The Queen launches own brand of Sandringham brown sauce
- Credit: Chris Bishop/Archant/PA
Its most famous brand bears the image of the Houses of Parliament on it, but a new variety of brown sauce has hit the shelves with an even more illustrious association.
The Royal Estate has launched its own version, produced at the Queen's Sandringham property.
The sauce comes at a princely sum, however. A bottle is priced at £6.99, compared with around £2.89 for a bottle of HP sauce from a supermarket.
It is part of a range of condiments now on sale at the Norfolk estate, whose gift shop stocks Sandringham and Duchy-branded products sourced locally, such as apple juice and ales and further afield.
The estate has also crafted two gins: Sandringham Gin, which is distilled at a barn at the 60-acre property using ingredients sourced from the estate; and Buckingham Palace gin, made from ingredients handpicked from the Queen’s garden.
Profits go to the estate, which is privately-owned by the Queen.
The new brown sauce is billed as being "ideal for breakfast or any time of the day" with "the perfect balance to please all".
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It is not the first royal connection to the popular condiment.
The original recipe for HP, the UK’s best-selling brown sauce, is said to have been invented by David Hoe, from Bottesford, Leicestershire, in the mid-19th century.
It was used to complement locally-made pork pies and Hoe's sauces were said to be patronised by the then Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, the first royal occupant of Sandringham.
The recipe was later sold to Frederick Gibson Garton, a grocer from Nottingham, who registered the name HP Sauce after hearing that a restaurant in the Palace of Westminster was serving the condiment.
In 1903, Garton sold the recipe for £150 to settle a debt with Edwin Samson Moore, the founder of the Midlands Vinegar Company, who launched the product more widely.
It is now made by Heinz, which says Britons consume 28m bottles of the sauce, whose ingredients include molasses, dates, vinegar and a dash of tamarind every year.
They include the Royal Family, with bottles carrying a prestigious Royal Warrant from none other than the Queen herself.
Whether her majesty's own variety will be able to rival the original remains to be seen.
To see whether it is worth its price tag, we road tested it against a few of its rivals...
The Original HP Sauce
This was where brown sauce all began, back in 1899, with what's described as "a closely-guarded secret recipe" of vinegar, molasses, dates and tamarind.
But the label, which carries a coveted Royal Warrant, also reveals it's actually made in the Netherlands nowadays.
It's spicy without being overpowering, with a silky richness.
One of the nation's favourite tastes weighs in at £2 for a 450g bottle.
Our rating: 8/10
Tesco Brown Sauce
It doesn't quite live up to the "bold and tangy" claim on the bottle.
But it's got a milder taste, with a lovely warm finish.
It's on the shelves for £1.25 for a 435g bottle.
Our rating: 7/10
Listen up kids, your parents lied. Your dad never made this stuff. It was just a poorly-punctuated ploy to make you finish your dinner.
Mind you, there's a lovely peppery kick hiding away here which isn't overpowering and just hits the spot.
This one will set you back around £1.45 for 400g.
Our rating: 7/10
Stockwell & Co Brown Sauce
This contender is Tesco's cheaper offering. And you can taste that straight away.
Vinegar overpowers just about everything else that's in the bottle. Probably one to put on your chips.
A 530g bottle is priced 58p.
Our rating: 3/10
Batt's Brown Sauce
Budget chain Lidl's offering was the cheapest we road-tested. But it was far from the worst performer.
Milder than some with a lovely sweet, warm finish.
A 450g bottle will set you back all of 49p.
Our rating: 8/10
Sandringham Brown Sauce
One of the first things you notice is it takes some persuading to come out of the bottle.
The texture's more like a chutney than some supermarket goo in a squirty bottle.
And it comes with a rich, fruity, almost Christmas-puddingy kind of taste.
But that comes at a cost. For at £6.99 for a 295g bottle, it's clearly not the cheapest.
Our rating: 9/10