Try Candi’s new chutney made with asparagus fit for the Royals
PUBLISHED: 15:08 24 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:08 24 May 2018
Norfolk producer moves to purpose-built premises and launches two new chutneys.
Mention Candi Robertson of Candi’s Chutney to anyone on the East Anglian food and drink circuit and they’ll instantly light up, telling you how wonderful she is, how fabulous her products are.
The winner of Pride of Norfolk in last year’s Eat Norfolk Food and Drink Awards is much-loved by all who come in contact with her, and the Proudly Norfolk member and chef has amassed many friends since starting up her chutney business. One of these relationships has led to a bright new beginning for the brand – as Candi was invited to set up a ‘chutney barn’ on the premises of Crush Foods– one of the county’s top rapeseed oil producers.
It’s been, says the producer, a long time coming, but when works are completed (imminently) she’ll have a bright new space in which to concoct her creations – and will be able to increase production too.
“It’s all coming together now,” says the bubbly personality. “In a couple more weeks I shall be in my lovely new kitchen enjoying myself. Since I won Pride of Norfolk, it’s has been unbelievable. I teamed up with Crush Foods for all our distribution and they’ve turned the business around in that department. At Park Farm where Crush is based there’s loads of barns and they’re so proactive in helping producers.
“They made me an amazing offer to have the chutney barn and soon I’ll be directly opposite them. It will be a little food hub. For me, personally, I think that’s how it should work. Two independent producers working together to promote each other.
“As a producer it can be an insular experience. When I’m cooking, apart from seeing my family briefly, it’s just me and vegetables Monday to Friday, so it’s nice to know there’s always someone from the Norfolk food and drink industry you can call to ask even stupid questions.”
In the last six years of trading Candi has won 16 Great Taste awards, and she’s hoping to entice even more customers to try her products as she launches two new(ish) chutneys this summer.
Regulars will recall the Cuecumber and Gin relish (yes that’s the correct spelling – she was a bit tipsy when she had the labels made). The chutney is made with Norfolk cucumbers, and is infused with the botanicals leftover from the making of Norfolk Gin. “You get all these amazing flavours from something that was getting thrown away,” Candi says, bemused. “It gives the chutney an amazing flavour and it’s made using what’s my nan’s bread and butter pickle recipe, but revived. It’s so delicate the way the flavour comes through. I’ve had it with cream cheese and over smoked salmon - even from the jar with cheese and onion Kettle Chips!”
The latest launch is a Norfolk Asparagus chutney (made with asparagus from the Ellingham estate – suppliers to the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex), which has been very, very, very challenging to get right.
“The first time I made it it was horrible. Like vinegary wallpaper paste. I desperately wanted to do something with this lovely Norfolk asparagus and I treated it like a proper chutney. I can’t explain how awful it was. But that’s a part of it – sometimes you have to admit you’re wrong and move on.”
Candi went back to her recipe and adapted it over time to what is now a very light flavoured chutney which, she says, is gorgeous with soft cheese, such as the ones made by Nortons Dairy of Frettenham. “It’s very much an accompaniment for foods. In this one is a little English mustard powder, a little turmeric and Nigella seeds, which give a sort of Asian pop. And that’s about it – apart from some onion and lots of love.”
To feel the love, look for chutney at all the major food festivals this year in Norfolk, and find her products on the shelves of local food stores, farm shops and delis.
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