By Alannah James
There’s a condiment in South Australia’s supermarkets sending bacon lovers into a frenzy – and it’s destined for export markets.
Produced using primarily local ingredients, Bacon Jam has transformed the bacon game by combining two of the most coveted foods – sugar and bacon.
This sweet and savoury product burst onto the Adelaide food scene in early 2015 and is now stocked in most Foodland supermarkets, in some local butchers and speciality stores from afar afield as Hahndorf to Kapunda.
Ben and Michelle Stokes are the brains behind Bacon Jam and together with Ben’s mother, Steph Bretel, they cook, package and distribute the black-lidded jars to bacon lovers across the state.
“We have always been avid lovers of bacon,” Michelle says.
“My mother-in-law made bacon jam as a gift to our family at Christmas 2014 from a recipe she had found.
“After we ran out of bacon jam along with all the leftovers at Christmas, I thought it would be great if we could share this love of bacon jam with all the bacon lovers out there.”
Michelle says it’s important that they mastered a recipe that was both gluten and dairy free as Ben’s mother has coeliac disease.
“We knew this would open Bacon Jam up to a huge market of people,” Michelle says.
“We cooked up a few small batches and gave away some testers to friends and family. Everyone loved it and that’s when we knew we were onto a good thing.”
Bacon Jam can be found on the cheese islands in the deli section and in some sauce and condiment aisles.
While cheese platters continue to be one of the most popular methods of eating Bacon Jam, Michelle says there’s no set way of eating the rich golden coloured condiment – it goes with pancakes, in burgers, on bangers and mash and in toasted sandwiches.
“We have even heard of people eating it straight from the jar!” Michelle laughs.
It took almost a year for the family to perfect the Bacon Jam recipe.
“We’ve had our bacon jam tested in labs, tested for the right sugar contents… sourcing our ingredients locally has been very important to us. The only ingredient that is not sourced in Australia is the pure maple syrup which is from Canada.”
Michelle still gets a kick out of watching people try Bacon Jam for the first time.
“The general response we get is ‘What? Bacon jam? Really? I’ve never heard of that before,” says Michelle.
“Then their expressions on their face change quite quickly and they begin to imagine all the meals they could add Bacon Jam on.”
Now that the recipe is perfected, Ben, Michelle and Steph are planning to expand Bacon Jam to international markets.
“We have started the ball rolling and getting ourselves export-ready. We have looked at New Zealand and Asia so far,” Michelle says.
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