In the late 1980s, recently retired couple, Jenny Stewart and her husband Hilton set off from their home on Waiheke Island for a long summer vacation in one of New Zealand's Pacific neighbors, Fiji. The Stewarts fell in love with the tropical island, its people and the food. Once back in New Zealand Jenny would continue to cook up tamarind fruit creating chutneys in the style in which she had enjoyed in Fiji.
As time went by and Jenny and word of Jenny's Tamarind Chutney got out, her friends encouraged her to sell her chutney at the Waiheke Farmers markets, and Jenny's Tamarind Chutney was soon famous on the island and fans would travel over by ferry on the weekend's just to procure another jar.
While Jenny no longer stirs the pots, her influence and secret recipe live on in every jar.
It was also in the 1990s when Cathy and Grant discovered the magic of Waiheke Island. The beautiful beaches, rocky landscape, perfect climate giving rise to some of the world's finest vineyards, supported by an artistic, bohemian and environmentally loving community that all come together in the Ostend market in the weekends. It was there Cathy and Grant got hooked on the most divine Tamarind chutney sold by a lovely older lady in the corner of the markets. Cathy and Grant became some of Jenny's followers, trekking to the island in the weekends to stock up.
In 2014, Grant was ready to leave his busy role in the grocery business and as serendipity would have it, while he was contemplating the big questions of what to do next, a little trade advertisement caught his eye - Jenny was selling her Tamarind business. As word spread of the sale, Jenny and Hilton found themselves sorting through over 50 interested buyers. For them, it wasn't about the highest bidder, they wanted to know that their Tamarind Chutney recipe was going to be in the right hands. In Cathy and Grant they found not just the industry and business expertise, but a genuine long time love affair with the product and the island.
Tamarinds (also known as Indian dates) are a tropical fruit grown in woody pods on big shady trees. Commonly used in Indian and Thai cooking (and increasingly popular in other cuisines) tamarinds have a tangy sweet flavor, sort of like a delicious cross between a lime and a date. Thought to have many health benefits, tamarinds also pack an awesome nutritional punch.
Jenny's Kitchen Tamarind Chutney is Jenny's own take on a Fijian Indian recipe. It has an exquisite depth of flavor, well balanced between sweet and tangy without the vinegar dominance found in so many chutneys. Jenny's recipe is well spiced and comes in mild, medium, hot and extra hot. The heat being 'kiwi' heat. A nice hint of heat on the tongue but it's not a hot sauce. Hot heads, you won't be getting a burn here. The flavor is the hero.
These chutneys are amazing with cheese, liven up sandwiches and wonderful alongside meals. Serve over cream cheese to make a dip, or use a base for a sauce or pizza.
Since Cathy and Grant have been at the helm of Jenny's Kitchen the chutney range has continued to win awards and praise. Including a Gold Medal at the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards 2018, "A lovely product which is obviously made by a skilled producer. Everything marries perfectly. Could be used with a wide range of products, meat, fish, baked potato. The complete package." Winner of Bite Magazine's, People's Choice Award 2016 and a Finalist in the Gourmet Section of the NZ Food Awards in 2016.
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