Last Saturday I was in Endcliffe Park at Hunters Bar in Sheffield. The girls were playing in the great new swing park whilst I was queuing for a cappuccino in the Endcliffe Park café. On the Shelf was a bottle of Henderson’s Relish which for those of you who have never lived in South Yorkshire is widely regarded as the elixir of life by many Sheffielders.
Henderson’s Relish is condiment similar to Worcester sauce but ,good god, it’s so much more than that. In fact if you compared it to Worcester sauce in front of one of its many fans in Sheffield you’d get a look of disgust and pity. Henderson’s Relish has established itself as an essential item in every true Sheffielders cupboard. An accompaniment to meat pies, stews and casseroles but also interwoven into the fabric of life. It’s the one item of food I can remember my Granddads (on both sides) talking enthusiastically about and I can remember on one occasion ,as a kid, catching my Dad drinking his gravy from the plate awash with Henderson’s (something my Mum would never put up with.)
Henderson’s has achieved this because it tastes great and it has never expanded its sales territory beyond the Sheffield border. Drive ten miles down the road to Rotherham and its already becoming scarce. Go so far as Nottingham, 25 miles down the M1, and they’ll not have a clue what you’re talking about when you ask for the Henderson’s to splash on your pie.
For ex pats it’s an essential taste of home. We regularly take a bottle to relatives in Canada and ten years ago I was in Mexico with my wife when we came across a bottle. After travelling for ten hours outside Mexico City high up into the hills, passing dead donkeys and children selling Iguanas, we met an Ex Sheffielder running a Hotel who was never without his Henderson’s. His son was instructed to bring a case of the stuff whenever he arrived from the UK.
Sheffield singer/songwriter Richard Hawley mentions it in interviews (he pours it on fish and chips which is a kind of Uber-Sheffield behaviour.)There was even a Richard Hawley limited edition Hendersons Relish on sale during one of his tours.
The great Sheffield artist Pete McKee has included Henderson’s in a least one of his fantastic paintings.
I’m not sure if Jarvis Cocker has mentioned Henderson’s but I’m sure he’s a fan and it can only be a matter of time before The Arctic Monkeys write a song about it (Alex Turners relationship with Alexis Chung doesn’t seem to have moved him from his roots as they were both in the Endcliffe Park café a couple of weeks ago according to Ashley Charlesworth , the proprietor.)
Every year for Xmas I give the staff in LMM’s London office and our reps based out in the field a bottle of Hendersons as part of their Xmas present.(You can call me cheap but some things are worth more than money and those of us in the know need to limit the knowledge of this product as the tiny factory at the end of West Street (just up the road from the Walkabout Inn) in Sheffield looks like it couldn’t cope with any increased production. There is a Sheffield legend that noone has ever been seen leaving or entering the Henderson relish factory and certainly no smell ever seems to escape the building.
LMM supply the entertainment for a party in Sheffield which happens once a year in a marquee around bonfire night. They sometimes have a party band like Freak Out and last year they had our great Jazz band Powder who have played for Gordon Brown and Tony Blaire amongst others. Whatever the band (and however great they are ) the highlight of the party is always when the home made meat and potatoes pie comes out and there sitting on the table are two bottles of Henderson’s Relish-the elixir of life.
For more details of LMMs great funky party rock band Freak Out Out visit http://www.lmmuk.com/band/Freak+Out%21
For details about the UKs best jazz swing band for weddings,parties,functions and drinks receptions why not visit Powder here http://www.lmmuk.com/band/Powder+Jazz
Hendersons Relish-We Salute You