Chesterfield’s Crooked Pickle Co reveals the secrets of its award winning produce

Derbyshire offers so much delicious foodie inspiration that I’ve set myself a challenge (granted, not a difficult one), to find out more about the various food producers, artisan delis, markets and all round delicious eateries that we have in our wonderful county.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 8:02 am

Bakewell Puddings are, let’s face it, the food of the Gods and have quite rightly placed the market town, that shares it’s name, firmly on the gastronomic food map.

However, there are many more foodie gems around Derbyshire - so I’m out to discover all the fabulous produce out there and share my findings.

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Felix Mendelssohn, founder of the firm
Felix Mendelssohn, founder of the firm

As it’s July, and the sun has started to make regular appearances, it’s time to dust off our BBQ’s and trade in our hearty Sunday roasts for al fresco dining.

No good BBQ is complete without a selection of great condiments - step forward Crooked Pickle Co.

Chesterfield based company Crooked Pickle Co started its award winning pickle business just 2 years ago. It has a fantastic variety of pickled products - eleven in total; including the best piquant and zesty Bread and Butter pickles ever. Pickles that will liven up the plainest of burgers, add a va va voom to your falafel and turn your toasted sandwich into a gourmet masterpiece.

These are seriously good and it’s no surprise that they were recipients of a two star ‘outstanding’ award at the Guild of Fine Food’s Great Taste Awards in 2020. No mean feat for a company that started life as a small market stall.

Some of the firms range of tasty pickles

The latest addition to the Crooked Pickle family is the Bango Nero Hot sauce; a combination of mango and banana teamed with habanero chillis. As someone who loves a good hot sauce, this one ticks all the boxes and has become my new best friend.

One important point to raise about these pickled delights is the majority of the ingredients used are sourced from a Chesterfield food supplier - Winster Foods. Felix Mendelssohn, founder and owner of Crooked Pickle Co, explained that when he set up his business; using local suppliers, and therefore low food miles, was crucial to the ethos of Crooked Pickle.

He is also a member of Plastic Free Chesterfield, a community campaign dedicated to minimising Chesterfield’s contribution to the single-use plastic crisis. ‘We only use glass jars for our products - even our catering jars are made of glass. Some companies don’t like it - but the idea of plastic containers going to landfill just doesn’t sit well with me’ he added.

This is a company that’s serious about sustainability, and eliminating food waste. All the products are free from artificial flavours and colourings; and even the sealing tape on the jars is 100% recyclable. “Even the pickle juice can be used, once all the pickles have been eaten” informed Felix. “It’s great to liven up houmus or even added to certain cocktails such as a Whiskey Sour! There’s no waste whatsoever”.

Demand for the products has really taken off

Wow - pickles AND cocktails, can life get any better?!

The products are currently supplied in lots of high-end delis across the UK and rumour has it that he now supplies a world-renowned food store in London. “I can’t say too much” said Felix “but we were asked by a very famous food retailer to supply a range of pickled products to them. Think of luxury picnic hampers and you’ll be on the right track!” How exciting!

More exciting news is that the business has been nominated for Chesterfield’s Food Producer of the Year Award - part of the Love Chesterfield awards that celebrates the town’s favourite food and drink along with retail businesses, entrepreneurs, regeneration, contribution to the local community, apprenticeships and sustainability.

The tasting event is soon to take place at Casa Hotel on July 7th.

Felix is originally from Namibia in Southern Africa. He moved from London to Chesterfield after meeting his wife Lorna who is from Chesterfield. He noticed a gap in the market for authentic pickles after visiting lots of food fairs and markets, but only ever finding homemade chutneys and similar products.

After experimenting with a few different recipes, he started a small market stall and found that he soon had regular clients. He then decided to approach local cafes and delicatessens. His breakthrough order came when the American burger chain “Eggslut” approached him to supply his pickles for their high end burger restaurants in London. The rest, as they say, is history.

Crooked Pickle Co’s full range is available online at www.crookedpickle.co and at selected cafes and delicatessens.