SKU: 8985
  • Hawkshead Relish Damson Ketchup
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Hawkshead Relish Damson Plum Ketchup

300 gram bottle - Lake District, UK

Spoon Ready Ketchup

so good, you can eat it with a spoon!

To understand why you might get excited about ketchup, or why you might even think it is “spoon ready” you need to know the history of ketchup. We won’t dive too deep, just a quick timeline.

Ke-tsiap is a name of a fermented fish sauce from an area in China called Hokkien. The British are believed to have brought it to England in the late 17th century and attempted to re-create the dark fermented sauce. Then it would have had ingredients like mushrooms, walnuts, oysters and anchovies.

It wasn’t until 1812 that tomatoes were introduced the “ketchup”. Then someone added preservatives, mostly coal tar, which helped get a red color and sodium benzoate to slow spoilage. Then a man called Wiley said these things were bad for you, and partnered with a man name Heinz. Heinz made a recipe that used ripe red tomatoes, which has natural pectin, and used vinegar to reduce the spoilage factor.

Over all these years, there are still variations along the road to the ketchup we have here, though most don’t start with fermented fish.

And this brings us to Mark’s Damson Ketchup. No tomato here. Instead he uses Damson plums, a pitted fruit, as the first and main ingredient.

To the nose, at first, you recognize the smell, though on the second whiff, the recognition is gone. And with more whiffs you find yourself desiring to identify the flavor notes. Via the nose this is tricky and difficult.

So when you tip some out onto a spoon or into a bowl you see it is dark in color, firm in constitution, and a little bumpy.

To the mouth, it is sweet, full of taste that reminds one of a nice meaty dish. As the flavors roll away, there is a little bit of bits to play with and chew up, really just something to move about on your molars and then you might move the pieces to the incisors up front just to entertain you for awhile.

Along with the familiar taste that you don’t recognize, there is the sweet tang of acid, the feel of garlic, allspice, a twinge of ginger heat and cinnamon.

It is a wonderful trip that you take inside your mouth when you have a tip of a spoon tasteful. A whole spoonful would be too much, way too much! It is as if as the flavors move through your mouth, each bit introduces themselves to you and then steps aside for the next flavor.

And what you thought was in the middle of your tongue is gone and now something new to taste is on the outside, on the vertical edges of your tongue. It is so wonderful to taste and even after all the bits are gone you will still find yourself sucking in your cheeks to have more joy!

On a hot dog or hamburger it would stunning. Yet you could also share it on a chunk of cheese or a nice pork chop!

This is perhaps the ketchup that is the bridge between the first fish sauce and the more modern tomato based one we are so used too. Even with its different approach in a way this seems very much like a ketchup and one I think is always worth having on hand next to my Heinz.

ingredients: Damsons (28%), demerera sugar, onions, acetic acid, raisins, dates, salt, garlic, ginger, allspice, cinnamon

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