We love brands we work with, we select them because we love what they do and they love what do to. This series of posts will give us an opportunity to meet the people behind the brands that we stock. View their products on Amazon.
We will learn what inspired their artisan business, their making process and what makes them tick. We’ll be speak ing with each brand directly and publishing the interviews here. First up is Helen at “The Bornoe Pantry”.
Who are you, what do you do, why do you do it?
Im Helen I am a 41 year mum of 2 boys who are 7 and 9. I am married to Kristian and we live on the beautiful Isle of Wight.
This is where I produce my handmade chutney for The Borneo Pantry.
Tell us a bit about The Borneo Pantry.
We moved to Brunei, Borneo through Kristian’s work in 2010. Initially we were only meant to be there for 9 months so I saw it as one long holiday and I was also expecting my 2nd child so I was on maternity leave.
During our first Christmas I went shopping for the Christmas food and I was on the hunt for that all important Boxing Day chutney.
Our local supermarket sold expat products brought in from a very well known UK supermarket so I thought it would be a simple purchase, but all I could find was a branded pickle. So home I went and out came my saucepans and I made a large batch of Caramelised Onion Marmalade.
Following Christmas it went out to BBQs and soon word got out amongst friends that if you asked nicely I would make them some too. In November 2011 I took the plunge and set up a pitch at the Royal Brunei Yacht Club Christmas Fair, within just a few hours I had sold over 100 jars so the decision was made to give it a go.
I continued to make and sell in Brunei until we returned home to the UK in November 2015. We decided to live on the Isle of Wight, due to logistics with Kristian’s work, and the following May I traded for the first time on the Island.
I kept the name The Borneo Pantry as a nod to where it all began and its a talking point amongst customers. I have been awarded 2 Great Taste Awards from the Guild of Fine Food for the last 2 years, our products feauture in two Isle of Wight Cookbooks and now stock over 16 shops on the Island along with online orders through my website and Natural Home Stores.
What is special about your brand?
Its back to basics, nothing but natural products vegetables, fruit, spices, sugar and vinegar and that is all. No fillers, no colouring’s, no additives and its all handmade, no big fancy machinery.
I think as a population we are starting to see that whilst mass produced products may be more convenient they are not a patch on a handmade artisan product. All of the Borneo Pantry’s products are small batch made with no more than 20 jars coming out of one batch.
How did you get into artisan preserve making?
I have a deep routed love for cooking and baking. My Grandparents were bakers and I would spend every Saturday morning as a small child with my Nana baking and cooking with her. I then went on to study Hospitality Management at University where part of my studies were in the catering school kitchens learning the basics.
What’s your favourite product?
For me it would be the Caramelised Onion Marmalade. It is so versatile. It pairs amazingly with a mature cheeseboard or with cold meats. I even put it in my gravy for extra depth.
This changes with the seasons, but overall I would have to say it is the Proper Piccalilli. It has just been awarded a Great Taste Award from the Guild of Fine Food in this years Awards. the judges has such positive comments as the following:
Table 1: “A really beautiful appearance with a generous proportion of the vegetables. The texture was absolutely wonderful – loads of crunch, but just held together by enough of the liquid to give it some balance. The flavours worked really well – plenty of sweetness and acidity, but with a lovely depth from the spices that made this a really delicious piccalilli!
Table 99L: This has some lovely fresh vegetables and it has clever spicing. We feel the dry texture is the point, but we would have liked some sauce perhaps.The vegetables are excellent -well prepared, crunchy and fresh, they are a Great Taste.
Table 5: Colourful, consistent and well prepared relish. Vegetal notes on the nose that are carried onto the palate. A little on the dry side, but a very good balance of flavour with a perfect crunch. Well worthy of a star.
Why do you work with Natural Home Stores?
I like the ethos of the store, bringing Artisans together. Working with Natural Home Stores gives me a whole new range of customers. Up until working with you guys I had predominately been Island based but now I sell to more of the UK and even Europe!
Customer reactions to The Borneo Pantry products
“We recently purchased a jar of the pickled watermelon at Southsea Food Festival. On the advice of the lovely lady on the stall, she advised us to try it in a glass of gin and tonic. Wow, what can I say, such a great recommendation!!”
I received the mini selection box this morning and was so amazed, packaged so beautifully and didn’t take long to receive, but am so looking forward to trying them, they look absolutely delicious xxx Thank you very very much The Borneo Pantry.
Check out our Borneo Pantry products: