For those in the know, Geo Watkins’ Mushroom Ketchup conjures up that popular, rich umami flavour bringing to British cooking a flavour inspired by the 19th century Far East. Mushroom Ketchup is made with real mushrooms to give it that taste with a hint of Worcestershire Sauce and soy sauce – it’s a far cry from the thick, sugary tomato sauce we now call ketchup. Geo Watkins was established in 1830 and still makes its signature Mushroom Ketchup and Anchovy Sauce in the spirit of the original recipes.
Laurence Henry, award-winning chef, said: “Mushroom Ketchup is something I’ve used in the kitchen for as long as I can remember. It’s got an incredible umami flavour and goes with so many different dishes, from vegan ramen to a marinated steak. I’ve always got a bottle or two in the cupboard.
“There are some great traditional foodie secrets out there and I want to help people both find out about them and appreciate how they’re relevant today. We all love a good tomato sauce, but Mushroom Ketchup is the real ketchup as far as I’m concerned.”
Food historian, cook, lecturer and broadcaster Dr Annie Gray added: “There’s a 19th century author who states simply that ‘mushroom catsup is by far the most useful of all sauces: indeed, it is the base of nearly every kind of sauce which is made’. I agree, and I add it to a lot of things, whether historic or modern. It’s my go-to for pepping up gravies, bechamel, veloutés and hollandaise, and I also add it when I’m basting roasts and often to my salad dressings.
“I love it for its heritage, and I discovered it through historic recipes, but like anything amazing from the past, it’s totally relevant now. Mushroom ketchup always wins for sheer versatility – and in a modern context, it helps that it is vegan as well.”