Have you tried Norfolk Food and Drink Award winner Candi’s Chutney yet?
- Credit: Archant
From a Non Non Mango Chutney to her classic Parsnip and Chilli Chutney, foodies can't get enough of Candi Robertson's pickles and preserves.
'I'm the cat that got the cream,' beams chef Candi Robertson of Candi's Chutney, who walked away from the recent Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2017 with the Pride of Norfolk award, and as a runner up in the Field to Fork category.
'At the moment I'm so, so happy. As a chef you always doubt yourself so this is confirmation that all the hours you put in are worth it.'
Candi, who's been cooking professionally for nearly 15 years, just celebrated the fifth anniversary of her condiments business. Five years during which she's become a firm part of the local food and drink scene, and managed to get her products into over 150 East Anglian stockists. No mean feat. And not bad considering bubbly Candi started out with just £50 in her back pocket for the venture, having retired from professional kitchens after suffering shoulder problems.
The entrepreneur used her culinary wizardry to make batches of Parsnip and Chilli Chutney for the food festival at Holkham Hall, and when she sold out, knew she could be onto a winner.
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'The brand has grown and we now have eight flavours. The main thing for my business is we only use East Anglian produce. When you give yourself that boundary of only East Anglia, you have to be creative!'
Candi shreds Norfolk carrots for her star anise and coriander scented Spiced Carrot Chutney.
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Lincolnshire celeriac replaces what she calls 'the vegetable of the devil' cauliflower in the Norfolk Nobbly piccalilli-type preserve.
And she's really proud of the Non Mango Mango Chutney. 'It basically stems from the fact of people saying 'oh, don't you make mango chutney?' We created it four years ago. It's my friend's grandma's Kashmiri mango chutney recipe. We don't grow mangoes obviously so I use Bramley apples, hence the name.
'We also do our Norfolk Crier Onion Marmalade, Hot Pow Wow, and Bramley Apple and Norfolk Ale Chutney, and a Beetroot and Juniper Chutney. On top of that I do very seasonal limited edition chutneys, one of which is Cuecumber and Norfolk Gin. When I created it I'd had too much of the product and I thought that was the best time to do the 5,000 labels, of course! I tried to redo them but there was uproar. There's a lot of people out there and I like to be different. I think I do different very well!
'As a chef I wanted to show people that just because it's chutney it doesn't have to be brown and gloopy. I use some of them as marinades and glazes and I make them the traditional Indian way, roasting and grinding the spices fresh for each batch.'
Part of Candi's mission is to show people chutney 'is for life, not just Boxing Day' and each of her products has myriad uses.
The chef uses her parsnip chutney to make parsnip and chilli flapjacks to go with soup. The carrot chutney glazes duck and gammon, with lots of her customers stirring it through pasta. Hot Pow Wow is a great stir-fry base. And the beetroot chutney is great pals with a piece of warm smoked mackerel.
'We're planning on bringing out a free ebook next year to show people how to use the chutneys because a lot of the time I'm writing them down for people. But I love it!'
You can find Candi's award-winning chutneys in farm shops, delis and food stores across the east of England.