Tuesday 20 February 2018

Naylor Farms & Avondale Foods

All about coleslaw

February 20, 2018

It’s not on my list of salads of choice. In fact, after my first taste of it at a certain Colonel’s fried chicken restaurant, I think coleslaw rather nasty and avoid it like plague.
Imagine when I received an invitation to the Residence of the British High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur in mid-January for an Evening With Coleslaw by Naylor Farms and Avondale Foods.
There, Her Excellency, British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell, introduced Naylor Farms owner Simon Naylor and talked about business opportunities, including jobs for Malaysians with the plans to make the country the headquarters for the farm’s expansion into South-East Asia. 

She said coleslaw was more, much more than just shredded cabbage and carrots mixed with a little mayonnaise.
“There’s a lot more science behind this; there’s a lot more innovation behind this. The British has been innovative for centuries, so why not with the humble cabbage? Why not take this French import called mayonnaise and make it our own… and find new ways to do it,” she said. “It’s absolutely genius that the (Naylor Farms and Avondale Foods) team decided to start here in Malaysia, which has the greatest affinity with Britain. So what better place to start? Today, we estimate there are about 500,000 Malaysians who were educated in Great UK. That’s a ready market out here.” 
Naylor Farms and Avondale Foods have a combined 150 years’ experience. Apart from mayonnaise, Avondale also has experience in sauces.
Simon told the audience that the coleslaw that Naylor Farms and Avondale Foods produced is sold in KFC in the UK and that the KFC coleslaw is the benchmark for coleslaw in that country. Some of the coleslaw varieties were offered to the guests for tasting later.
“These are produced But we can also tailor the coleslaw to local tastes,” he said, adding that there are plans in the pipeline to produce it  in Malaysia for export to Asian countries.
Aurelia Silva said the core activity of Naylor Farms is white cabbage although it also grows pink, green, red and Savoy cabbages, adding that white cabbage is the best for making coleslaw. 

Diane Christie head of development Avondale Foods said it’s all about details and getting the right characteristics of the cabbage. “Everyone can make mayonnaise but not everyone can make mayonnaise that actually stays ‘dressed’. We have 300 recipes for coleslaw but we’ve just brought five today.”
With all these in mind, I steeled myself to taste the coleslaw. The tasting hasn’t exactly made me into a coleslaw convert but I have to admit there’s a huge difference in taste from the Colonel’s version. Here’s the verdict, starting with what I like the best. 
1. CHIPOTLE COLESLAW: If I have to pick one, this is it. The dressing contains bespoke chilli jam made from slowly cooking chopped tomato, garlic, ginger and chilli. Finished with a swirl of chipotle chilli paste for a sweet smokey flavour. This will definitely please local palates weaned on sambal.
2. CHEESE COLESLAW: The addition of creamy red mature cheddar cheese gives this a rich, savoury flavour.
3. POTATO SALAD: Not exactly coleslaw but I liked this one. Made with Maris Piper potato that are steamed, cooled and tossed with creamy dressing. What gives it that edge in taste is a sprinkle of black pepper.
4. COLESLAW: Made with freshly shredded cabbage, carrot and onion in a creamy mayonnaise dressing that does not threaten to turn runny and watery. A sprinkle of chives gives it a sweet onion flavour.
5. REDUCED FAT COLESLAW: I wouldn’t have noticed the difference between this and the full fat version. Also made with cabbage, carrot and onion. But the creamy mayonnaise dressing is said to contain 30% less fat.

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