Meet the Maker: A Bit on the Side

Tasting Tracklements

Meet the Maker: A Bit on the Side

A few years ago we might have been satisfied with a dollop of tomato ketchup, but exotic condiments that enhance our dishes with sharp, sweet and spicy flavours are increasingly popular, and top restaurants are making their own pickles and relishes too. Wiltshire-based family-run business Tracklements has been a pioneer in the British condiment industry for almost 50 years, after introducing the very first wholegrain mustard to the UK in 1970. 'We still use the original method of grinding the mustard seed and maturing it in barrels to retain all the essential oils,' says managing director Guy Tullberg. In fact, Tracklements has a long history of firsts, as it also produced the first commercially available onion marmalade in the UK and the first chilli jam. 'We're obsessed with finding recipes from the past that have been overlooked or ones that we come across on our travels.' After working as a dispatch rider and spending some time travelling, Guy agreed to help his father in the family business for six months. 'Thirty years later I'm still here!' he laughs. 'As a family we'd always made our own condiments. We even made our own ketchup from fresh tomatoes – there was no Heinz in our house!' It's always a challenge to preserve the original character of an artisan business as demand for its products grows, but Guy says that for Tracklements handmade means handmade. 'We're incredibly proud of continuing that tradition. Tracklements are the original artisan manufacturer to handmake in small batches. As more consumers discover Tracklements, we work hard to ensure that growing the business doesn't impact on the quality of our products. For example, we started off with two open boiling pans, we now have 12, but they're exactly the same size as the originals and we cook in exactly the same way. It's why we believe our products taste better and as good as any homemade.'

To make some of their delicious range of condiments, including Sticky Fig Relish, Zingy Rosemary Jelly and the new special edition spicy Hot Mustard Ketchup, they source fresh ingredients directly from British farmers wherever possible to avoid waste. 'We have a policy of "first local, then regional, then national, but always the best" and we absolutely believe that it makes a better product if it also fits with our views on sustainability and supporting British Fairtrade.'

•Tracklements condiments are available from Waitrose, Ocado and Booths, as well as online at www.tracklements.co.uk.

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