No longer a simple condiment, modern preserving has elevated chutney and pickle to the star of the show. We talk to Charli Giles about Chazwinkle’s, her love of British produce, and how you can cook with the best of the season all year round.
As quintessentially English as a character from the pages of Beatrix Potter, you can’t get more British than Chazwinkle’s. Inspired by her experience of living in London and the frustrations of finding British produce, Charli Giles’ preserves the best of the harvest to offer creative solutions for cooking based on the best of “our wonderful home-grown bounty”.
Charli takes a modern approach to preserving, taking local produce at its best, and creating pickles and chutneys of sorts that can be used for cooking with an emphasis on convenience and seasonality. As she says, “all you need to do is keep a Chazwinkle on your shelf and it can transform any meal. It's your inspiration. “
Each jar includes cooking suggestions for the time-strapped Londoner. Her tomato chilli is a “great all-rounder” that transforms the plainest of fish and the great British burger. Piccalilli comes with the warning - “I am not a condiment. I’m the main event”, with the power to transform a stir-fry. And the once retiring pickled cucumber is perfect as a canapé with smoked mackerel or served up with flame-grilled lamb.
Fruits and vegetables are roughly chopped and preserved with the aim that you can cook with these star ingredients all year around. “I like it to look and taste like the vegetables it’s made with.” Minimal sugar is added to ensure that the true taste of each vegetable or fruit is retained.
Hers is a truly seasonal product line and while December and January are notoriously difficult months, farms are still producing beetroot and apples which go into two of her creations. February sees the “first glint of rhubarb”, perfect for rhubarb marmalade - her take on this great British institution. There’s local cauliflower and celery for her Piccalilli. (She adds radish and asparagus when in season.) As the weather warms, tomatoes return that she buys from an Isle of Wight tomato company (known as The Tomato Stall @iowtomatoes), and from there, plums, cucumbers and beetroot again.
Deliciously British with home-grown flavours that in Charli’s words “capture seasonal goodness the whole year round”. You can find Chazwinkle's at One New Change (“the perfect location for busy Londoners”) on Fridays and at Partridge's on a Saturday at Duke of York Square. You can also order directly from her website and follow her 'Chazwinkling' adventures on twitter (@Chazwinkles).
You can visit One New Change market (@One_New_Change) on a Friday from 11am-3pm and 11am-5pm on Saturdays.
My London larder
It is more of a British larder! I have a Riverford vegetable box delivered every Monday so I’m always learning about new vegetables such as flowering sprouts. You will always find some Cullisse Highland Rapeseed Oil (@CULLISSE). Closer to home, I like British charcuterie from Cannon & Cannon (@cannonandcannon), SPOON granola (@Spooncereals) and Northcote Blonde and Commonside Pale Ale from Bellevue Brewing Company based in SW12 (@BellevilleBrew).
My London as a food city
We are one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. You have empanadas from Argentina at One New Change food market and smoked ricotta from Sicily all under one roof. You can go to authentic little family-run Spanish tapas restaurants, like El Parador near Morning Crescent tube station that do the most amazing padron peppers and other favourites. Life has been made so easy for us in London that we can eat around the world without leaving the city.
My UK food hero
When I'm chopping or preserving (Chazwinkling as I call it) in the kitchen, I listen to Sheila Dillon on the Food Programme, she covers all sorts of wonderful food related topics.
My London food secret
For the best of British I would recommend dining at The Gilbert Scott. At the other end of the spectrum, go to Seafresh on Wilton Road in Victoria (@CreateVictoria) for one of the best traditional chippies. They get their fish from Billingsgate market.
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