Worcester-whaaat?

Earlier this week we talked about Worcestershire Powder – the convenient-to-use dry alternative to Worcestershire Sauce. All the Worcestershire talk might have you wondering as much about its origins as its proper pronunciation (which is a whole other topic). Fear not – we’ve got answers!

Company Lea & Perrins is credited with creating the original Worcestershire Sauce in the early 1800s in Worcester County, England. The company story is that Lord Sandys (whose identity is difficult to track down) returned to England from India and was looking for someone to recreate a sauce from Bengal that he loved. He found chemists John Wheely Lea and William Henry Perrins to do just that.

The two attempted to recreate the sauce and it was terrible. So much so that it was stashed in the basement to be forgotten. A few years later (presumably during spring cleaning), they rediscovered the sauce and were surprised to find it had mellowed with time and become quite tasty. The found the condiment perfect for punching up the umami flavor in all sorts of dishes. The rest is history.

The original Worcestershire Sauce recipe is, of course, a trade secret; however, we know from the ingredients on the bottle it included barley malt vinegar, spirit vinegar, molasses, sugar, salt, anchovies, tamarind, onions, and a variety of unspecified spices and flavorings. And it’s not much different today.

Worcestershire Sauce recipes and ingredients vary a bit between manufacturers and regions. What’s universal is its broad appeal and use in a variety of recipes – it’s used in soups, stews, marinades, dressings, appetizers, casseroles, drinks, and more!

We carry two varieties in the shop – Worcestershire Powder (the dried version we mentioned at the top of the story) and Col. Pabst Worcestershire Sauce, a delicious malt amber lager version made by the Pabst family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The powdered version is vegan (no anchovies are used in its making) and the Col. Pabst version is not, as it sticks closer to the traditional recipe.

Read more about them in our Spotlight Spice stories (powder here and Col. Pabst here) and pick them up in the shop or online store. Bon appetite!