Great Aspall Pickle Off: The Results
At the start of the pickling season, all staff were invited to take part in the greatest pickling competition the world
(or Aspall!) has ever seen. Only pure pickles using Aspall Organic Cyder Vinegar were allowed for this contest – so no
chutneys, relishes or piccalillis – but employees were free to enter as many pickles as they wished.
Cue weeks of anxious prepping, pickling and jar checking, as Aspall’s staff prepared for judging day on Wednesday 22nd November.
When the big day finally arrived, acclaimed chef Peter Harrison joined Aspall’s very own pickle buff, Henry Chevallier Guild, to critique the staff’s creations. Peter has over 30 years’ restaurant experience and his award-winning Peter’s Pickles pickled cucumbers are a benchmark for all pickles, so Aspall’s team were eager to impress.
They certainly kept the judges busy, presenting 29 jars of various red, green, yellow and multi-coloured pickled produce for Henry and Peter to taste. Each pickle had to be scored on appearance, aroma, taste, texture and mojo. Which pickler would be crowned champion? And, more importantly, who would have to take home the Aspall Pickle Off wooden spoon?
The good, the bad and pickled sausages
After much deliberation, the judges chose their winners. Third place was awarded to Hayley from our Customer Services team for
her pickled veggie Christmas dinner, complete with unexpectedly tasty sprouts.
Second prize went to Rob from our accounts team for his (slightly less imaginatively named) beetroot, which the judges declared a great example of a perfectly executed classic.
The wooden spoon went to Alan and the warehouse team for their pickled sausages (yes, you read that right: pickled sausages). The talk of the site, their pickled sausages made quite an impression on the judges, demonstrating creativity, confidence and character – if not so much culinary finesse. Alan has vowed that his pickling career is not over yet. Watch this space for details of his next incredible combination.
And in first prize… Amelia, whose title henceforth must be Marketing Manager and Pickling Master. Her pickled fennel with chilli (lots of chilli) and orange racked up points across the board, winning Amelia glory and a three-course meal for two with cyder at Jimmy’s Farm restaurant.
“This was a truly delicious pickle. All the flavours complemented each other and were very well balanced. Great texture/crunch and lingering aftertaste.... perfect with most things, great with fish and smoked goodies! Well done Amelia!”
Make Amelia’s pickled fennel at home
Amelia’s pickled fennel with chilli and orange was inspired by a recipe from Kylee Newton’s fantastic 'The Modern Preserver'. If you’d like to try it out for yourself, you can find Amelia’s recipe here. Scale down the number of chillies or deseed them for a gentler pickle – or up the ante with some extras!