We create luxury exotic fruit preserves in Bali
Awani Bali creates award-winning exotic fruit jams, marmalades and preserves on the fabled south-east Asian island of Bali in Indonesia.
We are a small, artisan food enterprise and at our home in the central highlands of Bali, in the village of Luwus, in Tabanan, we work with the natural, renewable tropical fruit that grow abundantly around us.
From the outset, our aim has been to showcase not only the sensational flavours of the many types of tropical fruit that grow in the fertile, volcanic terrain of Indonesia and across South East Asia, but also the handicraft, skill and aesthetic of Balinese artistry and culture.
We started making tropical fruit preserves in 2007 with only the freshest, ripest fruit from our volcanic archipelago, and a vision to bring a taste of Bali to everyone.
“Our aim is to showcase the sensational flavours of tropical fruit and the handicraft, skill and aesthetic of Balinese artistry and culture.”
Now, our preserves are enjoyed at the breakfast tables at a majority of Bali’s luxury hotels, with jars and gift sets sold in Bali’s best gift shops.
Internationally, we are stocked in the UK in independent delis and fine food stores, and our gift sets are must-have presents for foodies. We have built up an international fan base with customers across the world, from Dubai, to Singapore to Germany, buying our preserves.
Our range of distinct products have won multiple Great Taste Awards in the UK, as well as Dalemain World Marmalade Awards, including a coveted Gold Award for our lime marmalade with fresh young ginger.
When we share our wonderful flavours with you, we’re also sharing a part of Bali’s heritage along with it. This page tells you more about why we want to do this, and the thoughts and processes that are behind everything we do.
Thank you for being part of our journey.
Yip and Heather
Founders, Awani Bali
Creating a tropical fruit economy
Our fruit comes from farms, orchards and family small holdings across Bali and other Indonesian islands. We work with local communities to preserve traditional methods of sustainable farming that enables them to grow superior produce with a high value which we buy.
Farming as a way of life is being eroded rapidly by new development and the promise of fast monetary returns in Bali’s changing economy. We encourage local farmers to grow fruit, creating a market where none existed before, and we have built up a network of independent farmer suppliers in Bali.
“We encourage local farmers to grow fruit, creating a market where none existed before.”
We work with several key Balinese farmers who understand the importance of and are dedicated to preserving the local farming tradition, while ensuring that farmers can earn a decent and fair living from their work.
We place great importance on provenance, sourcing the best and ripest tropical fruit from the Indonesian archipelago and working closely with farmers to ensure the quality of fruit that we need.
Our farmers pick fruit late for us, ensuring that we are working with the ripest, sweetest, freshest fruit when it arrives at our kitchen.
Each delivery of tropical fruit that arrives at our kitchen is carefully sorted by hand to ensure that we maintain the fragrant flavours of real tropical fruit in our preserves. We’re even able to trace the source of fruit for every single jar of our preserves.
Why Bali is our tropical fruit paradise
Indonesia is part of the volcanic Ring of Fire that circles the Pacific Rim, and the island of Bali has been shaped by volcanic eruptions over thousands of years.
Volcanic ash, with a high nutrient content, has settled across the island of Bali, producing the most fertile soil in the world. That soil, coupled with cycles of tropical sunshine and monsoon rainfall, allows for delicious tropical fruit to grow profusely.
That sets the scene for us to take the freshest, most ripe fruits and coax the delicious flavours from them experienced in our preserves and condiments.
At home in our Balinese garden kitchen
We are based in the farming region of Tabanan in the central highlands of Bali, where our kitchen is close to volcanic lakes and where we are surrounded by papayas, pineapples, cacao trees and coffee bushes.
“Our kitchen is close to volcanic lakes and surrounded by papayas, pineapples, cacao trees and coffee bushes.”
Our Balinese kitchen sits in the grounds of a beautiful little farm, a typical example of a Balinese mixed farm, self-sustaining with many different types of fascinating exotic fruit as well as spectacular orchids and heliconia that grow wild in Indonesia.
