A doyenne of Cotswold pickling, Auntie Caroline is selling her onions and chutneys, lemons, gherkins and garlic at farmers markets around the region.

Working from her kitchen in Cirencester, she prepares and bottles her Shockingly Good Shallots and Cheek-Burning Chillies for an ever-growing audience of appreciative pickle devotees. But head down to her stall at Swindon’s farmers market at the Outlet Centre on a Sunday, and you may find Auntie Caroline is not quite what you expect.

The name might suggest a twinkling grandmother in an apron and decades of experience making traditional preserves in a cosy village nestled in the Cotswold hills – but in fact Auntie Caroline is a stylish entrepreneur, a writer, speaker and former owner of a publishing business who spent 15 years living and working in Japan.

Author of Being A Broad in Japan, which is a guide for western women living and travelling in Japan, and Love with a Western Woman, a guide for Japanese men, as well as the carefully researched and weighty tome, Guide to International Schools in Japan, Caroline Pover, 46, has enjoyed a varied and successful career. She has given talks – including a TedX talk about body positivity – and won awards for business, as well as raising thousands of pounds to support the Oshika community, following the devastating earthquake that hit Japan in 2011.

Now she is relishing her new life making pickles and working on the markets.

“I love the market life, and working alongside other market people,” she says. “Traders work really hard, and long hours, and make really good quality stuff. They care about what they are doing, and they care about each other. I have found somewhere I belong.”

Caroline set up her business four and a half years ago, and within a short space of time, found business was booming. In 2014 she made 7735 jars of produce, which had grown to 26,500 by 2015. But this one-woman operation is not going to expand further, at least for the time being.

“I would like to keep it at this level,” she says. “I don’t want it to be bigger than this, which can be done at home.”

Caroline’s kitchen is well organised and scrupulously clean (she has a food hygiene rating of five), with stacks of jars crammed with delicious-looking pickles, and cupboards filled with colourful spices. This is where she peels onions and blends vinegars to create the pickles that have won so many admirers.

She grew up in Plymouth and went to the University of Exeter to study maths and education. Caroline worked as a primary school teacher, before packing her rucksack and setting off for Japan in 1996, in search of new horizons. She found a job teaching at a Japanese international school by day, and launched a magazine for foreign women in Japan, called Being A Broad. This led to her first book, and to further books and publishing projects.

She was in Japan when the earthquake and tsunami of 2011 struck. She returned to Britain and spent a month giving talks and collecting donations to help the people who had lost their homes in the north of Japan.

“I felt really compelled to do something to help. I have always been involved in charity and community projects,” she says.

After delivering aid to people who had lost their homes, she spent six months back in the UK raising funds for the community – and she says she still spends at least a month in Japan to help support the community in the Oshika peninsula. In December 2014, she even received an award from Princess Akiko of Mikasa on behalf of the Japan-British Society in recognition of her contribution.

Caroline moved to Cirencester in 2013 and decided it was time to put her life-long love of pickles to good use with an entirely new career.

“I was obsessed with pickled onions when I was five years old,” she recalls. “I kept a jar of them under my bed. I had always made pickled onions in Japan.”

She used to give picked onions to friends and family for Christmas, then one day she took a jar into Cirencester butcher’s Jesse Smith’s and asked if they would like to try them.

“I will never forget the look on their faces when they tasted them,” she grins. “They said, these are incredible! The look on their faces spoke to the entrepreneur in me – they placed an order and I started making them.”

Since then, Auntie Caroline’s Pickles has gone from strength to strength. She makes a careful blend of four different vinegars for her pickled onions, with a special spice mix – and says that of all her lines, the pickled onions are easily the best sellers.

Her products have entertainingly alliterative names, such as Precious Plums, Amorous Apples, Posh Piccalilli and Pretty Pickled Peppers. Caroline also makes a range of chutneys, using locally sourced ingredients as much as possible, and without any artificial preservatives, flavourings or colourings.

She sells her goods at the Cirencester Charter Market on Fridays, and at the Cirencester Farmers Market on the second and fourth Saturday of the month, as well as every Sunday in Swindon. Auntie Caroline’s pickles and chutneys are also stocked at plenty of retail outlets in the Cotswolds and further afield, including Bloomfield’s in Highworth, Jesse Smith’s Butchers and Farm Shop in Cirencester, Jennie’s Kitchen in Ashton Keynes and Purton Farm Shop.

Caroline will also bring along her range of chutneys and pickles with a tasting sheet, if you fancy organising a Chutney, Cheese and Wine Party at your home or office.

And the icing on the cake of this successful new culinary adventure? Caroline has found love with Matthew, from Swindon - a pickled onion addict.

“He was a customer for two years,” she smiles. “Every Sunday he came shopping at my stall, but he was too shy to ask me out. In the end I had to ask him. We’ve been together for nine months, and he’s obsessed with pickles. It’s a match made in heaven.”

For further information, visit auntiecaroline.co.uk.

She sells her goods at the Cirencester Charter Market on Fridays, and at the Cirencester Farmers Market on the second and fourth Saturday of the month, as well as every Sunday in