Henderson’s is testament to Yorkshire good taste, says Christa Ackroyd

Christa Ackroyd
Christa Ackroyd
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It’s not often a condiment trends on Twitter or features in a debate in the House of Commons.

And in all my 30 years as a journalist, never before has a sauce scrambled me to put pen to paper.

But Henderson’s Relish is no ordinary dressing. It is as Yorkshire as Yorkshire gets. As much a taste of God’s Own County as Yorkshire pudding or parkin on plot night.

And it’s not just me who says so.

Its orange and black bottle has featured on the front cover of the illustrious New Statesman magazine as a testament to all things Northern, alongside Dame Judi Dench, Morecambe and Wise, a flat cap and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.

A testament to good taste and tradition.

But don’t take my word for it.

Sheffield’s own Sean Bean once ordered two gallons of the stuff. It’s been fed to Barbra Streisand, Dustin Hoffman and Bill Clinton by celebrity chefs who know their onions.

And this week it was served up by me with love in a shepherd’s pie, made more glorious on a cold winter’s day for its addition. Satisfaction in a bottle. And it’s ours.

So when, in the Commons, Lewisham West and Penge MP Jim Dowd took it upon himself to bemoan its presence on the table of a London pub as just ‘something from Sheffield’ – even daring to suggest it was a nothing more than a copy of some product from Worcestershire – the good Tykes of Yorkshire staged a culinary protest.

‘Where would our bangers and mash be without a good dash of Hendo’s’ was the chant. Save our sauce from the South came the rallying cry, as even the company launched an investigation as to how a bottle of the spicy stuff found its way to the table of a trendy eatery so far from this fine city.

But our sauce travels. Sent to troops on the frontline in Iraq and down South in my Yorkshire Christmas hampers, it sells in good old British delis from Australia to America.

Because it’s a comforting taste of home, a spicy memory of childhood teas and a right good product that’s part of our birthright.

Mine is not to debate how other products use anchovies while ours is vegetarian. It’s the patronising and parochial nature of the comments I bemoan.

So stand up for Sheffield and for Yorkshire, by standing up for a sauce from Henderson’s.

And in doing so let’s us celebrate more than 100 years of culinary history, mostly from a red-brick, family-run factory on Leavygreave Road.

Fear of food snobbery cannot allow the ignorance of lesser diners to prevail. Three-quarters-of-a-million buyers cannot be wrong. We can’t stand by and see Henry Henderson spin in his grave.

So place it with pride on top of your granny’s best table cloth. Dine in style and spread the word. And, more than ever, keep splashing it on with real Yorkshire relish.

VIDEO: Sheffield Henderson’s Relish taste test - CLICK HERE.