How Lea & Perrins Makes Worcestershire Sauce Using A 185-Year-Old Recipe | Regional Eats

How Lea & Perrins Makes Worcestershire Sauce Using A 185-Year-Old Recipe | Regional Eats

Claudia Romeo: Hello! Today
we’re in the West Midlands of England, in Worcestershire,
the home of Lea & Perrins. We’re going to see how they make their famous Worcestershire sauce. Today we’re going to find out about its history and origin, what makes it so popular here in the UK, and then, of course,
we’re going to taste it. Worcestershire sauce is
a condiment made through a long-established maturing process with malt and spirit vinegar,
molasses, red onions, garlic, anchovies, tamarind,
and secret seasoning. The sauce can be enjoyed
in a variety of ways. Use to complement steaks, burgers, cocktails such as a Bloody Mary, and a British favorite, cheese on toast. But how did this famous
sauce come into existence here in the West Midlands? Nigel Dickie: So, Lea & Perrins is steeped in over 180 years of history. You know, the story starts in 1835 with Lord Sandys, who was reputably a nobleman of this county. And he’d been traveling in the Far East and had picked up this recipe for a sauce. And he loved it so much he brought it back to Worcester and wanted it made up. He turned to a couple of
entrepreneur chemists, Mr. Lea and Mr. Perrins, who owned a chemist shop in the center of
Worcester in Broad Street. So, he gave them the recipe, and Mr. Lea and Mr.
Perrins got the ingredients from around the world
and made up the sauce. And you know what? It tasted awful. Lord Sandys never returned, and Mr. Lea and Mr.
Perrins put this mixture in the basement of their chemist shop and didn’t return to it until
a couple years afterwards. When they tried it and it had matured into this wonderful elixir, and so started the, kind of, global fame of Lea & Perrins into what it is today. Claudia: After discovering
their newfound popular sauce, the pair began selling it from their Broad Street chemist, which was quickly becoming popular with locals in the area. Lea & Perrins then relocated to a new factory in Worcester in 1897, where the sauce is still made today. Depending on your region, it will either be packaged in the iconic orange label or wrapped in a beige paper wrapper. Paul Nicholls: So, at the
site here in Worcester we do mainly Lea & Perrins
production in glass bottles. 70% to 80% of what we do is Lea & Perrins, so quite a lot of volume,
and also we produce around about 43 million bottles a year. So depending on the bottle
size that we’re running at the time, we can run anything from 2 1/2 tonnes an hour up
to 5 and 6 tonnes per hour in terms of production of sauce. Claudia: Paul escorted
us around the factory, showing us the making process. We started in the basement, where hundreds of barrels sit quietly, maturing the Worcestershire
sauce ingredients just like it did over 100 years ago. Paul starts by showing us one of the three main ingredients that go
into Lea & Perrins sauce, whole red onions. Paul: So, we got some red
onions here that have been pickling for around about 9 to 10 months, and we’ve still got the
whole red skin onion, which we’ve noticed, but it’s changed from being a very hard fruit, even though it’s keeping its color, to being a little bit mushy, and it’s the process of
breaking down the vegetable that creates this lovely
juice that comes out that will give us that lovely flavor. Claudia: The same
process is also done with whole garlic cloves, which also sit in a barrel of malt vinegar to pickle for 18 months. One of the most interesting
ingredients sitting in these barrels are anchovies, and there are lots of them. The fish, which are captured
and sent from Spain, age in 200 kilograms of salt for 2 years, which help bring out the
base flavor for the sauce. After the ingredients
have finished maturing, they then go to the making house, where they are mixed together. The garlic, onions,
anchovies, and salt are added into this 5,000-liter tank. It then goes to the
maturation storage area, where the ingredients
are transferred and held in a larger, 30,000-liter tank for a minimum of six weeks, adding more ingredients,
including their secret spices, further enhancing the maturing process. Once complete, the sauce then goes to the final stage, where
it gets pasteurized. The sauce first goes
through this holding tank before heading to the heat exchanger, which preheats the sauce
for around two minutes, then cools it again, before
sending it to bottling. It’s finally time to try
the Worcestershire sauce. One thing to keep in mind is that this sauce is basically
everything that I hate. I’m not a big of vinegar,
anchovies, garlic, onions, and all these strong, strong flavors. I think the winning point in here is that you don’t taste the
fish. I could never tell that there is fish in here. I can taste the vinegar and the garlic and the onions. You know, like, if you
compare this to, like, the standard vinegar that
you have on the market, this will taste more
like a balsamic vinegar because it has some sweet notes. I have made a very
sad-looking cheese on toast, so what we’ve done here
is we put a little bit of the Lea & Perrins sauce
just on top of the cheese before putting this onto the grill. Oh, yeah, there is sauce in here. I think this one is a very good option. The sauce actually elevates it. So, overall, not for me, but it’s still a great sauce.

About the author


  1. Hey guys, I'm English, love food, used to be a chef and have a passion for English cuisine. Can I be one of your reporters instead?

  2. A secret recipe…………….

    Because so many people are going to make this sauce that takes months to produce, lasts for years and costs a $1.50 a bottle at home smh

  3. What’s the point of having someone who doesn’t like any of the ingredients review the sauce? Cool video either way though

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