I’ve been in love with pickled onions since I was a child — I hid jars under my bed and ate them before I went to sleep. At family gatherings I’d fill my plate with them and sit in a corner eating, then convince others to pile extra on their plate, all for me.
I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect pickled onion my whole life, and in the end I decided to make them myself. I held pickled onion tasting parties in Tokyo where serious pickled onion fans could indulge their obsession — huge jars would be emptied in one night.
I’d been giving them to friends and family as Christmas presents for years, and was eventually convinced that they had to be sold. And so, in October 2013, Auntie Caroline’s Pickled Onions went on sale in Cirencester, where I am based when in the UK. They started flying off the shelves.
My onions really are the best you will ever get — unlike other onions, mine are made with a blend of vinegars. They are always crunchy, and ready to eat within a week. The longer you leave them, the hotter they will be, but they tend not to last very long. Highly addictive, many of my customers can eat the whole jar in one sitting. And then call me for more. The onions have even been featured on Yorkshire Tea’s Great Cricket Tea Challenge — go to YouTube to see Michael Vaughan’s reaction after eating one of my pickled onions.
I now pickle eggs, shallots, gherkins, red cabbage, and chillies. The chillies are HOT! I have seen grown men cry over them — come and take the Auntie Caroline Chilli Challenge at the Cirencester Charter Market on a Friday!
And I have a wide range of chutneys too. Unlike other chutneys that seem to blend all the ingredients into mush, I like to taste exactly what’s in a chutney, feel the different textures, and get several sensations in one mouthful. My ingredients are sourced locally as much as possible, and I don’t add any preservatives, flavourings, or colourings. I have a range of gluten-free pickles and chutneys too.
I now supply around 30 different outlets in The Cotswolds, hold tasting parties in people’s homes, can make gift baskets to order, and am always coming up with new recipes. Please get in touch if you have a favourite chutney you’d like me to try out for you. Check out the Auntie Caroline website at http://www.auntiecaroline.co.uk.