“I changed the recipe 17 times. It’s all about finding that balance!”
The Life of Olive and Pat
Meet Olive and Pat, proud owners of “The Birds and the Teas”, a local chutney and preserve company. This husband and wife duo both spent their childhoods surrounded by fresh Irish produce where every meal was home-cooked using whatever was growing in the garden at the time. Their farming backgrounds combined with their love and appreciation for wholesome, seasonal ingredients provided the incentives for starting their own food business.
Having worked for 30 years in banking and sales, the couple decided to try their hands at something that they were truly passionate about – for Olive it was making tasty tea-time delights, chutneys and preserves just like her mother used to do in their kitchen back home. For Pat it was selling these sweet treats directly to customers. In the early stages of their business venture, two chefs stumbled across their set up. They were completely blown away by Olive’s spreads, especially the tomato and chilli relish which they told her was uniquely versatile, perfectly balanced with an incredible depth of flavour. The couple immediately recognised a great business opportunity!
Olive began recipe testing with different batches of chutneys and jams, drawing inspiration from her mother’s recipes. As a condiment connoisseur, Olive’s dream was (and still is!) to excite her customers by recreating classic Irish flavours with a twist!
The jars are labelled with witty and whacky names and showcase unique flavour combinations that vary depending on the season. The spreads are divided into different categories based on their food pairings and include
- chutneys (for cheese or pâtés),
- relishes (for meats or used as a dipping sauce)
- preserves (fruity spreads/jams).
Sample Winter Menu (and potential pairings!)
- “Oh So Vine” Tomato and Chilli Relish; A balance of sweet and savoury with a hint of heat – great addition to a chicken dish or sandwich like the classic Irish ham and cheese toastie. This is also their best seller whose recipe was changed a whopping 17 times!
- “Whiskey in the Jar” Fruit Whiskey Marmalade; tangy and soft with a tender zest that gives a wonderfully bittersweet element when smeared on a slice of toast.
- “The Waldorf” Bramley Apple and Toasted Walnut jam; a nutty flavour with a sweet tang, so very similar in taste to apple strudel, almost encouraging the user to eat it by the spoonful straight out of the jar!
- “Savoury Mustard”; the heat from the chilli is impeccably balanced with the bitterness from the lime and vinegar; a potential winner as a glaze for pork or ham.
- “Fig and Olive Tapenade” – meaty flavour with subtle sweetness, ideal for vegetarians.
A passion for genuine quality and creativity lies at the heart of “The Birds and The Teas” and can be accredited to their continuous success. I have no doubt it is only onwards and upwards for this husband and wife duo!
The Birds and the Teas products are widely available in Supervalu stores and various farmers markets including Blackrock market on Thursday and Kilruddery market and Marlay Park market on Saturdays.
**Food For Thought
- Chutney comes from the Hindu word “chatni” meaning to lick, representing the lip smacking sound when someone eats something particularly delicious!
- Chutney originated in India where it was often served with curried dishes. The condiment was first brought to Britain and France in the 1600s mainly in the form of a mango chutney. By the 1800s the country had altered the taste of the spread to adhere to Western tastes making the chutneys sweeter and omitting the fiery heat and flavour preferred by the Indians.