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One from left field: is there such a thing as a craft/boutique/premium Worcestershire sauce?

Something beyond and/or other than Lea & Perrins?

Not that it's not fantastic, and I know there are recipes out there for making it myself, but it pays to ask.

Thanks!

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  1. I always thought of Worcestershire in the same was as ketchup or mayo - the industrial stuff concocted by food scientists is often better than any sort of artisanal offering.

    1 Reply
    1. Haven't run across any. Interesting story as to its origin, http://www.leaperrins.com/history.aspx

        1. Every once in awhile I place an order from Fortnam and Mason. I always include an order of their "Gentleman's Relish".

          Read their description, it is wonderful. I buy it also for the beautiful blue porcelain boxes which I use for trinkets ... rings, etc. But the relish is almost all anchovies, dill, etcetera. Yummy.

          You may want to fill out your order their wide selection of jams and preserves, or their tea collection.

          I bring this up as the Gentleman's relish is a precursor to Worchestershire i believe.

          A photo of Gentleman's Relish
          http://www.fortnumandmason.com/p-4730...

          1 Reply
          1. re: SilverlakeGirl

            I love gentelmans relish and buy some when in London, but it's an anchovy/ butter /herb spread.

            Nothing like Worcestershire sauce

          2. I do prefer the British made version of L&P. More the actual original recipe before HFCS. We stock up when in Canada or online for a fortune.

            28 Replies
            1. re: Raffles

              L&P for the US market has been made both with and without HFCS. My current bottles contain sugar and no HFCS.

              1. re: GH1618

                Ok, I pulled 2 bottles out of our pantry, the one made in Worcester contains..Malt vinegar(from barley),spirit vinegar,molasses,sugar,salt,anchovies,tamarind extract,onions,garlic,spice, flavorings.

                The bottle made in Fair Lawn NJ contains..white vinegar,molasses,sugar,water,salt ,onions,anchovies,garlic, cloves,tamarind ext.,natural flavorings,chili pepper extract.

                I just did a taste taste, I prefer the British blend.
                I am glad you told me that the US blend has had either HFCS or sugar, I was surprised to see sugar on the bottle.

                1. re: Raffles

                  The malt vinegar seems like an important difference.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    Also, the US version contains water, where the British version doesn't. Raffles, is the US version more "watery?"

                    1. re: rudeboy

                      I was thinking that any boutique/craft/premium worcestershire had better contain anchovies and be fermented and aged. Many do not. Here's probably the best description of worcestershire sauce I have ever found:

                      http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/05...

                      1. re: rudeboy

                        It seems to have less depth, watery might be a good description, .Watered down to reach a desired profile...

                        1. re: rudeboy

                          The water might be needed because other ingredients (such as vinegar) are more concentrated.

                          1. re: rudeboy

                            Raffles, I'm in Canada, and the ingredients in my WS match yours exactly for what you call the "British blend," except that water is listed after spirit vinegar. Are you sure you didn't miss that when you copied the ingredients?

                            1. re: Cilantra

                              I double checked , the are both as listed, one made in Worchester, the other in NJ.

                              We got it in San Michele in Quebec at a supermarket last winter.

                              1. re: Raffles

                                Interesting. I got mine in Peterborough, Ontario. The bottle says that it's a product of England, prepared for Heinz Canada. I'll have to go to the UK Shoppe and check out what they have. They import products directly from the UK -- the genuine thing, not watered down or sweetened up for Canadian/American tastes.

                                1. re: Cilantra

                                  There's also an all-England shop in Bobcaygeon, Cilantra, that likely carries some variant of that product; you might check it out if you're in the neighbourhood.

                                  1. re: Phil Ogelos

                                    Thanks, Phil. I live just outside Peterborough, so the UK Shoppe is really convenient.

                                    1. re: Cilantra

                                      Tell me here if you find it when you're there; I should be back around the Kawarthas this spring.

