no bacterial contamination possible from the slate itself - a material that has come from the ground and then been stood around in the open air (where it can be contaminated by bird excrement etc) Washing alone is not enough to achieve this initial cleansing! All this before it is treated with out special annmade-developed food-grade olive oil conditioning process.
Warning! Health and Safety rules when manufacturing in slate: Slate contains a very high level of silica so masks, certified for prevention of particulate inhalation, must be worn when slate is being worked, as inhalation of even small amounts of silica can lead to Silicosis (a life-threatening condition) and gloves should also be worn, as contact with the dust can cause dermatitis.
Obviously, with an annmade product, all this work is done for you by the skilled workers at annmade and your finished slateware is safe.
Why does annmade use different types of slate?Different slate has different properties, not just colour. I have selected specific slates for specific jobs, for instance the slate used for the plant markers (which are destined to stand out in all weathers) is a Brazilian slate which is more like a stone, it cannot be cut with a slate guillotine only with a tile-cutter, and as such does not suffer badly from water penetration which, with freezing, could lead to flaking and breakage in a different type of slate.
The slate I use for Cheeseboards, platters and plates is not a black slate, as most black slates show only the patterns of cleavage and no internal patterning, whereas the slate annmade uses starts off as a grey/green with banding and mineral lines showing from the sedimentary layers and mineral intrusions as well as the patterns of cleavage, and, once treated, become almost black but with these features still showing, making each slate more beautiful and individual.