Miren comes from Navarra and currently lives in Barcelona. She combines her job as a kitchen designer with her personal project, which is called La Madre de Miren. She prepares mostly artisanal jams, but also chutneys and other breakfast. She creates her own flavors inspired by her mother´s traditional recipes. We chatted with her about her project.
Why did you decide to start making jams?
I always loved breakfast and whenever I had people over I would treat them to a special one. People always mentioned that my homemade jams where delicious. There were always homemade jams at home, and that was normal for me. But over the years I realized that eating homemade jam was not normal for most of the people.
Your flavors are very unique. What’s your inspiration?
La Madre de Miren (Miren’s mother) name has a reason. I asked my mother for her traditional jam recipes and started modifying them. I reduced the amount of sugar to the least amount that would preserve the product. I also started exploring new flavor combinations. For example, I am happy with the results of flavors like peach and tea. I think it pairs nicely.
I also love making chutneys. It allows me to work with vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants or onions. Chutney is preserved with vinegar, and that’s why it uses less sugar than jams. It’s great for a healthy snack.
What differentiates your jam from a commercial one?
In my opinion, the biggest difference is the flavour and texture. My jams have about half the sugar and much more fruit than the commercial ones. At the same time, I don’t add any additives and I always buy ripe, seasonal fruit.
You buy local ingredients and generally organic. How do you decide to work with a certain fruit and vegetable supplier?
I only use fruits and vegetables that are locally grown. I don’t think it makes sense making a mango jam since we have plenty of local fruits and vegetables. My suppliers are people who share this philosophy. For example, Gilad, who owns Aurora del Camp farm in Masnou, grows organic in order to preserve local species. I also work with Sin Mas people. They have an organic fruit and vegetable cooperative. Some of the fruit I use comes from them. I like the idea of buying fresh fruit and jam made out of that fruit in the same space. I really like to work with my suppliers. You don’t get the same feeling of negotiating with a big company. Many times we exchange jam for fruit. It works for us and it’s very natural.
We love your brand image. What do you intend to reflect?
I studied industrial design and I really love graphic design. The image is very important for me. Nowadays we can adapt things such us the brand image. I wanted the image to be clean, neutral and modern, without being cold.
You design kitchens as well as make jams. Where does your passion for kitchens come from?
Whenever I was stressed or needed a distraction, I always started cooking. It’s something that relaxes me. Also, I like the idea that you can make your friends happy by cooking something special for them.
When I was a child, I remember we all helped out around the house and I always helped my mother in the kitchen. At 16 years old, my Boy Scouts friends were going camping for 15 days in the summer. I wanted to go but I wasn’t a Boy Scout. The only way to go was being the camp cook. So I asked my mother to prepare me a list of basic recipes, and I became the cook for 50 people. I remember one night I prepared homemade fries cut by hand! It was a great time.
What do you enjoy most about your about making jams?
I really enjoy creating new recipes and cooking them. I also like to hear the people’s feedback. A few days ago, someone wrote me and told me that in general he doesn’t like jams but he loved mine. That’s very rewarding.
What do you think of the local craft food scene?
I think it’s great. I was afraid it would be just a trend such as many others, but I don’t think it is. We had to start looking at what we ate. It has begun and is here to stay, and it’s great.
What’s next for La Madre de Miren?
The guys from Caravan Made just got a space in the Raval neighborhood and I’ll be sharing the kitchen with them. It’s something that I am really looking forward to!
What are your favorite places to eat out in Barcelona?
I like going to Asian restaurants since it’s a type of food I don’t usually cook at home. In Barcelona I like Mosquito and Red Ant. I love their food; it’s tasty and not too heavy. At the same time, I am a very nervous person and I normally eat too fast. Eating with chopsticks helps me eat slowly.
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