Every once in a while a celebrity endorsed food product comes along that is pure gold. When Jamie or Heston crack out a new pizza or whatever, it’s great to have something to write about, but it is also what we expect from them. So when a neighbour from my childhood (hi Jennie) sends a message on facebook asking if I had heard about Barry Norman’s pickled onions I was rather giddy.
The more random the celebrity and the more random the product, the better (I keep forgetting to do my research to see if it still exists, but if it does, I look forward to chewing Liz Hurley’s beef jerky.). So armed with the knowledge of the existence of Barry’s onions, I hot footed it to Sainsbury’s and picked up a jar. The onions have a fabulously named website www.pickleodeon.co.uk I mean really a pun on pickles and a cinema chain, does it get any better?
If you can be bothered to read the website you learn that Barry has been pickling for years, using a recipe passed down through generations. An advertising friend of his tried them one day, couldn’t believe his tastebuds and then set about getting them onto the supermarket shelves.
The design is simple but effective with a clapper board and Barry’s name on the front. The design and the onions look homemade, which is a great thing. I can picture Barry, apron on, measuring out the vinegar, sprinkling in the mustard seeds and bottling them all up. It feels personal and charming which rarely happens with celeb endorsed products, but this time the marketing team won, I was sucked in.
Anyway onto the eating and I think I can say without reservation, these are the nicest pickled onions I have ever eaten. They are, as you’d expect crunchy, oniony and vinegary but these little beasts go the extra mile; they keep on delivering flavour with a lingering, mouth burning heat from mustard seeds and other unidentifiable spices bobbing about.
It seems odd to be so enraptured with a humble pickled onion, but trust me and try them, they are really good and you won’t be disappointed.
Barry Norman Hot and Spicy Pickled Onions £2.39 for 580g
PS I know my photography isn’t usually anything to write home about, but I do apologise for this weeks travesty!