                                      1. re: Phil Ogelos

                                        I'll check next Monday on what the UK Shoppe has and let you know.

                                          1. re: Cilantra

                                            The UK Shoppe in Peterborough finally received a shipment of Worcestershire Sauce born and bred in England, so I bought a bottle this morning.

                                            This afternoon I compared ingredients between it and my Canadian version and found that they're identical except that the Canadian WS has water (after spirit vinegar).

                                            Then I did a taste test. To me, the flavour was the same in both varieties. The only difference was that the UK sauce seemed marginally hotter/zippier, probably a result of not having any water added.

                                            In any case, there's so little difference that I'm just going to stick with the Canadian WS, because it's a whole lot cheaper.

                                            1. re: Cilantra

                                              The different position of water in the Canadian list could just be a consequence of a different concentration of the vinegar. Vinegar is usually labeled as 'diluted to 6% acidity' (or some other number.

                                  2. re: Raffles

                                    That's interesting. My bottle (Fair Lawn, NJ) has the same ingredient but listed in a different order:

                                    Distilled white vinegar, molasses, water, sugar, onions, anchovies, salt, garlic, cloves, tamarind extract, natural flavorings, chili pepper extract.

                                    So water & sugar are switched and salt goes AFTER onions and anchovies. The bottle also brags that it is gluten-free but has an added sticker that says "contains soy"

                              2. re: GH1618

                                The problem with Malt Vinegar is that is contains GLUTEN, since it is made from Barley, so those wishing a gluten-free variety should stick with the American version.

                                1. re: pinkmagnolia921

                                  Why? Is American malt vinegar made by malting rice or some such?

                                  1. re: MacGuffin

                                    I don't think you have to worry about gluten being a problem in malt vinegar. You can read an informative article about it here: http://noglutennoproblem.blogspot.ca/...

                                    Here's one quote from that article: "But consider that Coeliac UK, the leading non-profit focused on Celiac Disease in the United Kingdom, maintains that malt vinegar is ACCEPTABLE for people on a gluten-free diet."

                                    1. re: Cilantra

                                      Did you read the post farther down by a Brit who got sick on beets pickled in malt vinegar?

                                      I answered my own question: corn (I suppose this would've occurred to me if I drank alcohol of any kind). But Heinz seems to use both corn and barley.

                                      1. re: MacGuffin

                                        But don't forget that malt vinegar has far more gluten than the small amount that's in Worc. Sauce. All told, I still don't think it's likely to be an issue.

                                        1. re: Cilantra

                                          I'm just reporting--I'm not affected and hence have no vested interest. In fact, I don't even know that the wheat in the soy sauce used to make W-sauce might not also pose a problem (and possibly a double whammy for CD sufferers). Just pointing out that at least one person with CD reading that article thinks consuming malt vinegar caused a problem.

                                    2. re: MacGuffin

                                      Malt Vinegar is made from Barley, which is a grain that contains Gluten, as does wheat and rye.

                                      1. re: pinkmagnolia921

                                        I know what barley is. I wanted to know what was malted in lieu of barley for U.S. malt vinegar (and answered my own question).

                                    3. re: pinkmagnolia921

                                      The American version is made with 'vinegar', most likely distilled white vinegar. That is likely to be made from grains (unspecified).

                                      from a Heinz FAQ:

                                      Are Heinz® Vinegars gluten-free?
                                      Some Heinz® Vinegar’s are gluten free. Heinz® Distilled White Vinegar and Apple Cider Flavored Vinegar are sourced from corn, not from wheat, rye, barley, or oats. Wine Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar are sourced from grapes and apples, respectively, not grains.
                                      However, Heinz Malt Vinegar, Salad Vinegar and Tarragon Vinegars are NOT gluten free because they all
                                      contain barley.

                                  2. re: Raffles

                                    now I am baffled I always thought L&P was inviolate, a standard and now there are two. Argh. Did someone decide Americans just could not handle malt vinegar?

