Meet the maker – Burren Balsamics
Burren Balsamics are based in Armagh, Northern Ireland. They produce a range of Artisan, whole fruit infused Balsamic Vinegars and White Italian Condiments which use 100% natural ingredients and are vegetarian and vegan friendly.
At Burren Balsamics we are striving towards becoming a zero waste food company. Any vinegar we now make – we use the infusing ingredients to create Jams, Chutneys, Marmalades and Relishes. Our vinegars work in savoury or sweet dishes: drizzled over cheese, added to marinades and casseroles, or as the twist to ice-creams – always adding depth and flavour. They even work in cocktails!
How did it all start?
Over a cup of coffee, we decided to produce a range of fruit infused black Balsamics. Our aim was initially to sell the products at local craft fairs and retail outlets. Our products were so well received that we also worked on infusing white balsamic vinegars – or white condiment. Our experiment became real and we now have five more flavour combinations of white Italian condiment to add to our range of ten fruit infused black balsamic vinegars.
The story behind the name…
When I started the business my partner lived in a house called Ballyburren so it seemed like a good idea. It had a good ring to it. It also has a nice Irishness about it which is excellent for some marketplaces.
What inspires you?
Inspiration comes from the wonderful seasons – we love to be able to capture the seasons with such flavours as Wild Garlic (spring) or Blackberry and Thyme( autumn). Every product that we make is 100% natural – working with the highest quality ingredients married to the finest Balsamic Vinegars allow us to create beautiful products that can inspire either a Michelin Starred chef, or the classic home cook.
What is your creation process?
Many of our flavours are inspired by our audience – whether that is a restaurant or a consumer at a fair. For instance we make many bespoke flavours for five star hotels, and have taken suggestions from customers. At Country Living Spring Fair at Alexandra Palace last year a gentleman told us that he had had a coffee flavoured Balsamic in Canada but had never had it again. We made one especially for him – both for a bit of fun, and also to try a new flavour. We have made fennel pollen (also known as spice of the angels) infused White Balsamic from the flowers at a beautiful hotel in the mountains. Our policy now is to become a zero-food waste company. To that end, any vinegar we now make – we use the infusing ingredients to create a secondary product. We make an apple chutney for a local cheese company from the apples previously infused for our signature Armagh Bramley Apple infused Balsamic Vinegar, and the Oranges from the Blood Orange and Cardamom White Balsamic make a stunning marmalade (twice a bronze winner at the World Marmalade Awards).
What makes you, your brand or products unique?
Our products are produced by hand in small batches using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. We are also unique as we are striving towards becoming a zero food waste company. Our combination and range of flavours are very unique, Strawberry and Mint infused white vinegar, Blood Orange and Cardamon infused White Italian Condiment. Our products are an essential store cupboard item. Good in soups, stews, over salads, in cakes, brownies and even cocktails.
What is your next project?
Our next and very exciting project is The Letterbox Larder. The creation of stunning ingredients all presented in a Large Letter sized postal box. Such flavours as a Vegetarian sprinkle, or a Moroccan Spice Bag all contain our own Balsamic Vinegar dehydrated to add a fantastic Umami flavour. This is just being launched into the marketplace.
What is your biggest achievement?
Our biggest achievement within the food world has to be being awarded the Best Artisan Product twice within the last three years at the Blas na hÉireann (the Irish Food Awards). Our products have won the Gold Award for the best vinegar in 2016, 2017 and 2019 and the Blackberry and Thyme became Best Product in Ulster and then overall Best Artisan Product in 2017 (this is out of approximately 3,000 products). We were lucky enough to win the same accolade with the Raspberry infused Balsamic Vinegar in 2019. We have won 18 Great Taste Award stars over the last three years with Roast Onion and Blackberry and Thyme both achieving 2 stars.
What is your best-selling product/line?
2* Great Taste Award Winning Blackberry and Thyme Infused Balsamic Vinegar. The Truffle infused White Italian Condiment is also really popular.
What do you love about Country Living Fairs?
We love the Country Living Fairs – we enjoy the interaction between our customers who we maybe only see once or twice a year, and ourselves and of course the demographic of the attendees has a great influence on their wish to buy high end niche products often unavailable in the general retail marketplace. From that we hope to further our relationship and encourage them to also buy online.
Your three top tips for crafters and makers…
- Take advantage of every marketing opportunity given by the events management teams and follow up if possible following GDPR guidelines.
- Choose your stand space carefully to allow the greatest exposure to the preferred audience.
- Make sure that you invest in really stand-out branding – it is money really well spent.
Any advice for fledgling businesses…
Don’t forget that an instant success usually takes 7 – 10 years! Do keep battling on and don’t be put off by the bad days!
Read more about Burren Balsamics and shop their products at: https://www.burrenbalsamics.com/