Located ten minutes away from the Coromadel Peninsula’s stunning Whangapauoa Beach, the Castle Rock Café is a local institution. However, not content with limiting themselves to fish and chips, hamburgers and pizzas, proprietors Andy and Shelly Corles and Margarent Briggs also make a delicious range of relishes, chutneys and vinegars. The team caught up with owner Andy Corles.

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

“We started our business in 2012, situated on our two-acre property. We went halves with my in-laws in December 2011 and we all moved into the property. Unfortunately my father in law passed away three years ago, but my mother in law still lives with us. We did up the building that the Café is situated in and built a commercial kitchen.  Attached to the Café is our shop, where we have our products for sale and also local products from around the area. We believe in supporting local business. The customers are able to try the products in the shop and ask any questions.

I was the chef, bottle washer, product designer and everything else you could think of, but in 2014 I had a car accident which has left me a quadriplegic, so things have changed a lot since then. We hire a chef for the summer and close the Café over the winter. My mother-in-law now helps make all the products that we sell. She makes the product, bottles it and labels it by hand. On top of this she works four days a week as a nurse and does all our property maintenance. One amazing woman at the age of 67!”

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

“We make a range of fruit vinegars, chutneys and relish. All of our products are gluten free, no preservatives or artificial colourings. Pretty much what the label says is what you get! We make everything in small batches, so we do not lose the flavour of the products. As we say, “just like Grandma used to do it." We buy everything as locally as possible and make sure that the products are from NZ as much as possible.

Our vinegars are a great alternative to vinaigrettes and also have health benefits. They are recipes that I came up with before the accident and are unlike anything on the current Market. Our products are something you need to try to believe.

Our current product range is:

Tangy Tomato Relish
Tamarillo Chutney
Chilli Lime Chutney
Chilli Peach Chutney
Strawberry, Lemon and Mint Vinegar
Raspberry Vinegar'
Blueberry and Thyme Vinegar
Chilli, Lime and Coriander Vinegar

We also have a few others that we only sell in the shop or on our web site. On our café menu we use most of the products so the customers can also see what they can be used for.”

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? 

“We currently have some of our products in the following stores:

Farm Shop Gordonton
The Village Farm Shop Whatawhata
Artisan Raw Waihi
New World Havelock North
New World Whitianga.

We do a few shows around the country including the Women's Lifestyle Expo, Tauranga Food Show and the Auckland Food Show. We also have a web site where customers are also able to purchase on line.”