The quintessential brown sauce, named after the British Houses of Parliament. HP Sauce has about threequarters of the British brown sauce market, and it is very popular on throughout most of the Commonwealth.

HP Sauce has a chequered ownership history, passing through many hands. Once actually produced in the UK, originally by the Midland Vinegar Comapny, it is now made in the Netherlands by Heinz.

The sauce is a good alternative to tomato ketchup, having a less sweet, more sharp acidic tang of vinegar in its background. In fact, when it was made in the UK, the factory in Aston, Birmingham, being sited on both sides of the A38(M) motorway, had a pipeline carrying vinegar over the motorway from the Top Yard to the main Tower Road factory site.

That vinegary description does it a disservice perhaps – there is a unique spicy, tamarind, subtle overtone that makes it very moreish.

As well as using it wherever you would normally slaver tomato ketchup, such as on potato fries, you can add HP Sauce to soups and stews with good effect.

HP Sauce became known as Wilson’s Gravy in in the 1960s after the wife of Harold Wilson, Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at that time, gave an interview to The Sunday Times in which she stated “If Harold has a fault, it is that he will drown everything with HP Sauce”.

  • : H J Heinz
  • : Netherlands
  • : £1
  • : http://www.hpsauce.co.uk
  • : A staple to keep in your store cupboard.
  • : ****
  • : Vinegary, almost smoky, dark hints of tamarind, dates and other spices
  • : The canonical brown sauce all other brown sauces are compared to.
  • : Spicy vinegar.
  • : No chunks - a smooth gel
  • : Yes
  • : Mild