Hendersons Relish, South Yorkshire
World famous in Sheffield , but little known beyond the city’s boundaries (well, it is sold abroad as far away as Doncaster and Barnsley, and even exotic Whitby, Henderson’s Relish is a truly regional delicacy. Sheffielders may argue about allegiance to Wednesday or United , but not about the excellence of Henderson’s.
Made since the end of the 19th century when Henry Henderson, a salter and food wholesaler, created the product in his grocery store at 35, Broad Lane, there is something decidedly Victorian about the condiment: the building where it is made on Leavygreave Road (less than half-a-mile from its original home) is a survival, an old-fashioned red-brick structure increasingly surrounded by far more modern neighbours, including the ever-expanding Sheffield University; the bottle looks the antithesis of chic, the label a slightly muddy orange; and the idea of a one-bottle-suits-all sauce fitted more straightened times rather better.
Hendo’s as locals sometimes dub it is (and they won’t thank me for the description) something of a poor man’s Worcester Sauce ; for vegetarians it has the advantage that it contains no anchovies, thus is approved by the Vegetarian Society. It has a sweet-and-sour approach with both sugar and saccharin (the latter seemingly a relic of WWII sugar shortages) and plenty of vinegar. The ingredients include tamarind, garlic, and cayenne pepper, combined of course in a secret blend, and Sheffield water.
Regular unfounded rumours of the impending closure of the company prompt panic buying, but given the annual output of around three-quarters of a million bottles – Sheffield is after all one of the biggest cities in the country - by a small staff from an equally small production facility it is hard to imagine the enterprise as anything but sound.
Seen in chip shops in the city; used in soups and stews by home cooks and posh marinades by chefy Sheffielders in the world outside; lauded by exiled tyke Peter Stringfellow as the necessary accompaniment to a proper cooked breakfast; Henderson’s Relish looks likely to remain a special part of Steel City for some time yet.
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