                              3. There's Hendersons relish which is the same kind of thing and considered as superior in Yorkshire in general and the city of Sheffield in particular. Don't say it's like Worcester sauce though or incur the wrath of the people of Sheffield as this MP recently found out.

                                http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/th...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Paprikaboy

                                  I stumbled upon the aforementioned Henderson's Relish on Wikipedia's Worcestershire Sauce page some years back and had a friend, who'd never heard of it (I guess due to his being a Londoner), bring over a liter from the UK. Unfortunately, NYC was the last stop on a trip around the world--he told me in a heartfelt way that he kept praying the bottle would break (it's plastic). Anyhow, HR is good but the problem with it is that the manufacturer started using saccharine for part of the recipe's called-for sweetener during WWII and they never switched back because everyone likes it the way it is. Its presence isn't overwhelming but it IS detectable, so be aware.

                                2. Wine & Pepper Worcestershire from Reily Foods Company, New Orleans, La.

                                  "Enhanced with fine sherry and a hint of hot pepper, it's aged to perfection!"

                                  1. And Lord Sandy's, an upscale vegetarian brand has a Facebook page.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: knucklesandwich

                                      This is good to know.
                                      Years ago, I used to buy Sharwood's Worcestershire Sauce at Zabar's. It had, I think, more than one Royal Warrant, contained NO anchovies (or any other animal products, for that matter), and was wonderful (I've always preferred steak sauce and W-sauce to ketchup on fries, even when I ate meat). Had I known that Sharwood's was going to discontinue it, I'd have stocked up. :`(

                                      Addendum: just checked their site--I can get Lord Sandy's at Zabar's just like Sharwood's of old! You're my hero!

                                      1. re: knucklesandwich

                                        So I bit the bullet today and bought a bottle at Zabar's . . .

                                        Okay, I went and bought some fries at Wendy's to test LS (why on earth did they have to use "taipan" on the label of a condiment supposedly hailing from India?). First, and maybe I'm asking for too much here, but the shaker insert that one would expect in a liquid condiment bottle? Not here, resulting in my pouring half a bottle over my fries. BAD MOVE, Lord Sandy's. I drained the fries and poured the considerable excess back in the bottle. It's quite good but on the mild side, certainly milder than the way I remember Sharwood's. But other than that insert and the fact that it's supposed to be refrigerated after opening, I'm not complaining. Thanks again for making me aware of this vegetarian option.

                                      2. How about a half-n-half combination of DIY and "artisan"?

                                        http://www.americanspice.com/worceste...

                                        1. Thanks for all the replies, everyone.

                                          1. Came late to the discussion. Crystal makes a great Worcestershire Sauce! Their hot sauce is the best ,too!!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. Interesting. I hadnt appreciated that such an iconic British food item was manufactured overseas - and to what seems like a slightly different recipe.

                                              1. I'd say on a literal level, no. Reading the history, "Worcestershire sauce" is a creation of the Lea and Perrins company. Apparently when it was created a couple of hundred years ago the name was not trademarked, but if it were created today it would be. Anything else would not be "Worcestershire sauce" but rather something "in the style of Worcestershire sauce."

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                  The next target of the EU naming police after "Parmesan," perhaps.

                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                    Possibly, GH1618, although unlikely, IMO.

                                                    The product hasnt been manufactured in Worcestershire fro a number of years, although bottling returned to the county about 6 years ago. Personally, I'd doubt whether having a bottling plant would be a sufficient link for the product to get PDO status.

                                                    As you say, Parmesan is one of a goodly number of products that Europeans can be confident that it only comes from the defined region. For example, Parmesan is one of over 170 cheeses with PDO/PGI/TSG status.

                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                      I currently live in Worcester and my manager tells me that when they did actually manufacture it here, the whole town stank of it. I imagine now they merely age and bottle it, hence the made in worcester claim.

