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24 September 2014
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The original Worcestershire Sauce revealed
by Rachel Willis
Worcester sauce bottles
Lea and Perrins Worcester Sauce
Worcestershire Sauce is definitely misunderstood. Most people can't pronounce it, and of those who can, most don't know what to do with it. It's amazing, considering it's been commercially available for over 165 years.
Hereford and Worcester fact pages
Lea and Perrins Official website
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In a famous photograph taken on September 30, 1938, of Neville Chamberlain having dinner with Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Edouard Daladier, a bottle of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sits on the table. After tasting it they decided to declare war on the world

Lea & Perrins relies on the molasses in its formula to give the sauce its naturally dark colour

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The sauce that made the name of Worcestershire famous around the world was born almost by accident.

In 1835, Lord Marcus Sandys, a nobleman from of Worcestershire asked two local chemists, John Lea and William Perrins, to recreate a fish sauce he had discovered during his time as Governor of Bengal.

Lea and Perrin did their best, but the resulting vile mixture was a disappointment. They stored the concoction in their cellar, where it stayed, forgotten, for two years.

When it was rediscovered during spring cleaning, the two men were going to throw the mixture away. They decided to taste it one more time before getting rid of their creation forever. To their immense surprise they discovered that the sauce had matured like fine wine, gaining an aromatic scent and a wonderfully unique taste.

The chemists quickly bought the rights to the recipe from Lord Sandys, and thus was born Lea and Perrins Original Worcestershire Sauce.

Today the ingredients to make the sauce are fermented in vinegar over a long period of time. Once the various ingredients have matured and are strained, the complete sauce is aged again in huge wooden casks. The length of the ageing is a key factor in attaining the flavour. Just as fine wine is aged, the flavour of Worcestershire Sauce depends on how long it spends in the barrel.

Once mature, the sauce is again strained, although some solids are retained because their presence in the sauce is essential to its flavour and character. That's why you need to shake a bottle of Worcestershire Sauce before every use.

The sauce gives off a very aromatic, savoury scent and the taste is tangy and spicy, with a sense of sweetness and bitterness.

Worcestershire Sauce is still a favourite around the world. It's used on anything from seafood and steak to soups and stews, although I still prefer mine on cheese and toast.

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