HP Brown Sauce – Fun and Interesting Facts

HP Brown Sauce

"_DSC4310" by Bob Peters

When you’re next in England, if you want to start a fierce debate, simply get some locals together and ask them whether a bacon sandwich should be served with red or brown sauce. Whilst opinions will be mixed, one thing we can all agree on, is the fact that if it is brown sauce, it simply has to be HP. A firm favorite British condiment for more than a century, HP sauce simply cannot be beaten on taste and trust us, many have tried to compete, and all have failed. But what exactly is HP sauce, how is it created, and why is it so popular? Well, here are a few fun and interesting facts to sink your teeth into.

What is found in HP sauce? – Whilst the exact recipe remains a secret, we do know some of the key ingredients which are used to make this wonderful condiment. To begin with, it has a malt vinegar base, like many other condiments. HP also contains tomato, sugar, dates, spices, and tamarind. Tamarind helps to give it its unique sweet and sharp taste that just cannot be matched.

HP sauce is named after the Houses of Parliament – The HP on the bottle stands for House of Parliament, which is evident when you take a look at the label and see the houses, along with Big Ben in the hub of London. A true taste of England adored with a true look at the sites as well!

Houses of Parliment

"Houses of Parliment" by Iain A Wanless

A grocer invented the recipe back in 1895 – Back in 1895, a grocer by the name of Frederick Gibson Garton, created the recipe and named it HP after he learned that it was being served by a restaurant located directly within the Houses of Parliament. He eventually sold the HP brand for £150, which is roughly the equivalent of £4,100 in today’s money. Each year the sauces generate sales of around £40 million.

HP was known as ‘Wilson’s Gravy’ – Former labor Prime Minister Harold Wilson, was said to love HP sauce so much, that people began referring to it as ‘Wilson’s gravy’. He loved the stuff and used to pour it over pretty much everything. To be honest, we can’t really blame him.

Mmm... candied hot pepper bacon cheeseburger

"Mmm... candied hot pepper bacon cheeseburger" by jeffreyw

The HP factory used to have its very own vinegar pipeline – Forget oil pipelines, in Aston, Birmingham, they had vinegar on tap. You see, the original HP factory actually had a motorway for vehicles passing right through it. Because of this, the owners had to construct a pipeline for carrying vinegar over the motorway, from one side of the factory to the other. Health and safety would of course throw a fit today, but back then, having a motorway running through your factory was considered a minor inconvenience.

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