It all started with marmalade …
As a marmalade lover, Simon set out over 30 years ago to make a marmalade that would fulfill his requirements for a dark & tangy conserve – something he couldn’t find on a shop shelf. After a few mishaps, including a set so solid he struggled to get the marmalade out of the jar, he managed to produce a Seville orange and lemon marmalade that was rich, dark & tangy, a flavour like no other, devoured by family and friends.
Husband and wife, Simon and Nicola, had many years’ experience of working together and running their own business and it was at the start of 2018, after becoming highly frustrated dealing with large scale corporate myopia that, with a pot of marmalade bubbling away on the stove, they decided to change tack and make a business out of creating something themselves.
Creating their own product was key to this new venture. Frustrations to Simon were nothing new, he describes his life as ‘feeling out of step with the rest of the world’, a distress that has caused him major bouts of depression and poor mental health throughout his adult life. Simon and Nicola met in 1984 and Nicola knew that Simon was quite different to anyone she had previously known, but that the difference was very special.
Friends and family had often said that Simon should sell his marmalade to a wider audience and after a supper with old friends the thought grew. Making delicious marmalade for family and friends was easy – but would the general public like it as much as they did? They attended Farmers Markets, received very good responses from their sample tastings, made sales and had repeat customers, all of which encouraged them to continue but also posed the question, what else could be added to the product range?
Nicola has been making her shortbread for nearly as long as Simon has been making his marmalade. It would appear on the table as a firm family favourite every Christmas or family gathering and was so moreish it soon disappeared! The samples put out at their Farmers Markets disappeared too so shortbread was added to Simon’s Table.
And then it was supper again with those old friends and they mentioned gin … having enjoyed sloe gin and rhubarb gin their thoughts turned to infusing gin with Simon’s marmalade – with a few tweaks to the recipe they created a marmalade gin liqueur, which appeals to both gin lovers and those not so keen on gin.
With three products tested and ready to bring to their table, and their marmalade and shortbread appearing on shop shelves they decided that they were indeed ready to share these with a discerning public and went ahead and ordered 1.6 tonnes of Seville oranges to start production in January 2019.
Simon’s marmalade making does not follow the conventional rules. The secret of Simon’s Marmalade is to cook the fruit for longer at a lower temperature and, after the sugar is added, boil it longer at a lower temperature to caramelise some of the sugars. Hence the dark appearance and rich and tangy flavour.
Simon’s Marmalade Gin Liqueur has this marmalade at its heart. A carefully selected London Dry Gin with a recipe dating back to 1909 is infused over a number of weeks to impart the flavour of Simon’s Marmalade to the gin. This involves careful agitation during the first week to ensure an even distribution of the marmalade within the gin. Once the infusion is complete, the gin liqueur goes through 3 filtration processes to remove the larger and finer particles of marmalade which have imparted their flavour. It is then bottled.
Although Simon’s Shortbread takes his name, as mentioned earlier the credit of this truly amazing shortbread goes to Nicola. The secret to Nicola’s light, crisp, melt-in-the mouth experience is closely guarded, but Simon is always keen to taste each batch before it bears his name!
The brand name of Simon’s Table was an easy one to come up with. As the marmalade was the starting point to bring products from ‘our table to yours’ it seemed fitting to name the company after Simon. However, he will be the first to let you know that the Table would not be standing without Nicola and that this new venture is very much a joint affair, as is their life together.
Simon and Nicola moved to Norfolk in August 2015 and feel very fortunate to be living in a county with such strong links to artisan food and drink. They are members of Proudly Norfolk, a non-profit organisation dedicated to celebrate Norfolk’s food and drink and through membership they have benefited from meeting many producers. Norfolk provides an excellent launch pad for Simon’s Table.
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This is simply the best marmalade to be found anywhere – congratulations Simon and Nicola on launching a really fantastic product – and handmade in Norfolk too! We need to stock up again soon!!
Best marmalade EVER!!
If you are looking for a really good marmalade this is for you. Unlike many other marmalades Simon’s has a deep golden colour and the taste is sublime. Rich and tangy without the bitterness of many others. Can’t recommend it highly enough.