Mimo is adding fresh sage and plenty of it to her Apple Jam sauce mix when I arrive at her house in Portarlington, County Laois. With her husband Seamus O Flynn, she runs O’ Mimos sauces. They set up their successful Sauce business a week before lockdown making; ‘Not so hot’, the ‘Hot Hot’ and the ‘Extremely hot’ sauces. The different heat levels in each sauce ensures that there is something for everyone and now with their newest sauce, the ‘Tropatomic,’ the levels are going through the roof!
O’Mimos chilli sauces
On Mimo’s kitchen counter there are Turkish chillis, Irish Bramley Apples, apple cider vinegar, lemon and lime, brown and white sugar. While stirring the very large sized pot, she tells me; “the rind and seeds of lemons help set the jam.” It is then shredded and made it into a paste, and she is sure to remind me; “It’s very good for you and nothing goes to waste”. Mimo is in the process of making her popular ‘Apple Sage Jam’ – “I used to make 2 pots a week, now its 4 pots a day.” 150 jars come from the two pots that she is working from as I chat to her. Like Mimo and Seamus, their large kitchen is cosy and inviting. The aromas of sage, chilli and spices are awaken the senses and Mimo’s generous advice and warm tones make it feel like home.
Living in Portarlington
Seamus, originally from Cork and Mimo from America, met in the basement of a church in Pakistan on St. Patrick’s Day in 1997. Mimo ran clubs for the United Nations and because Pakistan is “a dry country, the church was the only place we could serve alcohol”. Seamus who was working for ESB International at the time, met Mimo on St. Patricks day in the church and asked her for her phone number. However, she never got his missed calls or messages, because according to Mimo “crafty staff did not want to lose me to an Irish man”. That didn’t stop Seamus who returned a year later to find her again and that’s when their journey began. Together, they travelled to Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Basque Country, and finally Ireland, where they a bought a house in Portarlington in 2010. Seamus’ job with the ESB meant he still had to travel the world and this gave Mimo time to learn how to cook with chillis. Now, settled in Portarlington they love the centrality of Portarlington because it is “a junction station for trains and we didn’t want to live in a city”.
Support for small businesses
When it comes to support, Mimo tells me “I had no idea the level of great support for small businesses in Ireland, like in the United States this level of support just doesn’t exist. It’s amazing the support we get and I hope it continues!” They did the ‘Start your own business course’, they also did the Food Academy in conjunction with An Bord Bia which Seamus describes as “a great program and now we’re in four Supervalus. It takes you through the whole process, setting up your own business, how to cost your product, marketing and branding, food science and safety, how to retail, and margins, it really, really helped us.”
Tropatomic Newest Addition
Their newest addition is the Tropatomic, made to ‘blow your head off’. Along with the ‘Apple Sage Jam’, their most popular is their ‘Chilli Mango Mania’ which is made with Alphonso, the King of Mangoes, described as “a delight of sublime, luscious, fiery deliciousness”. O’Mimo’s is receiving accolades at all the Irish festivals and tastings and more recently at the Great Taste Awards, gaining endorsements from Darina Allen, Sally & John Mckenna and Rachel Allen. They are members of ‘Laois Taste’, a group of 25 food and drink producers in Laois.
As they say themselves ‘Come join the Madness’ and lets help make O’Mimo’s one of your cupboard staples. Check stockists here