                                                      The story of the origin is really quite fascinating, almost apocryphal in its happenstance.

                                                      http://www.leaperrins.com/history.aspx

                                                      1. re: sherpajohn

                                                        I'm sure it did. Any large scale food manufacturing plant seems to stink.

                                                        By the by, could you help me out with a Worcester dinner recc on this thread on the UK board, please? The "usual sources" (Good Food Guide & Hardens)have not been any help.
                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/966728

                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                          Ah, but to those of us in the food manufacturing industry, it smells like money. ;-)

                                                2. Just for reference, here's a recipe
                                                  http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...
                                                  I made it once, and was happy with the result. But I'm not a big enough fan to the sauce to make it regularly.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. To make matters worse, there is also a special edition out here in the UK:

                                                    http://www.leaandperrins.co.uk/en/Pro...

                                                    I get it from waitrose and use in my steak marinades. As a Canadian ex-pat, I so wish we could get a good bloody ceasar here!

                                                    1. I've always thought that garam masala and, say, soy sauce or even a good balsamic vinegar, mixed together, give me the essence of Worcestershire sauce, in the proportions I require for what I'm making.

                                                      1. worcester sauce is artisanal ? hendersons had colouring and flavourings added and is no where near as good

                                                        1. Given that the ancient Roman condiment Garum often contained fermented anchovies, you have to wonder if Worcestershire evolved from it. Couldn't find anything on the web about this possibility, anybody know?

                                                          11 Replies
                                                          1. re: kevinyc

                                                            Now that I have read the Lea and Perrins "history" it is interesting to note that they say the sauce comes from "garam masala" and the recipe may have evolved from "garum". Coincidence?? I don't think so. But it would be great to find the missing links between garam and garum.

                                                            1. re: kevinyc

                                                              My guess is that unless you can find a definite link to Sanskrit, your theory might be an etymological stretch that's based on what could be L&P's playing fast and loose with the facts for the sake of good copy. "Fermented fish intestines" to "hot" (as in "sharp") is quite a leap and to the best of my knowledge, there's no fish-based Indian condiment.

                                                              One question no one seems to be asking is what this "mother sauce" from Bengal actually was. I've eaten Indian food for pushing 50 years, from many different regions, and have yet to encounter anything remotely similar to W-sauce or, for that matter, soy sauce. The closest thing I've encountered is that runny tamarind ("imli?") chutney that's served in Indian restaurants, and that's more a matter of appearance than anything else. So what was it that Lord Sandys was trying to duplicate?

                                                              1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                I've always read that 'garam' means 'warming', referring spices like cinnamon and ginger (in contrast to 'cooling' foods like yogurt).

                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                  I think "warming" to "hot" is much less a stretch than "warming" to "fermented fish guts" but that's just my 2¢. And BTW, according to Wikipedia (that bastion of accuracy), "garam" is Hindi for "hot." I could always confirm one way or the other with Indian colleagues but not today. :)

                                                                  1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                    I assume that is 'hot' as in temperature, not the English spicy hot or chili hot. Spanish uses 'picante' for that kind of hot, not 'caliente'. 'picante' has more the sense of bite or prick, and may be related to the English piquant.

                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                      Spicy heat is warming, which is one reason why such spices are popular in Indian cuisine--they help promote sweating. You can, after all, raise blisters by consuming very hot peppers or applying them topically and the capsaicin that's the active ingredient in that non-smelly Capzasin·HP to which I'm so devoted certainly creates heat. Maybe there's a Hindi speaker reading this who can help?

                                                                2. re: MacGuffin

                                                                  I have never had the cuisine of Assam, the area east of today's Bangladesh, does deal in fermented fish. Also, British territories at the time stretched into Southeast Asia, so perhaps Lord Sandys was confused or getting his names wrong, or perhaps politcally, that part of SE Asia was part of Bengal politicaly and Lord Sandys was trying to duplicate nuoc mam sauce- that is, after all made with fermented fish.