We have converted a traditional Balinese eight-pillared wooden building into a spacious, modern kitchen while maintaining the spirit of the original structure.
The exterior wood and red brick features of the original building remain, but by updating the interior, we have strictly applied international standards of production and hygiene.
Being in the highlands, during the summer months, we escape the fervid humidity experienced on the coast. However, in “winter” from May to September, often the air sometimes becomes so cool in the early morning and evenings that our staff put on their woollies to come to work wearing hat, scarf and gloves when the temperature is an arctic 20 degrees!
How we make our artisan jam, marmalade and preserves
Every jar of Awani Bali jam and marmalade is handmade, from the preparation of the fruit, to cooking, to bottling and labelling.
We sort through each piece of fruit by hand, and this enables us to create consistent flavours in our jams, marmalades and jellies.
As soon as a new batch of fruit arrives, we immediately peel, cut and prepare the fruit for cooking, capturing the best flavours possible from this late picked tropical fruit.
“We blend the exotic flavours of tropical fruit with the western craft of making preserves by hand in small, open pan batches.”
This hand processing takes lots of time, skill and attention to detail, something at which the Balinese excel and born of a culture that traditionally makes exquisite handicrafts and spiritual offerings by hand from nature’s bounty.
In the cooking process, the fruit is carefully cooked in small, open pan batches, entirely by hand, to maintain its delicate flavours and fragrance. This treatment distinguishes our tropical fruit preserves from those found in temperate climates.
“All our tropical fruit preserves are entirely natural and preservative free.”
We bring out the best flavour by using the inherent characteristics of the fruit itself, and balancing those flavours with natural cane sugar, lime juice and fruit pectin to achieve the optimal consistency. All our tropical fruit preserves are entirely natural and preservative free.
Every jar is a taste of Balinese artistic heritage
The inspiration for Awani Bali comes from our home, the island of Bali, where Balinese culture places great importance on doing things with care, refinement and elegance.
A visitor to Bali is enchanted not only by majestic volcanoes, terraced rice fields and the rituals of the island’s colourful religious festivals, but also by its rich aesthetic heritage. This is manifested in a visual attention to detail in all aspects of Balinese life, whether offerings of flowers for the temple, or workmanship in a stone carving or piece of wooden furniture.
“In the tradition of creating something of beauty by hand, we create each jar with care and attention to detail”
In the tradition of creating something of beauty by hand, we create each jar with care and attention to detail.
Our label and packaging designs are inspired by the wonderful aesthetic of Balinese artistry and culture.
We try to take the spirit of important cultural icons or traditions and update them while adhering to the Balinese axiom of doing everything with care, aesthetic consideration and attention to detail.
Indonesian batik design – a tradition that has existed for centuries
Batik is used to describe a process where molten wax is used to draw patterns on cloth, which is then dyed, the wax cracked, the cloth dyed again and then washed in boiling water to remove the wax and create a finished design. No two pieces of batik will ever be the same because of this technique.
“Batik is part of Indonesia’s heritage and recognised by UNESCO.”
Batik is one of the traditional art forms in Indonesia that has existed for centuries. The word batik probably came from the word “ambatik”, which means “cloth with tiny and little dots”. Although the word might also come from “tritik”, a Javanese word, which means “resisting the dying process”. Batik is part of Indonesia’s heritage and recognised by UNESCO.
Batik designs vary, from the classic geometric patterns and muted colours of batik from Central Java, to the designs of Balinese craftsmen who combine traditional wax and dye techniques with tie-dye which gives the batik its gentle colour layering.
Flowers often feature on batik cloth and reflect a strong connection to nature, which plays a pivotal role in Balinese spiritual life. Sometimes flowers and leaves appear alongside patterns influenced by tourism and modern life.
