Six things you never knew about Henderson's Relish - Sheffield’s best kept secret for 138 years

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Henderson’s Relish: where did it come from and why does everyone love it so much?

As you might expect, Henderson’s Relish was created by a man called Henderson. Sheffield grocer Henry Henderson developed the first batch in 1885, at his home, 44 Green Lane, and it’s been a city institution ever since.

When Henry retired in 1910, he sold the business to Shaws of Huddersfield.

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That was the last involvement the Henderson family had with the brand, but it’s remained with George Shaw’s descendants ever since.

The first Hendo’s factory opened at 66 Leavygreave Road, and in 1925, the iconic orange and black label was born.

In 1959, it moved down the road to the iconic site that was its home for over 50 years. 

Nowadays, Hendo’s is stocked in shops and supermarkets all over South Yorkshire and beyond.

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Six things you never knew about Henderson’s Relish

Sweet stuff

Most Hendo’s fans will splash the dark stuff on everything from cheese on toast, to poached eggs, to shepherd’s pie - but have you ever tried it in your puddings?

A quick Google brings up dozens of recipes for chocolate and Hendo’s mousse.

City centre restaurant Silversmiths once served up chocolate and strawberry mousse with Henderson’s Relish honeycomb.

Celebrity fans

Sheffield is home to its fair share of famous faces, and they’re not afraid to spread the word.

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Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders described Hendo’s as “like Worcester sauce, but one million times better,” while golfer Danny Willetts chose cottage pie with Henderson's Relish as the starter for his Masters Champions Dinner in 2017.

It’s not just locals who love it, either. Scottish singer KT Tunstall described Hendo’s as “the best non-alcoholic liquid on the face of the planet”.

Political scandal 

There was uproar online in 2014 after Lewisham MP Jim Dowd accused Hendo’s of being a knock-off of Lea & Perrins.

Nick Clegg, who back then was Deputy Prime Minister, jumped to its defence, writing an open letter to Dowd stating that “Henderson’s Relish is a much loved local institution.

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“We are confident it would win in any blind taste test, whether at a pub in Blackheath or anywhere else."

Other politicians also piled on, including Sheffield MP Paul Blomfield.

The older, the better

Hendo’s manufacturers have to include a best before date on every bottle, but you might not need to pay it too much attention.

They say: “We have to include a best before date but we know our Relish ages like a fine wine and only gets better.

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“Pop a bottle away for a few years and come back to it, you won’t regret it.”

So, that bottle that’s been at the back of your cupboard since you moved to Sheffield for university? Give it a taste.

Guilt-free

Hendo’s is right on trend with the environmentally-minded trends of today, being totally vegan.

Even 100 years ago, the company was encouraging reuse of packaging, with the relish being kept in a barrel and customers bringing their own bottles to fill up.

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Now, the glass bottles it comes in are from a local supplier, which saves on transport emissions.

Hendo's has been made in Sheffield for 138 yearsHendo's has been made in Sheffield for 138 years
Hendo's has been made in Sheffield for 138 years | National World

The recipe

It is a special blend of tamarinds, cayenne peppers, vinegar, garlic and cloves.

And sadly, that’s about all we know.

Only a handful of people who know the closely guarded recipe, which has arguably been Sheffield’s best kept secret for 138 years.

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