Image above: Chiswick Chillies range
Caitlin McCall from Chiswick Chillies
As part of our ‘Meet the Chiswick Makers’ series we meet Caitlin McCall from Chiswick Chillies. Her signature Hot Sauce and the Hot Chilli Relish are available in the Chiswick House Shop, open daily 10am-4pm, (10% discount for Chiswick Calendar Club Card members on Thursdays).
Jo Finn has been talking to Caitlin about her sauces.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you make:
We’re a local start-up business: we grow chillies in our small urban garden and greenhouse, and we make chilli sauces to family recipes, using only natural ingredients.
How did you get into making your product?
One summer, when our garden was temporarily out of bounds, we planted a few chilli seeds in pots on a west-facing windowsill. To our surprise, they grew and produced a ridiculous number of chillies. The following year, we thought we’d try it again, experimenting with new varieties. And so it began.
Ten years later, we had a greenhouse, and more chillies than we knew what to do with. So we invented our own super-hot sauce – it helps that my husband is a foodie! Our daughters wanted a chilli ketchup, and soon we also had our own BBQ Sauce and sweet chilli jams, playing with recipes and finding chilli combinations chosen for their flavour and heat.
A couple of years ago, I started selling our sauces in local delis and shops, and the business grew. But the kitchen table is still the centre of Chiswick Chillies: I rely on my husband’s recipes and his culinary flair; one of my daughters designs and draws our labels; and all my girls pitch in to help with everything from bottling sauce to teaching me how to put stickers on an Instagram story.
Images above: the colourful variety of Chiswick Chillies
Which of your products are available in Chiswick House Shop?
Currently, our signature Hot Sauce and the Hot Chilli Relish are on the shelves of the Chiswick House Shop.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m experimenting with chilli-based cordials: at the moment, rhubarb and chilli is my favourite, so watch this space!
What do you love about Chiswick House and Gardens?
Our girls have grown up with the pleasure of having Chiswick House and Gardens on our doorstep, it has been a constant feature of our family life: from sunny afternoon picnics to frosty Boxing Day outings, the summer festivals and winter light shows, walking the dog, admiring the camellias. We visit in all seasons but particularly look out for the cygnets in Spring, and I love the camellias in the Conservatory. We remember the old Café with affection and enjoy the new one now. We never forget how lucky we are to have such a fabulous resource so close to home.
What’s your top Chiswick tip?
Chiswick empties in August, it’s wonderfully peaceful – and you can always get a table at a restaurant last minute!
Find out more about Chiswick Chillies at chiswickchillies.co.uk or by following them on Instagram @chiswickchillies.
Images above: the wide range of products offered by Chiswick Chillies; part of the preparation process
Club Card Thursdays at Chiswick House
Chiswick House is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme and offer holders of our Club Card a 10% discount on tickets to the House and Kitchen Garden and 10% off anything from the shop on Thursdays. Valid until 31 October, Clubcard holders simply need to show their card in the Shop to receive the discount or use the code CHGT-CHISWCLUB-10 when booking House tickets online. Valid on Thursdays only.
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