HP Sauce: The Brown English Condiment You Need To Be Using

09/21/2012 10:25 am ET
HP/Heinz

We have to talk about your condiment usage. We're concerned about your shepherd's pies, your full English breakfasts, your Welsh rarebits, your bacon sandwiches! America: are you letting these foods go un-brown-sauced?

If you've never had HP Sauce -- England's favorite brown sauce -- we must insist that this is the cold-weather season you try it. The sauce, which has been around since 1899, is a darkly spiced, slightly syrupy, savory flavor bomb that we can't get enough of. The recipe is a closely guarded secret, but we do know that it has a tomato base, augmented by malt vinegar, dates, tamarind and rye flour. This is stuff is deep, complex and unlike anything else we've ever tasted.

HP (which stands for the Houses of Parliament) goes perfectly with potatoes, beef stews, bacon -- the kinds of heavy, hearty things you want to eat when the weather turns cold. Because this is an English staple, it's pretty easy to find in places with large expat populations like New York, and New England, but we've seen HP pop up in lots of stores that we never expected, recently.

Another fun fact: HP Sauce and Heinz ketchup are cousins, both owned by the Heinz company. According to the company's website, "One in four of all UK households get through at least one bottle of HP every single year. That's something like a total of 27.5m bottles per annum." That's even after catching some heat last year for changing the recipe for the first time in over a hundred years, to comply with the UK's sodium regulations.

Anyone who has ever told you that English food was no good was trying to keep you from stealing all the HP Sauce, we can promise you that.

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