This month we’re super excited to be welcoming London Borough of Jams onto our shelves and lavishly smothered all over our sourdough bread. Lilly O’Brien, the lady behind this well-branded label, has lured us in with a selection of jams like no other.
Think flavour pairings that exceed all expectations. Marmalade features lemon and strong, heady notes of vanilla. Blackberry jam has been punctuated with bay leaf – visible in the jar while the Raspberry jam is infused with hibiscus flower. All fruits are seasonal and sourced from the UK, France, Italy and Spain and feature distinct additions like cardamon, wild fennel pollen and liquorice. Pushing boundaries is what O’Brien’s about.
Previously a pastry chef at St John restaurant, Lillie began playing with jam flavours and unexpected combinations as a way of being more creative outside of her working hours. “I wasn’t allowed to experiment with jam at St John but I’m an Aussie and we like to bastardise things, so I just did it outside of work. I’ve always used herbs and flowers in cooking so this was just an extension of that,” she tells us.
She worked on a batch of jams for six months before leaving St John to start London Borough of Jams six years ago. “I didn’t want to do doubles anymore and I didn’t want to own a restaurant,” she says of her decision to leave the fast-paced restaurant kitchen behind and instead, dive into the delicious realm of sweet preserves.
Now Lillie runs her own store on Chatsworth Road and is writing a book, to be published with Kyle Books next year. We’ll also be collaborating with Lillie this summer, so watch this space on the next stage of this flowering friendship...