Relishes, pickles, preserves. Hawkshead Relish

This is one of the big names of Cumbrian producers, makers of more than 120 different relishes, pickles and preserves which between them have won over 70 Great Taste Awards.

The company’s Hot Beetroot Ketchup won two stars at least year’s awards (2021) while its Salted Caramel Sauce, Raspberry and Vanilla Jam, BBQ Sauce and Dijon Mustard all picked up one star. It’s now a finalist in the Food and Drink Heroes Awards 2022 in the Producer of the Year category.

Founded by Mark and Maria Whitehead, Hawkshead Relish had its origins in the chutneys and pickles the couple used to serve to customers at their café in Hawkshead. When the foot and mouth outbreak hit the business in 2001, the Whiteheads decided to go into jam, chutney and sauce-making full time.

The first four products they offered were Westmorland Chutney, Cumberland Sauce, Sticky Toffee Sauce and a Wholegrain Mustard but things have moved on hugely since then, the company now exporting to over 30 different countries.

The range - ‘made by hand using traditional open pans and without any artificial flavouring, colouring or additives’ - embraces jams, chutneys, pickles, mustards, salsas, sauces, savoury jellies, curds and marmalades.

In 2005 Hawkshead Relish was named Speciality Producer of the Year at the Great Taste Awards and two years later it moved production to a restored 16th-century barn at Esthwaite Water. The café itself became the Hawkshead Relish shop. In 2011 Mark and Maria each received an MBE for their services to the food industry in Cumbria.

2018 was a pretty good year for the family business with Black Garlic Pickle winning three stars at the Great Taste Awards and its ‘umami-flavoured’ Black Garlic Ketchup - the description comes from The Telegraph Magazine - named Best Condiment/Marinade at the 2018 World Food Innovation Awards. 

A year later Maria Whitehead brought out a cookbook entitled Embellish with Relish, the dishes inspired by Mark and Maria’s travels around the world, their dinner table at home and the relishes they produce in the barn at Esthwaite Water.

Hawkshead Relish, The Square, LA22 0NZ: 015394 36614,

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