Worcestershire sauce

 Worcestershire sauce Key facts First made in Worcester in 1837 by two dispensing chemists, John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins, the sauce soon became popular for flavouring meat dishes and stews, as well as in cocktails. Ingredients include molasses, tamarind, garlic, onions, cloves, soy sauce, lemons and, as Delia says, anchovies.

The very best-loved of English bottled sauces. I know an American foodie who has crates of the stuff sent over, because the American version never tastes as good.

It's such a clever sauce because if you were asked (and didn't know) what the main ingredient was, you would never guess. It's anchovies, but only the finest anchovies from the Basque region of Spain, blended with shallots, onions and garlic and matured for three years. Worcestershire sauce is a flavour provider and enhancer, a real stalwart for jazzing up stocks, gravies and sauces, and for enlivening disappointing ready meals.

Even outside the kitchen it has another pride of place, and that's at every glitzy bar from Teesside to Thailand – because no Bloody Mary anywhere in the world could not include it.

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