BlackFire Artisan Foods grow around 2 dozen varieties of chillies and their sauces are made with beetroot, rose petals, apples, wild garlic, sorrel and dulse amongst other things. Some of their ingredients are foraged seasonally or grown on local allotments. They provide street food from Asia, Middle East, South America and Africa for event and corporate catering all created with heat and flavour in mind.
Q: What makes your product unique?
A: All of my recipes are unique. I grow 22 varieties of chillies all year long under lights and in polytunnels. I spend quite a bit of time looking at other chilli sauces to make sure that I am not replicating anyone else’s product. I combine beetroot, ancho chillies and smoked garlic in the Black Mountain Sauce, Mango, roasted pineapple and North Antrim dulse to make the Samson Sauce salty and sweet and carrot, ginger and rose petals in the Belfast Redhead Sauce (which is inspired by my 6 year old daughter). I don’t use additives of any kind including salt or sugar. The sauces are all vegan friendly and gluten free and are all named after Belfast landmarks, my home city of which I am very proud.
Q: Where do you source your raw ingredients?
A: I grow quite a lot of them myself in my back garden and poly tunnel and I am lucky to have several friends with allotments who supply me too.
Q: What inspires you as a producer?
A: Creating a unique product with ingredients and recipes that I have total control over. I feel like an alchemist sometimes trying to match flavour combinations from unusual ingredients.
Q: How did you get started?
A: I have travelled the world quite a bit over the last 30 or so years and am a fan of spicy food . We don’t really have that kind of food culture here to any great degree as chillies aren’t an indigenous plant due to our climate. I was constantly disappointed with the chilli sauces that were available as they mostly taste of vinegar and heat. I had been making my own recipe sauces in small batches for my own consumption and found that friends and indeed friends of friends began asking for them after tasting them. I began making larger quantities to satisfy demand and then BlackFire was born about 2 years ago.
Q: Why do you think it’s important to keep local?
A: For a variety of reasons really. Growing and producing a lot of the ingredients myself keeps my carbon footprint to a minimum which is very important from an environmental perspective.. Keeping it local also supports our local economy and allows small producers like myself an opportunity to trade at bespoke food events and avoid dealing with multi nationals or big business.
Q: What motto do you live/work by?
A: Mangia bene, ridi spesso, ama molto. – Eat well, laugh often, love much.
Its an Italian quotation that says it all really. I have been travelling to Italy for the last 14 years and am a big fan of their approach to food and how central it is to their lives. its the glue that binds friends and families together. Something that we could learn from in our culture.
Q: Where can we buy your products?
A: Directly from my website or through Bitetosavour in Belfast.
Q: What food best compliments your product? Or what is your favourite way of using your product?
A: All of the sauces work really well with cheeseboards, cold meats, spread on an omelette or grilled with fish.
Visit BlackFire Artisan Foods to find out more.