Hawkshead Relish Company
PRODUCER: Hawkshead Relish Company, Cumbria
PRODUCT: Westmorland Chutney
REGION: North West
CATEGORY: From the Earth (Artisan)
WHAT THEY DO
When the foot and mouth epidemic afflicted the Lake District in 2001,Mark and Maria Whitehead’s small café in the village of Hawkshead was left almostempty. Determined to overcome this challenge and continue championing Cumbrianproduce, the couple began jarring the preserves that they’d made to serve inthe restaurant and sold them on to retailers.
Today, the Hawkshead Relish Company produce a range of more than 120chutneys, pickles and jams made with local ingredients. The company takes pridein using produce particular to the region, such as damsons from Lyth Valley, agrower that has led to the rejuvenation of local damson orchards. Wild garlic,blackberries and elderberries are foraged to make their Wild Garlic Pickle andHedgerow Jelly, and nettles are harvested to make their bestselling NettleJelly. The preserves are handmade in small batches, with no artificialadditives or genetically modified ingredients, in a 16th-century barn on thebanks of Esthwaite Water.
In the 16th century, trading ships docked on the west coast of Cumbriato trade tropical fruits and spices, which found their way onto farms in theLake District, where they were preserved and pickled. Mark and Maria are awareof the traditional role more exotic ingredients such as allspice have played,using it to enhance their Westmorland Chutney. The chutney, named after thenow-abolished county name, was inspired by a traditional pickle recipe madewith onions, apricots, dates and prunes.
In the Hawkshead Square café, now the brand’s shop, a team of local staffprovides quality customer service “with a friendly Cumbrian demeanour”. Markand Maria say at Hawkshead Relish, “the tradition, passion and expertise cansimply be tasted by lifting the lid of the jar.”
WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
The judges praised this company as a respected champion for the region,and liked the fact that their artisan product is made in small batches usinglocal produce as far as possible.
VISIT THE WEBSITE: hawksheadrelish.com