                                                                  It is also possible that garum/garam is a linguistic coincidence, wikipedia says garum comes from the greek garon fish, and garam means "hot". At the same time there was trade between Ancient Rome and India, so it is possible that Garum evolved into Garam, and lost its fermented fish in the process.

                                                                  I guess we will never know.

                                                                  1. re: kevinyc

                                                                    I'm not saying fish isn't eaten in India and in fact, I once had a culinary conversation with my Assamese tea vendor (he sells what the family grows and processes), so I know that fish is eaten there, as are other meats. I'm just saying that to the best of my knowledge, there's no fish chutney and I still am trying to figure out the identity of that ground-zero sauce that seems to have included soy sauce as a base.

                                                                    Having just done some digging, here's someone who's even more skeptical of L&P's claims than I am (and it makes for very amusing reading): http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.p... . And "garum" supposedly has Greek roots so if there's a linguistic relationship here, it's by way of India to Greece to Rome.

                                                                    1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                      I know people eat fish in India, I was just making the point that Assam's cuisine has FERMENTED fish, and therefore, it's not much of a stretch (to me, anyway) to go from fermented fish to fermented fish sauce.

                                                                      the L and P skeptic makes for fun reading in deed.

                                                                      Agree on the linguistic relationship.

                                                                      1. re: kevinyc

                                                                        Hey, who knows? Lots of words have found their way into other languages due to misunderstandings of meaning and/or pronunciation. As to the article, I have to admit that I thought that at least there was a non-apocryphal Lord Sandys who was somehow affiliated with Bengal (or at least some part of India). I guess changing "Sandys" (which I'm guessing is pronounced "sands" or "sandis") to "Sandy" by one manufacturer mentioned here should've been a clue. Ah, well . . . :(

                                                                    2. re: kevinyc

                                                                      So if we say, "That girl is hot . . .", what we are really saying is "That girl is a smelly, fermented fish sauce girl . . ." (!)

                                                              2. DISREGARD- ALREADY MENTIONED IN PREVIOUS POST SORRY The "special edition" Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce appears to have the same ingredients listing as the british version:

                                                                http://www.leaandperrins.co.uk/en/Pro...

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: kevinyc

                                                                  The "normal" version is identical to what I have that is made in Worchester...like I said,

                                                                  http://www.leaandperrins.co.uk/Produc...

                                                                2. Wizard Sauce is a very tasty alternative to L&P and is vegan to boot. I keep both in my fridge, but Wizard Sauce wins out every time. Kinda lowbrow, but it makes amazing Chex Mix. http://www.edwardandsons.com/sauces_s...

                                                                  I get it at my local co-op, but I think Whole Foods carries it too.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: kscooks

                                                                    Despite its cute label (it's a safe bet that every health food store I've been in of late carries it), I've always been put off by Wizard's ingredients which seem to wander very far afield of those of W-sauce. You say it tastes better than L&P?

                                                                    1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                      I think it does. More of a full flavor with tamarind hints to it. I'd say that out of the bottle you would pick up on chutney flavors, but those don't dominate when you put it in as a minor flavoring agent--a couple tablespoons full at a time. It just blends and gives you a full flavor and unami boost.

                                                                      It really is incredible in Chex Mix, which relies on so few elements that its flavor is more to the forefront. Combined with the butter in the mix, it is full, very slightly fruity, salty but not as salt-dominated as L & P.

                                                                      It is only $5 and like you said, ubiquitous in most health food stores, so worth a try, right? At least that was the reasoning that made me pick up the first bottle.

                                                                      1. re: kscooks

                                                                        I'm willing to take the recommendation of another Hound! I'll try both it AND Lord Sandy's. :))

                                                                  2. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/en...
                                                                    "The "original recipes" for Lea and Perrins (L&P) Worcestershire sauce may have been found by one the firm's former employees, a museum has said." 2009

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                      Any follow-up as to its authenticity?