Right so you’ll find a few of these appearing on the blog this year and hopefully beyond. I love Northern Ireland Food (if that wasn’t abundantly clear already!). Our producers are passionate, our products and produce are high quality and behind every one there’s a real story, and I love that.
So every now and then I’ll be featuring a local food or drinks company. And here’s the first of them, Hollah.
I first met Trudy Hodkinson of Hollah Preserving late last year at the Christmas Market in Belfast City Hall. She was in her Chalet along “Food NI Lane” and I was just wandering along having a nosey to see who was there (as I often did). We got chatting and I introduced myself. Unbelievably, she had heard of me! I left with a very kind gift of a jar of chutney and having heard the Hollah story, thought it was worth sharing.
“Our ethos is preserving food, preserving friendships and preserving sanity”
Trudy Hodkinson & Paula Latuske
Back in the Autumn of 2014, 2 good friends, 2 busy Mums who had taken some time off work to raise their Families, watched their youngest daughters head off to start school. A huge change and a big step for any little one. But Trudy Hodkinson and Paula Latuske, having had enough of the rat race, also decided it was time for a change of their own.
So Hollah was born. Taken from the start of each of their Surnames. They were already making the chutney, a past time of Paula’s, made using apples from the tree in her garden. Put together with some local craft ale and they had their first flavour in what would continue to be quite an adventurous range (with quite a few involving alcohol!).
“We want Hollah to be something that people bring to the table each day so that every day is a ‘Hollah’ day”
Their kitchens became the base of the business and more flavours soon followed like the staple red onion chutney and chilli jam. The official launch was in the Fat Gherkin in Moira, the first place to stock and sell Hollah along with The Meat Merchant just up the road.
Within the first year Hollah grew in both size and popularity. So much so that their homes were no longer fit to meet the demand of the evidently chutney-loving public. So a trusted manufacturer was chosen to allow the company to grow even more.
What I love is the ethos that both Trudy and Paula took from the start. “Preserving food, preserving friendships and preserving sanity”. Choosing to do their own thing, creating something that they love with an attitude that people can relate to.
The Hollah family now includes Vodka & Cranberry, Strawberry, Chilli & Prosecco, Hollah “Dawg” Pickle Relish (my fave) and Bucky BBQ Sauce containing what else but Buckfast! Think what you want but it bagged them a Great Taste Award last year.
They’ve rebranded to an eye-catching ‘sun’ design with the help of Three Creative and there are 2 brand new flavours on the way in February!
Good things ahead then for Hollah and hopes of soon becoming a household name.
Thank you so much to both Trudy and Paula for their time.