A Derry couple are celebrating after becoming award winners in a global marmalade competition.
Michael Quigley and his wife Cathy from local market traders C&M’s Pantry received a prestigious food award at the 12th World’s Original Marmalade Awards celebrations at Dalemain in Cumbria recently.
The Waterside couple scooped a Gold and Silver award. C&M’s Pantry won two of the marmalade world’s most prestigious accolades for its Spiced Orange and Beetroot Marmalade (Gold) and Seville Orange Marmalade (Silver), both of which impressed judges with their appearance, colour, consistency, aroma and flavour.
Michael and Cathy are hugely passionate about their products, as Michael explained:
“We started C&M’s Pantry just over three years ago. Having met at Catering College 27 years ago, working with food has interested us for some time. Although our jobs may have changed in over two decades one question would consistently reappear: Could we make a living from our passion for producing good, old-fashioned, no nonsense, honest, food?
“In October 2013, Invest NI in conjunction with Derry City Council launched a Market Start-Up Programme organised by Council. The programme was intended to enable people to launch or develop a business through Market trading – that question just wouldn’t go away and C&M’s Pantry was opened tentatively to the community through a series of Markets. After taking part in the programme we signed up as regular traders at the Council’s Monthly Walled City Market.
“We are registered as a food producer with the local council and have a ‘5’ in our Hygiene rating. Three years on from our first Market we both continue to work part-time jobs and devote our spare time to producing that good, old-fashioned, no nonsense, honest, food.”
The couple also produce a small range of good quality freshly handmade bakery goods, including cakes, biscuits, bread and savoury bakes) jams, chutneys and other relevant seasonal pantry goods.
“Our vision is to have a regular attractive stall, locally, where customers can be guaranteed very high quality foods, which have been carefully prepared, using good quality ingredients, at a decent/fair price.
“A stall where they will be valued as customers and treated courteously and professionally,” said Michael.
The local food producer added: “It is very much a fledgling endeavour. People often ask us, ‘is it a success?’ Although we could not claim huge financial success we are fortunate to have some very loyal customers who have supported us.
We have found this a very encouraging foundation to build on!”