Christchurch-based Mandys Horseradish owner Mandy Steel has been making horseradish sauce for about 10 years. Her point of difference is the use of New Zealand grown fresh horseradish. Steel discussed new products, plans to export to Australia and winning artisan awards with the team.

What is your company background, how did you start the business?

“I joined forces with another Mandy (hence the name), who was in possession of an old family recipe. After four years in partnership together I bought the other Mandy out and now there is just me. We started off with approximately two acres of fresh horseradish grown in Canterbury, and now I have approximately six acres and planting more every year to keep up with the demand as new retailers join Mandys stockists every year. As far as I know, I am the biggest grower of horseradish in New Zealand.”

What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?

“I currently do two main products which are Mandys Horseradish Sauce, and Mandys Horseradish and Apricot Mustard. Both of my products are made fresh to order from freshly grown New Zealand horseradish. They are gluten-free and preservative-free.

My products are true artisan products with the horseradish peeled by hand which gives the sauce its distinctive, lovely white colour.

Depending on what time of the year the horseradish is harvested the intensity of the flavour changes, for example in winter a good hard Canterbury frost will make the sauce hotter, and in summer the sauce is slightly milder due to the warmer ground.”

Has there been any recent company news?

“No, it has been the same for the past six years.

A highlight so far would be winning a Cuisine Artisan Award in 2010. However, it is always exciting to be featured on the menus of some of New Zealand’s top restaurants, and in print in magazines and cookbooks.”

What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?

“Yes, looking at a couple of new products but I need more acres of horseradish first and eventually one day would love to export to Australia but at the moment with only six acres of horseradish, I can only cater for the New Zealand market.”

Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?

“My Mandys Horseradish Sauce and mustard range are sold throughout New Zealand to delis, butcheries, and selected supermarkets. I also supply the wholesale trade with my catering size jars. I am proud to supply many top restaurants and catering companies throughout New Zealand with my Mandys Horseradish Sauce.”