In the late 1990s, Angelique tired of her corporate marketing job bought a small business called Wild Country, which was at that time repacking oils and vinegars in the fancy bottles intended to be given as gifts or decorative on the kitchen counter rather than for every day consumption. Shortly after taking the business over, kitchen trends were moving away from cluttered counter tops and the market was small, so Angelique, who is a foodie and flavor fanatic, started hand-making niche, small batch condiments.
After marrying Stephen and while expecting their first child, the couple decided they wanted to raise their children in the Waikato. They bought a farm just North of Hamilton in Te Kowhai and built a commercial kitchen on the property (which has perhaps the best views of any commercial kitchen you've seen) and in the rural setting, with close access to Waikato grown produce, that's when Wild Country really started finding it's stride.
Angelique has a Dutch / Lebanese heritage and grew up in a family who were commercial chocolate makers and all-around food lovers. Angelique, who is also an official BBQ competition judge, believes ham sandwich needs mustard, cheese need chutney and burgers need a sauce. Angelique is in charge of recipe development and production. Some recipes are from old family favorites and some have been inspired by overseas trips and trends.
The couple have constantly been researching, trailing and improving on their product line for over 20 years, and now supply their range of chutneys, mayos, aoilis, mustards, dressings, sauces, jams and marmalatas to over 200 specialty food stores, make custom sauces for restaurants and send pallets of their number one seller the Onion Balsamic Marmalata to a Singapore baker who uses it in their signature steak sandwich.
The Waikato is a strong agricultural community where fruits and vegetables are plentiful. Quinces are harvested by the Wild Country team on their own property, the onions from Pukekohe, blueberries from Te Awamutu, and tamarillos from Katikati. They love to use natural ingredients without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The iconic Hamilton Gardens harvest produce from their themed gardens which Angelique and Stephen turn into a personalized range including Seville Orange Marmalade and Lemon Curd and Honey.
In 2010 Angelique and Stephen also started producing another range called 362 Grillhouse to offer gastropub style condiments and sauces.
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