Batik wax printing is emblematic of the fine workmanship and artistry of Indonesian art and culture.
We use batik motifs on our gift boxes featuring tropical fruit flowers – including tamarillo, mango and tangerine – that grow on the Indonesian archipelago.
Our Bali Aurora gift sets wrap a selection of jam or marmalade in a hand printed batik textile. Each cloth is printed with a motif of a pink guava blossom, is completely unique and comes in six vivid colours.
Our striking black and white poleng labels
The woven black and white cloth that is seen throughout Bali, worn by the Balinese as well as draped over inanimate objects, is called “poleng”.
The white and black thread represents good and evil in the world. They are woven together and where they merge to become grey is how the Balinese view life: a balance of good and evil.
You can see the distinctive black and white poleng cloth everywhere in Bali, wrapped around statues, drums, Banyan trees, rocks and worn by the pecalang; the men who maintain law and order at the multitude of religious ceremonies that the Balinese take part in.
Our jar labels are inspired by this imposing and elegant textile.
Traditional basketry work
The Balinese have a strong tradition of basket weaving using different types of straw, rattan and bamboo. Basketry has played an important role in life over the centuries.
We have been inspired by the beautiful keben – ceremonial baskets that are used by the Balinese in temple activities and religious festivals. They are used to carry offerings to the gods and used as storage for staple produce like rice and grain. Keben are woven from bamboo.
Skilled Balinese women create finely woven baskets from bamboo for our gift sets. Bamboo is sustainable, easy to work with and we collaborate closely with the basket makers to make beautiful artisan gift packaging to complement our range of preserves.
Balinese craft from communities
There is a strong socio-economic foundation to what we produce at Awani Bali. We are conscious that to be relevant and sustainable in the global environment, we need to create products that resonate with and are desirable in the international market.
A core part of our work is to emphasise the extraordinary heritage of Balinese crafts; the dexterity and enjoyment of the Balinese in working by hand and the strong aesthetic sense of creating items of beauty. Our staff use these skills in the preparation and processing of the fruit that we use to make our jams and preserves, the creation of handmade materials and hand-finished packaging.
In our product development, we continue to incorporate traditional crafts from Bali into our gift packaging, that include batik making, local basketry and skilled craftspeople (tukang) who work with wood.
“Many traditional crafts are in danger of dying out, some possibly within a few years”
Working with external craftspeople in Bali has accentuated the concern that many traditional crafts are in danger of dying out, some possibly within a few years. The rapid economic development taking place on the island and the lack of demand for the types of products made by craftspeople being strong factors.
We are looking at ways to create opportunities for the commercial sustainability of these crafts and maintain the livelihoods of those who practice them. We believe that to be sustainable, albeit the skills of craftspeople remain the same, other elements like improved materials and techniques need to be introduced to improve product quality.
Recycling and sustainability
“We practice conservation and sustainability as part of the way that we do business.”
We practice conservation and sustainability as part of the way that we do business.
Awani tropical fruit preserves are consumed at the breakfast tables of many of Bali’s top international hotels. These food service products are packaged in glass jars which, after consumption, are collected and inspected to make sure they are in perfect condition before being re-used. The hotels receive a payment for these collected jars.
We process a lot of fruit at our kitchen in Luwus. Because we work with fruit by hand, there is little wastage when we process it. All fruit peelings are composted and then used on the little farm where our kitchen is situated. We work with a local recycling initiative to deal with other recyclables in our production process.
Creating world class products with respect and responsibility
Our aim is to create a great quality, innovative food product in Bali, one that is recognised for its flavour and distinctiveness.
To do this, we are able to use one of our most wonderful, indigenous, renewable natural resources – tropical fruit.
“Our aim is to create a great quality, innovative food product in Bali, one that is recognised for its flavour and distinctiveness.”
Behind the business of making tropical fruit preserves is a tightly knit team, and many staff have worked with us since we started life in 2007.
