SARAH SINGLETON finds gravy is very much a family affair for the Potts clan

Tucked away at behind Elcot Park, with views over wintery green fields on the edge of Marlborough, a family of foodies are busy concocting tasty sauces, roasting kits and casserole mixes – all designed to make home cooking a little quicker and easier.

Husband and wife Owen and Michelle Potts, with the support of daughters Saskia, Freya and Maija, set up the Potts Partnership ten years ago. They create, make and package their foods from a premises walking distance from home, but new horizons beckon as overseas sales to Norway, Ireland and Canada pick up this year.

“Everyone wants to cook good food from scratch, but it isn’t always possible with people working, so we’ve made sauces that are as close to home cooking as you can get,” explained Michelle.

“Then you can just sit down and enjoy the meal. That is really important – it’s a time you can catch up with your family and share the events of the day.”

Potts’ sells all kinds of tempting looking sauces – for the table, for cooking and pouring. Following a rebrand last year, they combine clean, colourful packing with quirky, contemporary names for a range of some traditional and classic recipes – such as coq au vin and stroganoff.

The cooking sauce range is called “Abra-Ca Dinner,” the condiments are “Not Just The Bit On The Side,” the roasting kits are “Pimp it Up!” and the gravies are “Bish Bash Nosh.” Clearly the family had some fun coming up with the playful names. The four-strong dessert sauce range is called “Oh Yes Yes Chef” – and looks delicious.

Owen Potts worked for twenty years in product development for the fine foods industry, including a time with English Provender, before the family decided to set up their own business.

“We’d noticed then that deli’s were closing, but farm shops and butchers’ were growing,” Michelle said. “We went out and asked people what it was they would like to see in the shops, and the answer was – gravy. We thought, we can do that.”

They focussed on traditional and classic dishes, developing a range of gravies and cooking sauces with a British and European style – foods that Michelle and Owen could remember their own mothers making for dinner parties in the seventies.

They started off with a range of four gravies and four cooking sauces, and ten years later, have a list of 64 products. The stocks and gravies have proved to be best-sellers. The new roasting kits consist of a package of all the extras you might need to turn a joint of meat into a special meal. The kit for pork, for example, contained pork, cider and shallot gravy, apple and pear sauce with cider mustard, apricot and herb stuffing mix, and crackling salt.

“Owen creates them,” Michelle said. “The ideas have a combination of sources – we come up with ideas and sometimes customers ask us.”

Along with the Potts, the staff consists of Richard Myrtle, head of operations, and three people who do all the cooking and preparation.

The Potts Partnership creations do not contain preservatives, and they are available at farm shops, such as Cobbs in Hungerford, and the Booths stores in the north west of England. One gravy is also stocked by Morrison’s.

The company has been exporting traditional sauces to Ireland for a year, and in 2017 have started selling French-style pour-over sauces to Canada, and a mixture of products to Norway. Michelle suggests the weaker pound may have made importing Potts produce more affordable for overseas customers.

“We visit some trade shows and that’s how we’ve made the contacts – we do not actively go out to find export markets,” she said.

And will they be impacted by Brexit?

“We will just have to ride the storm as best we can,” she said. “That’s outside our sphere of influence.”

The rebrand gave the family the chance to make sure the products looked cool and contemporary.

“We wanted something more reflective of us, with a bit more personality,” Michelle said. “Most of our customers really like them. Food is fun and we wanted it to be more playful.”

All the sauces are prepared from scratch and cooked in the Potts Partnership kitchen.

“They are created so people can prepare comfort foods really quickly – we’re offering a practical solution,” she said. “We focus on flavour and don’t just fill the sauces with starch.”

All the family are keen foodies, and whenever they travel, they seek out the local dishes and flavours.

“On holiday, we always find out what people are cooking. We went inter-railing a couple of years ago with the family, and we seek out the food markets,” Michelle said.

Owen suggests they would like to extend their products into more supermarkets, but they are keen to keep the company at a level they enjoy. They see it as a lifestyle as well as a living.

“It’s about quality of life. Running your own business is quite stressful but we are doing what we love. If you get too big, you end up being management, it gets more complicated. We want to expand but we’re not looking to be too big,” Michelle explained.

“Now the business reflects our personality and we are happy to be working here.”

To find out more, with recipes and an on-line shop, visit the website