Brown sauce

Diese fruchtige, rauchige Sauce ist ganz nach britischem Geschmack. Sie darf auf keinem echten englischen Frühstück fehlen.


Every nation has a flavour. In France, it’s freshly baked croissants. In Spain, it’s spicy chorizo. In Greece, kalamata olives – enjoyed, perhaps, with a glass of ouzo. In the UK, it’s brown sauce, the sauce of sin.

How else to describe this unholy mix of tomatoes, tamarind, treacle, dates or plums and malt vinegar – perfectly good ingredient­s that normally have no business being thrown together?

There’s nothing subtle about this sauce. Just the thought of that sweet, smoky, acrid fruitiness will make you swallow hard.

Brits know this condiment by its commercial name: HP Sauce. Originally called The Banquet Sauce when it was created in the late 19th century, its creator, Frederick Gibson Garten, changed the name to HP Sauce after he heard a rumour that it was being served in the Houses of Parliament restaurant.

Gibson Garten later sold the trademark and the recipe, but in 1903, it was relaunched, with a lithograph image of parliament on the label. And so it has remained to this day.

In many ways, HP is the perfect flavour for bolshie Brexit Britain. A 2016 survey showed that it was the favourite brand among voters who chose to leave the European Union.

Unfortunat­ely, HP Sauce, owned by Heinz, is made in Holland and Brexit led to a 21 per cent price increase. Brexiteers must have wept at this act of culinary self-sabotage.

Still, there is nothing quite like brown sauce poured over a full English breakfast or added to a bacon butty. It makes filthy food taste, well, filthier and more satisfying. Sometimes, nothing else will do.

Up in Scotland, they add more vinegar – a variation known as “sauce” (pronounced “soss”) – and pour it over chips.

There are two ways to go if you want to try this sinful mix: order a bottle of HP Sauce online or make it yourself.

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