At our highland kitchen, most of our staff are from the local village and are part of a strong community at home and at work.
Our kitchen is a happy place and we have a culture of support and continual learning, often through older staff nurturing new, and younger staff.
There is a sense of belonging, confidence and ownership among our team. There is also a huge sense of pride in seeing a product that we have made, be consumed and enjoyed by customers in international retail outlets and win international awards.
Foremost to our team is to create the best tropical fruit preserves that we can. The organisational and cultural framework around this goal embraces several components that Awani Bali considers elemental to running a business.
“We seek to do everything in our business respectfully and responsibly”
We seek to do everything in our business respectfully and responsibly. An important feature of this is to blend the best of traditional practices in Balinese life and culture, with the needs and demands of operating a sustainable and profitable business.
The Bali of today bears little resemblance to the tropical island paradise experienced by early travellers. To wish for a return to the past and a simple farming life, is as unrealistic in Bali as it is in other developing countries.
Our focus is to manage our environment and the Awani Bali community as best we can in the face of these changes. We will create and nurture a fruit economy to preserve traditional farming practices, and equip local staff with the skills and confidence needed to engage with the developed, commercial world. All the whilst continuing to celebrate the wonderful and exquisite culture that is at the core of being Balinese.
“We will create and nurture a fruit economy to preserve traditional farming practices”
Our approach to working with our staff, our wider network of farmers and suppliers, and our local communities, is guided by finding the best way forward where there is growth and benefit for everyone.
“Awani” means “earth” in old Balinese Sanskrit. The Balinese feel a connection to the earth, believing it is the giver of life, that it provides the sustenance to support us, and that in the end, when we die, we all return to earth. In everything we do, we’re trying to maintain this grounding that’s at the core of Balinese life.
We believe this approach is core to the sustainability of Awani Bali and our communities.
The founders of Awani Bali
Awani Bali was founded by Yip Lee and Heather Li. Both are graduates of Cambridge University in the UK with degrees in engineering and law respectively – a world away from making jam!
Yip’s love for Indonesia evolved while working in Java in the 1990s with the management consultancy Booz Allen and then Pepsi Cola.
Heather’s former professional life was in broadcasting and corporate communications which included working for the BBC and CNBC Asia.
Both Yip and Heather are passionate about creating a framework where the exquisite craft heritage of Bali and the Balinese can be made relevant and commercially viable in today’s modern and globalised world.
Award-winning jam and marmalade, favoured by chefs and 5 star hotels
If you’ve eaten breakfast at a luxury hotel in Bali, chances are you have already tried Awani Bali preserves.
We’re stocked in over 70% of luxury hotels in Bali, serving up the freshest fruit flavours to guests every day across the breakfast table, and staple condiments in hotel and fine dining kitchens.
We have been awarded 9 Great Taste Awards for our products over the past 3 years. The Great Taste Awards is run by the Guild of Fine Food, and is the acknowledged benchmark for fine food and drink – oft described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world and the ‘epicurean equivalent of the Booker prize’ – so we’re incredibly thankful of the love for our preserves.
Our marmalade has received further accolades, winning 4 times at the Dalemain World Marmalade Awards. Dalemain is the benchmark for all artisan marmalades across the world, so we are delighted that against thousands of the world’s best marmalade, we came out at the top.
“These are without a doubt the most delicious tropically flavoured jams I’ve ever eaten.”
Chefs love the fresh flavours we cram in to our preserves, from Bali, to Singapore, to London. Peter Gordon, the acclaimed “Godfather of Fusion” and Executive Chef at The Providores has said “These are without a doubt the most delicious tropically flavoured jams I’ve ever eaten”.
Famed baker Frances Quinn, winner of the fourth series of The Great British Bake Off, loved our products when she sampled them at the Top Drawer show in London, particularly our Pink Guava Jam – “haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, and your Tangerine ‘Lady’ Marmalade”.