The beginning, where the names come from

The beginning, where the names come from

At the very start of my chili journey, even before I had made a single bottle of sauce. I came up with the branding concepts. 

It was regional Victoria's first lock down.  The weather was terrible, raining and windy, which is nothing new for Phillip Island.  Here I was at home, contemplating life and what was truly important. My conclusion was connections with people and food.  I knew then, I needed to be open to a different path in life, change was coming.

That's when it hit me, literally out of nowhere Pickle my Chili popped into my head.  I thought it was hilarious and clever. I love the play on words, it could be interrupted in so many ways but also said what it was, pickled chilies or fermented chilies to be precise. I would make sauces, lots of them and name them after all my sisters and mum, just for fun and a bit of a laugh. I set about making some, being a bit of a non-practicing health nut, I wanted to make something not only delicious but truly good for you.  I researched hot sauce and found fermentation.  Most recipe's where American based which use a salty brine, I had my first rough recipe in mind and how to go about it, then I rang my mother. In true Italian style she told me I was wrong, in fact the who internet was wrong. "That is not how you ferment vegetables." She told me two methods, one for whole vegetables and one for mashed vegetables, both contain no extra water, preserving the concentrated flavor of the peppers.

I set about doing my first ferment, I was so excited.  Waiting, waiting and all the time developing the packaging and its details. How the names related to the product, what the branding did. I love the images and how they have the protentional to start a conversation about the female form.  I ultimately believe what we read into things is a impression of ourselves, some people see it as positive, some people see it as negative. All are relevant and are reflections of our upbringing and experiences in life. Most importantly we are contemplating and conversing on the subject, and this is what will help shift the negative and highlight the positive. 

I couldn't wait any longer. I took the ferment off, blended with vinegar using a dodgy old barmix and gave some to the lovely Janelle and Ian.  Now let's just say my excitement got the better of me, as I desperately wanted to get these clever labels on some product and rushed this thin, bland attempt of a sauce out too hastily. The feedback came, it was gentle but obvious that my first attempt needed some adjustments.  

Second ferment now, I thought long and hard about the recipes.  I drew on my Italian and Slovenian heritage and the skills they have for turning ordinary ingredients into extraordinary delicacies. I thought about the pepper and what flavors would best compliment it. I thought about my sisters, their personalities and how I could capture them in a bottle.

I come up with Julia oregano and garlic, named after my older sister and Domenica, smoked paprika with Carolina Reaper, named after my beautiful mother. I set them to ferment in my wardrobe for 8 weeks, pulled them off, blended with vinegar, using my new fancy high speed blender and gave them out. The feedback was wonderful, actually better than that, they wanted more, and they wanted to give me money for it.  I had inherited the skill of my forefathers and turned the ordinary into the extraordinary. 

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