July 11, 2011
In the last decade or so we have seen a huge surge in homemade and natural products but Janet Drew, proprietor of Janet’s Country Fayre, has been firmly seated on the artisan bandwagon mixing up a tasty storm of chutneys and relishes since 1994, well before artisan products reached their present popularity. I dislike the word 'artisan' because I feel like it is often used purely to justify a hefty price tag but true or false as that may be, a return to wholesome, handmade and pure produce is rarely a bad thing (especially if you want simple food allergy free ingredients!). Janet’s chutneys and relishes were one of the first to step away from mass production and return to great taste and good quality and her brand has been growing steadily ever since but if you doubt her ability you should note that Janet has also received a whole rake of awards such as:
- 2011 Irish Food Writer’s Guild (Beetroot Blush)
- 2008 Blas na hÉireann National Irish Food Awards (Hamburger Relish)
- 2007 Australian Macadamia Society Best in Category (Macadamia & Parsley Pesto)
- 2006 Great Taste Awards (5 Gold Medals, 1 Silver and a Harvey Nichols listing)
- Bridgestone Irish Food Guide
This general corner of the world have always liked their chutneys, and rightly so because they’re fabulous! But crikey, who even knew that Sweet Pepper Chutney was originally Janet Drew’s idea?! …And, incidentally has since become the most copied ‘artisan’ products originating in Ireland?! – Power to the Emerald Isle!
But let‘s get to the important part: As a consumer with food allergies I know that crazy, and unnecessary common food allergens crop up in ingredient lists all the time. This is especially the case with chutneys, relishes and dressings where you will regularly see gluten or corn in the form of starch and thickeners or dairy such as lactic acid stuck in to so many of the condiments you want to try. And that’s what brings me to Janet’s Country Fayre...
I LOVE quick, snappy and most importantly, readable, ingredient lists. It is the dream of food allergy sufferers everywhere. No questions – No deciphering – No mystery translations – and funny enough, the best tasting products usually have easy to read ingredient lists! So why do they do it?! Janet’s chutneys and relishes don’t even have additives or excessive amouts of added fat, like so many mass produced sauces and yet she keeps winning awards for great taste, the shop keepers tell me that they are hugely popular and the customers say that they taste the biz! The most foreign sounding Janet’s Country Fayre gets is using xanthan gum as a stabilizer in the Summer Sunshine Dressing. Xanthan does of course contain corn but corn is by no means, in all of the products.
Almost all (or at least, every one that I checked) is
- Dairy Free &
- Gluten Free
So, Janet’s Country Fayre is definitely an allergy friendly brand where you will hopefully find something tempting to dress up your dinner. The only problem you might run into is with multiple food allergies. If you are allergic to one or two of the following:
- Apples or
You should be able to find a couple products to suite your diet but if you have to refrain from all of them, like me, sadly you will not find anything. There seems to be at least one culprit in each product (all being typical chutney ingredients) but there are definitely options if your ‘free-from’ list is shorter. The selection is not endless but it is diverse: Beetroot Blush, Chutney for Cheese & Wine, Cranberry Chutney, Fig & Apricot Chutney, Mango Chutney, Ploughman’s Chutney, Scrummy Plum Chutney, Spiced Apricot, Cucumber Pickle, Sweet Pepper Relish, Hamburger Relish, Really Good Brown Sauce, Really Good Ketchup, Smart Ass Sauce, Pasta Sauce, Cranberry Sauce, Tomato & Chili Salsa, Special Vinaigrette, Summer Sunshine, Red Onion Marmalade. I love some of the hilarious names like ‘Smart Ass’ and ‘Really Good ...’ which really make me want to try them out!
Some typical ingredient lists read like this:
Spiced Apricot: Apricots, wine vinegar, sugar, coriander, allspice berries
Mango Chutney: Mango, pineapple, apple, onions, wine vinegar, demerea sugar, chilli, ginger, nutmeg, garlic
Beetroot Blush: apples, onions, wine vinegar, sugar, orange juice
Ploughmans Chutney: tomatoes, courgettes, onions, apples, sultanas, dates, wine vinegar, pepper, sugar, fresh ginger, cayenne pepper, mustard seed
And finally, where can you get them and for how much? Prices range from €3.90 – 4.50 and they are available in locations all over Ireland. There are no less than 29 stockists in Dublin alone:
Fresh, Camden St; Supervalu, Churchtown; Nolan’s, Clontarf; The Butler’s Pantry, Clontarf; Dun Laoghaire Farmer’s Market, Dun Laoghaire; Fallon & Byrne, Exchequer St; Lovin Caterine, Francis St; Honest 2 Goodness, Glasnevin; Cavistons, Glasthule; Wrights of Howth, Howth; Supervalu, Kilester; The Bretzel Bakery, Lennox St; Collins Butchers, Lucan; Plantagen Garden Works, Malahide; Mortons, Ranelagh; Ennis Butchers, Rialto; Get Fresh, Rosemount S.C. Rathfarnham; P.M. O’Loughlin Foods, Shankhill; Olive Delicatessan, Skerries; Food Game, South Lotts Rd; Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, Sth Anne St; The Butler’s Pantry, Temple Hill; Supervalu, The Rise, Mt Merrion; Lawor’s Butchers, Uppr Rathmines Rd; Winnie’s Craft & Café, Booterstown; Rowans Delicatessan, Rathfarnham; Shiels Londis, Malahide; Thomas’s, Foxrock
And 103 stockists spread across the rest of the country (28 in Cork, 3 in Carlow, 1 in Clare, 2 in Cavan, 2 in Donegal, 5 in Galway, 9 in Kerry, 5 in Kildare, 1 in Limerick, 2 in Longford/Leitrim, 6 in Mayo, 9 in Meath, 1 in Offaly, 3 in Roscommon, 1 in Sligo, 3 in Tipperary, 3 in Waterford, 4 in Westmeath, 10 in Wexford, 5 in Wicklow)
For full details of shops and towns that stock Janet’s Country Fayre products see the Outlets page on the Janet’s Country Fayre’s website.
Janet’s Country Fayre
Location: 13B Bullford Business Campus, Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow
Tel: (01) 201 8008
Web: http: www.janetscountryfayre.com