The Pickle House was established by Florence Cherruault in 2014 and like all great stories, it began with a shot of whisky. Three years on her business outgrew her studio in Hackney so they've moved operations to a bigger spot in Suffolk to meet worldwide demand. We love finding and supporting small suppliers with a great story and The Pickle House is certainly one of them.
We managed to grab her for a quick chat to talk everything pickled and London. Check out the transcript below:
EF - Tell me a bit about the history of TPH and how you ended up getting into 'pickles' as there aren't very many people out there doing what you do.
FC - I was in New York a few years ago and had been told by some friends I had to try a Pickleback, a shot of whisky followed by a shot of pickle juice when I was there. The whole concept seemed completely strange but once I tried it I was hooked and wanted to find a way to bring it back to London. That’s when I started playing around with different pickle recipes to come up with a pickle juice created especially for drinking in cocktails and smoothies.
EF - Can you remember your first 'pickle'?
FC - I actually can’t! But, being half French we would go to France quite a lot when we were younger and my sisters and I would always love the supermarkets. We’d head straight for the cornichons, the ones in the UK just don’t compare as they tend to be quite sweet.
EF - Can you tell me a little about the process of pickle juice and bloody mary mix?
FC - Our Original Pickle is made with a base of vinegar which is then brewed for a minimum of 12 weeks with sliced cucumbers and a blend of different spices. We then bottle the pickle juice and use some to go towards our Bloody Mary mix which we combine a mix of tomato juice, fresh horseradish, black pepper, a vegetarian Worcester sauce and spices.
EF - Where do you get all your vegetables from?
FC - Our tomatoes come from Spain, I’m trying to find somewhere in the UK but at the moment it’s proving difficult as we just don’t produce enough. In Spain, they grow all year round which is great for us as we need them to be as fresh as possible. The fennel and celery used in the pickle juice I get from my mum’s garden and the horseradish is from a guy called Rob in Essex.
EF - Are your tomatoes cooked or pressurised?
FC - We pasteurise our bottles to make them have a longer shelf life so the whole mix is heated for 20 minutes during this process.
EF - How do you go about creating new products? Is it just you that comes with the recipes?
FC - I usually test out a lot of recipes on friends and families. I’ve recently been playing around with shrubs so have been including them on the cocktail menu for a supper club I’ve been doing the drinks for.
EF - Where are your favourite places to eat around London?
FC - I live in Hackney so love going for dinner on Broadway Market, all the restaurants are great especially the tapas at El Ganso. I also love a good ramen and recently discovered Koya Bar in Soho which is now my new favourite.
EF - How are you finding Suffolk in comparison to the bustling streets of East London?
FC - I spend most of my time in London but am now heading over to Suffolk every other week for a couple of days to manage our production process. It’s so nice over there as the internet is terrible so it’s a nice break from my emails.
EF - I see you want to take TPH stateside, do you think you would ever look to go any further?
FC - It would be amazing to take our juice back to America and see what their thoughts are on my British take on pickles. We’ve spoken to a few people over there so we’ll see how things go but I think a few other places that I’d be interested in would be Australia and Poland.
EF - Is there anything exciting on the horizon we can tell our EF customers?
FC - We’ve just started distributing to Hong Kong and China which is great, so we’ll hopefully start seeing our pickle juice and Bloody Mary Mix popping up in bars and restaurants over there very soon! I’ve also got a few ideas for new products but I think the main focus at the moment is introducing and educating all those who have yet to know or hear about our Original Pickle Juice and Bloody Mary Mix; with plans of taking a Bloody Mary Van around different festivals and events next summer.
EF - Finally, What is the secret to the best bloody mary?
FC - Pickle Juice!
Thanks, Florence! Keep up the good work.